Answer the following prompt: What can be done about the situation of declining civic participation in our country The criteria is as follows: Propose a solution to the problem of low civic engagement in the U.S. The essay should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. In your introduction, write a clear thesis statement that shows you will use a consequence or principle-based argument. Support your argument with evidence from three of the scholarly essays found in Unit One. You may use additional sources to support your argument. Use evidence (direct quotes, paraphrase or summary) directly from the essays.
22 LiberaL education Summer 2012
We have made great strides in our efforts to reverse the US civic recession
MARTHA J. KANTER Civic Learning for Democracy s Future in the 2012 stAte of the Union Address, President Obama spoke of education as a national mission. The president believes we are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class. What s at stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise and educate a family, own a home, avoid bankruptcy or worse from a health care crisis, and retire with secu- rity. He said that education is essential to help middle-class Americans become full contributors to our nation s economy. Today, the unemployment rate for Americans with a baccalaureate degree is about half the national average. Their incomes are twice as high as those who don t have a high school diploma and nearly two-thirds more than students who did graduate from high school. But as the American Association of Commu- nity Colleges has expressed in many venues over the past few years, we re not talking only about the economy; we re talking about what American means to us, about our values, and about the future of our democracy. For many of us who are worried about our future, this is a d j vu moment: a nation at risk once again, here at the beginning of the twenty-first century. President Obama has called upon us to keep college affordable, to enable unemployed workers to enter or return to college in order to prepare for new careers, and to put highly effective teachers into every classroom not only to help today s youth and adults, but also to prepare the next generation of students to succeed in the knowledge economy as life- long learners and citizens who are engaged in working and contributing to our global soci- ety. In the State of the Union address, Pres- ident Obama underscored the point that a college education is more essential now than ever before. But he also underscored that it s more expensive than ever. In the United States of America, he said, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. In the past two and a half years, the Obama administration has made the biggest investment in student aid since the G.I. Bill through Pell Grants, direct loans, income- based loan repayments, and public service loan forgiveness. Going forward, the president is asking everyone to take responsibility, to do their part, so that Americans today and to- morrow will have the opportunity and will be able to afford to go to college, earn their degrees and certificates, and contribute to our social, civic, and economic prosperity. We will continue to work as hard as we can to protect the Pell Grant program, to stop the interest rates from doubling, to extend the American Opportunity Tax Credit, to double work-study jobs for students, and to seek additional support for higher education. But we ask that states, colleges, and universities do their part to keep college costs down. Furthermore, over the past three years, the Obama administration has made un- precedented investments in reforming the education pipeline. And we are beginning to see these investments yield results. For- ty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted a set of common core stan- dards designed substantially to increase stu- dent proficiency in English and mathematics, demonstrating that our high school graduates are ready for college-level work. Our goal is for high school graduates to be college and career ready upon earning their diplomas. The work ahead is for postsecondary insti- tutions to affirm that high school graduates really are ready! Additionally, funding from MARTHA J. KANTER is US under secretary of educa- tion. This article was adapted from a presentation at the 2012 annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. This article is in the public domain.
LiberaL education Summer 2012 23
several Race to the Top federal competitions is enabling twenty-one states to reform their K-12 standards and assessments; improve professional development and evaluation of K-12 teachers; create robust, interoperable data systems; turn around the lowest performing schools; and/or build world-class early-learning programs to ensure that children are ready to learn in our elementary schools. Regarding postsecondary education, more than nine and a half million college students are using Pell Grants to help pay for their education more than a 50 percent increase since President Obama took office. We ve also simplified the federal student aid applica- tion in order to cut the average completion time in half. More than twenty-two million students will complete the application this year a 35 percent increase over the past three years. In addition, the Obama adminis- tration has made college more affordable by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $800. President Obama knows that education must be central to our nation s mission, and he understands that the leadership you are providing and the work you are doing are es- sential to the future of our democracy, not only our economy.
