Common Ground Initiative
Common Ground On the Road
SXSW EDU: Free Speech & Civil Dialogue Online & On Campus
Dr. Julie Wollman and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, explored the future of free expression and strategies for facilitating civil dialogue in campus settings and online at this year's SXSW EDU conference on March 8. Learn more.
Meeting the challenges of the future in a polarized world.
Widener is proud to be leading the way as a university that values, teaches, and exemplifies
the pursuit of common ground – a foundation for learning, citizenship, and success.
The faster the pace of local and global change and the more interconnected our world, the more we will encounter diverse perspectives. We need to find common ground to advance the good of all.
By encouraging and creating opportunities for students to talk about differences in open and respectful ways, Widener prepares them to achieve personal success and become active participants in a thriving democracy.
Widener deliberately engages students in challenging yet civil conversations that encourage students to:
Lead with integrity
Listen actively and openly
Have the courage to voice their beliefs
Respect different perspectives and opinions
Seek to understand before reacting
At a time when our nation is deeply polarized, it is important to honor all voices.
Honoring Diversity and Inclusion
For us, "We're All Widener” is more than a statement, it represents the culture of our university, a commitment to welcome and value diversity, a promise that we all belong, and a powerful call for respect, mutual understanding, and unity.
Widener's history of respectful listening and our dedication to courageous leadership
and civic engagement make us unique. Our campus is a special place where students
can feel comfortable sharing their different thoughts and experiences in an effort
to find common ground.
Common Ground In Action
Widener kicked off the Common Ground Initiative in fall 2017 at an event held at the National Constitution Center. The First Amendment: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World gathered students, faculty, and staff from across campus for a program that encouraged thoughtful discussion.
The initiative is ongoing. Faculty integrate opportunities across all disciplines to challenge students to have civil conversations that help them learn from and appreciate diverse perspectives. We recognize and celebrate that our students are tomorrow’s innovators and leaders who need to develop strategies to find common ground.
In addition to coursework, students can also work at finding common ground by:
- Participating in the active political engagement group
- Joining multicultural campus organizations
- Watching political debates and attending group discussions
- Leading panels and break-out sessions at events on and around campus
- Attending on-campus diversity and inclusion events
- Joining small-group discussions on common ground led by the university president
Learn more about the Common Ground Initiative: