Transforming Education- October 2013

Be the Designers Students DeserveEna-Shelley12

“We may not all be Dali or Degas. But today we must all be designers.”

— Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind
At the Butler Homecoming this month, it was wonderful to see so many alumni return and reconnect with members of the College of Education.

As I listened to our graduates who are educators in many settings (schools, parenting, businesses, and retirement), the theme of “design” emerged for me.

From conversations on becoming a parent and trying to find balance in life, deciding upon a career move, facing challenges in the culture of a school or district, or finding new opportunities in retirement, I was reminded of Margaret Wheatley’s statement, “We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused.”

There is not one “right answer” to any of the issues the alumni were describing but perhaps a good solution for one moment in time. So how do we design our lives, and what does it involve? I provide the following to spark your creative process:

Dare to be willing to be confused and to take risks.
xamine your environment and situation carefully to see new possibilities.
peak more with questions than with answers.
Imagine how your daily life will change by making small, incremental, and creative changes.
Go forward with courage; don’t wait one more minute to begin developing your dreams. Never believe that you do not have the power to make necessary changes to move forward.

A very dear friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Louise Cadwell, shared the following piece written by Superintendent Linda Henke of Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis. Dr. Henke wrote this piece for her graduate students in a school principal preparation program. I share these powerful words with you to provoke your thinking about the role of design in your life.

To My Wonderful Students

Be designers…first and foremost…design.
Design with a glorious childhood in mind,
not just a good education;
Design toward an amazing future,
not just a reaction to the past;
Design with an engaged heart and spirit,
not just with your analytic mind;
Design with a fearless sense of possibility,
not with the anxiety of compliance;
Design with your dance shoes on
and your butterfly net in hand,
not just in your work clothes;
Design as a gentle warrior for children,
not as a bureaucrat longing for certainty,
seeking comfort in numbers;
Design…our children desperately need you
to design new schools that celebrate childhood,
not try to remediate it.
I am constantly thinking about how we must continue to design the education that our children deserve. After all, we are educating them for a future we will never see, but the greatest gift we can give them is the ability to constantly design and redesign.

My challenge to you is to share your design story with others on the COE blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Wherever you are in life, what are you dreaming, designing, and creating? I will be waiting to hear from you!

“…and the wonderful thing about possibilities are that they are endless…”

—Howard Gardner
Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

Explore the archives of previous Transforming Education entries.

The COE is Seeking an Instructor of Special Education

Want to Work at the COE?  We have an opening!

Instructor of Special Education
Butler University, College of Education

The College of Education is searching for a new colleague with expertise in special education for a position beginning August 2014.  This three year instructor position offers the opportunity to provide undergraduate and graduate instruction and supervision in the preparation of educators. We invite candidates who share our vision that we are preparing teachers for schools as they should be, not as they currently exist. The College of Education’s four core values undergird our mission and vision: 1) The Appreciation of Diversity and Similarity; 2) The Excitement of Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring; 3) The Challenge of Integrated Practice and Collaboration; and 4) The Strength of Integrity and Responsibility. We are seeking candidates to support our efforts to contribute in meaningful ways to the College’s four core values and to the university’s continued commitment to cultural diversity, pluralism, and individual differences.

Required Qualifications:
Certification/licensure (any state) in special education; Masters degree in special education, or closely related field; minimum of three years teaching students who have disabilities in preschool or K-12 schools; knowledge of effective, individualized educational programming for students needing mild intervention; evidence of successful co-teaching; demonstrated passion and interest in education for all students.

Preferred qualifications:
Demonstrated success in working with students who are culturally and linguistically diverse; willingness and readiness to teach courses related to growth and development; undergraduate and university teaching; and evidence of effective and innovative instructional approaches.


Teach undergraduate and graduate courses; supervise practicum/student teaching internships; participate in program development and assessment; and provide service to the university and greater educational community.
Application Process:

Submit a letter of application detailing your qualifications for this position, a two-page teaching philosophy, a current vitae, official graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and the names and contact information of three additional professional references to Dr. Catherine Pangan, Chair of the Special Education Search Committee, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208.

Screening will begin October 14th until the position has been filled. Please direct questions to


Posted 10/11/13

Alumni, Help Us Keep Up with You!

We know how much amazing work is being done in the field of education by our alumni, and we are hoping to do a better job of keeping up with all of you!  Have you recently been recognized, won an award, taken a new position, presented, published, etc?  We want to know about it and help celebrate you!  Please take a moment to fill out the form below (it’s very brief) and catch us up with all you have going on.  Feel free to send this update form to other alumni or update for others you know who have news to celebrate.

Thank you for all you do for kids and for letting us share in your accomplishments!

Dr. Furuness and Dr. Esteves in USA Today


This great article by USA Today focuses on blended learning in Indianapolis charter schools.  Dr. Furuness and Dr. Esteves contributed their thoughts and experience with blended learning or the “flipped classroom”- it’s a great read and a good conversation starter on the topic of online learning and how it impacts the role of the teacher, as well as understanding what students can learn through blended learning.

Read it all here!