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September 21, 2023

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Course emphasizes listening to people rather than responding


Students who are part of the Listening Post course hear out a student in the Union.

Students like senior Magen Greer have been listening to students’ problems for class credits.

The Listening Post, listed as FCS-4800, is a class devoted to teaching students how to be effective listeners. The class is worth 1-3 credits depending on how many hours of listening are done each week, said Laura Landry-Meyer, associate professor of family and consumer sciences.

The first 3-4 weeks of the class are focused on teaching students how to be good listeners, said senior Christina Baldwin, a teaching assistant for the class. Students start at the Listening Post during the fourth week of classes, which is located in the Union next to Starbucks.

Landry-Meyer said the goal of the class is for students to learn active listening and “giving the gift of attention.”

Active listening is harder than it sounds, Baldwin said.

“It’s really hard to not give advice,” she said. “It’s easier to give advice than to listen.”

Greer is taking the class and said she was referred by one of her friends. She said the class does weekly readings and they describe things they’ve listened to as “our time to reflect.” She stressed that her goal in the class is not to try to give solutions, but to be a listening ear for students.

The Listening Post has been a positive experience for Greer because she said it’s a “good feeling to see someone open up.”

Baldwin thinks the Listening Post is beneficial to the University because it gives students a non-judgmental place to express themselves.

“Think about how many students … want someone to vent to,” she said. “We want someone for them to talk to.”

Those in the class also benefit from the Listening Post, Landry-Meyer said.

“At the end of the semester, students give voice and say professionally they have improved their skills and also personal relationships,” she said.

Senior Sammi Frankenberg said she thinks it’s beneficial to gain new perspectives and to have a chance to put herself aside and make the time about others. She said active listening is a useful tool for people to have.

Students who take the class can come back again as “alumni,” Landry-Meyer said. In the alumni class, students work on peer-teaching and community outreach.

Landry-Meyer said the class has been a positive experience for students and makes lasting impressions.

“I think it’s a huge retention tool,” Landry-Meyer said. “People come to the post and talk and feel a lot better. It’s really a small, simple act, but it’s huge.”

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