In 2007, Drs. Karen Ramirez and Ellen Aiken founded the CU Dialogues Program. CU Dialogues evolved from a Civic Engagement course implemented in the Sewall Residential Academic Program (RAP). The program expanded in 2009 when the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement (CU Engage) began funding the CU Dialogues Program as a Model Project designed to expand the cross-cultural dialogue model to other RAPs at CU. In 2011, the program began receiving full seed funding from the Office of the Provost and became an established program under the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement. Since 2014 CU Dialogues has been incorporated into CU Engage: The Center for Community-Based Learning and Research in the School of Education.

Program Milestones: Major Projects, Grants & Awards





Dr. Karen Ramirez awarded the Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence In Leadership and Service Award. These awards recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the areas of teaching, service and leadership, and research and creative work.


Pilar Prostko, Assistant Director for Coordination and Outreach, received the 2017 Anne K. Heinz Staff Award for Excellence in Outreach and Engagement.

Recipient of a 2017-18 Outreach Grant along with the CU Engage’s Director for Community Partnerships, Manuela Sifuentes, entitled “Community-Building Dialogues with Mobile Home Park Residents.”

Recipient of a 2017-18 Outreach Grant along with Education Professors Dr. Terri Wilson and Dr. Michele Moses, entitled “Community Dialogues about ‘Opting Out’ of State Assessments in Colorado.”


Drs. Sprain (PI) and Ramirez (Co-PI) received one-year Hewlett Foundation grant to test the assessment measures that were developed through the Spencer Foundation grant in high school classes.


Became the primary site for a Spencer Foundation research project, “Assessing deliberative spaces for engagement across difference: Two new civics measurement instruments.” CU Dialogues Program Director, Dr. Karen Ramirez, was the the co-PI on this multi-year grant that ended in 2017.


Recipient of the President's Diversity Award.