Who We Are

The CU Dialogues Program, housed under CU Engage: The Center for Community-Based Learning and Research within the School of Education, serves the campus at large by providing facilitated dialogue coaching and dialogue practice for students, staff and faculty at CU-Boulder and the broader CU community.  

What is a Dialogue?

A dialogue is a facilitated conversation that invites participants to share their own perspectives and experiences and listen to others with curiosity. We understand dialogue as a communicative process differences (Zuniga et al, 2001). In designing dialogue experiences, we draw on multiple dialogue frameworks, including the University of Michigan’s intergroup dialogue framework, the Sustained Dialogue Insitute’s sustained dialogue approach, and Essential Partners’ reflective structured dialogue method. We understand deliberative dialogue to be the practice of thoughtful analysis of problems through dialogue, with the aim of reaching consensus and enacting change (Burkhalter et al, 2002).

What We Do

The CU Dialogues Program is committed to the practice of designed dialogue that intentionally focuses on equity, justice, and the inclusion of diverse voices. We believe dialogue must be coupled with research, learning, reflection and assessment.​

We engage four primary work areas that intersect and strengthen one another to advance a culture of dialogue at CU Boulder and the surrounding community:

  1. Dialogues Curriculum: We offer a 3-credit undergraduate course, INVS 2989: "Dialogue Across Difference," which is grounded in intergroup dialogue methodologies. It provides students the opportunity to learn what dialogue entails, practice equity-minded dialogue, and be trained as dialogue facilitators. Two sections are offered each year. This class always has a waiting list.

  2. Dialogue as a Pedagogy: We offer workshops on dialogue as a pedagogy, centered on helping instructors activate and validate students’ prior knowledge and experience within classes across the curriculum. For graduate student instructors, in Spring 2024 we will pilot a micro-credential program, in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning. For faculty, we provide a Faculty Fellowship and we are developing a community of practice for faculty interested in dialogue as a pedagogy.

  3. Staff-to-staff DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) Dialogues: We develop staff-to- staff diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging dialogue & deliberative dialogue programming, in consultation and collaboration with requesting units. Programming is uniquely co-designed with requesting units, with two primary goals. First, the programming provides a professional development opportunity to train staff/leaders in DEIB-focused dialogue facilitation. Secondly, the programming uses staff-facilitated dialogue and deliberation as a method for units to identify, understand, and collaboratively take actions to address issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are currently in a fourth year of collaborating with CU’s Finance and Business Strategy (FBS) Unit to develop the FBS Dialogue Program. We began collaborating with the Office of Informational Technology (OIT) to develop the OIT Dialogue Program in 2023. We are in conversation with the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) about developing programming for OCG.

  4. Research and Development: We conduct assessment on our practices and contribute to the field of dialogue through conference presentations, publications, grant-funded research, and networking with colleagues at CU and around the country.