MSU Dialogues

If you are an undergraduate, graduate student, faculty, or staff member interested in joining MSU Dialogues in fall 2021, please fill out this interest form and you will receive more information in August. 

MSU Dialogues is an intergroup dialogue program for students, faculty and staff at Michigan State. It is a face-to-face learning experience that brings together people from different identity groups over a sustained period of time to:

  • Understand our commonalities and differences
  • Examine the nature and impact of societal inequalities
  • Explore ways of working together toward greater equity and justice
  • Prepare individuals to live, work, and lead in a complex, diverse society

In MSU Dialogues, you will:

  • Meet over the course of a semester for a series of sessions
  • Dialogue with a group of 10-16 peer participants and 2-3 peer facilitators
  • Engage in meaningful activities that help deepen your understanding of yourself and your community
  • Develop skills for leading in a diverse environment and creating social change

graphic of MSU Dialogue title with Office of Inclusion icon

Learn more from past participant and facilitator, Briana Bohannan, in the article MSU Dialogues Online: Connecting Humanity through Conversation Even at a Distance.

Why participate in MSU Dialogues?

Past participants say...

“Intercultural dialogue made me aware of huge gaps in my knowledge that I had as a result of growing up in a very segregated community. It not only taught me so much about myself and where I fit into society but also what I can do to help change society for the better.” —MSU Dialogues facilitator

“MSU Dialogues changed my life.” —MSU Dialogues participant

“We rarely take time for reflection of our own identity, biases, and/or ways to improve. If anything, this gives you the brave space to do this, confront them, and begin to grow. As a business student, understanding privilege, bias, and how you can interrupt them will be a critical way to make changes within the business world. This could span from breaking down bias and/or improving recruitment and development opportunities to include diversity initiatives.” —MSU Dialogues participant

“In my experience as an African American woman, race is so often talked about that it gets tiring. However, being in a race dialogue is a special place. You get to know more about your own identity, and also learn about the identities of your peers.” —MSU Dialogues facilitator

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to MSU Dialogues Program Coordinator, Jackie Heymann.


Photo: Fall 2018 Facilitator Cohort


  • How do I sign up for MSU Dialogues?

    If you are an undergraduate, graduate student, faculty or staff  interested in joining MSU Dialogues in fall 2021, please fill out this interest form and you will receive more information in August. 

  • What are the benefits of participating in MSU Dialogues?
    • Build relationships across differences of race, gender, ethnicity, ability, class, nationality, and additional identities
    • Develop life-long inclusive leadership skills to live and work in our diverse society
    • Learn about your own identities and the identities of your peers
    • Create positive change in our university and beyond!
    • Students: Put this experience on your My Spartan Story experience record
    • Faculty and staff: Strengthen your capacity to create inclusive, equitable learning environments inside and outside of the classroom
    • The research shows that Dialogues effectively meets our three primary goals:
      • Increasing personal awareness about identity
      • Building relationships across difference
      • Exploring ways of working together toward greater equity and justice
  • When will the dialogues be offered in Spring 2021?

    Spring 2021 is an online intergroup dialogue

    Based on your availability, you will be placed in a group with whom you will meet each week. Throughout the semester, you will engage in dialogue with people from a wide range of identities and backgrounds, learn about historical and present-day social injustice, and collectively explore ways of working toward greater equity and inclusion. Learn more about MSU Dialogues from facilitator and graduate program intern, Briana Bohannon.

  • What are the dialogue topics and when are they offered?

    Currently, we offer three topics for our identity-focused dialogues: race, gender, and religion. All dialogues, though, examine the range of social identities we hold and the intersections of those identities.

    In Spring 2021, we will offer race and religion dialogues for students. For faculty/staff we will offer race dialogues.

  • Why do we need dialogues at MSU?

    Our society feels more divided now than in previous decades. MSU Dialogues allow you to:

    • Learn how to talk to people who have different ideas than you do.
    • Develop diversity and inclusion skills that employers are looking for 
    • Develop the ability to listen generously, to challenge previously held assumptions, and to treat one another with dignity, especially when the topic is uncomfortable.
  • What are participants learning from MSU Dialogues?

    Participants say:

    "I have gained communication skills that allow me to talk about hard topics and interrupt bias as I hear it."

    "I realized how little interaction I have with people who are different from me. At the same time, I learned a lot about people are different from me. I also feel I am better able to discuss systems of privilege and oppression now."

    "This space provides a needed outlet for people of color and aspiring allies alike."

    "This is a transformative, self-reflective experience that helped me develop a greater sensitivity to the oppression that others may face due to their social identities."

     “As a person of color dialogue helped me learn how to be a better ally for others.  I honestly never thought about the work it takes to be a good ally.” 

  • How can I learn more about MSU Dialogues?
    • Kaplowitz, D. R., & Griffin, S. S. S. R. (Eds.). (2019). Race Dialogues: A Facilitator's Guide to Tackling the Elephant in the Classroom. Teachers College Press.
    • Contact MSU Dialogues Program Coordinator, Jackie Heymann, at
  • How can I support MSU Dialogues financially?

    Donations will go directly to training facilitators, materials to run dialogues, stipends for facilitators, and awards for participants: DONATE TO MSU DIALOGUES

    What your donation supports:

    • $10,000 - a faculty or staff dialogue for 20 people for a semester
    • $7,500 - an undergraduate or graduate student dialogue for a semester
    • $6,500 - a facilitated film series for a year
    • $5,000 - a facilitator training for one semester
    • $2,500 - a faculty facilitator for one semester
    • $1,000 - one facilitator's stipend
    • $ 500 - cost of one student to participate
    • $ 250 - training of one facilitator
    • $ 100 - materials for each facilitator
    • $ 25 - supplies for one participant for an entire dialogue semester
  • Does MSU Dialogues facilitate workshops for groups on or off campus?

    Yes! Please fill out this contact form and we will be in touch shortly to schedule a time to meet with you and further discuss your group’s needs.

    Alternatively, you can reach out to the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Educational Coordinator,