CU Dialogues Program
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0353
The CU Dialogues Program provides experiential learning opportunities within CU classes on topics involving different, sometimes opposing, cultural perspectives. It accomplishes this by bringing diverse members of the CU-Boulder community together for facilitated, simultaneously translated and tailored dialogues. Types of dialogues include:
The CU Dialogues Program responds to the need for concrete, meaningful cross-cultural communication and interaction on campus. Dialogues are highly effective in bridging differences based on ethnic or cultural background, socio-economic status, age, gender, and level of education. Person-to-person exchange fosters respect for individuals and encourages mutual understanding.
Dialogues are especially well-suited for fostering thoughtful discussion of complex, sometimes contentious issues or topics within classroom settings. Facilitated dialogues create a comfortable space in which all participants feel they have a voice. The fact that dialogues are professionally facilitated takes the fear out of talking openly about issues of race, class, gender, age and ethnicity and encourages participants to speak honestly about their own views. At the same time, the act of listening respectfully to the views of others deepens participants’ understanding of perspectives other than their own.
In 2011-12, the CU Dialogues Program conducted a comprehensive assessment that demonstrated the effectiveness of classroom dialogues in promoting core University values in three interrelated areas outlined in CU’s Flagship 2030 vision:
Diversity and inclusivity—dialogues promote the practice of inclusivity by leading students to value differences and recognize similarities.
Experiential learning and civic engagement—dialogues create unique opportunities for experiential learning within the classroom and motivate students to become more involved in their communities.
Intellectual and personal growth—dialogues foster reflection and produce positive changes in personal attitudes and behaviors.
The CU Dialogues Program is currently conducting research on the pedagogical uses of cross-cultural dialogue in higher education.