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Diversity initiatives in higher education: Intergroup Dialogue as Pedagogy Across the Curriculum.

Preface

The Intergroup Dialogue as Pedagogy Across the Curriculum (INTERACT) Pilot Project was a two-year (2002-2004) exploratory grant funded by the Ford Foundation. A school/college/university partnership initiative, the project, was structured as a facilitated learning opportunity primarily for the University of Maryland, Prince George's Community College, and Prince George's County Public Schools faculty to examine the efficacy of adapting intergroup dialogue-based pedagogy to classroom teaching across disciplines/subject areas, academic levels, and educational contexts.

Toward that end, ten pilot project participants, representing a broad range of interpersonal, academic, and professional diversity, were identified through a competitive selection process. These participants, named INTEACT Scholars, formed the project's Scholars Cohort. This Cohort met twenty-four times, grouped into three distinct semester initiatives, over the life of the project.

The first semester (Spring 2003) focused Scholars on developing an understanding of intergroup dialogue theories and practice models. The second semester (Fall 2003) Scholars were facilitated through the development of a teaching and learning portfolio, an intergroup dialogue facilitation and participation portfolio, and the integration of these two portfolios into a hybrid portfolio that teased out the intersections of content-based teaching and learning and intergroup dialogue facilitation and participation that was unique to each Scholar's class responsibilities and educational settings. The third semester (Spring 2004) the Scholars implemented their hybrid portfolios--"walking the talk" of intergroup dialogue as pedagogy across the curriculum--and assessed the impact of this instructional strategy on their students' learning engagement and outcomes.

In sum, the project explored, examined, and investigated the connections between increases in student motivation, interest in learning, and academic achievement, and the use of non-traditional educational processes, especially student-centered dialogic pedagogy.

Introduction

The idea for the INTERACT pilot project emerged, quite organically, from the cross-pollination of two major initiatives of the Office of Human Relations Programs (OHRP), the equity compliance and multicultural education arm of the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, College Park. These initiatives are OHRP's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program--the core component of its Student Intercultural Learning Center (SILC)--and OHRP's Multicultural Curriculum Change Program--a major offering of its Diversity Training and Consultation Services (DTCS).

The Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program typically brings together various bi-communal groups of primarily undergraduate students where there is a history of tension or conflict between the groups related to their respective community's social identities (e.g., women and men, Black American and White American, Muslim and Jewish, etc.). Guided by formally trained and otherwise experienced facilitators, students confront these tensions in order to build meaningful and sustained bridges across groups through engagement in intergroup dialogue.

More specifically, intergroup dialogue is a collaboratively structured form of group conversation characterized by participants' willingness to "listen for understanding." It is different from discussion, where participants generally engage in serial monologuing--each offering their perspective on a given topic, as well as from debate, where participants typically learn to "listen to gain advantage"--each seeking to trump the perspectives offered by others on a given topic.

OHRP established the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program in response to University of Maryland student focus group research results indicating that students across race were dissatisfied with: (1) the campus-wide diversity initiative; and (2) the university's diversity course requirement--both of which were seen by students as failing to engender much sought-after multicultural interaction competence and relationship building.

Since its inception in the Spring of 2000, over 1200 undergraduate students have participated in the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program (for which they began being able to earn academic credit in the Fall of 2001). Over 100 graduate students, non-exempt and exempt staff members, and faculty have been trained as program facilitators, and over 100 dialogues on over 50 different topics have been offered through the program. Through all of the program's assessment and evaluation endeavors, student graduates routinely report that their intergroup dialogue experience was the single most important, meaningful, and useful educational experience they have ever had.

Through the Multicultural Curriculum Change Program, interested instructional faculty and graduate teaching assistants work one-on-one, in pairs, or as small group with OHRP staff in integrating multicultural educational approaches into their courses. These approaches include improving relationships with students, and between and among students, to enhance classroom climate, broadening their course content to include relevant non-Western European contributions to it, altering course pedagogical methods to reduce reliance on lecture to communicate content, and varying methods of assessment in order to more comprehensively evaluate student learning and teaching effectiveness, as well as the role instructional design materials play in both.

Since its inception in the Fall of 1998, the Multicultural Curriculum Change Program has: (1) worked with over 300 faculty and graduate teaching assistants to "multiculturalize" their courses; (2) provided $100,000 in discipline-specific multicultural instructional improvement grant opportunities to 20 faculty members; and (3) developed several diversity-focused teaching enhancement initiatives for the entire campus community in collaboration with the university's Curriculum Transformation Project (housed in the Department of Women's Studies) and its Center for Teaching Excellence (located in the Division of Undergraduate Studies).

Over time, the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training and Multicultural Curriculum Change Program efforts to alter pedagogical methods began to dovetail, prompting inquiry as to the applicability of intergroup dialogue facilitation pedagogy as a nondidactic pedagogical option in the academic classroom context. It was this line of inquiry that led to the development of the INTERACT pilot project.

The INTERACT Scholars Cohort

Faculty Scholars in the program included: Dr. Lory "Tomni" Dance, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Maryland; Dr. Marvin Scott, Instructor, Kinesiology, University of Maryland; Ms. Meredith Massey, Assistant Professor, English as a Second Language, Prince George's Community College; Ms. Leslie Redwine, Associate Professor, Mathematics, Prince George's Community College; Ms. Linda Squier, Teacher, Latin, Eleanor Roosevelt High School; and Mr. Anthony Whittington, School Improvement Resources Specialist, Longfield Elementary School.

Student Scholars included: Mr. Daniello Balon, Fourth Year Graduate Student Counseling Personnel Services, University of Maryland; Mr. Amer Ramamni, Second Year Undergraduate Student, Mathematics, Prince George's Community College; and Ms. Dinora Hernandez, Third Year (Junior) Student, Pre-Medicine, Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

The Project Ethnographer was Dr. John Finch, Visiting Instructor, Anthropology, University of Maryland.

Semester One INTERACT Scholars Cohort Seminar in Spring 2003

During this first semester, the complete INTERACT Scholars Cohort met eight times at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Co-facilitated by OHRP's Dr. Christine Clark and Ms. Sivagami Subbaraman, the Cohort read the book, Deliberative Democracy in School, College, Community, and Workplace, edited by David Schoem and Sylvia Hurtado, as a part of their conversations on theories of intergroup dialogue.

