Civil Discourse for Citizenship

Civil Discourse for Citizenship

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. 

The 4Cs: A Civil Discourse Framework

rationale explaining what civil discourse is and why it’s important
set of principles anchored by the 4Cs


the 4Cs


Undergraduate Civil Discourse Certificate Program

The Civil Discourse for Citizenship certificate offers students the opportunity to learn more about, and to better practice, civil discourse. They may also wish to demonstrate their commitment to civil discourse to potential employers. Through coursework, event attendance, and participation in other programming, students earn points toward the Civil Discourse for Citizenship certificate at their own pace.

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 (see below) and serve as ambassadors for civil discourse on campus.


Civil Discourse Fellows - 8 headshots

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. So far the fellows have hosted Forums on these topics: Should Open Societies Have Open Borders?Can Markets Be Immoral?A Nation in Crisis: Are Guns the Problem?Should Americans be Proud of their History?Is Abortion a Right?; Is Affirmative Action Just?; and Can Markets Solve Climate Change?

Debra Satz and Peter Jaworski

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. 

workshop 1

Teaching Endorsement on
"Ethical Disagreement and Civil Discourse"

In Spring 2024, CEHV will begin offering a newly-approved teaching endorsement through the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning. Through active learning exercises, this endorsement provides instructors and group leaders with tools and strategies to navigate contentious ethical disagreements and foster civil discourse in their classrooms or programs.

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 210 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.

PPE logo

CEHV's "Civil Discourse for Citizenship" program is led by Kathryn JoyceEric MacGilvrayPiers Turner, and Aaron Yarmel. It is pursued with generous support from the Derrow Family Foundation and in partnership with Ohio State's Civil Discourse Project.