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BUILD Forum Dialogues

bell hooks (1994) wrote, “To engage in dialogue is one of the simplest ways we can begin as teachers, scholars, and critical thinkers to cross boundaries, the barriers that may or may not be erected by race, gender, class, professional standing, and a host of other differences…If we really want to create a cultural climate where biases can be challenged and changed, all border crossings must be seen as valid and legitimate” (pp 130-131).

As a follow-up to the August forum events, there will be a series of campus dialogues during the academic year. Each dialogue will count for one learning opportunity toward the BUILD Certificate Program (2 dialogues maximum towards the certificate). Please sign up for only one dialogue this spring as space is limited.

What is a dialogue?

Dialogue is a collaborative, inclusive, and potentially transformative group communication process in which active facilitation promotes a conversation among people with different social identities and viewpoints for the purpose of a deeper understanding of different views and experiences (Diaz & Gilchrist, 2010).

What is not a dialogue?

While dialogue will lead to new ideas and perspectives that can create insight on a particular challenge, the intention is not problem solving nor action planning. Dialogues often reveal the “problem behind the problem” which is a necessary first step in moving forward to create a more inclusive Boise State.

Why engage in dialogue?

Dialogue gives participants the opportunity to reflect on and examine personal and culturally influenced assumptions, judgments, and thought processes, “thereby transforming the understanding of one’s self, others, relationships, and the social systems in which these exist and interact” (Diaz & Gilchrist, 2010, p. 2).

How does one engage in dialogue?

Dialogic interactions involve listening deeply, suspending judgment, perspective sharing, empathy, and taking communicative risks which allow insights to be gained and shared understandings to emerge. Our campus dialogues will last between 1.5-2 hours.

Who participates in a dialogue?

All staff, faculty, and administrators are welcome to participate in the campus dialogues. Certain dialogues will have a target audience (which will be indicated); most will be for all Boise State employees. BUILD Forum participants will be given priority to register for a dialogue given the need for them to complete one as part of their Forum experience and reflection. Each dialogue will be limited to 15 people, with an additional two dialogue facilitators.

Who are the dialogue facilitators?

Dialogue facilitators are campus staff, faculty, and administrators who have been trained in dialogue facilitation. Dialogue facilitators will seek to foster a safe yet brave space where participants can discuss complex and emotionally-charged issues. Facilitators encourage the consideration of a variety of perspectives, keep the dialogue focused, and promote engagement by all participants.

Why should a campus engage in dialogues?

Campuses engaged in dialogue develop communication capacity to engage with diverse viewpoints and with difficult topics. A campus community that has a high level of dialogue skill can lead to enhanced decision making, critical inquiry, engagement, inclusion, and, ultimately, positive change and equity. We hope to interrupt relations and conditions of inequity by enabling people to identify, name, and challenge the norms, practices, patterns, and structures that keep systems of oppression in place.

What are action groups?

Experienced dialogue facilitators will be leading a few action groups meant to bring our dialogue conversations into concrete planning and action. More information will be forthcoming.


If you have any questions regarding the dialogues, please contact Tasha Souza, BUILD Dialogue Program Coordinator, at

SOURCE: Diaz, Ande and Gilchrist, Stephan Hiroshi (2010) “Dialogue on Campus: An Overview of Promising Practices,” Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 6 : Iss. 1 , Article 9.