They were also engaged in the practice of intergroup dialogue through participation in: (1) OHRP's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program twenty-hour facilitator training; (2) an actual six week, fifteen hour1 Words of Engagement intergroup dialogue (as participants, not facilitators); (3) a series of interactive dialogue practicum workshops; and (4) dinner dialogues with nationally recognized intergroup dialogue experts. These experts included: Mr. John Landesman from the Montgomery County Public Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland; Dr. Ximena Zuniga, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and, Dr. Biren "Ratnesh" Nagda, from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Spring 2003 Impact

The INTERACT project had two very powerful, and largely related, impacts its first semester. These impacts emerged as a result of the confluence of two other major initiatives of OHRP.

In the Spring of 2000, OHRP initiated UM's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program as described earlier. At the time of its inception, OHRP full-time exempt staff and graduate assistants facilitated all of the program's dialogue offerings. As the program grew from offering five non-credit dialogues a semester for approximately twenty students, to offering fifteen for-credit dialogues a semester for more than two hundred by the Spring of 2003, questions about dialogue structure as well as facilitator preparation became more and more central. These questions had particular salience because OHRP fulltime staff and graduate assistants were now facilitating less than one-quarter of the program's dialogues, having trained a cadre of approximately twenty exempt staff members and graduate students from across campus to facilitate the balance of these dialogues.

During roughly the same time period (Spring 2000 to Spring 2003), OHRP became increasingly involved in the University of Michigan coordinated Multiversity project. This project, in which OHRP's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program is now a fully participating partner, seeks to, among a host of other things, develop a clear and comprehensive framework for how intergroup dialogues should be structured to maximize learning outcomes. Specifically, it seeks to establish best practice models with respect to the number and demographic balance of participants, and the content, organization, and duration of the dialogues themselves. Noticeably absent from the Multiversity project is specific attention to the role that facilitator preparation plays in maximizing participant learning outcomes.

The convergence of the growth and development of OHRP's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program, OHRP's involvement in the Multiversity project, and the INTERACT project's Faculty and Student Scholars participation in, and reactions to, both the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training as well as the intergroup dialogues themselves led the project co-facilitators to identify the dearth of attention being given to intergroup dialogue facilitator education in the intergroup dialogue research bases.

As the project co-facilitators became acutely aware of the huge variance in how intergroup dialogue programs across the country select and qualify their facilitators, they recognized just how important the data were that they were collecting in this regard through the INTERACT project.

Even at just this halfway point in the project, this data completely changed OHRP's Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator development efforts. Through OHRP's involvement in the Multiversity project it also encouraged more intentional consideration of the role that facilitator skill--both independent of, and in direct relationship to, dialogue structure --plays in maximizing participant learning outcomes in that project. And, it also changed the way the INTERACT project co-facilitators facilitated the subsequent Cohort Seminar sessions. These changes will be discussed in greater detail later in connection to the project's findings.

Semester Two INTERACT Scholars Cohort Seminar Fall 2003

During this second semester, the complete INTERACT Scholars Cohort met nine times, again at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Co-facilitated by OHRP's Dr. Christine Clark and Ms. Sivagami Subbaraman, and guest facilitator Dr. James Greenberg, the Founding Director of UM's Center for Teaching Excellence and Director of K-12 Projects for the Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education (MIMAUE), housed in UM's College of Education, the Cohort read the books The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions by Peter Seldin, and Improving a College/University Teaching Evaluation System: A Comprehensive Developmental Curriculum for Faculty and Administrators by Brenda Manning and Laurie Richlin.

The Scholars' focus this semester was on integrating classroom teaching and dialogue facilitation pedagogies, with particular attention being paid to where these pedagogies converged and diverged, as well as how pressures to cover versus uncover content came to bear both positively and negatively on the integration process. Building on the teaching portfolio movement in teacher/faculty preparation and continuing education, the Scholars first developed classroom teaching portfolios, then dialogue facilitation portfolios, and finally hybrid teaching/facilitation portfolios. The Cohort also continued their post-Seminar dinner dialogues this semester with their guest facilitator.

Fall 2003 Impact

In the Fall of 2003, INTERACT project co-facilitators, in cooperation with OHRP staff responsible for the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program and the Multicultural Curriculum Change Program, organized a day long "Retreat" to discuss the progress of the INTERACT project and the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program. The Retreat was held on the the University of Maryland campus. INTERACT Scholars and Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitators were invited to attend, as were any interested academic administrators, faculty, staff, and students from the University of Maryland, Prince George's Community College, and the Prince George's County Public Schools.

A broad cross-section of the invitees, primarily from the University of Maryland, attended, including a large number of senior academic administrators from the University of Maryland's Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. The Retreat included an overview of the INTERACT project's and the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program's purposes and objectives, a review of assessment and evaluation data compiled on both up until that time, a simulated facilitated intergroup dialogue experience, and an open question/answer, comment, discussion, and feedback session.

Dr. Biren "Ratnesh" Nagda, a leading expert on the assessment and evaluation of dialogue initiatives from the University of Washington, Seattle, was a featured speaker at the Retreat. Dr. Nagda assisted OHRP staff in placing its INTERACT project and Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program data into a national context, comparing its results with the results of other dialogic endeavors across the country.

The Retreat "bought" the INTERACT project and the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program a lot of respect, visibility, and support across the University of Maryland campus with all of its constituent groups. As a result, interest in participating in both initiatives in a variety of ways surged, as indicated by the following three develoments:

(1) The University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center requested a mini INTERACT project workshop experience for their Master Gardeners Program faculty. These faculty conduct a range of botany courses for the general public at sites all over the state of Maryland. Concerns regarding the lack of "accessibility" of their curricula to their student populations prompted the request. An INTERACT project co-facilitator partnered with the new Director of the University of Maryland's Center for Teaching Excellence and Professor of Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics, Dr. Spencer Benson, to facilitate this experience for a group of forty faculty.

(2) The facilitator training component of the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program, revised based on data collected from the Spring 2003 INTERACT project Cohort Seminar, was vetted as fulfilling the "major project" requirement of the University of Maryland's Center for Teaching Excellence's University Teaching and Learning Program (UTLP) and related requirements of the Council of Graduate Schools' and Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program.

(3) Graduate courses linked to the UTLP and PFF program designed to better prepare graduate teaching assistants for teaching in the academy in Human Development, Counseling and Personnel Services, Education Policy and Leadership, Sociology, American Studies, English, Theater, Family Studies, Kinesiology, Electrical Engineering, and Journalism (representing five colleges--Education, Arts and Humanities, Health and Human Performance, Engineering, and Public Policy), invited the INTERACT project co-facilitators to their courses toward four highly reciprocal ends:

(a) To talk about the project and the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training--especially the vetting of this training as a major project in the UTLP and PFF program--in an effort to encourage graduate students to participate in the training in order to become Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitators.

