Civil Discourse Initiative



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; even – especially – when we disagree.

With this in mind CEHV is developing a Civil Discourse Initiative dedicated to promoting respectful debate across differences on campus and beyond. The initiative, developed in collaboration with Ohio State undergraduates, has four main parts:

Civil Discourse Model

Our new Civil Discourse Model contains:

Undergraduate Civil Discourse Fellows

CEHV will annually award competitive fellowships to eight undergraduate students to be trained in using the Moderator's Guide and who agree to moderate the Civil Discourse Forums (below). Civil Discourse Fellows will plan some of the Forums, and receive support to develop civil discourse events in their student organizations.

Debra Satz and Peter Jaworski

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, trained in our Civil Discourse Model. The first two Forums were held on April 1 and April 8 on the topics Should Open Societies Have Open Borders? and Can Markets Be Immoral? 

Undergraduate Course on Civil Discourse

Our undergraduate course called Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society (ARTSSCI 2400/2400E) has been revamped as a stand-alone, experiential learning course focused on the principles of civil discourse and providing opportunities for students to engage COMPAS events. This course, designed and led by members of CEHV, is now open to students for Autumn 2022. 

If your organization would like to incorporate the Civil Discourse Model into your programming, please contact CEHV Director Piers Turner or Steering Committee Member Eric MacGilvray.

This initiative is pursued with generous support from the Derrow Family Foundation.