© 2023 by ISHITA SINHA ROY. 

Sustained Dialogues @ Allegheny College

During her tenure as Associate Provost for Diversity and Organizational Development at Allegheny College, Dr. Ande Diaz laid the foundation for creating a welcoming and inclusive campus and supporting efforts to diversify the campus community. One of the diversity training partners she invited to help us achieve these goals was the Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI). As the Institute's website states:

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         The Sustained Dialogue Institute helps people to transform conflictual relationships and

         design change processes around the world. We define dialogue as “listening deeply

         enough to be changed by what you learn.”

 

To teach effective listening that is so central to meaningful community dialogues, the Allegheny College Diversity & Inclusion Office and the SDI organized a series of training workshops for all constituents of the Allegheny College campus community.

 

After receiving moderator training in Sustained Dialogues (SD), I was co-facilitator for a faculty workshop in January 2017 on "Overcoming Challenging Moments in the Classroom,” designed in collaboration with the SDI.

 

From fall 2017-fall 2018 I served as Faculty Chair for the Sustained Dialogues and Civility initiative at the college. I was also the Chair for the Sustained Dialogues Steering Committee. Along with the student-run SD Club, the SD Steering Committee campaigned to maximize participation across all campus constituencies in the SD training workshops. 

 

As the Faculty Chair for the Sustained Dialogues and Civility initiative, I worked with the Sustained Dialogues Institute to set workshop goals, raise campus-wide awareness about the SD initiative, and personally reach out to invite participation from employees who had not been able to take advantage of prior diversity training opportunities. Additionally, I organized the SDI training workshops and helped with the assessment logistics on campus. 

 

Having accomplished a critical mass in terms of the number of SDI-trained campus constituents, and following up on feedback from the training workshops, the SD Steering Committee and SD club facilitated mixed student-employee SD groups in spring 2018. Each group had employee and student co-moderators and met to discuss how to integrate the values of the college's statement of community into different facets of campus life to create a more close-knit and positive .