About the EL Project

The initial Engaged Listening Project was supported by a three-year grant (2018-21) from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As of 2022, ELP 2.0 is now part of the new Conflict Transformation (CT) Collaborative, led by Prof. Sebnem Gumuscu. The new effort will expand training in listening and dialogue for faculty and staff. The description below covered our initial efforts.

The Engaged Listening Project focuses on the conditions under which we (as teachers, scholars, students, and citizens) listen to one another.  Real listening is demanding, and not always possible. It requires that we look beyond our own interests, considering the voices and perspectives of others in order to explore other ways of thinking and knowing.  An understanding of the values and priorities of others – one outcome of listening – is important for ethnographic research, political mobilization, volunteering, and running a lab.  Listening is necessary for our educational project and a useful tool in the toolbox of civic skills.

The faculty directors for the 2018-21 project were Steve Viner (Philosophy) and Sarah Stroup (Political Science). You can read about the project in the Campus newspaper and College newsroom here and here. In ELP 1.0, we focused on two major projects, one curricular and one co-curricular.  We launched a faculty fellows program to provide training in facilitating productive disagreements in the classroom.  Second, we worked in partnership with the Vermont Humanities Council to develop a new format for visiting speakers that enables more robust audience engagement with speakers and with one another.

You can see a brief report on 2018-19 here. The EL Project builds on the work done by the 2017 Committee on Speech and Inclusion – you can read their report here.