Critical Listening and Community Engagement

As one model for Indianapolis Community Requirement courses, the CCC has developed ethnographic research projects wherein Butler students interview individuals from diverse Indianapolis communities. These projects are all part of the CCC’s Critical Listening initiative that creates face-to-face opportunities within Butler’s academic curriculum wherein Butler students can engage with the stories and lives of individuals beyond the Butler campus and thereby learn and improve critical listening skills-skills. As critical listening informs our capacity for empathy and respect, it is an essential skill for civic mindedness and citizenship.

Immigrant Welcome Center Natural Helpers
In one project students document the life stories of “Natural Helpers” associated with the Immigrant Welcome Center. Natural Helpers are often earlier immigrants and refugees who serve within local immigrant and refugee communities. Natural Helpers function as knowledgeable insiders who have elected to receive training to assist with welcoming newcomers and helping them access resources and services as they adjust to living in a new environment.

Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps (IRSC)
Headquartered in Indianapolis, the Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps (IRSC) disperses members into a variety of non-for-profit sites that work directly and indirectly with local immigrant and refugee communities. Students are able to interview IRSC members and learn more about the importance of service in their daily lives.

Martin Luther King Community Center
Through their academic work in a number of different classes, Butler students have interviewed grandparents raising grandchildren at the Second Time Around program sponsored by the Martin Luther King Community Center. These interviews have revealed stories of the strength and resilience of grandparents who have assumed primary responsibility for raising grandchildren.

Nur-Allah Islamic Center
Butler has a long-term relationship with the Nur-Allah Islamic Center, a Muslim community with a sixty-year history in Indianapolis. Students have partnered with the congregants at the center to help record their history and experiences and to participate in interfaith dialog on a wide range of issues. Many Butler students involved in this process highlight the insights they have gleaned from their interactions and speak of the warm community at the center.