In recent years, polarization and social division have been on the rise within higher education. This divisiveness has hindered critical thinking, open discourse, and the ability to communicate across lines of difference. To address this issue, OpenMind has developed an evidence-based educational program to equip students with the habits of heart and mind to engage in constructive dialogue with those with differing backgrounds, beliefs and values. Since launching in 2017, more than 30,000 college students have completed the program, and OpenMind has conducted research demonstrating that the program reduces hostility across differences.
Over the grant period, OpenMind will pursue a marketing campaign and outreach strategy to scale the educational programs to 250,000 college students in two years. In tandem, OpenMind will conduct a randomized controlled trial to further validate the effectiveness of its program. OpendMind will also develop an online course for educators to empower them to model and facilitate constructive dialogue within their classrooms. Finally, an OpenMind Educator Network will be launched to support stakeholders within higher education. This will lay the groundwork for millions of students to gain the essential skills needed to thrive in a pluralistic society.