The Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center (DDNRC) advances innovative practices in higher education that promote respectful, transformative dialogue on controversial topics and complex social issues, thereby reflecting a commitment to pluralism and academic freedom and strengthening a democratically engaged society.
More than ever, the nation is in critical need of tools and capacities for engaging with differences in a productive, healthy, and civil manner. Academic institutions have a major responsibility for preparing students and future leaders in these areas. The Center seeks to foster constructive dialogue about some of society’s most contentious issues and social policies, including: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, immigration, social class, the environment, and war and conflicts. Our overarching goal is to form a consortium of higher education institutions and national associations committed to the advancement of difficult dialogues teaching and learning. Ultimately, we hope to become the intellectual and operational nucleus of a national movement for difficult dialogues teaching and learning.
1. Build on national models to advance awareness and promote the practice of difficult dialogues approaches to teaching and learning.
2. Support Dialogue Program Development for staff and faculty that advance cultural pluralism, academic freedom, and engagement across differences, including trainings, advancement of research designed to assess the impact of difficult dialogues teaching and learning.
3. Engage students in opportunities that encourage the development of skills to promote civic engagement through dialogue on controversial topics and complex social issues.
4. Disseminate materials and information to a broad audience within higher education, through publications, workshops, conference presentations, institutes, and other appropriate venues.
5. Build community to create a network of support, mentorship and growth.