About the Initiative on Campus Dialogues

The Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) is a working group originally organized as part of the project on Humility & Conviction in Public Life. This initiative brings together UConn students, staff and faculty, as well as non-university practitioners, around a two-step model focused on dialogue and implementation.

ICD works to create resources and foster networks by which dialogue can be robustly and collectively pursued and promoted within the UConn community and beyond. ICD helps to plan and promote productive dialogue over divisive issues in order to create sustainable institutional change, at the university and local level, in the tenor, tone and hopefully outcomes of how we discuss controversial topics.

The ICD Fellowship Program is a University-wide partnership, with participation from academic, service, outreach and administrative units. Fellowship teams engage in year-long, shared-learning process, develop projects that apply dialogue and deliberation to specific content areas and curricular settings, and make use of, and potentially contribute to, current research-in-practice.

2019 – 2020 FELLOWS

Instructor Resources for Dialogue in the Classroom Project

Team Members:

Suzanne LaFleur, Director of Faculty Development, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of Connecticut
Noga Shemer, Assistant Professor In Residence, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

In recent years, the University of Connecticut's Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) has provided dialogue and deliberation training opportunities for instructors by regularly sponsoring intensive workshops presented by national leaders in the field. With this year's focus on creating dialogue in the classroom at UConn, it is necessary to develop internal resources to build upon and extend these trainings for our faculty, adjuncts, and postdoctoral and graduate students. As the primary university resource for the advancement of best practices in teaching and learning, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) has the capacity to serve as a hub for the development, consolidation, and dissemination of resources related to facilitating dialogue in the classroom. Through the "Instructor Resources for Dialogue in the Classroom" project, we will develop training workshops on dialogue in the classroom available to all UConn instructors; build upon these core offerings to create a series of additional learning opportunities for those interested in dialogic classroom practices; increase the viability of UConn's efforts to incorporate dialogue in the classroom; and share and consolidate existing resources through ongoing partnership between CETL and ICD. To view a list of these workshops and resources, click here.


Sports Talk: Creating Dialogical Classrooms for the Development of Future Sport Leaders

Team Members:

Charles Macaulay, Graduate Student, Department of Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut
Ajhanai Newton, Graduate Student, Sport Management, University of Connecticut
Laura Burton, Professor, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Justin Evanovich, Assistant Clinical Professor, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

We are proposing to re-conceptualize our delivery of two prominent core courses within the field of Sport Management, Sport Facility and Event Management (SFEM) and Sport Marketing. We have selected these courses because of their focus on industry skills and technical language, many students currently hold positions within these areas, and both courses are prominent within Sport Management departments. We are seeking to create a critical dialectical space, wherein traditional ideas, strategies, and practices that are normalized in the sport industry, will become challenged within our classrooms. Sport Management as a business industry, typically avoids discussing diverse topics and engaging in difficult conversations, our program is unique wherein we seek to engage students within topics of equity and diversity. It is our goal to develop Sport Marketing and SFEM around a team centered, case-based learning structure, wherein the instructor is decentered and the students are positioned to make decisions. Our goal is to center social inequalities within industry specific scenarios. Students will have to discuss and defend their decisions with their peers. By decentering the classroom away from the instructor as the provider of knowledge and centering the students as decision makers, students will be able to apply content-based concepts, while engaging in difficult conversations with peers.


Promoting Cosmopolitanism through Global Dialogue in the Classroom

Team Members:

Gerardo Blanco, Associate Professor, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Sercan Canbolat, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

This project seeks to incorporate more fully and intentionally dialogical strategies into the first- and second-year curriculum associated with Global House, a University of Connecticut Learning Community (LC) that brings together U.S. and international students. This project explores the possibilities and limits of cosmopolitanism, and seeks to promote civility, listening, deliberation and mutual respect while engaging students in self-exploration and perspective-taking. This project provides an opportunity to revise the Global House curriculum and strengthen the global forums - a central figure fo this LC-as spaces to exercise intercultural dialogue skills and dispositions.


