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Leading Controversial Conversations: Laying Ground Rules for Discussion

This semester, the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Program for Public Discourse invite UNC faculty to participate in a series of three workshops designed to empower educators across the curriculum with the necessary tools to facilitate robust discourse across controversial terrain.

Part 1 of 3: Laying Ground Rules for Discussion

Robust discourse requires candor, and candor demands a climate of trust. In this workshop, Professor Marinelli will simulate his “Ground Rules for Discussion” class activity, designed to foster a robust climate of public discourse by cultivating a healthy disposition toward disagreement. Faculty across the curriculum are invited to participate in a workshop that will prove especially useful at the start of the semester. Both faculty with minimal-to-no experience and those seasoned in facilitating controversial conversations are encouraged to attend.


A headshot of Dr. Kevin MarinelliKevin Marinelli serves as Executive Director of the Program for Public Discourse and teaches in the Department of Communication. He teaches courses in rhetorical studies, and his scholarship centers on public argument. He has published essays in Rhetoric Society Quarterly and Argumentation and Advocacy, including his most recent essay on the emergence of Black Lives Matter. Kevin also leads the Agora Fellows, a group of undergraduate students committed to the study and practice of public discourse in contemporary democracy. Currently, Kevin is investigating practices of rhetorical citizenship.


A headshot of Emily BoehmEmily Boehm is a PPD Faculty Affiliate and an educational developer and evolutionary biologist working with faculty members to bring active and inclusive learning methods to their classrooms, leading the CFE’s initiatives for faculty new to UNC. She also serves as the co-facilitator for the Faculty Administrator Development Program.