U.S. Campus Initiatives

Faculty Development

Emory University
Dialogue on Race Relations

The Transforming Community Project (TCP) uses research and community deliberation to unearth narratives about the complex history of race, gender and sexuality at Emory. The goal is to give this generation of Emory community members, as well as future generations, knowledge of its traditions. Knowing the “family story” of Emory will provide the wherewithal to help the community negotiate “difficult dialogues.” The Transforming Community Project examines Emory’s role in slavery, segregation, integration and the civil rights movement. The project combines academic theory and reflective practice in an effort to use race as a more frequent topic for discussion in the classroom and throughout the academic disciplines.  This project was initially funded by the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues initiative.

University of Alaska Anchorage/Alaska Pacific University
Faculty Intensives; Indigenous Difficult Dialogues; Books of the Year, Handbooks

In a unique partnership between a large public university and a small liberal arts college, UAA and APU have:
1) Offered faculty development intensives to increase the skill level of faculty across the disciplines in proactively introducing controversial topics into the classroom
2) Introduced faculty to key difficult dialogues between the university and Alaska’s Native people as well as to traditional indigenous ways of teaching and learning
3) Launched a Books of the Year program which engages the university communities in discussions on controversial topics based on shared texts
4) Created Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education and Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education
5) Conducted semester-long faculty learning communities based on the Start Talking and Stop Talking handbooks.

The program is run through the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Engagement and Academic Support, and was initially funded through the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues initiative.

University of Missouri Columbia
Summer Institute; Faculty Modules; Interactive Theater

The Difficult Dialogues program at the University of Missouri Columbia has included:
1) A Faculty Fellows program in which fellows receiving training to develop a teaching module incorporating the religious/cultural underpinnings of contemporary issues relevant to his/her discipline that might spark tension or controversy in the classroom
2) An Interactive Theater Program which allows faculty and students to explore social and political issues through theater-based exercises and performances
3) A Summer Institute which offered senior campus leaders a chance to work together towards the creation of difficult dialogues faculty development programs on their campuses

The program is run through the UM Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative and was initially funded by the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues initiative. Activities include a series of campus-wide public forums designed to address contemporary issues (e.g., Courageous Conversations about Race and Civility) and a course entitled, “Difficult Dialogues: Controversial Subjects in Higher Education.”