Cal Poly CLA News

The latest online edition of CLA's Impact Magazine

Intergroup Dialogues

Research Engagement

Intergroup Dialogues Logo 

What is Intergroup Dialogues?

Intergroup Dialogues (or IGD), is a nationally utilized and recognized program that has its origins at the University of Michigan under Dr. Charles Behling. The program is designed to teach students to dialogue about topics like race and ethnicity where different perspectives from different groups often lead to hard conversations. IGD emphasizes dialogue as a way to listen to another’s perspective and to share one’s own, as opposed to debate which often leads to a shutting down of other’s perspectives. Dialoguing does not always lead to agreement, nor does it need to, but it allows for better understanding of different perspectives and views, especially among participants who come from different backgrounds or identities.


In the IGD program at Cal Poly, students work in small groups to first learn dialoguing skills, and then begin to actively practice these skills while discussing a variety of difficult topics.

Why should I participate in Intergroup Dialogues?

Universities across the country use this program (sometimes under different names such as Intergroup Relations, Difficult Dialogues, and others) and as such its benefits are well-known in many spheres. Having IGD training on your resume signals to employers or graduate schools that you’ve taken some extra training in a skill that many are looking for in today’s social climate. Being aware, knowledgeable, and having skills in cultural competency is a big plus on today’s job market, and helps you to be more confident in working and getting to know people who are different from you in some way. Dialoguing skills can be beneficial in all kinds of situations that might involve conflict or confrontation as well.

How do I get involved?

  • Take the NEW Intergroup Dialogues Internship in the Dept of Psychology starting Fall of 2023!

    The Dept of Psychology has created a brand new 5-unit internship that will allow students to learn about dialoguing skills, how to use them, and how to facilitate difficult conversations. As part of the internship, students will engage in weekly 2-hr sessions lead by trained staff, and will receive a certificate of completion of this nationally-recognized program. Other activities will include working with faculty in the department to conduct focus groups and research on further development of IGD for use across Cal Poly. Students who receive a certificate are eligible to apply to be a Peer Facilitator in PSY 304 (described below). More information is available from Dr. Jennifer Jipson. Don't miss out on this excellent opportunity! Participation is limited to 12 students each quarter. 

  • Take PSY 304: Intergroup Dialogues


    This class was established in 2008 and has steadily grown in size every year as students realize the benefits of learning to dialogue. In PSY 304, students are placed into small groups of approximately 15 that are formed in order to allow for racial and ethnic diversity in each group. Students are guided through a series of activities by Peer Facilitators each week, in addition to hearing lectures from the professor or other guest experts from across campus about a variety of topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). PSY 304 carries GE credit as well (upper division D). Peer Facilitators must take the IGD Facilitator Training prior to applying.



Please email Dr. Jennifer Jipson, Chair of the Dept of Psychology at Or Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti, Associate Dean for Diversity and Curriculum at

Related Content