A letter from the directors—winter 2014

April 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Winter 2014 tri-annual newsletter of The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) at the University of Michigan! We in IGR always look forward to this time of year because it gives us the opportunity to reflect and celebrate student achievements, both in and out of the classroom.

This semester, the U-M campus has experienced a flurry of activity around social justice. IGR students organized or participated in a myriad of efforts including campus conversations, educational programs, and activism. IGR remains committed to doing our part to foster positive dialogue and create learning opportunities that ultimately contribute to a more inclusive campus community. We applaud IGR students for speaking up about the issues that are meaningful to them.

Early in the winter semester, IGR gave a fond farewell to beloved staff member Noor Ali when she accepted a position at Northwestern University. D. Alvarez is now serving as Interim Program Manager and leading the CommonGround workshop program. D. is featured in our February newsletter. We are pleased to have D. on board. The program recently launched The IGR Live Webinar Series, a new online tool and format for our international dissemination efforts. This semester we also created a “students of color” intragroup dialogue course, in response to student feedback. So far, the dialogue facilitators report that the course has been positively received by student participants.

As the semester closes, we will hold the annual Patricia Gurin Certificate of Merit awards ceremony where we will celebrate graduates and honor all IGR students for their commitment to social justice education. This spring, a new book, co-edited by IGR’s Dr. Adrienne Dessel and Boston University’s Rebecca M. Bolen, will be published: Conservative Christian Beliefs and Sexual Orientation in Social Work: Privilege, Oppression and the Pursuit of Human Rights. Another highlight will be when IGR kicks off 10th year of Summer Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity, a joint effort between IGR and the U-M School of Social Work. And last but not least, we are gearing up for our annual National Intergroup Dialogue Institute in June. Our staff members always look forward to this wonderful opportunity to share our methodology and develop relationships with colleagues who are interested in developing dialogue programs in Higher Education.

This edition of the newsletter includes staff spotlights, alumni voices, staff awards and recognition, as well as detailed insights into the on-going work of the program. Enjoy!

Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Kelly Maxwell and Monita Thompson, Co-Directors