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MU Difficult Dialogues Initiative to Expand, Continue This Summer

April 13th, 2012

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Brad Fischer

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri has hosted the Difficult Dialogues Initiative to promote diversity and understanding in the classroom among faculty members and graduate students since 2005. This year, the initiative will launch a professional development program for MU faculty, staff and graduate students. The program will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on June 20-22 and June 27-29.

“Participants will learn new skills that will help them to advance the educational mission of the university within the context of their roles as educators and professionals,” said Roger Worthington, program organizer and professor of counseling psychology and higher education. “In addition, program participants will earn a small stipend for their participation in the program.”

The new program will be similar to the existing Difficult Dialogues faculty development program. It will feature several activities including learning and practicing techniques in conflict resolution. Through interactive theater activities, participants will practice the learned techniques, responding to challenging scenarios and encouraging cross-cultural empathy. The program hopes to increase understanding of the campus climate for diversity in higher education related to race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. Worthington says program participants will also examine the intersection between the movement toward intellectual diversity and academic freedom in higher education.

Applications for the program are now being accepted. For more information, visit Non-student employees will receive a $500 stipend for full completion of the program. Graduate students will receive $250.