At the beginning of 2012, we made great strides in our effort to reverse the US civic recession and to redefine civic learning and democratic engagement for the twenty-first century. On January 10, US Secretary of Edu- cation Arne Duncan joined a host of admin- istration and educational leaders at a White House sponsored event held to launch a na- tional conversation on the importance of educating students for informed, productive citizenship. As part of that event, over sev- enty-five organizations and individuals an- nounced commitments to help advance civic learning in America. It was an inspiring day. The challenge now is to define our goals for the next decade and to work boldly in order to achieve them. To that end, on that day, we released two important reports. The first is A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy s Future, the final report of the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement that was commissioned by the Department of Education. The second report, written and published by the department it- self, is titled Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action. This second, federally focused report identi- fies nine steps the Department of Education
24 LiberaL education Summer 2012
will take to advance civic learning and en- gagement from adding civic indicators to student surveys, to promoting public service internships and careers, to more effectively leveraging federal programs and public-private partnerships.
Ensuring all students are ready for college, career, and citizenship Civic learning, and education s vital purpose to cultivate engaged and effective citizens, is a national imperative. And by civic learning we certainly mean civic knowledge and skills as instructional content, but we also mean opportunities for increased social engagement as applied learning as a strategy to deliv- er more effective instruction, across a broad range of disciplines. At the federal level, President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and all of us in the admin- istration believe that offering all students a world-class education is a moral obligation and an economic necessity. We also see this as a civic call to action. President Obama has challenged us to reclaim the world s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. He calls this the drive to win the future by out- innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world. But the president has made it clear that winning the future also means preserving this country s treasured democratic values, and instilling and passing them on to each new generation. We must fulfill the public mission of higher education, in order to help students fulfill their civic and social responsibilities and to prepare them to succeed in a world of unprecedented complexity and interconnectivity. In fact, many skills acquired through civic engagement are the same twenty-first-century skills that employers want. Civic education is consistent with President Obama s goal of regaining our competitiveness in the global marketplace, and it is consistent with the goal of increasing stu dent achievement and closing achievement gaps.
Diverse students on the value of civic learning This was a theme throughout the January event at the White House, but it was particularly clear during a session that involved several student speakers and youth advocates. Dantrell Cotton, a graduate of Chicago s High School of Agricultural Sciences and now a student at
the University of Wisconsin, spoke of the ben- efits of the hands-on education he d received, which engaged diverse students in problem solving in school and community settings. He emphasized the importance of valuing stu- dents opinions, giving them a voice in deci- sion making, and offering them opportunities to serve as role models for their peers. He suggested that for our democracy to be sus- tainable, students need the experience of col- laborating successfully, of seeing democracy in action, and of being empowered to effect change as part of the learning process. Nikki Cooley, now a program coordina- tor at Northern Arizona State University, spoke about civic learning s power to engage students from diverse backgrounds in cultur- ally relevant ways. She sketched her back- ground as a Navajo student from a region where 80 percent of residents lack electric- ity and running water. Her parents home was just wired for electricity last year, and they still haul their water a fifty-mile round trip. She asked, How did I go from hating math and science to having a master s degree in for- estry How did I end up working with scien- tists to design a curriculum that incorporates climate change models Nikki s answer It was because she had been given the chance to work on projects that moved math and science from theory to practice, through is- sues that mattered to her as a Navajo wom- an. One such project included hands-on work with the Cherokee Nation in North Caroli- na, and combined qualitative and quantita- tive methods in fire science. She called it her light-bulb moment. She realized that by mastering math and science, she could help overcome obstacles faced by her tribe and other native communities. Her message was that by democratizing education, by empow- ering students through relevant educational and cultural opportunities, we can close the achievement gap, energize diverse learners, and strengthen our democracy. Secretary Duncan expanded on this theme in his closing remarks. He talked about his experience in the Chicago public schools, as they moved to institute a public-service require- ment. He said that many students ended up exceeding the forty-hour requirement and, instead, completing five hundred, seven hundred, even one thousand service hours. For the first time, students from every
