Courses aim to strengthen students’ civil discourse skills through the study of contentious social issues from a variety of perspectives. The courses support students’ growth to become civically-engaged, fair-minded leaders in the community who practice and model civil discourse. For more detailed information about our course offerings, please contact the Center at [email protected].
IDS 180 (1-credit)
Dialogue Across Difference
Professor Lisa M. Perhamus, PhD
Offered Fall and Winter term.
This introductory course will consider a variety of social issue topics as it examines how to have difficult conversations with people whose perspective differs from one’s own. Using the tools and concepts of civil discourse, this conversational course will provide students with the knowledge-base and skill-set to navigate the current climate of polarization and divisiveness, with a particular emphasis on the role of dialogue in fostering caring relationships, building sustainable communities, and envisioning inclusive futures where people with all different world views are heard and understood.
IDS 350 (3-credits)
Global Civil Discourse
Professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein
Offered Fall term.
This is a seminar course designed to address and discuss current issues in journalism and global civil discourse. Beginning with an exploration of what civil discourse means and how we can apply it in our class, it will go on to look at the consequences for civil discourse of the conflict between journalists trying to share accurate information and those governments, individuals and organizations who are working to misinform the public.
During the early part of the course we will focus largely on how these issues play out in the United States, with special attention to key and divisive topics in our country like the current reckoning with racial injustice, the COVID-19 vaccine, and others. At the same time, we will also see how this dynamic exists in other countries throughout the world. We will also be continuing work on a Global Civil Discourse map that last year’s Civil Discourse class worked on with a group of Computer Science students. By the end of the course students will be more engaged and critical news consumers with a broader, more informed perspective on journalism and civil discourse on local, national and international levels.
This course/seminar requires significant initiative and enterprise by its participants.