Office Hours with John Gardner featuring Brooke Barnett and Melissa Beckwith. Available February 6, 2024

Episode 99- The 2-Year College with Brooke Barnett and Melissa Beckwith

Office Hours with John Gardner

Brooke Barnett and Melissa Beckwith share their institution’s initiative for a 2- year college within Butler University. They discuss development of this model inspired by the institution’s founding mission to provide accessible quality education for all.


Correction from guest:

In typical academic fashion, Brooke Barnett did a fact check on her own claim that Butler has been offering graduate degrees for 70 years. According to Mac Waller’s 2003 history of the university,

the first Pharmacy master’s degree was offered in 1952. Our great Butler Library faculty skimmed through bulletins, catalogues, and commencement programs, and it looks like, per Waller’s citation, that the process for Master’s degrees was described in 1874 and they also found a 1902 commencement program with a single student graduating with a Master’s of Arts. So maybe Brooke’s 70 years comment actually undersold university history.

Brooke Barnett, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, previously served as Dean of the College of Communication at Butler. Brooke earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication Studies at Georgetown College, a Master of Arts in Journalism and doctorate in Mass Communication with a concentration in Law and Visual Communication at IU-Bloomington. Prior to her arrival at Butler, and in addition to her career as a teacher and scholar spanning more than 25 years, at Elon University Brooke served for nine years on the President’s senior cabinet, as Associate Provost for Academic and Inclusive Excellence, and as chair of the faculty governing body. She is a board member and a faculty member at the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) institutes for women in higher education leadership.

Melissa Beckwith currently serves Butler University as the University’s first Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer after serving five years as Vice President for Strategy and Innovation.  As CSO, Melissa is primarily responsible for supporting the University’s visioning and planning efforts to ensure Butler is well-positioned to leverage future opportunities and emerging trends in the ever-changing world of higher education. Melissa leads the University’s long-range goal planning and works with colleagues across the university to advance strategic initiatives that support the university’s growth plan including partnerships, new program development, and new mission-aligned ventures.   In addition, Melissa oversees Butler Ventures, a subsidiary focused on supporting the advancement of transformational efforts in higher education, especially those focused on enhancing access and opportunities for all learners.

During her fifteen years at Butler, Melissa has served in a variety of roles including the manager of a start-up consulting organization for privately held businesses across Indiana, the Director of Strategic Initiatives within Information Technology, and Interim Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Melissa regularly engages with early-stage education companies as an advisor and mentor.

Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from the Lacy School of Business at Butler University and MBA from Valparaiso University. Prior to joining Butler, Melissa served in industry as a management consultant and in higher education as a marketing and communication leader.

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