IUPUI establishing Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community
February 12, 2013
- Margie Smith-Simmons
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In a continuing effort to improve relationships and understanding among social identity groups on campus, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is establishing an Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community. The new office will also provide leadership support in campus-wide efforts to foster and improve campus civility, collegiality and civil discourse.
Intergroup dialogue occurs in carefully structured face-to-face meetings, typically involving about a dozen people of at least two social identity groups. Trained facilitators representing each social group in the dialogue guide discussions over a number of sessions.
The office will support those who want to develop curriculum around intergroup dialogue as well as experiential learning opportunities for students. The office will also support dialogue processes between and among faculty and staff and with groups in the Indianapolis community.
“Intergroup Dialogue principles and practices can serve as tools to facilitate conversations, advocacy and collective action toward promoting equality, combating prejudice, and fostering diversity and inclusion throughout campus,” said Daniel Griffith, the office’s first director.
Work to develop the initiative began in 2009, which included partnering with the University of Michigan Program on Intergroup Relations, the recognized leader of the intergroup dialogue process.
“I’m excited about the possibilities that Intergroup Dialogue has to offer for our IUPUI community,” said Dawn Rhodes, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “Engaging our students and employees in meaningful conversations about diversity and social justice is essential to engendering their commitment to fostering a culture that is diverse and inclusive.”
The goals and priorities for the IUPUI Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community strategically align with the campus’s Vision 2025 Strategic Plan, particularly the initiative to promote an inclusive campus environment.
“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential to our mission as a leading urban university campus,” said Nasser H. Paydar, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “Intergroup dialogue and similar initiatives that help our students, staff, faculty and community members feel welcomed and valued represent important steps toward fulfilling our mission and vision.”
“Intergroup dialogue offers an opportunity to respond more effectively to issues, to get people engaged in dialogue in a constructive way,” Griffith said.
Griffith is an associate faculty member in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in leadership, conflict management and human resources management. Prior to his current role as director of the IUPUI Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community, he served as manager of Training and Organization Development at IUPUI.
To learn more about the intergroup dialogue program, contact Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community at email@example.com