In all of our fields, hard conversations arise. Virology professors have to address the evolution of viruses to students who may distrust pharmaceutical companies and vaccines. Business faculty have to address ethical issues such as how to balance profit with employee and societal well-being, and political scientists have to be able to navigate difficult conversations around political beliefs. Indeed, many of us need to address the implications on political policies that arise from our disciplinary knowledge.

This professional development workshop, open to all faculty, will focus on having hard conversations in your classroom. In trying to support your students to understanding arguments from multiple perspectives, participants will be guided to develop techniques which supports hard conversations and helps your students gain deeper understanding of people with different views through the lens of their own specialism.

The is a one-day workshop from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 at Susquehanna’s beautiful campus. Meals will be provided. We invite groups from departments to attend to encourage discipline focused thinking, but the workshop is open to all faculty members from different disciplines.

The morning will focus on lessons from an interdisciplinary, team taught class by Drs. Verhoeven, Clark, and Fleck. You will hear strategies for having hard conversations, including techniques and approaches from the non-profit depolarization organization, Braver Angels. These strategies help people communicate across political difference, but are equally applicable to differences of perspective that occur between, and among students and faculty. In the afternoon, the focus will be on your own disciplines where you can explore situations and techniques to apply to your own classroom situations. Finally, you will explore experiential activities that promote such activity so that hard conversations can not only be managed, but encouraged.

Each participant will receive a stipend of $300 for their time, as well as mileage reimbursement for travelers within PA.

If you have questions about the content of the workshop, please contact Dr. Betsy Verhoeven ( If you have questions about registration or the event details, please contact Dr Emma Fleck (


The workshop is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-funded project “Promoting Civil Discourse in a Polarized World”.