Now in its fifth year at the University of Texas, Difficult Dialogues began as part of a Ford Foundation initiative developed in response to reports of growing
intolerance and efforts to curb academic freedom on U.S. campuses.
One of a diverse group of 27 public and private institutions selected from across the country, UT-Austin is unique in offering Difficult Dialogues courses as part of the core undergraduate curriculum.
Difficult Dialogues seminars are distinctive in their focus on teaching students the skills they need to participate in constructive dialogue about controversial and potentially divisive issues.
To date UT faculty have developed fourteen Difficult Dialogue courses, most of which are part of the First-Year Signature Course program for entering students. Public Forums focusing on current controversial topics complement the courses and engage a broader public. The program also offers workshops and resources for Difficult Dialogues faculty.