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I[X] Team Spotlight: Difficult Dialogues

Fighting COVID-19: A Dialogue-Based Intervention for Community Healing In this I[X] Team Spotlight, take a look at the team behind the research. Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian will share why this project is important to the community and how her team of students will contribute to the project. Discover what compelled the students to select this particular Innovation[X] project to work on, and what valuable skill sets and unique perspectives they bring to the project.

Dr. Ramasubramanian, as the project leader, tell us why this project is so important to the community? “This project uses dialogue-based approaches for community healing and social transformation. We use small group online discussion formats to cultivate empathy, active listening, respect for differences, between-group bonds, collective healing, and support for one another through this difficult time. The project aims to help participants listen to multiple perspectives and lays the foundation for working collectively to address important social issues. It brings together change-agents from various backgrounds to have honest discussions about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings relating to difficult topics such as inequalities and discrimination. The dialogue sessions will also discuss resources and strategies at the individual and collective level.” What do you think your team of students can bring to this project? “Students in this project will be trained in several communication skills such as facilitation, active listening, digital ethnography, trauma-informed research, qualitative and quantitative communication research, and curriculum development.  They will help to create well-rounded honest discussions, and document critical conversations centered on difficult topics.”

As students, what made you chose this particular Innovation[X] project? “When I was a sophomore in college, I had the opportunity to be a part of a class that discussed multiculturalism and leadership composed of less than ten individuals, the majority of which came from a different racial background than myself. For once, I was a minority and I was able to listen to and be in dialogue with students from racial minorities about racial issues plaguing campus and America. This experience changed my personal and professional life as I learned all the ways that I was explicitly and implicitly furthering racial inequity. This project is part of my ongoing development as a critical thinker and anti-racist practitioner and I hope to help assist in sharing stories and anecdotes for generations to come.” – Delaney Couri ’21, Education, Curriculum & Instruction Grad Student “I believe that dialogue is an important aspect for overcoming difference. I was seeking a program that allowed me to strengthen my ability to hold/carry difficult conversations about race, gender and discrimination.” – Mariana Rodriguez ’25, Communication PhD Student “This is my third year working on this project and I truly believe in it, and want to continue working on improving race relations on campus.” – Anthony Ramirez ’22, Communication PhD Student What part of the project will you be working on? “As a part of the team, I will be working during the Difficult Dialogue Sessions as a note taker, helping the qualitative team look at relevant data gather during the sessions. I am also a part of the Curriculum Team that will help develop questions and curriculum to use during sessions.” – Delaney Couri ’21, Education, Curriculum & Instruction Grad Student “I will be serving as a Dialogue Facilitator and will be involved within the Qualitative Research Team. We’ve also been provided the opportunity to assist with the Quantitative Research Team and Program Curriculum Team if we so choose to.” – Mariana Rodriguez ’25, Communication PhD Student “I’ll mostly be working on data entry and analysis. Every now and then, I’ll complete the tasks as a facilitator or notetaker for small group settings.” – Miranda Calderon ’21, Political Science Major

See the original article here.

For more information about the Difficult Dialogues Project please visit our website.


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