Project Overview

The Community Dialogue Project (CDP) was initiated March 2003. The goals of the project are: (1) to study dialogue as a means of building community across a variety of contexts and (2) to provide Central Oregonians with resources and educational opportunities to explore dialogue as a way of being and interacting with others.   

Dialogue is a temporary accomplishment, a communication quality and space difficult to sustain. Most USAmericans rely on argument, debate, negotiation, and discussion when interacting with others with whom we have differences. The antagonistic, tensional nature of these ways of communicating have left us wanting more and fortunately practitioners and scholars have rediscovered dialogue and are exploring our ability to engage dialogue as an alternative way of interacting (Anderson, Baxter & Cissna, 2004; Barge & Little, 2001; Kellet & Dalton, 2001; Pearce & Littlejohn, 1997; Saunders, 1999).

In its current form the project includes COMM 399: Communtiy Dialogue course, free community workshops, community partnership projects, and a developing line of scholarship. Of particular interest to Central Oregon are the Community Dialogue Project collaborations with local groups & organizations to further our common goals, particularly the development of places/spaces prioritizing inclusive, hopeful, and open dialogue.

Current Partnership with NeighborImpact

Beginning winter term 2013 CDP responded to NeighborImpact's desire to explore how dialague, planned and unplanned, may facilitate their organizational mission.  A small group of students having completed COMM 399: Community Dialogue winter term were selected by Dr. Dollar (TEAM Community Dialogue) to engage NeighborImpact in a colloborative process.  For instance, with NeighborImpact TEAM planned and facilitated an April dialogue with regional organizations and agencies and is currently conducting door-to-door unplanned dialogues (in the form of residential surveys).

If you are interested in bringing dialogue into your community group or organization, please contact Dr. Natalie Dollar, Project Director.

Community Dialogue Workshop Series History

Since March 2003 Dr. Natalie Dollar has offered community dialogue workshop series focusing on significant community issues. The initial workshop, War and Peace: A Dialogue, addressed student and community concerns about the Iraq War. The second workshop, The Dynamics of Democracy, focused on various aspects of democracy as experienced in our community. The third workshop, Is Our Community Divided? What are the Issues?, allowed participants to define their weekly dialogue topics, meaningful yet contested community issues. Our fourth workshop concentrated on Exploring Social Class in our community and our fifth workshop, spring 2008, on What are the religious, scientific, and spiritual views of the origin of our world? 

More recent workshop explored our campus identity, inviting students from OSU-Cascades, UO and COCC, as well as campus adminstrators, faculty and staff to engage the topic, What/Who is OSU-Cascades?. These workshops have been particularly meaningful for OSU-Cascades, facilitating understanding and ideas that have been implemented in transitioning to a four-year university.

The workshops are unique in that participants include credit-seeking students, community members and a diverse range of OSU-Cascades faculty. The workshops are free for community members and non-credit-seeking students. Relationship development and raised awareness about the benefits of teaching others about dialogue—community dialogue, interpersonal dialogue, and intercultural dialogue—are typical participant outcomes.