(b) This, in essence, developed these graduate courses as feeders for the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training, thus creating a pipeline of graduate student intergroup dialogue facilitators who doubled as a cadre of graduate teaching assistants.

(c) In this latter capacity, this cadre created a secondary pipeline of undergraduate student intergroup dialogue participants by making participation in a dialogue either a required or extra credit component of the undergraduate courses they were teaching.

(d) The cadre also engaged the INTERACT project co-facilitators in the development of mini INTERACT project tutorials through which the critical mass of undergraduate courses across the curriculum that they were teaching could engage dialogue-based pedagogy.

Semester Three INTERACT Scholars Cohort Seminar Spring 2004

During this semester, the INTERACT Scholars Cohort, minus the Student Scholars, 2 met seven times at the Office of Human Relations Programs (OHRP) on the UM campus. Co-facilitated by OHRP's Dr. Christine Clark and Ms. Sivagami Subbaraman, and returning guest facilitator Dr. James Greenberg, the Faculty Scholars implemented the plans of action for integrating intergroup dialogue as pedagogy across the curriculum that they developed through their hybrid teaching/facilitation portfolios the previous semester.

During this implementation phase, the Cohort Seminar meetings continued, as did the post-meeting dinner dialogues with the guest facilitator. The focus of the Cohort gatherings this semester was on the exploration of the successes and challenges each Faculty Scholar was having with their classroom pilot, problem-solving their barriers to implementation, and assessing and evaluating the overall efficacy of these efforts. The co-facilitators also held individualized Faculty Scholar support sessions to augment what was offered in the Cohort Seminar in this regard. These support sessions were also conducted electronically for the one Faculty Scholar who was doing her implementation in a course that she was teaching at Lund University in Sweden as a part of a Fulbright scholarship.

Spring 2004 Impact

In the Spring of 2004, the INTERACT project's impact came to bear on all of the institutional partners the Faculty Scholars' represented: the University of Maryland, Prince George's Community College, and the Prince George's County Public Schools--specifically, Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Longfield Elementary School.

At the University of Maryland, this impact emerged in relationship to three interconnected components of OHRP's umbrella Teach to Transform: Faculty Research and Development Initiative--it's Faculty Relations Committee, Faculty Research Forum, and Faculty Support Award.

Established in 1995, currently co-chaired by three senior faculty in Family Studies, Kinesiology, and Journalism, and co-coordinated by two OHRP staff, with twenty tenure-track and tenured faculty member participants, the Faculty Relations Committee is the vehicle through which two of OHRP's faculty-directed efforts--its Faculty Research Forum and Faculty Support Award--are developed and implemented on campus.

The Faculty Research Forum, attended annually by three hundred undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty across campus, highlights the scholarly work of up to three faculty members in relationship to a timely multicultural theme. The Faculty Support Award offers one to three faculty members a one-semester, one-course "buy-out" so that they may pursue a discipline-specific diversity-related teaching, research, or service project.

As a result of the previous semester's assessment and evaluation Retreat (discussed previously), the Faculty Relations Committee decided to feature the INTERACT project through both the Faculty Research Forum and the Faculty Support Award. Toward these ends, the Spring 2004 Faculty Research Forum theme was "Teaching to Transform: Intergroup Dialogue as a Cutting-Edge Teaching Strategy in All Disciplines." The agenda for the Forum included: (1) an overview of the INTERACT project presented by the project co-facilitators; (2) a simulated intergroup dialogue experience in which Forum attendees were divided into groups of ten and facilitated by trained Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitators in mini-dialogues about their best and worst teaching/learning experiences; and (3) a panel discussion and question and answer session with a UM INTERACT project Faculty Scholar and its Fall 2003 and Spring 2004 guest facilitator. Advertising for the Forum targeted graduate students in teaching assistantships and faculty responsible for teaching the array of courses that prepare graduate students for teaching in the academy (previously identified and discussed).

Likewise, the Faculty Support Award call for proposals added a preference for projects that focused, in some way, on student-centered, especially intergroup dialogue-focused, pedagogies. Quite coincidentally, the faculty member selected for the 2004-2005 Award was the other University of Maryland INTERACT project Faculty Scholar. For this Award, she developed a very innovative research-based, graduate student-centered teaching project that will be implemented on campus in the Spring 2005 semester.

At Prince George's Community College, INTERACT's impact culminated in a plan for a faculty workshop on using dialogic approaches to teach an array of course content. This workshop was a pivotal part of the campus' annual faculty professional development day held on January 18, 2005.

The agenda for this workshop mirrored that of the University of Maryland's 2004 Faculty Research Forum (just described), with three exceptions. First, following the INTERACT project overview and preceding the dialogue simulation, attendees collectively engaged in the Anti-Defamation League's Horatio Algers Activity, an activity which is designed to stratify participants on the basis of class and race differences deriving from structural inequalities in education, as opposed to those typically ascribed to "hard work." Second, the simulated intergroup dialogue experience was facilitated by the INTERACT project Faculty Scholars (from all three institutional contexts) and focused on the participants experiences of the Horatio Algers Activity. Third, the panel discussion and question and answer session featured both of the Prince George's Community College INTERACT project Faculty Scholars (in lieu of the University of Maryland Scholar and the guest facilitator).

At Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Longfield Elementary School, INTERACT's impact has manifest in plans for the development of co-curricular intergroup dialogue programs in both schools, by strategically employing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards related to critical thinking, and Character Education guidelines pertaining to ethical development. Both schools' programs, piloted through this INTERACT project, are on hold while NCLB- and Character Education-related funding sources are explored. It is hoped that with even a small amount of monies from these two sources, small financial incentives could be offered to faculty who express interest in becoming trained program facilitators. While such funding might appear superfluous to the larger goal of program establishment, it is important to note that federal, state, and local standards exert an extreme degree of control over public school teachers' "academic freedom." As a result, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Longfield Elementary School Faculty Scholars came up with the idea of using this control to their advantage. If these standards stress the need for critical thinking and character development in their curricular mandates, but, at the same time, make integrating these two elements into the curriculum in meaningful ways difficult, then why not develop co-curricular initiatives that focus exclusively on teaching critical thought and ethics and use the standards to seek additional funding for them?

