Bill Froehlich (deputy director of Ohio State’s Divided Community Project) asked me to share this post…

Ohio State’s Divided Community Project was privileged to develop Ohio State’s Education for Citizenship Post-Election Dialogue Series in partnership with Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. We just completed the first two events in this series:

1. “Unpacking the 2020 Presidential Election – How we got here and what lies ahead” featured DCP Co-Director Carl Smallwood and Ohio State Election Law Colleagues (Ned Foley, Steve Huefner, Teri Enns, and Peter Shane). The recording is available at
2. “Unpacking the 2020 Presidential Election – Can we talk?” focused on building skills for difficult post-election conversations. This recording is available at

This second event may be particularly intriguing for the dispute resolution community. Nine leaders from the Ohio State community shared quick ideas for difficult conversations which tie back to this one-page card developed by the Divided Community Project. I wanted to highlight the themes each Ohio State speaker identified:

– Social work faculty member Camille Quinn shared her thoughts on how to anticipate talking with people with whom you disagree
– Political science faculty Michael Neblo discussed why you might ask questions with the goal of understanding
– College of Public Affairs Dean Kate Hallihan highlighted why you might distance yourself if your self-esteem is challenged
– Lena Tenney, formerly of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, now serving as the inaugural director of diversity equity and inclusion for the college of pharmacy, shared a second perspective on how to distance yourself if your self-esteem is challenged
– Moritz Professor Katrina Lee illustrated how to let someone know you have heard and understood them
– OSU-Newark Dean William MacDonald highlighted how to offer your own thoughts
– Business Professor Mark Sullivan discussed how to listen effectively
– Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Jacquelyn Meshelemiah highlighted the value of humanizing yourself
– Stacy Rastauskas – Vice President for Government Affairs – illustrated how to allow a conversation partner to save face.

If you took a look at the video you noticed Julia Sivertson (a 2L from Columbus) and Salvia Jannat (a Master of Laws student from Bangladesh) moderate the conversation. I don’t appear on screen until the 38-minute mark, but you can imagine I was beaming with pride as these two students led the first two-thirds of the discussion, then (quite effectively) reported on lessons learned during small-group conversations.

We (the Divided Community Project) offer this video along with a card for difficult conversations and a checklist for campus leaders (all available at this page) as a resource for you and your campus communities during this post-election season. I’m so grateful to colleagues from the Divided Community Project (Nancy Rogers, Carl Smallwood, Josh Stulberg, among others) for collaboratively developing this program. Further, I’m grateful to Sara del Nido Budish and Heather Kulp for sharing some of their expertise on difficult conversations as I finalized preparation for this event.