LiberaL education Summer 2012 25
background had structured opportunities to make a difference in their communi- ties, and they were hungry to engage and contribute. He spoke of the similar impact of the Mikva Challenge, which trains high school juniors and seniors to serve as election judges in Chicago. These students help strengthen the democratic process before they themselves can vote! And he spoke of his experience with the Chicago public schools student advisory council, which informed the work of his management team and helped him, as the school superintendent, incorporate student perspectives in his policies for reform. Secretary Duncan noted that service learn- ing is too often seen as the purview of privi- leged students, with their less-privileged peers being the recipients of these services. He called on all of us to democratize service learning and democratic engagement so that all stu- dents can discover the impact they can have in changing the world around them. That s a challenge I reiterate here. And it s in this context that I d like to address Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action, which outlines the Depart- ment of Education s role in civic learning and the nine steps we will take to serve as a constructive catalyst for change. Many of our efforts already support civic learning and democratic engagement. For example, the Federal Work-Study program currently mandates that institutions of higher education use at least 7 percent of their total awards to provide community-service jobs for students. In 2009 10, $222 million went to fund community-service jobs, along with a much larger pot of nonfederal matching funds. And President Obama called for doubling work-study funding for fiscal year 2013 in his State of the Union address. To cite another example, our Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is working with the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service to oversee the President s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. To date, more than 270 colleges and universities have committed to a year of interfaith and community-service programming on their campuses. For their interfaith initiative, participating college students select one
service priority in areas like poverty and education, health services, or support for veterans and military families. But there s more we can do; we have 6,700 community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities through- out our nation. We invite more institutions to get involved. In our increasingly diverse world, being edu- cated in a diverse environment prepares young people to compete in the global economy and to participate fully in our democracy. Our agen- cy joined the Department of Justice in releasing national legal guidance on how schools, col- leges, and universities may voluntarily promote diversity in higher education. Diverse learning environments strengthen the civic and politi- cal life of our nation, break down stereotypes, promote racial understanding and tolerance, and enhance the quality of education. The Obama administration is committed to help- ing education officials understand how legally to pursue diversity in ways that foster equity and excellence.
The nine steps in the federal road map Still, beyond those three examples, there s much more that the US Department of Edu- cation can do to create a climate that pro- motes the efforts of colleges and universities to advance civic learning and democratic en- gagement. The nine steps presented in Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy are a great start. The first step is to convene and catalyze schools and postsecondary institutions in order to increase and enhance the quality of civic learning and engagement. In the years ahead, we ll redouble our efforts to promote institu- tional commitments to provide strong civic learning opportunities, from grade school to graduate school, and to increase public aware- ness of education s role in developing informed citizens. For example, we ll encourage states, schools, and postsecondary institutions to con- duct civic audits, develop plans, and publish progress reports about their efforts to equip stu- dents to lead engaged civic lives. We ll also en- courage postsecondary education leaders to join civic-learning partnerships and to implement recommendations from leading national efforts. The second step is to identify additional civic indicators. As part of our department-wide
Offering all students a world-class education is a moral obligation and an economic necessity
26 LiberaL education Summer 2012
emphasis on evidence-based decision making, we ll support the development of improved indicators to identify students civic strengths and weaknesses, and we ll support the field in crafting appropriate responses. To amplify tools like the National Assessment of Educa- tion Progress civics exam, we ll work through the National Center for Education Evalua- tion and Regional Assistance to add to the upcoming National Longitudinal Transition Study questions about high school students transitions to postsecondary experiences. And we ll disseminate these and other civic data to educators and the public. The third step is to identify promising prac- tices in civic learning and democratic engage- ment, and encourage further research to learn what works. For example, the department s National Center for Education Research will include language in forthcoming requests for applications to emphasize that approaches to civic learning and democratic engagement are appropriate targets of intervention for improv- ing