Building a culture of rigorous and respectful engagement on campus and beyond
Civil discourse is a fundamental feature of a healthy democracy: we can make headway on the many pressing problems that we face only if we’re able to talk about them openly, vigorously, and respectfully – especially when we disagree. This is all the more important at a leading public university.
With this in mind, and building on CEHV's work on Ohio State's Shared Values and its new Civil Discourse Project, we have created Civil Discourse for Citizenship, an initiative dedicated to promoting respectful debate across differences on campus and beyond.
New Civil Discourse Framework
A rationale explaining what civil discourse is and why it’s important
A set of principles anchored by the 4Cs
Undergraduate Civil Discourse Fellows
CEHV annually awards competitive fellowships to eight undergraduate students to be trained in civil discourse. These CEHV Civil Discourse Fellows plan and moderate the Civil Discourse Forums (below), as well as serve as ambassadors for civil discourse on campus.
Meet our CEHV Civil Discourse Fellows
Student-moderated Civil Discourse Forums
These forums feature a pair speakers who hold contrasting views on a controversial issue. They are moderated by our Civil Discourse Fellows. Over three semesters so far, the fellows have hosted Forums on these topics: (1) Should Open Societies Have Open Borders? (2) Can Markets Be Immoral? (3) A Nation in Crisis: Are Guns the Problem? (4) Should Americans be Proud of their History? and (5) Is Abortion a Right?
Undergraduate Course on Civil Discourse
Our 3-credit undergraduate course called Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society (ARTSSCI 2400/2400E) introduces students to debates about freedom of expression and the importance of civil discourse, and provides training in dialogue facilitation strategies. The course also engages CEHV's Civil Discourse Forums and COMPAS events. More than 30 students from 7 colleges enrolled for Autumn 2022. It will be offered again in Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024.
Dialogue Facilitation and Skill-Building
As part of Civil Discourse for Citizenship, CEHV has also introduced a new dialogue facilitation program. This program advances OSU's Shared Values Initiative and Civil Discourse Project in two ways: by offering skill-building dialogue facilitation workshops and by facilitating dialogue on campus about important ethical issues.
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) major
The CEHV steering committee provides leadership for a new Ohio State undergraduate major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Begun in Fall 2019, PPE now has nearly 190 majors. The major offers broad and rigorous training in the foundations of all three disciplines, enabling students to study the forces and institutions that shape the modern world from more than one perspective. The core courses then introduce students to a wide range of viewpoints, encouraging informed and respectful debate on contentious public issues. CEHV faculty designed and teach the core courses, support the undergraduate PPE Society, provide academic guidance, and mentor independent research. CEHV also provides financial support to the PPE program.
CEHV's "Civil Discourse for Citizenship" program is led by Eric MacGilvray, Piers Turner, and Aaron Yarmel. It is pursued with generous support from the Derrow Family Foundation and in partnership with the Provost's Civil Discourse Project.