FAQ-Developing Indianapolis Community Requirement and
What is the Indianapolis Community
The Indianapolis Community Requirement is a learning
initiative with Butler's core curriculum that involves active
learning experiences that integrate classroom knowledge with
activities in the Indianapolis community. Students "take one course
in any part of the University that involves active engagement with
the Indianapolis community" (Report of the Core Curriculum Task
Force, 2005). For detailed guidelines see ICR Guidelines
on this page.
Why should I teach an Indianapolis Community Requirement
There are many benefits to teaching ICR courses. A summary of
benefits for students, faculty/staff, and the community are
detailed on the Indianapolis Community
Requirement page. Motivation for teaching these courses can
also be found in reading Faculty/Student testimonials.
Why should I incorporate service-learning into my
There are quantitative and qualitative reasons to incorporate
civic engagement or service-learning into a course. On a
qualitative level, service-learning can help students develop into
engaged and active citizens, with a greater understanding of
systems, relationships, diversity and the value of life experience.
In addition, students frequently develop civic skills while gaining
a deeper knowledge of the course material. Service-learning often
helps develop partnerships between faculty, students and the
community. Quantitatively, there is evidence that service-learning
enhances retention and usefulness of learning.
According to the National Training Laboratory of Bethel, Maine
the average retention rate of learning increases as students become
more involved in the learning process. At the top of the pyramid is
a 50% retention rate as a result of group discussion (a potential
reflection method), 75% as students practice what they are doing,
and 90% as students teach others or put the learning to immediate
use. Service-learning seeks to put the theories and concepts
students are learning in the classroom into practice through the
relevant service work they complete on-site.
How do I get started?
The first step to developing an Indianapolis Community
Requirement course or a service-leaning course is to review your
learning goals and outcomes. It is crucial to ask questions such
as, "how will service and/or community engagement enhance my course
material?" and "what do I want my students to gain from this
experience?" These initial questions will help determine if civic
engagement fits with the objectives of the course and can help
guide your decisions. "Fit," whether it be the inclusion of service
in a course, the selection of service site, the level to which you
ask you students to serve, or the type of reflection you require,
If I need help getting started, is there someone or some
office on campus that can provide assistance?
Yes. Butler University's Center for Citizenship and Community
can help you think about how community engagement might be
integrated into your course. The CCC can also help you find and
contact possible service sites.
The Center for Citizenship and Community is located in Jordan
Hall, room 109C.
You may contact Donald Braid, Director, at
317-940-8353 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kinds of courses satisfy the Indianapolis Community
The ICR is conceptualized as a pedagogical approach or process
that is used to teach the content of an existing course-whether the
course is in the core, in the major, or is an elective. ICR courses
should involve a direct strategy for furthering students'
understandings of the nature of community and the relation to
self, whether through class exercises, discussions, or reflection
assignments that directly focus attention and dialogue on students'
emergent understanding of this learning objective. The CCC is
currently pursuing three models for courses that satisfy the
Indianapolis Community Requirement: 1) Courses based on a
traditional service-learning model, 2) courses based on the SENCER
model, and 3) courses based on our critical-listening paradigm. See
Guidelines for further details on these models.
What does "active engagement" mean?
"Active Engagement" means that engagement with the community
must be sustained, substantive, and reciprocal in the sense that
students engage with community members in an ongoing and dialogic
way. The Indianapolis community requirement is not satisfied with
"one touch" encounters, electronically mediated encounters, or
similar relationships where there is no opportunity for dialogue
and development of relationship and deepening understanding of
community and community members (whether this dialogue is with an
individual or series of individuals).
How is "community" defined for the purposes of this
The community with which the students engage must: a) be
external to the traditional university classroom, b) provide an
experience that brings the students into relationship with
individuals and communities that differ from the university
environment, and c) be representative of the broader populations,
networks, and communities that comprise Indianapolis. An active
learning experience that occurs within a local community beyond the
Indianapolis area might conceivably satisfy the ICR when this
experience is "brought back" in a meaningful way to enrich the
Indianapolis Community. Where students in partnership with
faculty mentors wish to propose these experiences to satisfy the
ICR, they must petition the Associate Provost for Core Curriculum
and Interdisciplinary Programs in advance of the experience.
How much time must students commit to community
engagement in an ICR course?
