Summer ’17 Mini-Course on Intergroup Dialogue

The mini-course, “Understanding Diversity and Social Justice through Dialogue” is being offered again at The University of Michigan School of Social Work. Current Social Workers can gain 15 macro CEUs upon completing the course over the full 2-day period.

I’ll be co-teaching with my colleague Catalina Ormsby.


“This course is designed to increase students’ awareness, knowledge, and understanding of issues related to diversity and social justice, including race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability status, and the intersections between these social identity groups.

Additionally, students will gain an understanding of dialogue as a method for peacefully resolving conflict that may emerge due to cultural misunderstandings or oppressive dynamics, as well as skills for effectively engaging in dialogue.

The topics of this course include social identity development; difference and dominance and the nature of social oppression; our personal and interpersonal connections to power, privilege, and oppression; understanding and resolving conflicts or resistance; the process of dialogue and coalition building across differences; and its applications in multicultural social work settings.”


  • Reflect critically on one’s own identity, beliefs and perspectives.
  • Describe how multiple identities shape beliefs, assumptions, behaviors, and life experiences.
  • Engage in dialogue with others about cultural diversity and social justice across differences, using respectful and inquisitive forms of active listening, self-reflection, and critical consciousness.
  • Identify challenges when discussing stereotypes, prejudices, conflicts, and the pain experienced because of oppression.
  • Demonstrate personal dialoguing skills around issues of multiculturalism and oppression.
  • Identify multiple social identities (i.e., race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability status, age).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of multiple identities and the diversity within identities and understanding of the many ways that our multiple identities intersect.
  • Describe dynamics of difference and dominance and oppression and how they impact human functioning and social relations within and across diverse groups.
  • Describe how structural differences in society are shaped by historical, psychological, social, and political factors.
  • Describe critical consciousness and understanding its implications for social work practice.
  • Describe how the beliefs, feelings, and behaviors that emerge from multiple identities could enhance or hinder the ability to work with diverse and disenfranchised groups.
  • Identify oppressive assumptions, biases, and prejudices held towards other groups or their own group, and how these influence their interactions with others, through conscious and unconscious beliefs, assumptions, emotions and behaviors.
  • Develop methods for continuing the life long process of recognizing biases, learning how to change oppressive behaviors, and building a more socially-just multicultural society.
  • Identify goals for practicing and improving dialogue skills and how to apply these knowledge in the academic pathways and the social work field.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW

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Relando Thompkins-Jones

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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