Meeting the challenges of the future in a polarized world.
As our interconnected world changes rapidly, embracing diverse perspectives is more important than ever to advance the common good. At Widener, we create opportunities for students to discuss differences in open and respectful ways, preparing them for personal success and to become active participants in a thriving democracy.
The Common Ground Initiative engages students in challenging yet civil conversations that teach them 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
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:
Attending diversity and inclusion events and leading panels and breakout sessions on and around campus
Watching political debates and participating in an active political engagement group
Joining multicultural campus organizations
Joining small-group discussions on common ground led by the university president
Honoring Diversity & Inclusion
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. Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Widener.
Participants share their thoughts about current experiences and issues related to common ground on campus and beyond while listening and learning from the diverse perspectives of others. These informal and free-flowing discussions help prepare students, faculty, and staff to be active participants in a thriving democracy who address challenges by finding common ground.
Discussion topics have included:
How the Widener community can address disparities revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic as we resume our post-pandemic lives;
Recognizing situations in which members of our community may feel like outsiders in groups or settings;
Sharing reflections of how participants have felt marginalized because of their beliefs;
And how the Widener community might bridge divides in our classrooms, workspaces, and communities.
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.
The First Amendment: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World
Widener’s Common Ground Initiative kicked off in fall 2017 at the National Constitution Center. 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.
Other highlights from the event include 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.