Faculty Development

Navigating Difficult Dialogues

Navigating difficult dialogues with anyone isn't always easy. And now, more than ever, it needs to be our collective responsibility to continue developing our skills to navigate our interpersonal interactions so that growth and learning can result. One of the first and most powerful moves you can make is viewing conflict or those difficult moments as an opportunity for learning and connection to occur. 

These resources below are simply a starting point. If you have additional resources we could add to this list, please send us an email ( ). 

CSUN's Chief Diversity Officer offers 5 ideas on how to navigate discussions about difference

CSUN's Chief Diversity Officer, Raji Rhys invited Faculty Development to co-create this 5.5 tips on how to turn Challenging Classroom Discussions into a Tool to Accelerate Learning. 

Open The Front Door: 4 steps when navigating difficult moments with anyone

When someone says something upsetting, what are your options for responding? Do you freeze, flee, or even fight back? What if there was another option that could result with deeper learning and understanding? What exact words can be said in that exact moment?

Drs Cynthia Ganote, Floyd Cheung, & Tasha Souza discuss using a 4-step communication approach called Open The Front Door, based on the work called Non-Violent Communication, to navigate micro-aggressions or any other conflicting moment.

The four steps are to make statements about: Observations- Thinking- Feeling- Desires. To learn about the steps, check out their handout PDF icon and/or play their video (2nd video, start around 24 minutes) on the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity's website, which was founded by Kerry Ann Rockquemore. This website has a number of other great resources too!

Resuming class after the election -- University of Michigan offers some ideas

The University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning & Teaching provided insights on how professors can engage with students about the election. This website includes guidelines for discussing difficult or controversial topics and responding to difficult moments


25 links with tips on how to respond to incivility and how to create an inclusive class

Kerry Ann Rockquemore the founder of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity visited CSUN in 2015 and connected with faculty on various topics. Check out her website that is packed full of 25 links related to how we can respond to incivility and teach with an inclusive approach.

*Thanks to Dr. Theresa White who arranged for her to visit our campus. 

Two free handbooks on how to navigate difficult dialogues

The University of Alaska Anchorage with Alaska Pacific University created Start Talking for professors seeking guidance on how to engage with students on "some of the most important topics of our time." For an array of resources, visit their website: http://www.difficultdialoguesuaa.org/handbook/landing