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Private Higher Education
November 15, 2023

Duke University hosted two seminars in the summer of 2023 to train faculty and administrators from a variety of higher education institutions on civil discourse pedagogy. The seminars provided college educators with resources and guidance on incorporating civil discourse skills into the classroom to teach students how to dialogue constructively across disagreement.

The nonprofit organization Institute for Citizens & Scholars (ICS) convened the first seminar on August 2-4, 2023. The second seminar took place on August 15-16, 2023, and was led by Dr. John Rose, associate director of the Civil Discourse Project at Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. The summer events, funded by AVDF, were a continuation of the faculty civil discourse seminar hosted by Duke in 2022, which was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education. During the 2022 training, more than 20 educators from across the country practiced civil discourse skills to help them learn how to instruct students to do the same in the classroom.

The seminars are based on the successful classroom experiences of Rose, which have been profiled in the Wall Street Journal. Rose has achieved great outputs in his undergraduate courses on civil discourse and his teaching accomplishments led to the faculty seminars so civil discourse instruction could be applied at other institutions and across academic disciplines.

“I applaud these efforts at Duke and across the country to help promote respect and understanding regarding the differences that often divide our society and our students,” said Duke University President Vincent Price.

The ICS seminar participants were selected by university and college presidents from a variety of campuses. Along with ICS, Rose, and other colleagues led discussions on the importance and application of incorporating civil discourse techniques into college courses.

“Universities prepare students for full participation and leadership in our constitutional democracy and civil society,” said Janett Cordovés, senior program director at ICS. “The faculty who prepare students for those responsibilities, in turn, must be skilled, confident and comfortable in engaging in discussion of diverse intellectual and social perspectives.”

The August 15-16 seminar led by Rose was attended by 20 institutions including Carleton, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, and MIT.

To learn more about the 2023 seminars, click here.

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