academic outcomes. We ll solicit promis- ing civic learning and democratic engagement practices as part of an upcoming request for information on strategies to increase college completion. And we ll encourage schools and higher education institutions to assess the im- pact of civic learning initiatives on the civic and economic health of the school or campus and the community. As the fourth step, we ll look for ways to leverage federal investments and public-pri- vate partnerships in support of civic learning. The department will encourage grantees and grant applicants to include civic learning and democratic engagement initiatives in federal- ly funded educational programs, where possi- ble. Where appropriate, we ll emphasize these activities as allowable uses of program funds, and consider adjusting program criteria and reporting outcomes to give them a stronger focus. We ll also encourage grantees to pursue public-private partnerships with businesses, foundations, and community-based organiza- tions in order to advance their civic learning and democratic engagement goals. Our fifth step is to encourage communi- ty-based work-study placements under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. The de- partment will encourage expanded efforts to place FWS students in assignments tailored to their interests in federal, state, or local
public agencies or in private nonprofits. And we ll encourage postsecondary institutions and organizations to track civic outcomes for students and the community, and to share promising practices. On a related note, step six is to encourage public service careers among college students and graduates. We must attract top talent to public service careers in teaching, public safety, and other fields. The Obama administration is taking steps to make it easier for many borrowers, including those who devote their time and talent to public service, to repay their federal student loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and the Income-Based Repayment plan. Beginning this year, the department will release an Employment Certification Form for borrowers interested in the PSLF program, making it easier to track qualifying federal student loan payments toward the PSLF benefit. We ll also continue publicizing the program so that many more students learn of it. And President Obama has announced a proposal to cap federal student loan payments at 10 percent of income and to forgive remaining balances after twenty years. Those entering public service careers could be eligible for loan for- giveness after ten years. We look forward to working with higher education stakeholders to realize these changes through negotiated rule making processes. The seventh step is to support civic learn- ing for a well-rounded K-12 curriculum. The department s blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proposes a new competitive program called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education. This program would assist states, local education agencies, and nonprofits in developing, implementing, evaluating, and replicating evidence-based programs that contribute to a well-rounded education including civics, government, economics, and history. Other disciplines could also incorporate evidence-based civic learning, service learning, and other engage- ment initiatives. As we continue to call on Congress to reauthorize the ESEA, we stand ready to implement this new program. Our eighth step is to engage historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic- serving institutions, tribal colleges and uni- versities, and Asian American/Pacific
LiberaL education Summer 2012 27
Islander serving Institutions in a national dia- logue to identify best practices in civic learn- ing and engagement. These institutions have a proud record that includes preparing stu- dents to be national and community leaders in civil rights, the sciences, engineering, and medicine to name just a few of the fields in which students historically underrepresented in American higher education have gone on to become national and state civic leaders. The department will encourage these institu- tions to maintain their focus on developing civic leadership and will encourage minority- serving institutions to identify best practices that might benefit all of America s institu- tions of higher education. Finally, the ninth step is to highlight and promote student and family participation in educational programs and policies at the fed- eral and local levels. President Obama s first executive order was a memorandum to fed- eral agencies about making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Consistent with that call, the Department of Education will identify and promote opportu- nities for students and families to participate as collaborators and problem solvers in education. Many initiatives, such as our K-12 School Im- provement or Promise Neighborhoods grants, include opportunities for students, families, and community leaders to help shape solutions to challenges at the local level. In addition, we regularly invite public input on federal educa- tion policy making from draft regulations, to reauthorization proposals, to new grant priori- ties. We will identify and highlight additional opportunities to involve students and families in the department s public comment process. We want to engage diverse learners, institu- tions, and organizations directly in our work at the Department of Education, and ultimately to provide all students with deliberate, rich, structured opportunities to explore the benefits and obligations of civic life by tackling chal- lenges and designing solutions in their own schools, campuses, and communities.