Managing Microaggressions in the Classroom Using Dialogue

Team Members:

Milagros Marrero-Johnson, Director of Student and Academic Services, Adjunct Faculty at the School of Social Work, University of Connecticut
Ann Marie Garran, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

There are multiple factors that contribute to the successful implementation of a course. The way a class is facilitated can significantly affect its outcome. One aspect of facilitation that is critically important is attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues that students communicate. As discussions unfold, frequently students from marginalized groups report that they feel dismissed or devalued by comments made in class, particularly when an instructor does not intervene. These invalidating messages, known as microaggressions, can lead to an environment which reinfoces dangerous, harmful stereotypes. Our goal is to raise awareness and promote dialogue and facilitation skills for instructors to address microaggressions in the classroom. By enhancing instructor facilitation skills in this area, we believe more fulfilling engagement and learning will be piloted with the UConn School of Social Work. Ultimately, this project can serve as a resource to the larger UConn community.


GMO Dialogues

Team Members:

Stacey Stearns, Program Specialist, UConn Extension, University of Connecticut
Bonnie Burr, Department Head and Assistant Director, UConn Extension, University of Connecticut
Cindy Tian, Professor of Biotechnology, Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

The phrase GMO creates a strong emotional reaction among many people. GMO stands for genetically modified organism, and although the technology was first used in the medical field to create insulin, the dialogues currently surrounding GMOs are polarized. In our dialogue process, team members from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources will create a space where healthy dialogues on the positive and negative aspects of GMOs can occur. It can be difficult ot find science-based information that is understandable. Our working group intends to help bridge the information gap by providing real answers to questions concerning people today, and promoting discussions that help form their own opinions using that science-based information.


Student-Led Circles of Justice (S.L.C.J.)

Team Members:

Margaret H. Lloyd, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut
Kim Campbell, Assistant Extension Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut
Lisa Werkmeister-Rozas, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut
Rupal Parekh, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

Student-Led Circles of Justice is a Thomas J. Dodd Center Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) project under the leadership of four School of Social Work faculty: Lisa Werkmeister-Rozas, Rupal Parekh, Kimbery Campbell, and Margaret Lloyd. SLCJ intends to train student leaders on principles of dialogue, as well as core environmental justice concepts, so that student leaders can facilitate dialogue-style seminars with fellow undergraduate students on aspects of environmental justice.

Student-Led Circles of Justice will:

(1) increase undergraduate student leaders' knowledge and attitudes of dialogue as a pedagogical tool for environmental justice education; and

(2) improve undergraduate students' awareness and attitudes regarding environmental justice.

Prior scholars note the importance of dialogue as a pedagogic technique for enhancing empathy, awareness, and action as it relates to various social justice topics (Chow, Fleck, Fan, Joseph & Lyter, 2003; Hyde & Bineham, 2000; Ganesh & Zoller, 2012), including environmental justice (Scandress, O'Leary, & Martinez, 2005). Environmental justice is defined as the principle that "all people and communities are entitled to equal protection of environmental and public health laws and regulations" (Bullard, p. 495), including that no group on the basis of race, color, national origin, or income be disproportionately impacted by pollution or other environmental consequences. Despite increasing and interdisciplinary calles for attention to, and violations of , enviornmental justice principles (Heo, Fong, & Bell, 2019; Tan, 2019; Burt, 2019), incuding social work (Erickson, 2018; Teixeira & Krigs, 2015), few social work courses on the topic of environmental justice exist. Environmental justice is typically excluded from core coursework and, if any classes do exists, they are electives competing with a variety of other topic-based classes.

The current project aims to increase social work education's capacity for environmental justice topics by developing a "train-the-trainer"-type curriculum that can be led by students, for students, and imbued into a variety of course topics. Additionally, using dialogue as the primary pedagogic tool will enable the student-learners to both consume knowledge as well as reflect on their personal experiences related to environmental justice topics.