Findings

A number of important findings emerged from the INTERACT pilot project. These findings will be delineated in two sections. The first section will describe, in narrative fashion, the findings of the project co-facilitators that derive from the previous discussion of the project's impact in the Spring 2003, Fall 2003, and Spring 2004 semesters. The second section will describe the findings of the project Cohort as a whole that derive from the triangulation of all of the project assessment and evaluation efforts (not delineated in this article). In this second section, a finding will be summarized and then followed by representative supportive comments excerpted from the Faculty Scholars' final portfolios. The significant findings in both sections are italicized.

Findings of the Project Co-Facilitators

Findings Based on Spring 2003 Impact

Picking up on the previous discussion on the Spring 2003 impact of the INTERACT project, the two major finding areas that emerge are those generally relating to dialogue structure and facilitator preparation, and, more specifically, those pertaining to the implications of dialogue structure and facilitator training for maximizing participant learning outcomes.

All of the findings in both areas derive from the experience the INTERACT project co-facilitators had in facilitating the Cohort Seminar during the Spring 2003 semester. That experience was a most salient learning experience because of the conflicts that emerged within the Cohort Seminar in relationship to the sociopolitical point of entry the co-facilitators took in engaging the Scholars in exploring the theory and practice of intergroup dialogue. Because this point of entry was also employed by the facilitators of the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training and dialogues, in which the Scholars also participated this semester, these conflicts were intensified several times over (in each Cohort Seminar session, at both days of the facilitator training, and during each intergroup dialogue meeting).

It would be relatively easy to simply reduce these conflicts to resistance, on the part of the more ideologically conservative members of the Cohort, to facing the realities of human privilege and oppression that still operate in relationship to historically erected, and contemporarily maintained, institutional barriers constructed around beliefs about human superiority and inferiority.

While it is true that this exact form of resistance did play a part in the conflicts that emerged in relationship to the sociopolitical orientation to intergroup dialogue-based teaching with the Scholars, it was not the only form of resistance, nor, in the end, even an important component of the resistance.

What emerged as the unifying theme in all forms of the resistance was a sense that the way in which sociopolitics were being used to mediate learning about intergroup dialogue as pedagogy across the curriculum was exclusionary. How ironic that an ideology developed to engender greater inclusion was being invoked in a manner perceived by all of the Scholars, at one point or another, to do just the opposite.

In examining this dynamic, it became clear that the sociopolitical ideology (as well as its pedagogical counterpart--a "social justice" model of facilitation) was silencing participants whose perspectives it challenged; and then that same ideology was being used to justify their silencing.

For example, in one meeting of the Cohort Seminar, several Scholars told stories about their experiences of discrimination as People of Color to illustrate how they walked in the world as both individuals and as members of racial minority groups. Another Scholar accepted their stories as having meaning for them as individuals, but expressed a failure to see their relevance in describing a group experience.

In response to this Scholar's "failure to see," questions about the role of his white racial identity were raised by the co-facilitators. Specifically, it was posited that he could not understand the shared racial experience of People of Color, because such experiences among Whites go unacknowledged as a function of the transparency of white privilege; that is, one only notices what meets with societally institutionalized friction, and whiteness rarely, if ever, does.

This line of questioning led this Scholar to shut down and withdraw from the dialogue. When this happened, it was not identified as a bad thing. On the contrary, because his fairly "typical" white male worldview dominated discourse outside the dialogue context, it was said to be okay to limit, even to suppress, this worldview inside this context--sort of a dialogic form of affirmative action.

In retrospect, it is clear that this sort of immature dialogic practice sold the sociopolitical ideology (and social justice model) of intergroup dialogue quite short. This is because, as the Cohort Seminar co-facilitators discovered, the very same ideology can be (and eventually was) utilized to draw out the voices of participants whose perspectives challenge it and, in so doing, to draw them, and all of the other participants, into deeper and more meaningful dialogic communication such that the ideology itself becomes less and less visible--transforming from a marginalized territory whose borders require defending, into more of a tapestrial context in which complex collaborative understandings are woven.

In a subsequent session of the Cohort Seminar, the individual versus group experience impasse re-emerged. When it did, the white co-facilitator asked the white male Scholar what it was about the group experience that was difficult "to see." After much reflection, what emerged from him was a realization that it was not that the group experience was so hard to see, but, rather, painful to accept. In so many words, he expressed sadness that negative experiences based on group identity would so powerfully define an individual's identity such that the group identity would take precedence in how that individual walked in the world.

While this revelation was extremely powerful, more powerful still was how the Cohort Seminar dynamics of conflict and resistance began to change as the sociopolitically located intergroup dialogue-based pedagogy was used to include. Group cohesion increased, conflict became more thoughtful and, therefore, productive, and resistance evolved into creative and, thus, constructive tension--in essence, the resulting conflict and tension now manifest dialectically to facilitate the Cohort's learning.

With respect to dialogue structure and facilitator preparation as a whole, the experience of co-facilitating the Spring 2003 Cohort Seminar clearly suggested that the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training component needed to be refined. Consequently, that training immediately began giving copious attention to developing facilitator commitment to, and skill for, using a social justice model of intergroup dialogue to meaningfully include the voices of all participants in it.

As a further result of the experience of co-facilitating the Spring 2003 Cohort Seminar, it became clear that after every semester of dialogic inquiry (in the Cohort Seminar as well as in the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program dialogues themselves), additional important new learning would emerge that should be continuously integrated into the training of facilitators.

To assist OHRP with this on-going evolutionary integration process, Dr. Dennis Kivlighan, Chair of the Department of College Personnel Services and Professor of Education, and Dr. Charles Sternheim, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Professor of Psychology, agreed to help with the redevelopment and reimplementation of the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitator training component over a two year period of time to aid in the identification of best practices for facilitator training so that OHRP could: (1) institutionalize these practices into a more comprehensive facilitator development initiative; as well as (2) share these practices with its Multiversity project partners.

Likewise, with respect to the specifics of dialogue structure and facilitator preparation that speak directly to the maximization of participant learning outcomes, the experience of co-facilitating the Spring 2003 Cohort Seminar clearly suggested that the selection and qualification of Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program facilitators also needed to be refined.