Conclusion In 1947, a student at Morehouse College wrote a piece about the purpose of education for his campus newspaper. A junior pursuing a bach- elor s degree in sociology, he said, We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intel- ligence plus character that is the goal of true
education. This young man was determined to translate the character gained through an ex- cellent education into the type of conduct that uplifts the community in the struggle for justice, for freedom, for human dignity, and for basic human rights. And indeed, he did go on to adjust the balance for civil rights in America, leaving an incalculable record of leadership and inspiration. Of course, that young man was the future Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life and legacy we now celebrate in a national day of service. Dr. King and his colleagues in the civil rights movement many of them students, from grade school to graduate school exem- plified civic agency. They showed America, and the world, what it takes to act cooperatively and collectively to address society s problems and build better communities. The students who spoke at the White House in January and the countless others like them are Dr. King s successors. They are America s future public servants, problem solvers, entre- preneurs, inventors, artists, scientists, and leaders. They ll be the heartbeat of our com- mon culture, the stewards of our shared civic life, and the trustees of our values. If we give them the knowledge, skills, tools and experi- ences they need today, they will rise to meet and master tomorrow s challenges, in our nation and around the globe. This our call to action! n
To respond to this article, e-mail [email protected], with the author s name on the subject line.
REFERENCES National Task Force on Civic Learning and Demo- cratic Engagement. 2012. A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy s Future. Washing- ton, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. US Department of Education. 2012. Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action. Washington, DC: US Depart- ment of Education.
Copyright of Liberal Education is the property of Association of American Colleges & Universities and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
INTERGROUP DIALOGUE provides what students need in order to relate and collaborate across differences, something they have to do in community projects that usually involve in- teractions across racial, social class, religious, and geographical divides. In this article, we demonstrate the efficacy of intergroup dia- logue, drawing from a multi-university study involving fifty-two parallel field experiments in which students were randomly assigned either to dialogue courses or to control groups. The results show that, as compared with the control groups, the dialogue students experi- enced greater increases in their understanding of race, gender, and income inequality; their intergroup empathy and motivation to bridge differences; and their commitment to postcol- lege social and political action. Moreover, they also experienced greater increases in the efficacy and frequency of their intergroup ac- tion during college, as well as in their cogni- tive openness and positivity in intergroup situations.
What is intergroup dialogue Intergroup dialogue brings together students from two or more social identity groups that sometimes have had contentious relationships with each other, or at the very least students who have lacked opportunities to talk about important social issues in nonsuperficial ways. Further, the focal social identities in this
project, racial and gender identities represent historical and structural inequalities. The aims of intergroup dialogue are to increase intergroup understanding, positive intergroup relation- ships, and intergroup action and collaboration. Three important aspects of intergroup dia- logue are especially noteworthy from an edu- cational perspective. First, dialogue requires learning to listen, to ask questions of others, and to commit to understanding the perspec- tives of others, even if not agreeing. Dialogue is not debate, in which people try to convince each other so that one side wins. It is not a term that simply substitutes for talk, as for example when students say that they dialogue (talk) with their friends, roommates, and families about political and social issues. Dialogue is a style of interactive communication that facili- tates shared understanding rather than debate. Second, in the multi-university project, in- tergroup dialogues were guided by a four-stage curriculum: (1) getting acquainted and setting the foundation for dialogue; (2) exploring per- sonal and social identity experiences within and across groups, and examining how power and privilege relate to social identity; (3) dialoguing about controversial issues; and (4) action planning and alliance building. The dialogue courses met weekly for two to three hours over the period of an academic term. Each session included conceptual and narrative readings as well as structured interactions that actively involved students in learning. Third, intergroup dialogues extend the conditions for positive intergroup contact first articulated by Gordon Allport (1954): equal status, positive interdependence, acquain- tance potential, and authority sanction. Each of the social identity groups participating in the dialogues is represented in equal numbers. Two facilitators, each a member of one of the identity groups, work as a team.