Continuing Project: Democratic Public Dialogue on Equity and Integration in Education

Team Members:

Gina Chirichigno, Director of National Coalition on School Diversity
Patricia O'Rourke, Graduate Student, Education Curriculum & Instruction and Human Rights, University of Connecticut
Atty. Cheryl Sharp, Deputy Director, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO)

Executive Summary:

In this project, we seek to continue and expand support for democratic public dialogue and effective participatory policymaking in the domain of public education through bridging the worlds of academic scholarship and community engagement in a “research and practice” collaboration. Over sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, in which the Supreme Court “conclude[d] that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” schools in the United States remain intensely segregated by race and socioeconomic status. The legacy of unequal access to educational and economic opportunity has individual and collective costs that undermine the promises of our democratic society, while the public and scholarly dialogues about how to address these complex issues remain contentious and fractured. This year, we will be focusing on the further development of frameworks and resources that specifically target connecting with youth and integrating the arts in dialogues in classrooms and other public spaces around these issues. Our focus will continue to be in Hartford and the state of Connecticut, and we plan to use the platform of the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) to reach a wider network of national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions. We are also very grateful for the partnership of the students and mentors at Epic Theatre Ensemble, New York, NY, in centering youth voice in this work.


Continuing Project: E.O. Smith Democratic Dialogue Project

Team Members:

Beth Daitch, Teacher, E.O. Smith High School
Amy Nocton, Adjunct Faculty, Department of English, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

By modeling the use of dialogue and deliberation for addressing issues of critical concern to the broader community, this project seeks to demonstrate the impact of democratic discourse practices in enhancing student content learning, providing opportunities for student leadership and voice, developing student and teacher civic discourse skills, and improving school climate and community.


Integrating Dialogue into First Year Experience for Learning Communities

Rachel Jackson Image

Team Members:

Rachel Jackson, Co-Director, Human Rights and Action Learning Community, University of Connecticut
Glenn Mitoma, Co-Director, Human Rights and Action Learning Community, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

This project will provide students in the Human Rights and Action Learning Community the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue around controversial human rights topics using the Encounters model of dialogue.   Our goal is that students will learn and practice productive dialogue that allows them to disagree while maintaining a sense of community and relationships.

 


