Intergroup Dialogue Meets UIC Business by Shonta Durham-Wiersema

In the Summer of 2019, I had the honor to attend the National Intergroup Dialogue Institute at the University of Michigan. During this week-long institute, I was introduced to the content and pedagogy of Dialogue, working with higher education professionals from across the country to explore issues of social justice, intergroup communication, and diversity and inclusion. We also explored ways to bring what I like to call the ‘magic’ of Intergroup Dialogue back to our home campuses, brainstorming ideas to facilitate Dialogue both inside and outside of the classroom. Intergroup Dialogue provides participants with the unique opportunity to immerse oneself in exploring the complexities and nuances of our social identities. Dialogue also equips participants with the tools to communicate across difference while also seeing our individual identities through the eyes of our fellow group members. It was a powerful experience that I will always carry with me both personally and professionally. 

Luckily, UIC already has a framework in place for the DLG 120 (First Year Dialogue Seminar) course, as I was able to co-facilitate a section in Fall 2019. In a time when much of our national conversations are increasingly polarized, it was incredible to be a part of a classroom of UIC students who were able to engage in crucial conversations while displaying the core dialogue tenant of listening to understand, rather than judge. 

Moving forward, UIC Business is in the process of planning how we will use Dialogue specifically for our Business students, so be on the lookout for in-class and co-curricular Dialogue opportunities in Fall 2020! If you have any questions about the DLG 120 (First Year Dialogue Seminar) course or diversity and inclusion programming at UIC Business, please contact me at ssdurham@uic.edu.

Shonta Durham-Wiersema
Director, of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion