Cancelled for Fall 2013 - May be offered Fall 2014
2 Individual Difficult Dialogues Sessions being offered in
Fall 2013  - (see below)

Difficult Dialogues Faculty Fellows Program

Led by Brad Myrstol & Libby Roderick


Between 2006 and 2009, the Ford Foundation awarded UAA and APU two Difficult Dialogue grants.  The first resulted in publication of the nationally-acclaimed book, Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education. Based on the experiences of UAA and APU faculty who participated, Start Talking addresses themes of academic freedom; classroom safety; rhetoric and debate; race, class and culture; science and religion; and business, politics and social justice and is designed to serve as a manual for professors who wish to engage students more effectively in conversations about the most important issues of our time.

CAFE is offering UAA and APU faculty the opportunity to meet five times during the fall 2013 semester to discuss strategies and techniques for introducing controversial topics in the classroom and ensuring productive discussions. Faculty who attend all five sessions are eligible to receive $100 stipends for UAA/APU Consortium Library materials purchases (see application criteria below). Faculty are also welcome to improve their skills at introducing difficult dialogues in the classroom by attending individual sessions on a "drop-in" basis(register here).

Participation is limited. Applications are due by Friday September 20, 2013 at 5 pm. Please see detailed information below.

All UAA and APU faculty are eligible to apply for the library stipends, with the understanding that you must be able to:
•    Read and actively discuss the text Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education;
•    Attend all five sessions;  
•    Apply at least one strategy in the classroom during Spring 2014 or Fall 2013 semesters and share the outcome of your efforts with your colleagues.
Application Instructions
Please follow these instructions in creating and submitting the application. An electronic copy of your application must be submitted to Libby Roderick at by Friday September 20, 2012 at 5 pm.

If you wish to attend these sessions as a drop-in only, please register here for either the series or the workshops you wish to attend.

The application must include:

1. Name of Applicant, Contact Phone, Contact Email, UAA/APU Identification #

2. Academic Department/Program/Faculty Status

3. Professional Goals (1/2 page or more) Describe what it is you hope to accomplish by participating in the program and how you hope to apply new skills in the classroom.

4. Leadership Potential (1/2 page or less): Please describe ways in which your participation in the program might broadly impact teaching in your department/program, or be used as a model by other faculty members.

5. Areas of Particular Interest

For more information:
Brad Myrstol, Difficult Dialogues Faculty Associate, University of Alaska Anchorage
786-1837  or
Libby Roderick, UAA Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence
786-4605 or


Friday, September 20, 2013

Academic Freedom and Engaging Controversy in the Classroom  

12:00 - 2:00 pm LIB 302

For faculty members willing to risk engaging controversy in their classrooms as a means for developing critical thinking and motivating authentic inquiry, this session will focus on methods for creating a safe place for such risk taking. We will ground our exploration within the history of academic freedom on college campuses and practice strategies for establishing student-generated codes of conduct.

(for this individual workshop)


Friday, September 27, 2012

Politics and Expertise in the Classroom 

12:00 - 2:00 pm LIB 302A

Do professors have the right to make their political positions clear in classes that are not addressing political issues? On the other hand, what about students who question the expert authority of their professors and texts? This session will focus on being "political in the classroom" and as well, the challenge of confronting the naïve assumption about the equality of ideas.

REGISTER (for this individual workshop)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Climate Change across the Curriculum

12:00 - 2:00 pm LIB 302

Climate change is arguably the most important issue facing humanity today, one that will have a profound impact on the lives of our students and generations to come.  Higher education shapes many of the leaders, businesspeople and voters who determine relevant policies in this area.  How do we teach about climate change in disciplines outside the sciences?  How do we talk about this emotionally charged issue without overwhelming our students?  This session will focus on ways in which universities and professors across the country are successfully grappling with these questions.  

REGISTER (for this individual workshop)