Center for Citizenship and Community

Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR) Guidelines


Section 6.3 of the "Report of the Core Curriculum Task For" (January 4, 2005) sets out the framework for the Indianapolis Community Requirement as follows:

Requirement Structure: Students must take one course in any part of the University that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community.

Learning Objectives

  • to have an active learning experience that integrates classroom knowledge with activities in the Indianapolis community.
  • to use an experience in Indianapolis to further the individual student's understanding of the nature of community and the relationship between community and his or her self.
  • to further students' commitment to service and ongoing involvement as community actors.

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. The following criteria are therefore intended to delineate the kinds of experiences and engagements with the community that warrant designation as satisfying the ICR. Courses and or course components that satisfy this requirement may involve diverse topics, content, and approaches.

The University Service Committee (USC) recommends that faculty use existing course structures to enable students to meet the ICR learning objectives. The USC also recognizes that the ICR learning objectives might be achieved through co-curricular programs with substantial service where these experiences are structured to fit the spirit and the letter of the ICR learning objectives. Similarly, 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 USC or Core Curriculum Coordinator through the regular approval process described below.

Engagement with the Indianapolis Community may be appropriate at all levels of a student's education, so no restriction is placed on when this requirement may be taken. Implementation of the ICR related component, however, must be appropriate to the developmental level and knowledge of the students served by a given course.

While the ICR might be satisfied at any stage of a student's educational career, we recognize that there may be great value in a student taking ICR courses early and taking them often. No restriction is therefore placed on how often or when ICR-designated courses may be taken. The USC believes it is valuable to document the number of ICR courses on a student's transcript. Given the time commitment needed for ICR courses, however, advisors should caution students against taking more than one ICR course in a given semester.

Since students do not receive a grade for the ICR independently of the course grade, students must pass the course to receive credit for the ICR.

Guidelines and Definition of Terms

  • Active Engagement:  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 dialog and development of relationship and deepening understanding of community and community members (whether this dialog is with an individual or series of individuals).
  • The Indianapolis Community: 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.
  • Active Learning Experience:  An ICR course should involve one or more of the forms of experiential education (as defined by the USC) as the underlying pedagogy for the component of the course that satisfies the ICR.
  • ICR courses and/or course components should be designed with a logical and functional connection between community engagement and the learning objectives of the course.
  • The course 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 dialog on students' emergent understanding of this learning objective.
  • Courses and/or course components proposed as satisfying the ICR should indicate how they help the university to achieve its mission by "providing intellectual, cultural, and artistic opportunities and leadership to Indianapolis and the surrounding areas."
  • Student experiences should involve direct contact with community members for a minimum of 20 hours over the course of the semester.

Course Proposal Process

Individual faculty, departments, programs or colleges seeking approval for courses and course components to satisfy the ICR should submit the ICR course approval form to the University Core Curriculum Committee for consideration. The UCCC, in turn, will seek advice and consent from the USC. Where this proposal involves a new course, the course or course pilot must be approved by the relevant committee(s) independently of the ICR approval request.

Faculty, departments, programs or colleges may also request that course models or course guidelines be approved for satisfying the ICR. This strategy may be most appropriate where existing courses/programs are being adapted such that they align with ICR learning objectives and guidelines. For example, a college may develop internship or practicum guidelines to satisfy the learning objectives of the ICR. Once approved by the USC, specific internships or practica that satisfy the guidelines will automatically satisfy the ICR.

Since the guidelines for service-learning course designation have been developed in alignment with ICR guidelines, courses that have received the SL designation are also approved as satisfying the ICR.


Assessment tools and processes to monitor both the success of ICR courses in achieving stated learning objectives and providing viable outreach components need to be developed and implemented.