Education for a Broad Conception of Civic Engagement
The sustained inter- group dialogue process provides college students a space for civil engagement with a clear purpose of fostering greater civic engagement
PATRICIA GURIN, BIREN (RATNESH) A. NAGDA, AND NICHOLAS SORENSEN IntergroupDialogue
PATRICIA GURIN is Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women s Studies at the University of Michigan. BIREN (RATNESH) A. NAGDA is associate professor of social work and director of the Intergroup Dialogue, Education, and Action Center at the University of Washington. NICHOLAS SORENSEN is researcher at the American Institutes for Research.
46 LIBERAL EDUCATION SPRING 2011
University of Washington
University of Washington
48 LIBERAL EDUCATION SPRING 2011
The multi-university research study Initiated in 2006 and com- pleted in 2009, the multi- university intergroup dialogue research study involved fifty- two parallel field experiments in which students applying to enroll in intergroup dialogue courses on race and gender were randomly assigned either to a dialogue course (the experimental group) or to a wait-list control group. Twenty-six of these experiments focused on race, and twenty-six focused on gender. Twelve to six- teen students comprised each dialogue group and each control group. Over the fifty-two experiments, 1,463 students equally repre- senting white men, white women, men of color, and women of color participated by responding to a survey instrument adminis- tered at the beginning of the term, another at the end of the term, and yet another a year after the dialogue had ended. In addition to the quantitative assessments that the surveys provided, an intensive quali- tative study was carried out in ten race and ten gender dialogue courses in which early, middle, and late sessions were videotaped. Further, all students in these twenty dialogues were interviewed at the end of the class. Finally, qualitative assessments were also provided through content analysis of the final papers of students in all fifty-two dialogue courses. These papers represented responses to an assignment that was part of a standard curricu- lum for the courses across the nine partici- pating universities. The study addressed two major questions: Does participation in race and gender inter- group dialogue have educational effects not attributable to a predisposition to participate in diversity programs What processes transpire within and between students in intergroup di- alogue that account for demonstrated effects
Effects of intergroup dialogue: The quantitative study The educational effects that were predicted to result from intergroup dialogue represent its three goals: intergroup understanding, inter- group relationships, and intergroup collabora- tion and action. Intergroup understanding was measured by responses to questions asking
students what accounts for racial and gender inequalities and for poverty in the United States. Intergroup relation- ships were measured by scales for intergroup empathy and motivation to bridge differences. Intergroup action and collabo- ration were measured by re- sponses to a standard survey question posed by the University of California Los Angeles Cooperative Insti- tutional Research Program that asks about postcollege commitments to participate in civic and political activities, as well as by other questions focused specifically on the students efficacy and actual involvement in educating themselves, educating others, and collaborating with others to address issues of race and gender. The project also assessed the impact of dialogue on psychological processes that have been emphasized in social-psycho- logical studies of intergroup relations, namely, cognitive openness (indicated by considera- tion of multiple perspectives, liking of com- plex thinking, active thinking about society, and cognitive involvement in their social identities), and positivity in intergroup inter- action (indicated by positive emotions and positive experiences across difference). Immediate effects are demonstrated when the change between the beginning and the end of the term were significantly greater for the dialogue students than for the control-group students. The value of random assignment is that it nearly always means that the experimen- tal and control groups are equivalent to one another at the beginning of the term. If the two groups differ at the end of the term and the ex- perimental groups show greater increases than the control group, then there is a high degree of certainty that this difference is due to partici- pation in the intergroup dialogue course. There were significant effects of dialogue on twenty of twenty-four multiple-item measures of the key outcomes and processes. Three other sets of findings add to the overall picture of robust impact. First, the results demonstrate that the experimental effects involving the di- alogue and control groups applied to bothrace and gender dialogues on all but four of the twenty measures that showed an overall effect of dialogue. Second, these effects also applied generally across all four demographic groups
Does participation in race and gender intergroup dialogue have educational effects not attributable to a predisposition to participate in diversity programs
(white men, white women, men of color, and women of color) on all but four of the measures. Third, the effects of dialogue were also re- vealed in a longitudinal follow-up survey that was conducted with both the experimental and control group students a year after the end of the course. The response rate (82 percent) for the lon- gitudinal survey is impressive and, moreover, did not vary by the race/ethnicity of the stu- dents or based on whether or not they had been in a race or a gender experiment. The immediate effects in the experimental study found at the end of the term persisted over the following year. Significant effects of dialogue were present after a year on twenty-one of the twenty-four measures of outcomes and processes. This evidence of long-term effects is especially noteworthy because studies of the impact of intergroup contact, the area of re- search most comparable to our study, rarely investigate longitudinal effects. In what is the
most comprehensive review of intergroup contact studies, fewer than ten of the over five hundred studies that Pettigrew and Tropp (2006) reviewed in a meta-analysis of inter- group contact involved follow-up assessments of immediate impact.
