The purpose of difficult dialogues is to productively and constructively learn how to engage each other on issues on which we differ, and actively listen in a respectful manner for what it is that we can learn about the subject, about ourselves, others, and about our common values. To learn and challenge each other to think critically, and with discernment about contentious issues, while putting aside personal assumptions, biases, and stereotypes, and sit with discomfort and creative potential of not-knowing. This course is designed to stimulate intellectual inquiry and empower students to express opposing views respectfully while promoting academic freedom.
The major goal of the course is to teach students how to interact across differences in rational, healthy, productive and civil ways. The course aims to engage students in opportunities that encourage the development of skills to promote civic engagements through dialogue on controversial topics and complex social issues.
We are all going to be connected via this class this semester and will engage each other on issues on which we differ. We believe that all of us have something important to contribute to this class. For this class to be a success, each of us needs to be willing to share and contribute to the process and class discussions. Our hope is that we will develop a deeper level of empathy and understanding for others with the difference in opinions, beliefs, and personal assumptions. For this to happen, there are several important aspects about the class that needs to be addressed.
Keely Alexander, M.A
Sonia Dhaliwal, Psy.D. LP