Sustained Dialogue

Sustained dialogue

Interactive conversations that transform relationships, positively impact campus culture, and create informed community change.

“Dialogue is a process of genuine interaction through which human beings listen to each other deeply enough to be changed by what they learn. Each makes a serious effort to take others’ concerns into their own picture, even when disagreement persists. No participant gives up their identity, but each recognizes enough of the other’s valid human claims so that they will act differently toward the other.”

–  Hal Saunders, board chair and founder, Sustained Dialogue Institute
Senior Middle East diplomat and a key drafter of the Camp David Peace Accords

Semester-long Opportunities for Fall Semester 2019

Hollins University is among the more than 40 colleges and universities that are a part of Sustained Dialogue (SD), a dialogue-to-action process that brings small groups of students, faculty, and staff from widely different backgrounds together for a semester of deep discussion. These interactive classes will be led by trained faculty, staff and student facilitators and focus on deep listening, building relationships, and working across differences to create informed community change.

Classes will meet Wednesdays from 1:10 – 2:40 p.m. in the Dana Science Building with the first class starting on Wednesday, September 4.

Sustained Dialogue Participant Application for Faculty, Staff, and Students 

Students: Sustained Dialogue will offer two 2-credit courses.

To receive academic credit, students should register online for one of the following:
(Fall 2019) Intro to Sustained Dialogue – UNIV 125 (2.0 credits) Topic: Open Diversity & Inclusivity (Dana 113)
(Spring 2020) Intro to Sustained Dialogue – UNIV 126 (2.0 credits) Topic: Race or Gender (Dana 114)

What is Sustained Dialogue?

  • Sustained Dialogue gathers a group of diverse people to dialogue on a difficult topic.
  • Sustained Dialogue differs from conversation (often intellectual) or debate (trying to win) because it’s based on personal experience; you recognize that everyone is an expert on their own personal experience even if it differs from your own.
  • Sustained Dialogue is not about everyone coming to a consensus, it’s about listening deeply enough to allow yourself to be changed by what you hear.
  • Sustained Dialogue is action focused – at the end of the course, the group comes up with some type of action plan to improve their own understanding and to help improve the campus culture surrounding that difficult topic.
  • Sustained Dialogue builds trust with people you may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

What will I get out of it?

  • You will help build an inclusive community at Hollins University.
  • You will learn how to have difficult conversations through active listening.
  • You will bond with a group of diverse people.
  • You will learn about how other’s personal experiences shape their worldview, and in turn, build empathy towards others.