Processes that account for these effects: The quantitative study The theoretical process framework guiding both intergroup dialogue and the research project reported in this article starts with the pedagogy of dialogue: its emphasis on substantive learn- ing through readings, assignments, and papers; its use of active learning through in-class structured exercises and interactions to promote learning across differences; and its use of fa- cilitators who guide learning by asking ques- tions, engaging all students in the dialogue, challenging assumptions, and reinforcing col- lectively developed guidelines to ensure dia- logue rather than debate and argumentation.
SPRING 2011 LIBERAL EDUCATION 49
University of Michigan
These pedagogical features are expected to foster four commu- nication processes: (1) engaging selfby sharing one s own per- spectives, experiences, and reactions to readings; (2) ap- preciating differenceby listening to others, asking questions, and probing their perspectives; (3) reflecting criti- callyby considering how one s own identity and the identities of others help shape views of various groups, including one s own, as well as perspectives on political and social issues; and (4) alliance buildingby dealing with conflict, dis- covering common ground within differences, and practicing being allies for each other. These communication processes are expected to promote both positivity in interacting across difference and cognitive openness two psy- chological processes that students experience in intergroup interactions.Together, the com- munication processes and the psychological processes are expected to lead to increased in- tergroup understanding, positive intergroup relationships, and intergroup action and col- laboration by theend of the dialogue. The process framework was supported by structural equation modeling of intergroup empathy, understanding of structural causes of inequalities, and action. As expected, pedagogy was highly related to the communication processes, which, in turn, were related to in- creased positivity and cognitive openness. The psychological processes then related to increases in the intergroup outcomes. Both increased cognitive openness and positivity related to increased intergroup empathy and increased frequency and efficacy action. Cog- nitive openness was especially influential in accounting for the impact of dialogue on in- creased understanding of structural causes of intergroup inequalities. (For more specific analysis demonstrating these relationships that support the overall process framework, see Gurin et al., forthcoming).
A closer look at processes within dialogues: The qualitative study The qualitative study further supported the theoretical process framework in that analyses of the student interviews showed that students described the importance of engagement in intergroup dialogues by speaking (engaging self), listening engagement (appreciating
difference), and active insight engagement (related to both critical reflection and cogni- tive openness). The interviews and final papers also provided an especially nuanced depic- tion of intergroup empathy, and of how students subjec- tively accounted for greater commitmentto civic engagement and action through partici- pation in the dialogue course. The videotapes provided a behavioral ex- amination of how facilitators guided the dia- logues and, in very large measure, support the guiding principles of facilitation. Facilitators are expected to support, redirect, and guide, not to teach in a didactic manner. And indeed, they did support, redirect, and guide. (For an examination of facilitator and student behaviors in the videotapes, see Meier 2010). Half of the facilitator behaviors involved repeating or rephrasing what a participant said, making a responsive comment, or redirecting the flow of conversation either by changing or rephras- ing topics or by going over dialogue guidelines again. These behaviors were related to greater student engagement, as indicated by listen- ing to what was being said by others and by smiling, nodding, and leaning forward toward the speaker. Facilitators are also expected to ask clarifying questions, probe for elaboration, and inquire about why participants think and feel as they do. A fifth of facilitator behaviors were coded as involving inquiry, which was also related to student engagement. Further, facilitators are expected to pay attention to group dynamics by listening attentively and engaging in a sup- portive manner, sometimes by offering personal examples of a group process that is evident in the dialogue. Another fifth of facilitator be- haviors were coded as supportive, attentive, and listening. These behaviors were related not only to greater student engagement but also to greater student openness (as indicated by sharing a personal story or perspective), critically questioning or examiningtheir own biases and assumptions, and showinginterest in the perspectives of others. These supportive and attentive behaviors were also related to less student anxiety. In contrast, greater student anxiety occurred when facilitators took an advocacy position or supported one side of a disagreement. Advocacy, which facilitators
50 LIBERAL EDUCATION SPRING 2011
intergroup dialogue provides what students need in order to relate and collaborate across differences
SPRING 2011 LIBERAL EDUCATION 51
should express very rarely, comprised only about a tenth of all facilitator behaviors.