Student experiences should involve direct contact with community
members for a minimum of 20 hours over the course of the
How can I have my course designated as a
service-learning and/or Indianapolis Community Requirement
The relevant Application and Guidelines can
be found on our site, and the CCC is happy to assist you in the
process of filling out and submitting these forms.
Where can I find examples of syllabi or course
descriptions of other service-learning courses?
A collection of resources for faculty teaching Indianapolis
Community Requirement and service-learning courses is available on
Resources page. You might also want to look at syllabi archives
at National Camus Compact (www.compact.org/category/syllabi/)
or at Loyola University (http://evergreen.loyola.edu/rcrews/www/sl/syllabi.html).
How do I identify an appropriate community partnership
Since a key element of the Indianapolis Community Requirement
and service-learning is that the engagement should be reciprocally
valuable to student and community partner alike, it is important to
match the learning goals and outcomes of the course with the needs
of the community agency. Developing sustainable outreach
partnerships that enhance Butler's academic/urban mission takes
significant time and effort. In partnering with other individuals
and programs at the university, the CCC serves as a resource that
brings forth ideas, shares experiences and offers contacts earned
from a decade of outreach work, research and service-learning
program development. The Director of the Center for
Citizenship and Community can provide assistance in locating and
contacting appropriate sites. To facilitate ICR course
development, the CCC is building reciprocal community partnerships
based on learning engagements within a series of interrelated
pathways: Art and Culture, Inter-generational, Education,
Environment, Health, Intercultural, Economic, and Socio-Political.
We may already have an established partnership that would provide
the kind of engagement that you are seeking.
What do site personnel typically expect from our Butler
They expect our students to be conscientious, reliable, and
respectful of the individuals with whom they are interacting.
How much time does it take to plan and execute an
Indianapolis Community Requirement or service-learning
Much depends upon the instructor's course objectives and the
level of involvement the instructor deems desirable for her/his
students to have at a given site. As with any new course
preparation, the time commitment is greater than preparing,
revising, or restructuring a non-civic-engagement course. We
recommend that first-time practitioners contact the CCC in the
semester prior to the semester in which they intend to execute the
How do I assess student performance in an ICR or
This question needs to be answered by the individual
instructors, but we recommend that the instructor consider how the
service is fundamentally connected to academic objectives before
integrating the service-learning experience into the course grading
plan. Students, while not graded on their service, are
required to perform a designated number of service hours as a
minimum requirement of the course, and the quality of their service
and work at a site will affect their grade. As with many other
forms of experiential learning, there is a strong link among the
service site coordinator, site staff, and the faculty member
coordinating the service-learning class. There should be consistent
and constant dialogue between all parties in regards to
performance, obligations, needs and accountability.
What is the difference between a service-learning course
and a course with service-learning component?
Depending upon the course objectives and structure, the
difference between a service-learning course and a service-learning
component may be large or subtle. A service-learning course
typically relies upon service learning as a pedagogical method. The
learning objectives of a service-learning course may therefore be
focused to expose students to the central theories and methods of
service-learning practitioners, to use this pedagogy to more
effectively teach disciplinary content, or to achieve outcomes
related to personal and social responsibility, intercultural
competency, or civic mindedness. Discipline-specific courses may be
augmented with a service-learning component that either adds a new
dimension unit to a course that relies on service-learning.
Does Butler recognize service-learning as part of the
tenure review and promotion process?
Yes, but as with any teaching, scholarly or service activities,
it remains the responsibility of the individual faculty member to
document and demonstrate the significance of the service-learning
dimensions of their work to their overall performance as a member
of the academy.
How does Butler recognize Civic-engagement and
service-learning as an academic aspect of our student's
Indianapolis Community Requirement courses and service-learning
classes will be identified on student transcripts.
Are there liability issues associated with
service-learning and/or other experiential learning opportunities
that require students to perform service off campus?
Practitioners of experiential education have long recognized the
risk and potential liability issues associated with
service-learning. Butler University like many educational
institutions continues to develop guidelines for instructors,
students and community partners to follow. The CCC has developed
ICR Contracts containing a liability waiver that all students must
sign before undertaking work at community sites. We also recommend
that instructors encourage students to work in teams, avoid
traveling alone and always exercise judgment and discretion when
interacting with personnel and individuals at service sites. We
encourage members of the Butler community to work closely with the
CCC as a resource that can help in the identification of service
sites that are appropriate for experiential learning