Communicating Common Ground

Posted by on February 28, 2004

Communicating Common Ground National Promotions Team

A call for communication programs to join the fight against hate Create a Communicating Common Ground partnership by June 15th, 2004. Participate in the fourth year of the program.

Four years ago, NCA announced its partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Campus Compact (CC), and the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) in their efforts to fight hate and hate crimes through a project called "Communicating Common Ground (CCG)." At NCA’s meeting in Miami, 15 new partnerships, along with the 54 inaugural partnerships, met and began their work. We now invite additional communication programs to submit proposals for the creation of community partnerships that foster respect for diversity and tolerance through communication instruction. These partnerships should involve a
communication program/department or a faculty member and his or her course and a K-12 school, classroom, or community group. The deadline for submitting proposals for partnerships to be included in the fourth-year effort is August 15, 2004.

Why Do This?

These partnerships will place your program in a leadership role in current higher education efforts to engage communities, to promote P-16 partnerships that link post-secondary and K-12 education, and to increase the quality of undergraduate learning. Students at all levels will become more engaged in their communities. Moreover, selected programs already have been promoted in the national and local press, on their campuses, and at NCA, SPLC, and AAHE’s national meetings. Finally, the partnership programs also will receive priority in future efforts to expand extramural funding from foundations and agencies concerned with diversity, service learning, and P-16 initiatives in higher education. And, when you become a CCG partnership, you automatically qualify for seed funding from the SPLC.

What Do the Partnerships Involve?

The partnerships should link communication faculty and students with teachers and students in K-12, or with adults and youth from community groups. The purpose of the local program should be to develop learning activities designed to advance multicultural education, appreciation of diversity, and the creation of communities in which hate, hate speech, and hate crimes are not tolerated. Suggestions for the learning activities can come from past year’s participants, the Teaching Tolerance program staff at SPLC, and NCA scholars working in related areas.

Partnership proposals may take various forms, depending on the goals of the local groups. You are urged to develop projects that are creative, do-able, and adapted to your department, students and local contexts. In 2003-2004, for example, our newest members are doing the following:
* Students in the Basic Communication course at Shippensburg University, PA, will participate in an Affective Communication Project in collaboration with elementary school students at the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School.
* Communication students at Delta College will work together with Bay City Central High school students to develop training skills in order to lead workshops at a local career training center.
* University of Nebraska at Omaha students will work with the Omaha Hate Crimes project to lead dialogues and workshops designed to help area youth fight hate crimes.
* At John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH, students enrolled in the Interpersonal Communication will tutor children and lead workshops focusing on issues of stereotyping, prejudice and fighting hate in an after-school program at the Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center.
* Johnson & Wales University students enrolled in a Communication Skills course will do research on hate crimes and hate speech and conduct a half-day workshop at the Sopia Academy in Providence, RI.

Other project ideas are provided in the activities reports of previous CCG participants on the NCA home page at <a href=""></a>.


Partnership proposals should be submitted and postmarked not later than August 15, 2004. Selected partners will be notified by September 15, 2004. An orientation and training session will be held at the NCA conference in Chicago. Partnerships will be expected to begin work no later than January 2004. Partners will be invited to report on project work at the 2004 NCA conference in Boston. If you need any other information to get started, visit the NCA homepage at <a href=""></a> for more details. Or, contact the project director, Barbara Clinton at

Join us in fighting hate, enhance your communication program’s national visibility, increase student learning, demonstrate the value of communication knowledge to an important social problem, and be an engaged member of your community.


If you plan to become a partner in "Communicating Common Ground," please submit a short proposal that contains the following information, postmarked by June15, 2004 to:
Leda Cooks
Department of Communication
Machmer Hall
University of MA, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545 2895

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