Heading: Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse

Words are building blocks   /   They create, save and destroy   /   What are yours used for?

-Camara El, Detroit based poet

Our Vision

We envision a civically engaged community that builds bridges of empathy and mutual respect across diverse perspectives through the tools of civil discourse.

Our Mission

GVSU’s Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse will prepare students to be agents of social change who practice and model civil discourse.

Civil discourse is “robust, honest, frank and constructive dialogue and deliberation that seeks to advance the public interest” (Brosseau, 2011).  It is an exchange of ideas that simultaneously:

  • Holds individuals accountable for their voice (how we talk);
  • Remains curious about other people’s perspectives (how we hear),
  • Respects multiple realities (how we honor personhood).

Civil discourse is not polite conversation, but, rather, intentional dialogue that builds understanding across difference. As Margaret Wheatley states, “We don’t have to let go of what we believe, but we do need to be curious about what someone else believes” (2009).

As a gift from Shelley E. Padnos and Carol Sarosik, the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies will promote engagement with the concepts and tools of civil discourse. Through the initiatives of this program, Grand Valley hopes to strengthen the commitment to informed, peace-based, and respectful dialogue across the campus community and the neighboring areas of West Michigan. 

Civil Discourse Monthly Spotlight
Civil Discourse Monthly Spotlight

How common threats can make common (political) ground, a TED Talk by Jonathan Haidt

If an asteroid were headed for Earth, we'd all band together and figure out how to stop it, just like in the movies, right? And yet, when faced with major, data-supported, end-of-the-world problems in real life, too often we retreat into partisan shouting and stalemate. Jonathan Haidt shows us a few of the very real asteroids headed our way -- some pet causes of the left wing, some of the right -- and suggests how both wings could work together productively to benefit humanity as a whole.

From the Director
From the Director

Moving Beyond "Agreeing to Disagree": Honoring Life Narratives with the Tools of Civil Discourse by Lisa M. Perhamus, Director of the GVSU Center for Civil Discourse


Have a question about the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse at GVSU? Feel free to email us at civildiscourse@gvsu.edu

Twitter feed for @gvsudiscourse

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GVSU Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program
Thanks for following along with us for #PSCDsymposium21! We loved hearing from @JeffKLO , @alejandramatus , and Vandana Pednekar-Magal

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