Since 2013, NC Campus Compact has promoted dialogue as a tool for building citizenship and community.  We have trained over nearly 800 faculty, staff, students, and community members from over 100 colleges and universities to moderate the National Issues Forum deliberative dialogue method. Scroll to the bottom to learn more about deliberative dialogue. 

Starting with the 2020 Civic Engagement Institute “Engagement 2.0: Civics, Civility, and Civil Discourse, we began to introduce the NC Campus Compact network to additional dialogue models.  Learn more here.

2020-22 Civil Discourse & Dialogue Grantees

Thanks to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, as part of our NC Collegiate Civics Project, we are able to provide grants to the following institutions.

2021-22 Grantees ($1000)

East Carolina University
Elizabeth City State University
Lenoir-Rhyne University
NC State University
Piedmont Community College
UNC Asheville
UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC Greensboro
UNC Pembroke

2020-21 Grantees ($700)

Campbell University
Elizabeth City State University
Lenoir-Rhyne University
NC State University
Piedmont Community College
UNC Asheville
UNC Pembroke
Wayne Community College
William Peace University
Winston-Salem State University

All grantees are required to host at least four dialogues during the academic year. Dialogues must involve diverse campus constituents (students, faculty, staff, and administrators). While not required, applicants are encouraged to include community stakeholders in their dialogues when appropriate.

Grantees were encouraged to use one of the models below.

Virtual Dialogue Series 2020-22

In summer 2020, NC Campus Compact launched the NC Collegiate Citizenship Project (NC-CCP). Through this effort, we seek to improve civic life in North Carolina by promoting election engagement and civil discourse and dialogue on member institutions throughout the state. Funding is provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Through NC-CCP, NC Campus Compact is hosting a series of virtual sessions in the 2020-21 academic year to introduce member institutions to additional dialogue and civil discourse methods and skills.

(September – October)

We hosted three sessions for various constituents to experience the Aristotle’s Cafe model for conversation. The sessions included an interview with Hassan Ghiassi (September 29); a training for faculty only (September 30), and a training for students only (October 13). Participants gained skills to lead difficult conversations in the classroom and among friends, clubs, community or home, to create a brave and safe space where people feel empowered to speak up and listen,  to ask powerful questions, to intervene to facilitate through strong disagreement and tension, to engage in challenging topics and develop strategies that bring individuals with differing perspectives together

August 31, 2021 (2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

NCCC partnered with Candidly Speaking to learn about model that facilitates deep conversations through structured speaking and listening techniques. It is a chance for people to be vulnerable in small groups and in doing so, make a deep connection with others. Since 2017, Candidly Speaking has been helping people better understand one another’s similarities and differences and as a result, building empathy.

March 9, 2021 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

NC Campus Compact partnered with the Braver Angels Alliance of Central North Carolina for a session to learn about and practice the Braver Discussions dialogue model they are field testing. Participants gained an understanding of the model, engaged in a practice Braver Discussion, and received tips and materials to effectively facilitate the model.

The discussion topic was be “Free Speech and Inclusion in Higher Education.”

Week of February 22, 2021

NC Campus Compact partnered with The Reunited States to sponsor access to this film for 20 member campuses.  Some campuses hosted a single screening while others shared the link with a group of select students to view and discuss.

On February 25, NCCC Executive Director, Leslie Garvin, facilitated a conversation with filmmaker Ben Rekhi and film subject, Steven Olikara.

This film features several Americans who are seeking to depolarize and bridge the partisan divide.

October 2 & 9, 2020 (2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

NC Campus Compact and the Braver Angels Alliance of Central North Carolina teamed up for two “Depolarizing Within” workshops.  The first session was for faculty and staff only. The second session was for students only.  Twenty-three faculty and staff participated. Twenty-one students participated.  Participants completed a self-guided 40-minute online course and then practiced the skills during the workshop.

This workshop is designed to help participants become more aware of their own “inner polarizer” with a focus on how to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population.  It also offered strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

As the session was comprised of multiple breakout groups, there is no recording available.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2020 (2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.)

