by Jerry Catt


My interest in listening began when I trained and volunteered for dispute resolution in the 80s and into the 90s.  As a mediator listening invariably made a difference in discussing and settling disputes; indeed listening frequently appeared to mysteriously enable disputing parties to enter productive discussion and communicating differing viewpoints.  Following work on a Master of Arts in Communication I began teaching a formal Listening course in 2003 at Boise State University that I myself had taken from Dr. Marvin Cox who eventually became my thesis comittee chair.  At Dr. Cox’s retirement I inherited the Listening class and taught the course for 13 years.  I also designed and taught workshops during that time all related to aspects of listening.  This work was purposefully academic and theoretical since I deem it a fruitless labor to teach skill-building prior to students gaining a better understanding of listening phenomena; as well I had little faith that a 16 week course in listening would alter behaviors that had developed over a lifetime even that of a young college student.  Instead I tried to examine with my students what is going on when we are listening.  Each student worked on their own listening skills as they joined in the research.  I would never have been capable of producing a syllabus that could have matched each student’s particular needs.

"We empty of their humanity those to whom we deny speech."

-George Steiner

"God is the listener inside all of us."


"Narcissism is the antithesis of listening."

- Patrick Cronin