How faculty can encourage dialogue on campus
Creating an environment where effective dialogue can take place requires time, work, and effort on the part of faculty or facilitators.
Students may feel more comfortable working through contentious issues if you have made an effort to connect with them and to understand their perspectives.
Campus discourse should be predicated on the presumption of respect for differences, including different points of view.
In your policies, syllabi, and language, emphasize the value of open inquiry and constructive disagreement in the classroom. See AAUP’s “Civil Discourse in the Classroom.”
True dialogue necessitates not only thoughtful words but also sincere attempts to understand and respond directly to the words of others.
In the classroom, use and encourage students to ask open-ended questions to encourage them to better explore their own thinking and to open themselves up to new perspectives.
Violence, threats, and harassment are never appropriate. But vociferous, adamant, and contentious argument has its place.
Be mindful of language. While PEN America does not endorse adopting formal guidelines on inclusive language, it is worth reflecting on the history and implications of certain words and phrases that may alienate others.
Fostering dialogue may necessitate challenging students’ views and stepping in to correct misinformation. It is important to remain respectful and balanced as you approach these conversations.