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Meredith Launches Civil Communication Initiative

Meredith College has launched a Civil Communication Working Group, which is charged with helping the campus community navigate difficult topics in a welcoming environment where all voices are heard.

The initiative is a proactive effort to foster respectful communication and conflict management on campus.

Civil discourse is an important skill for college students to develop, said Dean of Students Ann Gleason, who is leading the group. While the election season makes the ability to have civil conversations with those who hold differing opinions important, these skills will continue to be useful well beyond the 2016 election.

“This isn’t just about the election. It intersects with so many different issues - negotiation and compromise, hearing somebody else’s opinions, making sure people are treating each other with respect,” said Gleason. “It’s hard for any adult to navigate these kinds of conversations. But it’s difficult especially for those who are still growing and learning and really trying to articulate their own beliefs.”

The Civil Communication Working Group has developed a set of guidelines for civil communication, which the campus community is encouraged to use.

  • Listen to understand
  • Speak from your own unique experience
  • Use "I" statements
  • Be aware of your own biases and assumptions
  • Talk about ideas, not people
  • Words matter - be careful about how you use them.
  • Members of the committee include students, faculty from education, political science, and social work, and staff from college programs and marketing.

The initiative grew from a class project in a Spring 2016 social work class taught by Assistant Professor Joy Learman. One of the groups developed an #includemeMC for use on social media, and the Civil Communication Working Group has chosen to use this in its programming as a way to remind the community that all voices are valid and should have an opportunity to be part of the conversation.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330

allenme@meredith.edu