This event featured a film screening of the Bring It to the Table documentary, an audience Q&A with the Executive Director, Julie Winokur, as well as a demonstration table talk, and a group interactive exercise that taught the Table Talk method for civil discourse and active listening. The recording is only available to registrants.

JULY 21, 2020 (2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.)

View the recording.

How can we create a kind of civility for the future in which we are able to engage in difficult dialogues and create a more trust-based society among citizens with quite diverse perspectives who nonetheless feel a keen sense of connectedness?

The greatest of open societies to date, as even the most cursory review of human history shows, so far have all enjoyed a period of ascent, then entered a protracted period of stasis, and then irreversible decline.

Why is this so, and what can each of us do to stem such a turn of events in our own open society, so that history doesn’t repeat itself?  How might we cultivate the requisite kinds of thoughtfulness, authenticity, understanding, and connectedness even — especially — as we broach the most pressing but potentially polarizing issues? What approaches are most effective in seeing to it that most everyone involved in difficult dialogues has a genuine opportunity to be heeded and heard?

Christopher Phillips, PhD, (ChristopherPhillips.com), founder of DemocracyCafe.org, under the auspices of which are the burgeoning global grassroots Socrates Café and Democracy Café initiatives, will give an interactive presentation about his own efforts in fomenting for nearly a quarter century more ‘trust-based societies’ on sundry scales.

The long-time practitioner of a method and ethos of inquiry, the centerpiece of which is ‘Socratizing’ and ‘democratizing,’ will lead an exploration into how, and why, we can create more open societies, and selves, as we engage continually in kinds of face to face give-and-takes in which equal consideration is given to widely varying views, in which questions are framed artfully, in which listening is a key form of participation, so that every interlocutor has a chance to reveal her unique story, expertise and stores of wisdom, making possible the discovery of uncommon common ground.

JULY 9, 2020 (2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.)

View the recording.

Presenter: Dr. William Doherty, co-founder of Braver Angels and Professor and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development, at the University of Minnesota

Bill discussed Braver Angels and introduce a new initiative, With Malice Toward None.

Braver Angels, a nonprofit formerly called The Better Angels, is a grassroots group that aims to teach skills for listening and constructive conversation, so liberals and conservatives may work together.  The name “Braver Angels“ was inspired by the words of Abraham Lincoln, who not only called on Americans to summon the “better angels” of our nature — but called on us to find the courage to pursue a more perfect union, “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right.”

The With Malice Toward None project anticipates that polarization will spike after the November 3rd election as people decide how to regard and treat the 60 million or so people who voted the other way. Folks who sign up to join the initiative will receive resources and tools to host two types of events post-election: 1) Events with people who voted the same way to process their reactions and, 2) Events that bring together folks who voted differently.

Overview of Deliberative Dialogue

Drawing on a framework developed by the National Issues Forums (NIF), our moderator training prepares campuses to host their own deliberative dialogue forum. A forum brings people together in a small gathering to deliberate a challenging public issue. The process is guided by a neutral moderator and a discussion guide that presents multiple approaches to addressing the problem.

According to NIF, “This framework ensures a careful, nonpartisan way of presenting alternative solutions to your group and welcoming their different views. Designed to produce a rich investigation into what your group is thinking about an issue, the Framework helps you arrive together at what is acceptable and what is not.” 

Our moderator training includes an understanding of deliberation, an overview of the four components of a forum, and engagement in a practice forum. Participants receive strategies and sample questions, as well as tips and tools for effective moderating. NC Campus Compact’s efforts were featured in the National Issues Forum blog  in March 2015.

Since 2013, our Compact has led moderator training sessions at Central Piedmont Community College, Elon University, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, Rollins College (FL), UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, Warren Wilson College, and at the 2019 Western Region Continuums of Service Conference at the University of San Diego, the 2018 Florida Campus Compact Professional Development Conference in Miami, the 2018 Engagement for the Public Good Conference at James Madison University (VA), and the 2019 WI Campus Compact Civic Engagement Institute at Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI.

Contact Executive Director Leslie Garvin lgarvin {at} elon(.)edu  for more information about bringing deliberative dialogue training to your campus.

The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation offers additional resources on dialogue.