Connecting intergroup dialogue to psychosocial well-being What do the effects and processes that take place within this particular educational practice suggest about the impact of intergroup dia- logue on psychosocial well-being The results address two critical aspects of psychosocial well-being. First, intergroup dialogue provides what students need in order to relate and col- laborate across differences, something they have to do in community projects that usually involve interactions across race, social class, religion, and geography. This is what we argued in the University of Michigan affirmative cases namely, that an intentional educa- tional use of diversity beyond the mere pres- ence of diverse peers on the campus will promote intercultural competencies and de- mocratic commitments (Gurin et al. 2002). Second, we emphasize here the effects of participation in intergroup dialogue on think- ing more complexly about people and the world, building meaningful relationships across differences through developing trust, being open to others, being excited, and being engaged and becoming active in shaping contexts toward more equality and justice. All these qualities denote a healthy, adaptive orientation to self and others as students deal with complexity and diversity within their in- stitutions and deal with being future leaders in an increasingly diverse and complex world. Thus, as evident in the effects of intergroup dialogue on both psychological processes and intergroup outcomes, participation in inter- group dialogue is an educational experience that builds social as well as personal responsi- bility for a more just society. Intergroup dialogue is inherently a joint psychological and social engagement process that illuminates the connection between the personal and the political, the intellectual and the affective, and the focus on personal rela- tionships as well as on power and privilege. The sustained intergroup dialogue process provides college students a space for civilengagement with a clear purpose of fostering greater civic engagement. Through civil engagement guided by facilitators, students develop a passion for thinking, relating, and acting not only for personal fulfillment but also for a larger social
project of effective collaborations across dif- ferences to enhance community life. Intergroup dialogue students continually extend their learning beyond individual enrichment to the world beyond themselves. In everyday conver- sations with family and friends, involvement in campus and community organizations to promote greater justice, participation in con- structive civil protests and action, or actual policy formulation that promotes justice, students need a social space and a learning processthat help them appreciate the rewards and challenges of civil and civic engagement. Inter group dialogue provides such a social space and such a learning process that allow students to connect what they learn psycho- logically and socially in the dialogue class to engagement both on campus and beyond the educational context.
To respond to this article,[email protected], with the author s name on the subjectline.
REFERENCES Allport, G. W. 1954. The Nature of Prejudice.Oxford England: Addison-Wesley. Gurin, P., E. L. Dey, S. Hurtado, and G. Gurin. 2002. Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes. Harvard Educa- tional Review 72 330 66. Gurin, P., B. A. Nagda, and X. Z iga. Forthcoming. Engaging Race and Gender: Intergroup Dialogues in Higher Education.New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Meier. E. 2010. Student and Facilitator Interactions in Intergroup Dialogue. PhD diss., University of Michigan. Pettigrew, T. F., and L. R. Tropp. 2006. A Meta- Analytic Test of Intergroup Contact Theory. Jour- nal of Personality and Social Psychology90 (5): 751 83.
Copyright of Liberal Education is the property of Association of American Colleges & Universities and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.