Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Thesis

Department

Communications

First Advisor

Christine Taylor

Abstract

The term “civic-mindedness” is broad, but it relates to specific experiences and behaviors we, as citizens and members of communities across the country, live out in our daily lives. But what does the term’s definition boil down to? I conducted a study to complete my thesis for the Butler University Honors Program, starting with the question: how is “civic-mindedness” defined in our culture and in what ways do the arts, specifically, impact an individual’s development of civic-mindedness? To answer this question, I focused on the dual mission statement of the Butler Community Arts School (BCAS), which reads, “…providing quality arts instruction at an affordable price while also developing community involvement and civic-mindedness in Butler University students.” I surveyed former and current BCAS Teaching Fellows (undergraduate students who teach BCAS lessons) to find how their personal experiences impacted their development of civic-mindedness, allowing them to define the term first for themselves and then to read this definition: civic-mindedness is actions, activities, or individuals that are motivated by or that show concern for the public good or humanity as a whole. In addition, I surveyed other Butler University music students to compare their perceived development of civic-mindedness as an undergraduate, separate from those students who are also Teaching Fellows. I combined the results of my thesis with on-camera interviews to create a short documentary. This media project allowed me the opportunity to blend all of the various components of my thesis into one final, visual product.

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