2020 has offered no shortage of opportunities for important dialogue about our nation’s future. While dialogue may be more difficult this year as we all reconsider what it means to be together and safe, it has never been more important. At Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact, we believe higher education has a key role to play in both leading the conversations and preparing students for the skills needed for them. Our Critical Conversations reflective dialogue series will support these critical efforts.
Through the fall and into 2021, we will offer monthly Critical Conversations dialogue opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and community members interested in building their skills as dialogue participants and facilitators. The monthly sessions will offer an opportunity for reflective practice and engagement on a topical prompt and with featured dialogue tools. The sessions will engage participants in sample dialogues and time to reflect on how the featured prompts and models might translate to their home campuses, organizations, and/or communities.
The series will begin with dialogue tied to Constitution Day on September 17. This is a day on which publicly-funded schools and government offices are required to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution.” For several years, we have promoted and supported the idea of leveraging this requirement as a day for campus and community dialogue.
In honor of this milestone, we are preparing a dialogue guide: Fulfilling the Promise of Full Citizenship: History as Foresight into the Continued Struggle for Universal Suffrage. The guide will bring together conversations about history, including this year’s 19th amendment bicentennial, realities of the suppression of Black voters, and conversations about how to meaningfully engage with the 2020 presidential election during a global pandemic. It will provide the basis for us to have a nuanced and action-minded discussion about the history, the current state, and the future of voting and civic engagement in the United States.
The guide will be made available for our members to use in mid-August along with other Constitution Day resources including a template press release and talking points. We will host a training session for facilitators on August 19 and a network-wide virtual dialogue on the evening of September 17 (see below for more information). Campuses are encouraged to submit information on their plans to us at this link and we will promote activities and initiatives related to linking Constitution Day and dialogue on our social media channels.
Critical Conversations Timeline
Wednesday, September 2 from 11:30 – 1 p.m. – Fulfilling the Promise of Full Citizenship Dialogue Guide Online Training and Q&A, Zoom web conference, register here
Thursday, September 17, Constitution Day, 7 – 9 pm – Network-Wide Constitution Day Fulfilling the Promise of Full Citizenship Virtual Dialogue, register here
Friday, October 16, 11:30 – 1 pm – Facilitator Training, register here
Topic: Voting During a Global Health Crisis
Featured Dialogue Tools: Living Room Conversations, Ask Big Questions
Thursday, November 19, 11:30 – 1 pm – Facilitator Training, register here
Topic: Historical Perspective on “Unprecedented” Times
Featured Dialogue Tools: Hatful of quotes, Case Studies
Thursday, December 17, 11:30 – 1 pm – Facilitator Training, register here Topic: Civic Agency in a Pandemic
Featured Dialogue Tools: Public Narrative, The Circle Way
Friday, January 22, 11:30 – 1 pm – Facilitator Training, register here Topic: Reimagining Higher Education for the Public Good with Equity at the Center
Featured Dialogue Tools: Appreciative Inquiry, Open Technology