Earlier this fall semester, six IUP students participated in "Power of Dialogue (POD): Deconstructing the Urban-Rural Divide," a joint effort betweenGeorgetown University, Radford University, Columbia University, and IUP.

This five-week immersive dialogue experience brings together students from the four universities (virtually) to

  1. build dialogue skills needed for navigating contentious issues,and
  2. develop the cultural dexterity students need to serve as a bridge between rural and urban communities.

Through weekly evening dialogue sessions, interactiveexercises, one-on-one conversations, and videos, students increase their self-awareness and ability to manage differences in a range of settings

The faculty liaison for IUP, Brandon Vick (Economics), was thrilled with the success of the program this fall. "Our students impressed faculty and students from thepartner universities. It was a tremendous opportunity for them to explore bridge-building techniques, expand their thinking on divisive issues, and make newconnections that will likely lead to awesome opportunities."

How did IUP get involved?

"I made a friend working in the Appalachian Teaching Project, Dr. Theresa Burriss from Radford U," said Vick. "Originally, the POD program onlyincluded Radford and Georgetown, with students visiting the other campuslike country worm, city worm' from Sesame Street. Columbia University wanted to jointhe program, and everyone wanted to bring along a new partner for Northern Appalachia. Dr. Burriss said that she knows the university that would be a great fit and the personto make it work! She made the connection between me and Georgetown, and I recruited the six students that proved everyone right about IUP."

The six participating students included:

  • Justin Foran, Economics
  • Cierra Henderson, Biology
  • Alexa Hershberger, Economics and Biology
  • D'Atra Hill, Cell and Molecular Biology (major), Global Health (minor)
  • Justina Mascaro, Finance and Economics
  • Marissa Willson, Anthropology

The POD program will run again in spring 2021 and is looking for new students to participate in the completely virtual experience. Abigail Adams of Anthropology will join the facilitation team for the PODdiscussions, bringing along her experience with conflict resolution and diversity and inclusion training.

For those interested in applying, please contact Professor Vick (brandon.vick@iup.edu) or take a look at the Power of Dialogue website. There are no costs to apply or take part in this program, other than your time and commitment to dialogue.

Please note: The application requires a student video commenting on what they feel is the biggest problem facing their community and how they interact with people who have differing views. The deadline for IUP students to apply is December 15, 2020.

Department of Economics