Undergraduate Interns

Ben Cohen
I am a junior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in History. History and I go a long way back. I have always been one fascinated by the complicated building blocks of different civilizations. As a freshman in high school, I began training as a blacksmith and was offered the position of apprentice under a renowned journeyman. Bending metal into broadswords, bowie knives, frying pans and hinges have brought home for me an appreciation for the dependence we have on each other to create a cohesive community. I grew up with a sibling who is a person with autism. I experienced on a daily basis how society treats people with disabilities. While we have made strides in disability rights, we have a long way to go before we achieve an inclusive society where people are valued for what they can do, not judged by what they can't. Before attending college, I spent a year traveling the country with the National Civilian Conservation Corp. We were sent into disaster areas to not only rebuild structures, but to help displaced members of the community find housing, education, and healthcare. I certainly became acutely aware of the disparity of resources available depending on geographic location. As a recent transfer to UConn, I am excited to be involved with a diverse range of groups on campus, including the Metalworking Club, Muay Thai kickboxing, and HUskies for Refugees. Having experience in community outreach and a passion for history, the ICD Fellowship Program represented an opportunity for me to further develop my skills and facilitate meaningful discourse through history.
Hannah Smith
I am a senior at UConn majoring in History and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, minoring in political science and Spanish. As shown in my studies, I am highly interested in a wide range of current topics and issues within the field of humanities. I have participated in UConn club field hockey team, the history club, the Women's Center programming committee and pre-law society. During the Fall 2018 semester I studied abroad in Granada, Spain working on mastering the Spanish language. During this past summer, I interned with the YWCA in Hartford with the Grants department. Currently, I am starting research for my history honors thesis, whiere I plan to look at Mexican women's history during the 19th century. From all these studies, I was drawn to the ICD Fellowship to learn about my many humanitarian interests and promote them through discourse in order to spread the ifnormation I have learned to create a healthier community and environment.After UConn, I plan to attend graduate school for international relations, specializing in women's rights. I plan to take my experiences with the Fellowship to discuss, address, and moderate conversation of often difficult and heated sociopolitical topics which many communities face. I believe forging open and healthy discourses is the bridge to a healthy community.
Annette Medina
I am a senior studying History at the University of Connecticut. Being an American History enthusiast, I figured New England would be the best place to be. Originally from Sacramento, California, I transferred to UConn spring of 2018 and have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences thus far. When I'm not hitting the books, you can catch me working at the student recreation center or hanging out with friends. Prior to joining this program, I interned for Dr. Fiona Vernal where I worked as a research assistant in the History Department. The following semester, I also joined First Year Experience Program where I volunteered as a mentor for incoming first year students. That opportunity was not only incredibly rewarding, but helped give me a sense of community on UConn's big campus.Working with the ICD Fellowship Program, I am looking forward to bringing in my prior experiences while strengthening my public speaking skills and helping start the dialogue between current issues and history. After graduating in December 2019, I hope to join the corporate world in a location that is TBD.
Samantha Mason
I am a junior History and Political Science major at the University of Connecticut. While I have always been interested in history, my passion for it developed upon taking U.S. History in my junior year of high school. Being from Chicago, I saw New England as somewhere foreign and yearned to study America’s history in the area it all began. Before coming to UConn I interned for Illinois Congressman Bob Dold and Senator Mark Kirk. From these experiences I learned a lot about the political arena and working with the public. I also was involved in a variety of activities in and out of school including private tutoring, editing a school literary magazine, singing in a band, swimming on my school swim team, choir, working as a swim coach and life guard, and participating in multiple volunteer programs. When I started college I knew I wanted to continue my involvement. I did so by becoming the president of the History Club, the president of the English Community Club, the historian of my sorority Alpha Phi, and a campus tour guide. This past fall I also interned at the British Museum during my semester abroad in London. Having a lot of experience with public speaking, interacting with people, facilitation, and education, I was drawn to the ICD Fellowship Program because it combined many of my interests into one project. As someone who plans to get their Masters in Teaching and loves history, I feel that this program will help me learn of the different ways one can educate people on how history is still relevant today.
Tenzin Miglay
I am a senior History major with a minor in Biology at the University of Connecticut. My upbringing and experiences have given me a unique perspective on the human existence. I spent my summers in the foothills of the Himalayas and my winters in Tibetan refugee settlements across South India. When I came to the U.S. I attended both an inner-city school and a relatively upscale shoreline public school. I was once asked if I considered the U.S. a child-friendly nation. Anywhere in the world where people are more concerned with power than compassion is automatically disqualified for consideration as a child-friendly state. The global impact of extreme poverty is a direct result of extreme greed. My desire to aide in ending extreme poverty and ensuring everyone's inalienable human rights motivates me to take courses like International Human Rights and Global Health. I am president of the Tibetan Interest Association and am proud to come from a people that have safeguarded one of the world's most important ecosystems (Tibet's Rivers: Asia's Live Line_ for a millennial. The Human Rights Watch has ranked Tibet as the second least free place in the world for the past several years. I look forward to facilitating a civil public conversation on why that is. As well as explore the complicated relationship between legal identity and basic human rights in Central Asia.
Liliana Oliviera
Hello everyone my name is Liliana Oliviera, my pronouns are She/Her/Hers. I am currently a senior here at the university, majoring in History with minors in Political Science and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I was a transfer student from the Waterbury regional campus, but since coming to UConn, I have been involved in a couple of organizations and projects. I am the secretary of the cultural club UConn Virsa, and have been involved in projects like Art+Feminism, a wikipedia campaign whose goal is to edit and improve the web pages of queer artists. My overall goals and something I am very passionate about is fighting against social injustices; over the past few years I have been focusing my studies on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. When I saw this internship I thought it would be a great experience, considering that in the future I hope to be involved in various forms of activism and even enter the political sphere where  initiating dialogue with the general public is going to be important. Therefore I am excited for the opportunity and can not wait to start working on my very won Encounters project!
Connor Dougal
I am a freshman majoring in History with plans to minor in creative writing and psychology. I intend to focus my studies into the Roman and Medieval world. I have experience in both psychology and research techniques from my AP classes in high school. I have had limited experience in this field of work beyond those classes and would like to use this internship as an opportunity for growth. One thing that has always fascinated me is how people of differing beliefs can interact and how they either accept or reject information that is presented to them, sometimes regardless of what evidence is used. I plan on pursing a career in teaching and would like to have some form of published fiction writing in the future. The Encounters dialogue series was introduced to me by Heather Parker of the Department of History and I was immediately interested. I think that adding a specific structure and formula to conversation about modern issues is extremely important. The fact that this program allows people to discuss their differing beliefs in a way tha has little to no pressure is a meaningful and worthwhile experience both for myself and others. I hope that my experience in this program will assist me in broadening my perspective and in refining conversational and rhetoric technique.