With regard to facilitator selection, in addition to facilitators having social identities that are congruent with the dialogue they are facilitating and having substantial content area knowledge about their own and the other social identities relevant to the dialogue they are facilitating, the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program is now also interested in facilitators having the following pre-requisite characteristics:

(1) Being at a stage of personal identity development in relationship to the social identity salient to the dialogue they are facilitating that affords them the ability to skillfully challenge and affirm participants who are members of both their own and the other identity groups in appropriate measure;

(2) Being tuned into issues related to the dialogue they are facilitating that are highly charged "triggers" or "flashpoints" for them so they can effectively manage their reactions to those issues in ways that enhance the participants dialogic learning experience;

(3) Possessing an appreciation of student development theories and how students' development in relationship to those theories may manifest in their dialogue participation and/or learning experiences; and,

(4) Possessing facilitation and teaching experience, or, at a minimum, an appreciation for both the similarities across and the differences between dialogue facilitation and classroom teaching (this finding will be discussed in greater detail in the next section of this article).

With regard to facilitator qualification (or training), in addition to developing facilitators to have an affinity for a sociopolitical point of entry into facilitating and, further, the ability to employ that affinity to meaningfully include the voices of all participants in a given dialogue, the Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program is now also interested in developing facilitators to:

(1) Understand (and effectively engender in dialogue participants parallel understanding of) the differences between: a) dialogue as listening for understanding, discussion as serial monologuing, and debate as listening to gain advantage; b) the intent of a comment and the impact of a comment; and, c) explaining a perspective and owning or taking responsibility for a perspective;

(2) Understand (and effectively engender in dialogue participants parallel understanding of) what it means and looks like to: (a) "suspend judgment" in an intergroup dialogue; (b) "hold" an important theme that emerges within an intergroup dialogue over an appropriate period of time; and (c) create an intergroup dialogue as "third space"--a place where participants bring "first space" or personal knowledge, ideas, and opinions and talk about them using "second space" or group knowledge, norms, and etiquette; and,

(3) Seek out opportunities to explore and practice intergroup dialogue facilitation with peers to sharpen, broaden, and otherwise improve their intergroup dialogue facilitation repertoires.

Findings Based on Fall 2003 & Spring 2004 Impacts

All of the advances described previously as part of the Fall 2003 and Spring 2004 impacts of the INTERACT project owe a debt to the extraordinarily hard work the Scholars Cohort did in first developing hybrid teaching/learning-dialogue/facilitation portfolios and second in implementing intergroup dialogue as pedagogy across the curriculum. It was because of complex understandings acquired through these development and implementation processes (delineated below) that all of those advances came to pass.

In the Fall of 2003, the Cohort really began grappling--at the theoretical level--with how to mesh teaching and facilitation, and, correspondingly, classroom learning and dialogue participation. An important part of this grappling endeavor included exploration of the similarities among, and differences between, teaching and facilitation.

This exploration led to a recognition that with "traditional" or more didactic teaching, questions emerge about student participation. Simply put, the weakness of teaching when compared to facilitation is related to the virtual absence of attention given to "process" in the classroom. How are students' experiences integrated? How is a student's autobiography engaged? How are student voices heard? How is the reciprocity of teaching and learning and in the relationships between teachers and students acknowledged? Ironically, this finding emerged in relationship to an impasse in the Cohort Seminar process itself.

It was the original intent of the INTERACT project for the Student Scholars to participate in the Cohort Seminar during the Spring 2003 semester only. And although the cohort was open to their sustained participation over the life of the project, all three Student Scholars ultimately withdrew from participation at various points late in the Fall 2003 semester.

While all three of the Student Scholars were from racial minority groups, power dynamics pertaining to their status and capacities as "students" had more salience with respect to their abilities to find and use their dialogic voices with "faculty" than those relating to race, ethnicity, first language, and/or national origin.

Ironically, the student/faculty power dynamic was as challenging in the Cohort Seminar as it is in the PK-12 school, community college, and university classroom, underscoring the main challenge of using intergroup dialogue as pedagogy across the curriculum--that associated with giving up the notion of teaching as mastery to become a facilitator of learning.

There was a real resistance on the part of the Faculty Scholars to the idea that significant classroom time would be devoted to process, and, consequently, there was a palpable reluctance on the part of the Student Scholars to assert their perspectives--their autobiographies, their experiences, their voices--in essence, to weigh in on this question in the Cohort Seminar because of the Faculty Scholars' resistance.

Cultivating Faculty Scholar patience for process then became a pivotal piece in the development of the hybrid portfolios. While not insurmountable with any of the Faculty Scholars, it took longest for the Public School Faculty Scholars to develop this patience, a moderate amount of time for the Community College Faculty Scholars to acquire it, and, relatively little time for the University Faculty Scholars to embrace it.

Clearly, this corresponds to the more parental role that public school faculty typically play in relationship to their students, the more remediative or, better, developmental role that community college faculty take with their student population, and the more professional mentorship role university faculty establish with their students who, from the outset, are expected to become their future colleagues.

Fast forward to the Spring 2004 Cohort Seminar. As the Faculty Scholars began to engage the practice of dialogic teaching, their exploration of the similarities among, and differences between, learning and participation raised concerns about student acquisition of content area knowledge. In short, the challenge of dialogic facilitation when assessed in relationship to classroom teaching has to do with the quality and quantity of what exactly is being learned, especially if there is an implicit expectation that most, if not all, learning must derive from student participation. This challenge unfolded as a dynamic tension between "covering content" and "uncovering content."

Faculty Scholars wrestled with pressures to "get through the material." These pressures were most intense among the Public School Faculty Scholars whose daily lives are, increasingly, driven by the standards movement--curricula standards in every subject area that dictate what content must be, in fact, covered, and corresponding standardized tests to measure their competence in enabling students to achieve content learning goals as determined, exclusively, by those tests' scores.

Community College Faculty Scholars also felt the pressure to "get through the material," but less because of standards and more because of the relative developmental disadvantages that the majority of their students experienced. If their students did not get certain basic understandings in key subject areas (namely, mathematics, English as a second language, and English composition), their ability to pursue advanced coursework was severely curtailed, if not completely dead-ended.

While the University Faculty Scholars felt the pressure to "get through the material" the least of all the Faculty Scholars in the Cohort, the emphasis on creating academically "rigorous" learning experiences for their students in the research institution environment prohibited their exemption from feeling this pressure altogether. Thus, to varying degrees, all of the Faculty Scholars connected their prowess for "covering content" with their reputation as "good teachers."

Growing Faculty Scholar propensity to supplant the covering of content with the uncovering of content, even to a very small extent, relied on cultivating their individual willingness to sort of "let go of" content--to suspend attention to it momentarily--without their really having a clear understanding of what could and would happen if they did.

