Bridging Differences


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Learn research-based strategies for better relationships, dialogue, and understanding across divides. Relevant to anyone navigating conflicts and differences, especially geared toward college campuses.

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We encounter differences every day—differences in race, politics, gender, faith, and more. How can we connect across these differences, especially at a time of deep social polarization?

In this course, you will learn core research-based principles and strategies for fostering positive relationships, dialogue, and understanding across lines of difference. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), the course offers best practices that draw on scientific findings and case studies from real-world programs. It will zero in on how these evidence-based strategies can be applied to the divisions and conflicts that show up in our every day relationships and in various sectors, with a particular focus on university and college campuses. The course builds on the GGSC’s popular Bridging Differences Playbook, which has already been used widely by leaders in government, education, corporate, and other settings.

It is taught by Professors Allison Briscoe-Smith and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton—gifted and engaging teachers who draw on a wealth of knowledge in the science and practice of bridging differences. Joining them are researchers and practitioners who have led efforts to bridge racial, religious, political, and other divides in higher education and other settings.

Learners who register for the Verified Track will receive additional guidance in developing their own programs for bridging differences, particularly on college campuses.

Join us to make real and resonant shifts in your life, community, or campus, finding new ways to connect across lines of difference.

The production of this course was supported by a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, with additional support provided by the Einhorn Collaborative.

What you’ll learn

  • What it means—and doesn’t mean—to “bridge differences,” and when it might be unwise or unhealthy to try to “bridge” with someone else
  • Why bridging differences is valuable to individuals and communities and is especially important in higher education
  • How to identify, understand, and guard against some of your own biases and prejudices
  • How to communicate in ways that foster understanding and deeper connection rather than exacerbate divides
  • How to find commonalities and connections with people who might seem different from you
  • How to foster and support positive interactions between members of different groups who might be at odds with one another
Bridging Differences


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