About The Program on Intergroup Relations

Column 1

The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) is a social justice education program. IGR blends theory and experiential learning to facilitate students' learning about social group identity, social inequality, and intergroup relations.


The program prepares students to live and work in a diverse world and educates them in making choices that advance equity and justice. IGR was founded in 1988 and was the first program of its kind. IGR is a partnership between Student Life and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts



Our mission

The Program on Intergroup Relations is committed to helping students, and those who work with them, pursue social justice through educational engagement, practice, and pedagogy.


Our vision

Through our national leadership and on-campus presence, we are committed to educating students on social justice and intergroup relations, and emphasizing student learning through intergroup dialogue, engaged pedagogies, research, and leadership opportunities both in and out of the classroom. With a focus on the whole student, we work to build opportunities for our students to facilitate, think critically, reflect, build resiliency and lead. We prepare students to work, live, thrive, and actively contribute to a more inclusive campus and community. We strive to work with others on the U-M campuses and on other colleges and universities to build capacity to offer students these types of opportunities.


Our core work


IGR offers a number of courses that are designed for students with special interests in social diversity and social justice. The courses utilize experiential pedagogy to analyze and understand social conflict, intergroup relations and issues of diversity and justice. Within these, students who follow a specified course sequence, along with certain other requirements, earn the Patricia Gurin Certificate of Merit in Intergroup Relations.


CommonGround was developed for students to learn about social inequalities and social justice in a workshop format. Student organizations, classes, and other campus communities can request workshops on topics that increase awareness of issues of identity, diversity, and intergroup relations.

Community outreach

The Summer Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity program increases dialogue among high-school-aged youth in schools across metropolitan Detroit. Young people of African, Asian, European, Latinx/a/o, and Middle Eastern descent participate in structured dialogues and other programs that challenge discrimination and create change.

National Intergroup Dialogue Institute

The IGD Institute is for other institutions who wish to learn “The Michigan Model” of Intergroup Dialogue philosophy and techniques for the purpose of creating dialogue programs on their own campuses. Since 2006, IGR has hosted over 120 institutions.


IGR conducts research to assess program outcomes and aims to answer questions about what students gain from intergroup dialogue participation and how the pedagogy influences these outcomes. Using various methodologies, researchers mentor undergraduates and graduate students. Together, they have published journal articles (including peer-reviewed), monographs, essays, book chapters, books, and doctoral dissertations on intergroup dialogue research.


Anti-oppression statement

The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) stands for the liberation of all people. We believe that none of us are free until all of us are free. IGR opposes all forms of oppression that result in the marginalization, exploitation, subjugation, violence and all forms of dehumanization against others on the basis of social identity, social group membership and positionality. IGR promotes social justice and the pursuit of “solutionary solutions” that “do the most good and the least harm for people, animals and the environment” (IHE 2008).

We at IGR are committed to working toward our vision of a just world through the use of Intergroup Dialogue (IGD): a face-to-face sustained and facilitated dialogic methodology that asks participants to listen deeply across difference, to bravely share their own stories and to commit to taking action to create a world where all can fully realize their humanity. We believe that Intergroup Dialogue is one way to create our shared vision of a future based upon honoring the human dignity in everyone and ourselves.