In the public school arena, this happened fleetingly when the Cohort's Latin teacher took one opportunity to engage gender issues in her teaching the story of Odysseus by establishing mini girl-boy intergroup dialogue clusters, and then directing each cluster to respond to a series of problem-posing questions devised to structure their exploration of these issues in relationship to the story. Her students, while caught completely off guard by this hugely uncharacteristic break from her teaching routine, expressed being quite intrigued by the dialogic learning encounter.

In the community college classroom, the most salient uncovering of content experience occurred when the Cohort's Mathematician flat out abandoned her content goals for several class periods in favor of working through her students' math anxiety and indifference. To her surprise, the content she thought she had sacrificed teaching in favor of the process she had decided to facilitate, ended up being autonomously picked up by her students outside of class.

That is, the content she was unable to "cover" in class because of time she instead devoted to "uncovering" the content or "hidden curriculum" that was inhibiting her students' ability to embrace the subject area, her students "covered" themselves as homework without her even prompting them to do so. Her investment in the process bought student engagement in the content, and that engagement was intrinsically motivated, not externally coerced.

At the university level, where favoring the uncovering of content over the covering of it, while not a rarity, is far from commonplace, the Cohort's Kinesiologist made some extraordinary strides. In his example, we see the most sustained commitment to the shift from covering to uncovering content as he engaged this challenge from the semester's outset to its conclusion. Completely rethinking his approach to content by employing a wholly constructivist point of entry to his course, he built student knowledge of kinesiology solely from the foundation their cultural autobiographies offered him.

Beginning with their short answers on a simple questionnaire about what they knew about the subject matter based on their life experiences, he skillfully facilitated them in the development of increasingly complex understandings of this content by continually relating it back to those experiences. A technique often referred to in language learning as "scaffolding," he helped students to erect unique, culturally responsive kinesiology frameworks and then to build multicultural bridges between them through collaborative dialogic exploration of each one.

Because the interconnections between teaching and facilitation, learning and participation, teaching and participation, and facilitation and learning that emerged from the Faculty Scholars' development of the hybrid portfolios and subsequent implementation of their intergroup dialogue-based courses are as complex as they are important, the following visual depiction of this interconnectivity was developed by the project co-facilitators as an explanatory aid:
Hybrid Portfolio Development
and Dialogue-Based
Course Implementation
Processes Flowchart

 Classroom Dialogue
 Teaching/ Facilitation/
 Learning Participation

Similarities among/ Similarities among/
 Differences Differences between...
 between...

 Teaching and Learning and
 Facilitation Participation

 With Teaching, With Facilitation,
 questions emerge questions emerge
about Participation about Learning

 PROCESS CONTENT

 Fall 2003 Cohort Spring 2004
 Seminar Faculty Scholars
 Theory Practice
 Development Implementation


Findings of the Project Cohort as a Whole

Faculty Scholars reported tremendous personal transformation as well as professional growth in their role as educators. In particular, they found that in employing an intergroup dialogic pedagogy, they listened better and, therefore, created better classroom climate and engaged students in a more sustained fashion, including by facilitating their active learning in making links between course content and their real world experiences.
Lory "Tomni" Dance

 "... to date, my approach to teaching
 lecture courses has been more like a
 classical music than a jazz performance.
 In a typical classroom setting,
 I lecture, require writing assignments,
 and give essay examinations. Over the
 course of the [three] semesters, [I have]
 moved away from this performance-oriented
 style to a more improvised,
 jazz-like pedagogical style."

 "As soon as I noticed that my students
 in Sweden were not following my lead,
 I stopped 'conducting' the class and
 encouraged my students to influence
 my 'melody' and even design a 'melody'
 of their own. Of course, these melodies
 were not songs, but sustained moments
 of conversational camaraderie and
 chemistry characterized by trust and
 empathy. As my students redesigned
 my 'melody,' I paid attention and
 learned to 'hum' and then 'sing' and
 then 'play' along."

 "In fact, one of the by-products of the
 Pilot Project is social capital: I am now
 well-acquainted with a network of educators
 who share my goals of enhancing
 diversity and social justice in academic
 settings."


In response to the impact that the INTERACT project had on her reaction to being asked to serve on a panel at the Skane Social Forum, at Lund University in Sweden, with an ex-Nazi party member she said:
 "I was confident that, in addition to my
 previous experiences as a professor
 who moderates discussions about race,
 my growing knowledge of intergroup
 dialogue techniques...boosted my confidence
 about being on a panel with a
 former Nazi party leader and in front
 of a diverse audience that included
 current Nazi party leaders."

Leslie Redwine

 "The most discernible difference I observed
 and felt is intangible, but real.
 The rapport between the students and
 me was so close and full of trust that we
 often were able to stay after the formal
 session and discuss topics unrelated
 to mathematics."

 "I have been changed by my experience
 in the project and now have an understanding
 of the effectiveness of many of
 the processes I used in my classes. ...I
 have become motivated to make my
 students' experience in all my classes
 more meaningful and hope for greater
 student success in learning. ...I am not
 overtly trying to force the process; rather
 it seems to emerge as part of me and my
 approach to the learning experience."

 "Since my exposure to, and understanding
 of, ID [intergroup dialogue], my
 philosophy of teaching has evolved from
 that of the teacher as facilitator in the
 learning process, to teaching as a much
 more complex process. I now consider
 my role as an educator to include, but
 not be limited to, that of a mentor,
 counselor, provocateur, role model, and
 a tutor."

Linda Squier

 "...this experience was one of the most
 rewarding experiences of my 30-year
 career in education. I hope that I am
 able to find a way to make ID [intergroup
 dialogue] an essential part of
 student life at [my] school. ...I am a
 staunch proponent of Character Education
 and believe in the need to integrate
 character education into the curriculum.
 The four-core values we try to
 foster are respect, responsibility, integrity,
 and kindness. Surely these core
 values are at the heart of Intergroup
 Dialogue."

Meredith Massey

 "I believe that the INTERACT project
 was wildly successful, though not in the
 ways that I might have anticipated. I
 can say that I, personally, have benefited
 greatly from my participation. I
 look at the world differently, I ask different
 questions, I have a greater awareness
 of social dynamics, and I know
 more about skills of interpersonal interaction
 that I did when the project
 began. Professionally, I think about my
 students differently. I consider different
 issues when preparing my classes,
 and I am better able to handle interpersonal
 issues. ...In other words, the benefits,
 up to this point, while profound
 are largely intangible. How do you quantify
 personal growth? How do you measure
 that we are better people?"