 

2018 – 2019 Fellows

Youth Puppetry Anti-Bullying Project

Team Members:

Rob Cutler, Graduate Student, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
Noel Williams, Museum Assistant and Workshop Instructor, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry

Community: Windham High School and E.O. Smith High School

Executive Summary:

The Youth Puppetry Anti-Bullying Project utilizes puppetry as a springboard for dialogue on the topic of bullying in high schools with students and their community. In the pilot project of this program, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry brought together students from Windham High School and E.O. Smith High School to learn various types of puppetry and create an original puppetry piece to generate dialogue on the subject of bullying in high schools twice a week over five weeks. Students learned shadow puppetry, direct manipulation paper puppetry, and mask work as they devised a short puppetry piece titled "Defaced". The piece was performed for select classes at Windham High School with a follow-up dialogue session on bullying with the student audience. It was also performed at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry for parents and puppetry students with a follow0up dialogue session, in which the audience had the chance to re-visit and examine scenes in the puppet piece to further the dialogue.


Unsettling Connecticut/Quinnehtukqut

Team Members:

Sian Charles-Harris, Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
Danielle Fillipiak, Assistant Professor of Literacy, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
Angela Jankowski, Third Grade Teacher, Goodwin Elementary School
Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy), Education Supervisor at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center and Co-Founder/Director of Education, Akomawt Educational Initiative
Jason Mancini, Director, Connecticut Humanities Council and Co-Founder, Akomawt Educational Initiative
endawnis Spears, Co-Founder, Akomawt Educational Initiative
Elsie Gonzalez, Director for Diversity and Inclusion Programming Initiatives, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, University of Connecticut
Brianna Miloz, Graduate Student, Higher Education and Student Affairs Program and Graduate Assistant, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, University of Connecticut
Noga Shemer, Professor-in-Residence, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut
Mark Kohan, Assistant Clinical Professor, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

Our universities and schools stand on the traditional lands of the Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Mohegan, Niantic, Nipmuc, Mattabesic, Minisink (Munsee), Schaghticoke, and Paugussett peoples. The state's heritage and even its namesake come from appropriated lands. However, because so few students, staff, and faculty identify as Native American, there continues to be profound silences and harmful misrepresentations in our school spaces, curricula, and in public life with regard to indigenous rights, histories, and contemporary perspectives. It is our belief that before we can meet in a place of mutual respect and understanding, the privileged voices of academia must yield ground to indigenous voices that have long been silenced or ignored. Through "Unsettling Connecticut/Quinnehtukqut: An Initiative on Campus Dialogues Project," we are exploring the tensions between these communities, with hopes that we might begin to address them collectively by attending to representation in university and K-12 environments, developing understanding that settler-colonialism in Connecticut is still very much a part of current issues today (e.g., how they are intertwined with pressing local, national, and global issues, such as poverty, racism, corporate-led industrial food systems, violence against women, freedom of speech, immigration policy, ecological degradation, and climate change),  and sustaining the development of settler-ally awareness and orientations through dialogic activities and their documentation.


Democratic Public Dialogue on Equity and Integration in Education

Team Members:

Patricia O'Rourke, Graduate Student, Education Curriculum & Instruction and Human Rights, University of Connecticut
Gina Chirichigno, Director of National Coalition on School Diversity
Atty. Cheryl Sharp, Deputy Director, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO)

Executive Summary:

In this project, we seek to continue and expand support for democratic public dialogue and effective participatory policymaking in the domain of public education through bridging the worlds of academic scholarship and community engagement in a "research and practice" collaboration. Over sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, in which the Supreme Court “conclude[d] that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” schools in the United States remain intensely segregated by race and socioeconomic status. The legacy of unequal access to educational and economic opportunity has individual and collective costs that undermine the promises of our democratic society, while the public and scholarly dialogues about how to address these complex issues remain contentious and fractured. While our focus will be in Hartford and the state of Connecticut, we plan to use the platform of the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) to reach a wider network of national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions. We are also very grateful for the partnership of the students and mentors at Epic Theatre Ensemble, New York, NY in centering youth voice in this work.


