September 11, 2009
Dear faculty and staff,
I am writing to invite you to participate in an important and exciting Five College initiative. Earlier this summer, the Five College Training and Development Collaborative, in conjunction with the Five College diversity directors and human resources directors, trained 12 employees from each of our campuses as intergroup dialogue facilitators. These members of our community are now eager to work with you as participants in the Day of Dialogue which will be held at varying times on each of our five campuses on Tuesday, October 27.
The Day of Dialogue is intended to be a starting point for continuing conversations about important issues on our campuses. As we work to diversify our community, it is imperative that we create and sustain campus environments that are welcoming and free of bias and discriminatory attitudes and practices. One proven way of developing more open and diverse campuses is to provide intentional opportunities for dialogue.
Intergroup dialogues bring members of different groups together in new and meaningful ways. Participants listen to different perspectives and views, find places of agreement, allow for and start to understand differences, and discover common and collective meaning. Dialogues aim to build relationships and foster learning from different perspectives. As an educational institution, we feel this learning process is essential to our continued growth and success.
All the presidents at the five colleges support this initiative and this Day of Dialogue, and I want to encourage you to attend one of the six sessions we will host on our campus on October 27. Our hope is that these sessions will help all of us become more effective at talking about difficult issues and finding common ground in building more successful campus communities.
There will be follow-up announcements on eDigest describing scheduling and further thematic details for these dialogues. Based on the results of these dialogues we will be able to design ways to follow up and to continue this effort. I urge you to participate in this important initiative and join our community in dialogue.
Carol T. Christ