Related Comments from Student Scholars and Student Focus Group Participa nts
Dinora Hernandez

 "Sometimes it takes me a while to get
 my ideas together in my head before I
 can express them in class. Because
 dialogue stresses listening I feel safer
 expressing myself, which for some reason
 makes organizing my thoughts
 easier, and offering my views comes
 more naturally."

Amer Ramamni

 "I have a lot of responsibilities outside
 of college, like working in my family's
 business. College is helpful to me more
 when I can see how to use it to help our
 business."

Student Focus Group Participant

 "My professor seems to spend more
 time on helping us to explore each other's
 perspectives instead of just having us
 express them. So I learn faster, and I
 learn more because I get to understand
 through many eyes that are not mine."


Faculty Scholars not only emphasized personal growth and transformation as individuals and educators, but also reported significant shifts in their pedagogical styles that allowed for greater impact on student learning and academic achievement. Because the Faculty Scholars work with a very diverse student demographic--especially in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, language skills, gender, ability, and age--perhaps their most important finding was that their use of intergroup dialogue led to greater student engagement in the curriculum, and, resultantly, higher attendance rates, improved motivation to learn, and better scholastic performance.
Leslie Redwine

 "The results of my shift in philosophy
 have been of some greater student success,
 but perhaps as importantly,
 greater student satisfaction with their
 educational experience. Additionally,
 the students have shown a deeper understanding
 of the applications of
 mathematics outside the classroom.
 This deeper understanding stems in
 part from the way in which the students
 learn the mathematics. A shift
 to discovery-based and project-based
 learning has also proved to be both
 student-centered and more satisfactory
 to the students. While these methods
 for teaching and learning do not
 specifically call for a dialogic foundation,
 my experience has been that,
 through discovery and dialogue, the
 students have a deeper understanding.
 Thus, requiring the students to
 participate in dialogue, directed and
 maintained by the students and facilitated
 by me, is another effective learning
 strategy used in my classroom."

 "The first result I observed was a level
 of engagement that has not previously
 occurred in such a course. Except for
 three students who eventually withdrew
 from the course, the majority of
 students in this class had perfect attendance.
 The students were more responsive
 to my prompts, had more contact
 with one another outside of the
 classroom (in fact formed some study
 groups), kept in closer contact with me,
 and stayed on task for group work in
 the classroom."

 "The written work that my students
 turned in was more insightful than
 similar assignments in other classes.
 My use of real data as a vehicle for
 learning was new to them and they
 overwhelmingly responded favorably.
 This is an unusual response because
 while this type of learning tool is more
 interesting for the students, it is also
 more demanding and requires much
 more work on their part. My past experience
 is that students in this level of
 mathematics are generally not enthusiastic
 about putting more time,
 thought, and work into mathematics.
 The success rate, measured as passing
 the course, was quite similar to the
 average success rate in this course
 during previous semesters. However,
 it is important to note that the students
 appeared to have a stronger understanding
 of the material and a far
 more positive attitude towards mathematics."

Marvin Scott

 "Students in this class gained valuable
 knowledge, insights, and experiences
 from their interactions in class.
 Students reported positive reactions
 within their personal reflections [including]
 that they were able to apply
 intergroup dialogue techniques they
 had learned in class to experiences
 outside of class."

 "[In fact], students reported that [the]
 writing [of the personal] reflections
 [themselves] helped prepare them for
 the exams that were part of the course.
 This is clearly illustrated when one
 compares the grades of students who
 took the course the previous semester
 with those who took the course when it
 had an ID [intergroup dialogue] focus:

 * Fall Semester 2003: N=32;
 Grades: A =9; B=13; C=8; D=0; F=2

 * Spring Semester 2004: N=34;
 Grades: A=15; B=13; C=4; D=1; F=1

 The differences in grades illustrate
 that students who took the class when
 ID was a focus of the class earned
 higher grades than students from the
 previous semester."

 "Students were also more accepting of
 information that was framed by theory
 or research when they were asked to
 engage in dialogic activities."

Meredith Massey

 "Many of my students are in a system
 they don't understand (the American
 system of higher education) and that
 they are not equipped to succeed in, yet
 they desperately want to be a part of
 this system, as they see it as the only
 way to achieve their goals. As with
 many American students, actual learning
 is often subordinate to just passing
 through the system...."

 "Student evaluations and assessments,
 both quantitative and qualitative,
 clearly attest to the shifts in their
 own ability to grasp the material; to
 engage with unfamiliar concepts and
 theories; to understand that education
 is about "learning to learn" rather than
 merely covering content; and, [to gain]
 value added educational tools that
 would allow them to better negotiate
 an increasingly diverse workforce."


In particular, students commented:
 "I learned that participating is a way
 of learning."

 "Participation of students has played
 a major role in this class that shows
 how the students understand a topic in
 this class."

 "It allowed me to think about issues I
 never thought of as very important. I
 am now able to weigh my opinions on
 issues."

 "We were able to agree and disagree on
 issues without rejecting each other's
 idea as irrelevant to the topic."

Anthony Whittington

 "...the students will benefit from this
 experience by increasing their comfort
 level in dealing with diversity, reducing
 stereotyping, increasing tolerance,
 and increasing motivation for bridging
 differences. These are life skills that
 will take each of the forty elementary
 participants far in life."


Lory "Tomni" Dance

Dr. Dance's course, "Migration 101: Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the US" was taught at Lund University, in Sweden in Spring, 2004. There were forty-four students from a range of different racial, ethnic, and nationality backgrounds in the course. Approximately one-third were Swedish, the remaining two-thirds included students from Germany, Bulgaria, Bosnia, China (Hong Kong), Japan, Chile, and the United States.

She set up an electronic dialogue between students at Lund and at the University of Maryland, College Park to encourage the exchange of ideas and concepts about "race." In Sweden, most students struggled with the concept of "race" as a social identity because they equated it solely with "racism." In learning to "listen" and to "hold" their discomfort with this concept, Dr. Dance learned: "...race is [not] just a social construct, but a construct that has been applied to certain ethnic groups in the United States by law (at the local, state, congressional, and Supreme Court levels)." Had she not been willing to "listen" more attentively to student concerns, and, in turn, have them listen more attentively to her, this dramatic piece of learning would not have come to pass. The fact that it did, she wholly attributes to her INTERACT project experience.