Continuing Project: Constructing Education through Community Engagement and Democratic Dialogue

Team Members:

Dominique Courts, Graduate Student, Human Development & Family Studies, University of Connecticut
Gregory Doukas, Graduate Student, Political Science, University of Connecticut
Varun Khattar, Community Organizer, Connecticut Center for a New Economy
Len Krimerman, Emeritus Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Patricia O'Rourke, Graduate Student, Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut
Darian Spearman, Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Katherine Perez Quinones, Graduate Student, Latino and Latin American Studies, University of Connecticut
Heather Muraviov, Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

Our aim is to reimagine the function of education in America by bridging the gap between the classroom and the community. Though our country promotes itself as an exemplary democracy, we've noticed that there are very few opportunities to practice democracy in deep ways. We believe that we can help remedy this problem by constructing an innovative philosophy of education graduate course which partners with the Willimantic community and serves as an experiment in democratic community oriented learning. We hope that by creating a classroom space dedicated to community collaboration and democratic dialogue we can create a model by which educational institutions can deepen their students' connection to democracy and gain the dialogical skills it demands when practiced sincerely.


Continuing Project: Hartford Listens

Team Members:

Richard Frieder, Community Engagement Consultant, Community Capacity Builders

Executive Summary:

The need for community engagement is greater today than it has been in decades. Our political system is bordering on dysfunctional. Many people feel detached from their communities. Distrust of government is at an all-time high.

Civic participation is an important part of the solution to this problem as it will help create an environment in which everyone has a voice in decisions that strengthen communities. Just as we need the physical infrastructure of roads and buildings, we need to build, strengthen, and sustain civic infrastructure to support democracy.

To address this need Hartford Listens will, over time, establish an ongoing series of citywide community dialogues that will support civil, public deliberation, leading to community-driven change.

For the 2017-2018 academic year the focus will be on the following:

  • Conduct research to identify characteristics of productive dialogue, barriers to dialogue, and the role of humility in public discourse.
  • Begin to develop an initial plan and pilot project for citywide dialogues.
  • Research similar efforts elsewhere, build a diverse coalition to drive the initiative, form and advisory board, and identify organizational partners.
  • Explore potential roles for UConn (Storrs and Hartford campuses) including roles for students, faculty, and institutional roles.

Emphasis in the fall semester will be on research and planning. Implementation will begin in the spring semester.

Hartford Listens will complement the goals of the ICD, by bringing together research in the humanities with community outreach and engagement, and by bringing together the UConn community with residents and other stakeholders in Hartford.


Continuing Project: E.O. Smith Democratic Dialogue Project

Team Members:

Glenn Mitoma, Assistant Professor, Human Rights Institute/Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Amy Nocton, Spanish and Italian Teacher, E.O. Smith High School
Eleiza Braun, Independent Campaign and Development Consultant

Executive Summary:

By modeling the use of dialogue and deliberation for addressing issues of critical concern to the broader community, this project seeks to demonstrate the impact of democratic discourse practices in enhancing student content learning, providing opportunities for student leadership and voice, developing student and teacher civic discourse skills, and improving school climate and community.

 


Continuing Project: Community Outreach Dialogues

Team Members:

Sara Cook, Program Coordinator, Community Outreach, University of Connecticut
Amy Saji, Undergraduate/Graduate Student, Accelerated Program in Law, University of Connecticut
Arnold Kanyangonda, Graduate Assistant, Community Outreach, University of Connecticut
Hayley Rowe, Undergraduate Student, University of Connecticut

Executive Summary:

Community Outreach offers a variety of educational events and trainings throughout the year aimed at increasing awareness, interest, and involvement of UConn students in current political and social issues. These include advocacy trainings, conferences, dialogues, and various speaking engagements around topics related to service opportunities. Community Outreach will organize three events in the fall around topics of health, and political engagement and activism.

Community Outreach's Dialogue Initiatives will be hosting a deliberative forum focusing on the opioid epidemic. The purpose of a deliberative forum is to: focus on the options, consider all options fairly, and maintain an open and respectful atmosphere. We hope to encourage participation from students who aren't too familiar on the opioid epidemic to those who consider themselves well-versed on the topic. We want this to be an experience where we can listen and learn from each other. The event is participant-focused and there will be facilitator-led small group discussions.

