Intergroup Relations

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, justice, and peace. 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. 

Mission Statement

To pursue social justice through education.

Through engaged learning, research, and leadership opportunities, IGR's vision is to educate students on social justice and intergroup relations, to prepare them to lead others in creating a more inclusive campus and world.

Core Work


IGR offers seven different 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.


The CommonGround Workshop Program 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 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, Latino and Latina, and Middle Eastern descent participate in structured dialogues and other programs that challenge discrimination and create change.

National Institute on Intergroup Dialogue

The 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.


IGR Alumnus Delivers TEDx Talk on Dialogue Arts Project

2007 U-M graduate Adam Falkner says:

"We need to learn each other. And we need to learn ourselves." 

And that is exactly what Falkner seeks to do in his work as a writer, performer, high school English teacher and the Founder and Executive Director of the Dialogue Arts Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to using the arts and the creative process as a means of generating and sustaining cross-cultural dialogue.

Adam Falkner

Investing in IGR

Giving to IGR

The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) is a pioneering program that promotes social justice through education.  As a partnership program of Student Life and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, we are in the unique position to enhance the academic learning and holistic development of students.  IGR serves as a model for Intergroup Dialogue in higher education which has spread to many campuses across the United States and Canada.

A Welcome from IGR's Co-Directors

IGR has the distinction of being the first intergroup relations program of its kind in higher education. Undergraduate students are an integral part of the program and the learning process. Our sequence of social justice education courses, in particular intergroup dialogues, as well as our co-curricular offerings, make a significant contribution to the education and experience of the U of M community.

Monita and Kelly

IGR History

The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) was founded at a time of heightened racial and ethnic tensions at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus in 1988. It was originally conceptualized as an academic initiative fully integrated with student life. IGR was supported by Presidential Undergraduate Initiative funds awarded to the Pilot Program, a living-learning program for first-year students, and the Program on Conflict Management Alternatives, a research development center of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

old IGR group photo