Related Comments from Parent Focus Group Participants

Parent Focus Group Participant
 "My child has never had a teacher from
 our community, but the ones that she
 does the best with are the ones who
 encourage her to be herself and be proud
 of who she is all the time."


It is a certainty that Intergroup Dialogue can be implemented effectively across a variety of academic disciplines and educational settings, although, clearly, there can be no single, "cookie-cutter" model that will work across them all. Faculty Scholars that were initially skeptical about the viability of integrating dialogic pedagogy into disciplines like mathematics, or elementary English grammar and writing, and the broad array of elementary school curriculum, ultimately found many ways to modify and adapt this method to well-suit their purposes. Clearly this pedagogical approach is a powerful tool that can alter many of the ways in which all manners of teaching and learning take place.

Leslie Redwine
 "I came to the table with strong reservations,
 yet left the table confident
 that with some changes in my thinking;
 in fact, ID [intergroup dialogue] as
 a more broadly defined and experienced
 process can and should be used
 to facilitate and enhance learning in
 my field of mathematics."

Meredith Massey

 "In some cases, it might be appropriate
 to use ID [intergroup dialogue] as
 a discrete component of a particular
 class, but generally, ID as a prepackaged
 unit would not fit neatly into most
 classes. This does not have to be a
 limitation, but rather a challenge.
 Rather than locking the door to the
 dialogue model, classroom teachers can
 utilize the basic principles of ID to
 bring democracy to the classroom and
 increase student engagement."


Lory "Tomni" Dance

As mentioned to previously, Dr. Dance piloted her intergroup dialogue-based course in Sweden. While this was a radically new pedagogical method for her, her Lund University students experienced it as "very American." Resultantly, many students dropped the course assuming she would be unwilling to lecture.

Based on this experience, she learned that in order for intergroup dialogue-based courses to work in many non-American contexts, it is crucial that facilitators of it provide "informal opportunities" for students in intergroup dialogue-based courses to meet and interact. It was only when her students had interpersonal interface outside the classroom that they felt increased comfort in talking about sensitive issues inside the classroom.

Parent Focus Group Participant
 "Every teacher is different, what they
 teach is different, but what makes
 them good teachers is always the same.
 It has something to do with how they
 bring themselves into what they teach,
 their personality. This is what makes
 my son want to bring himself to learn,
 share his personality in the classroom."


Faculty Scholars reported enormous shifts in their: (1) value and belief systems; (2) willingness to engage in critical thinking about issues that were difficult for them; and (3) ability to listen to, and connect with, points of view very different from their own. Further, they reported that these shifts enabled them to recognize how privilege and oppression operate in the classroom to inhibit student engagement in learning. In recognizing the politics inherent in teaching and learning, Faculty Scholars found that they were motivated to use their dialogic prowess--inside the classroom and beyond classroom walls--to become agents of social change within their school settings. Clearly, intergroup dialogue is a most powerful tool for achieving educational equity and justice.

Anthony Whittington
 "Through my involvement with this
 pilot project, I can honestly say that I
 am a better man. The intergroup dialogue
 process forced me to challenge
 my ideas, listening to other viewpoints
 while attempting to gain new insights."


He also discusses how his participation in the project influenced his views on sexual orientation, stating,
 "[my homophobia] stems from my upbringing
 in the Baptist Church where
 homosexuality is taught to be an
 abomination. Through the [INTERACT]
 process, I managed to increase
 my tolerance for homosexuality. ...I
 learned that, as much as you want, you
 just cannot live a lie. For most individuals,
 homosexuality is not a choice,
 but their internal make up."


Likewise, he describes how his INTERACT experience caused him to realize that he had never invited a white person into his home.
Leslie Redwine

 "The preparation now includes a considerable
 amount of time researching
 beyond the mathematics and into current
 and historical issues of race, culture,
 privilege and power, as well as
 issues of ecology. Using data about
 these issues serves as a vehicle to engage
 the students in a broader, more
 meaningful experience of mathematics
 as connected to their world, rather
 than a static set of rules that seemingly
 have no application to their lives."

Marvin Scott

 [My participation in the INTERACT
 project allowed me] "to explore my
 thinking on issues such as my personal
 teaching philosophy...student evaluation,
 and curriculum alignment issues
 and concerns. I was able to gain confidence
 and experience in utilizing various
 exercises that could be used in the
 classes that I teach and these experiences
 will allow me to be a resource for
 other educators at my institution who
 may be interested in implementing
 intergroup dialogue into their classroom
 practices."

Linda Squier

 "Since I also firmly believe that the
 best teachers teach not only in the
 classroom, but also outside of the classroom,
 I sponsor and am involved in
 many extracurricular activities. Because
 our school is so large, with such
 a diverse population, there are over 80
 different clubs and organizations.
 Many of these clubs could be seen as
 perfect components for an Intergroup
 Dialogue."


During the INTERACT pilot, Linda brought together her school's LeTsGaB (Lesbian, Transsexuals, Gays and Bisexuals) and Christian clubs for sustained intergroup dialogue.

Related Comments from Student Scholars and Student Focus Group Participants

Daniello Balon
 "Dialogic pedagogy is integrally connected
 to social justice. I never really
 understood this as a student or an
 employee, but when I had my first
 educational leadership position and I
 had authority to wield, then I began to
 understand how complex power is and
 how hard it is to share it."

Student Focus Group Participant

 "When I get to talk in class, I feel better
 about talking outside of class. And,
 when I talk I feel involved in what is
 going on around me, like I am a part of
 'what's happening,' not just a wallflower."


Conclusions

The tremendous importance of the Intergroup Dialogue as Pedagogy Across the Curriculum (INTERACT) pilot project cannot be overstated. It has had tremendous impact on all of the participants, in particular, on the Faculty Scholars' teaching, their students' learning and persistence in completing their programs of study, and their institution's openness to the development and implementation of an array of both curricular and co-curricular intergroup dialogue-based initiatives.

Through the continued development of the INTERACT project, it has an equally tremendous potential to impact classroom teaching and learning, intergroup dialogue facilitation and participation, corresponding student engagement in the curriculum, and subsequent student academic success across disciplines/subjects areas and educational levels/contexts on a grander scale. It is toward this end that the pilot effort is dedicated.

Notes

(1) Now eight week, twenty hour.

(2) The absence of the Student Scholars during this semester will be discussed in detail in the Findings section of this article.

Christine Clark is executive director of the Office of Human Relations Programs at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
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Title Annotation:Higher Education
Author:Clark, Christine
Publication:Multicultural Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2005
Words:9955
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