common ground

Common Ground

Meeting the challenges of the future in a polarized world.

Honoring Diversity and Inclusion

Students Pride Lions We're All Widener
“We’re All Widener” represents our culture.

For us, “We’re All Widener” is more than a statement. It is a powerful call for respect, mutual understanding, and unity. Our history of respectful listening and a dedication to courageous leadership and civic engagement make us unique. At Widener, students can feel comfortable sharing their different thoughts and experiences in an effort to find common ground.

Common Ground In Action

Widener students are tomorrow’s leaders and innovators whose success relies on their ability to find common ground. Our faculty challenge students on an ongoing basis to have civil conversations that help them learn from and appreciate diverse perspectives.

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 breakout 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

Common Ground Events

Common Ground Panel Constitution Center
Common ground panel discussion at the National Constitution Center.

Widener’s Common Ground Initiative kicked off in fall 2017 at the National Constitution Center with “The First Amendment: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World.” Students, faculty, and staff gathered for a thoughtful panel discussion with President Julie Wollman, Delaware Law School Dean Rodney Smolla and National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen.

Dr. Wollman shared Widener's Common Ground Initiative with leading innovators and educators from around the world at the 2018 South by Southwest Education Conference and Festival (SXSW EDU) in Austin, Texas. She and Jeffrey Rosen presented the featured session “Free Speech and Civil Dialogue Online and On Campus.” Dr. Wollman returned to Austin for the 2019 SXSW EDU Conference, and presented "Free Speech Workshop: The Search for Common Ground" with Dean Smolla. 

Common Ground Initiative launches at National Constitution Center

Event Highlights

Highlights from Widener’s November, 2017 event at the National Constitution Center where a panel discussion was followed by student-led conversations that allowed participants to share their thoughts through an innovative approach that emphasized understanding, empathy, and advocacy – all through a framework of civility.

Panel Discussion

Widener President Julie Wollman, Delaware Law School Dean Rodney Smolla, and National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen lead a thoughtful discussion exploring the intersection of free speech and civil discourse in modern America.

Common Ground Event Photos

Widener's Common Ground Initiative is a national model for colleges and universities to engage students, faculty, and staff in civil dialogue the teaches them to listen and bring together people with different perspectives.