During this forum, we will also discuss the implications of the opioid epidemic on the state of Connecticut. Recently, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the State of Connecticut is receiving over $20 million in federal funding to enhance the state's efforts in fighting the opioid epidemic. We will also juxtapose the sympathy and action given to the opioid epidemic with other epidemics (such as cocaine or marijuana).

Community Outreach will also present a screening of the documentary One Vote followed by a reflective dialogue session. During this session participants will have an opportunity to listen to others' experiences at the polls during the 2016 Presidential Election, and reflect on their past or future experiences. The producer and director of the film will participate in the dialogue providing a unique perspective as the visionary of the film.

Lastly, in the fall we will host a panel of political activists from a variety of fields who currently are making meaningful impacts all around Connecticut. Participants will have an opportunity to ask the panelist questions focused on their "Path to Activism".


Undergraduate Interns

Samantha Mason
I am a junior History and Political Science major at the University of Connecticut. While I have always been interested in history, my passion for it developed upon taking U.S. History in my junior year of high school. Being from Chicago, I saw New England as somewhere foreign and yearned to study America’s history in the area it all began. Before coming to UConn I interned for Illinois Congressman Bob Dold and Senator Mark Kirk. From these experiences I learned a lot about the political arena and working with the public. I also was involved in a variety of activities in and out of school including private tutoring, editing a school literary magazine, singing in a band, swimming on my school swim team, choir, working as a swim coach and life guard, and participating in multiple volunteer programs. When I started college I knew I wanted to continue my involvement. I did so by becoming the president of the History Club, the president of the English Community Club, the historian of my sorority Alpha Phi, and a campus tour guide. This past fall I also interned at the British Museum during my semester abroad in London. Having a lot of experience with public speaking, interacting with people, facilitation, and education, I was drawn to the ICD Fellowship Program because it combined many of my interests into one project. As someone who plans to get their Masters in Teaching and loves history, I feel that this program will help me learn of the different ways one can educate people on how history is still relevant today.
Stone Li
I am a senior majoring in History and French and minoring in English. The focus of my academics has been western Europe. I am currently writing a thesis for which I conducted research at the French National Archives in Paris. My work examines the motivations and aftermath of the forced migration of Reunionese children between 1963 and 1982. My post-graduation plans are to teach high school English and perform comedy and then pursue higher education. I was drawn to the Initiative on Campus Dialogues project for its commitment to civil discourse. The ability to speak and reflect on social issues is essential to the maintenance of a politically engaged society. I am drawn more generally to the ICD Fellowship Program because it provides opportunities to learn about the relationship between contemporary issues and their accompanying histories. On personal note, I was born in Columbus, Ohio, but have spent half my life in West Hartford, Connecticut. I enjoy friends, food, movies, nature, music, combat sports, and video games.
Sam Sweikert
I am a senior studying History attending the University of Connecticut. Although I have a wide range of historical interests, I have always been invested in American history, specifically post World War II. I started at UConn as a transfer student from ECSU with a military background. From my continuing experience as a member of the Army National Guard, and the clear relevancy of modern events, I have pursued courses that concern topics critical to the future of the United States. My academic career at UConn has followed a great effort toward understanding urban problems and how we can approach them effectively within towns, cities, communities, and the nation at large. Furthermore, I have studied international relations, along with American politics domestically and abroad, to better understand the context in which we have dealt with public policy issues in the past, and how we might approach them presently. Currently I am a part of the UConn Department of Public Policy's Fast-Track program and I am working toward a Master in Public Administration. Working with the ICD Fellowship Program, I look forward to using my experience to assist in the facilitation of civil public conversation about key issues.
Brandon Trudel
I am a senior history major attending the University of Connecticut. My hobbies include music, exploration, and physical activity. After graduation in May I will be shipping out to serve my time in the Army. During this time, I plan on going to graduate school to get my degree in chiropractic care. I grew up in Bristol, CT and have been a pretty social person throughout my life. I started playing multiple sports in grade school and was selected as a captain to many of them. In high school I was captain of the chess club and a volunteer at one of our elementary schools tasked with aiding teachers in helping kids learn how to read, write, and interpret texts. During this time, I also sat on Bristol's town council where I listened to current issues and provided input on how to handle them. This was headed by Senator Henri Martin. I have since left in hopes to explore and understand different political perspectives. My interest in history stems from my desire to relate historical patterns to the present and, by extension, the future. My goal for this project is to help people learn to speak confidently and passionately about their opinions without incurring confrontation and to shift potential arguments into educational debates. By the end of this semester I will orchestrate a debate and present it publicly at a location TBA.

2017 – 2018 Fellows

2019-2020 CALL FOR PROPOSALS (CLOSED)

The Democracy and Dialogues project of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, in partnership with other University co-sponsors (see current list below), will award five (5) new fellowships to participate in UConn's ongoing Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) Fellowship Program. This year's program will focus on creating dialogue in the classroom. In keeping with the recommendations made by the President's Committee on Civil Discourse and Dialogue, submitted in July 2018, ICD will support teams working to develop the skills of learning and decision making across difference about difficult topics and subjects.

What? The ICD Fellowship Program, now in its third year, is a University-wide partnership, with participation from academic, service, outreach and administrative units. Fellowship teams will engage in a year-long, shared-learning process, develop projects that apply dialogue and deliberation to specific content area and curricular settings, and make use of, and potentially contribute to, current research-in-practice. As part of their fellowship, teams will:

  • Participate in a launch meeting early in the fall semester
  • Attend regular meetings (3 per semester) and a 1-day winter break "retreat":
    • Meetings will take various forms in order to meet fellows' needs and interests. Possible examples include workshops on developing individual projects, hosting outside experts, training sessions (e.g. facilitation/moderation, digital humanities, or other tech skills), information gathering related to projected project outcomes, presentation/testing of program, etc. These meetings will be open to the entire University community and publicized by the Dodd Center;
    • NB: Meeting dates will be determined once fellows have been chosen. At least one team member must be present at each meeting. All members are required to attend the Winter Break Retreat. Please bear this in mind when applying.
  • Present at concluding meeting/conference at end of spring semester.

Who? Projects can be led by a single individual or be team-based. Projects must be led by a UConn affiliate, such as faculty (permanent or part time), staff or students; teams can also include non-UConn affiliates.

Outcomes / Outputs: The primary goal of the 2019-20 Fellowship Program is to develop applied dialogue and deliberation skills to UConn courses and curriculum. Secondary goals include the creation of a community of practice at UConn committed to the advancement of practical and theoretical knowledge of these approaches, and enhancing UConn's capacity to serve as a resource for those both on and off campus seeking to address problems through democratic encounters.

The following is a list of sample deliverables that offer possible means by which those goals might be realized by fellows/fellowship teams:

  • a syllabus for a class taught through dialogic method/approach, or that contains a significant dialogic element (these can be newly created courses or alterations to existing ones);
  • "how-to" guide, set of resources, network or infrastructure creation, etc. that will help others introduce dialogic practice into the classroom;
  • "assessment of learning outcomes of the dialogic classroom, or replicable tool/model for doing such assessment or evaluation.

Resources Provided?

  • Up to $5,000 per team:
    • Funds can be used for a variety of purposes: travel, honoraria, catering, materials, consulting fees, and the like. A budget will be requested from all fellows and will be subject to ICD Steering Committee approval.
    • It is hoped that participants will seek to leverage that initial support to secure additional funds, if needed.
    • Fellows can also self-fund, or make arrangements with a sponsoring unit in the University.
  • Materials support:
    • Fellows will have access to office materials and basic equipment (copier, printer, hi-tech seminar room) at the Dodd Center. Access is provided by requests made to Dodd Center staff.
  • Publicity assistance and promotion. (Please note, a minimum of 2 weeks is needed for any publicity request.)

How to Apply

Applications are due September 6 and should be submitted in either PDF or Word format to dialogues@uconn.edu with "ICD Fellowship Application" in the subject line of the email.

The application consists of 2 parts:

  1. A proposal narrative (1,000 words maximum). The narrative should include the following information:
    1. The goals of the project;
    2. How these goals address those of ICD;
    3. How the goals will be pursued;
    4. The expected outputs or deliverables;
    5. Applicant(s)' experience in engaged research initiatives;
    6. Itemized budget;
    7. Project timeline.
  2. A CV or resume (for each participating member if team application).

Decisions will be announced Sept. 13.

Download this Call for Proposals here.