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Intergroup Dialogue Program

The Intergroup Dialogue Program at Furman University draws from interdisciplinary research on social identity, conflict, and communication to provide students, faculty, and staff with a range of unique dialogue-based experiences. This includes peer-facilitated “Dins Dialogue” workshops, credit-bearing intergroup dialogue courses, and more. Participants learn how to engage with one another across differences of race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and politics in ways that promote empathy, collaboration, and creativity.

Mission and Learning Objectives

In a diverse and polarized society, intentional dialogue about social group identities (e.g., race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and, increasingly, political identity) is needed to promote mutual understanding, collaboration, and social change. The Intergroup Dialogue Program at Furman University was created so that students, faculty, and staff could learn how to have conversations about the identities that unite and divide us.

Introduction to Intergroup Dialogue (IGD 101) courses, half-semester (2-credit) classes led by faculty and staff facilitators, introduce students to the theory and practice of having honest conversations among the members of different social groups. Drawing on research in the fields of sociology, philosophy, political science, and psychology (among others), IGD 101 classes seek to promote social justice in inclusive ways while allowing people to give voice to their deepest convictions and formative experiences.

The learning objectives of IGD 101 classes are to:

  1. Distinguish between mutually respectful dialogue and antagonistic debate as distinct forms of communication, and to develop dialogue skills.
  2. Learn about social group identity, and reflect on multiple and intersectional identities.
  3. Identify the influence of social identity on intergroup relations.
  4. Understand how these social identities relate to individual, institutional, structural, and cultural differences and inequalities.
  5. Critically analyze contemporary issues related to social and political identity conflict.
  6. Gain skills to work productively in diverse groups, build coalitions, and utilize knowledge about identities, structures of inequality and dialogic communication to build and support inclusive communities.

The program offers numerous dialogue classes focusing on race, gender, and political identities in addition to student-facilitated “Dins Dialogue” workshops run by the Center for Inclusive Communities.

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Center for Inclusive Communities

The Center for Inclusive Communities (CIC) fosters belonging for historically underrepresented students and stimulates all students to thoughtfully reflect on diversity and inclusion in the liberal arts tradition of engaged citizenship.

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Center for Engaged Learning

The Center for Engaged Learning will enhance students’ four-year pathways by preparing them for, facilitating, encouraging critical reflection on, and tracking and assessing high-impact engaged-learning experiences, both within and outside of the classroom.

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