Meet Tom Mould

Please provide 2-3 sentences about yourself (where you work/go to school, hobbies)

I am a professor of Anthropology and Folklore at Butler University. Outside the classroom, my favorite way to unplug is to lose myself backpacking for days at a time, or in a good book.

What is it about PLC’s work that appeals to you?

I love the mission of the PLC to situate peace and justice at the center of everything we do. Working with youth as well as adults helps ensure that the work PLC does is introduced early, and reiterated throughout our lives. After all, working towards peace, equity, and justice is an on-going process that requires constant effort and vigilance. I also appreciate that so much of the work is process and strategy driven. PLC’s work is eminently applicable and relevant. Sometimes in higher ed we can get caught up in abstract principles that are important to consider but difficult to apply. PLC puts research to practice in powerful, useful ways that never lose sight of the very real, very complicated, and very flawed world we live in without ever losing hope that we can make that world a better, more just place to live.

What kind of work are you doing with PLC?

I’m new to the board and still finding my way around, but I’m part of the Culture, HR and Equity group working on the strategic plan to address important issues. As an anthropologist, I spend a good deal of my time working to understand how different groups develop their own cultural norms and values that impact everything they do. I look forward to working with PLC staff to help ensure the culture of the organization is as inclusive, equitable, and effective as possible.

Can you tell us a memorable experience or something you have learned during your time with PLC?

I was participating in the Conflict Styles and Resolution Webinar recently when the facilitator introduced the distinction between empathetic listening and active listening. I regularly work to make sure I am an active listener, but I had not considered the importance of going a step further and being an empathetic listener—of not just engaging fully with a speaker, but constantly trying to imagine their perspective, particularly when their experiences or views diverge from my own. This strategy aligns so perfectly with the concept of active perspective taking that I teach in my classes at Butler, and yet I had never thought to apply it so broadly and consistently. I still have a long way to go to make this second nature, but the workshop helped orient me towards this powerful communication strategy.