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University of Michigan – Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR)

IGR is a social justice education program which works proactively to promote understanding of intergroup relations throughout the student community. It assists students as they explore models of intergroup understanding and cooperation while acknowledging differences between and within groups. A number of other universities have used IGR as a model for developing similar programs.

IGR provides students with opportunities to learn, experience, and work constructively with one another through structured dialogues and experiential activities across social group boundaries and through social conflict.

IGR works proactively to promote understanding of intergroup relations inside and outside of the classroom. Multidisciplinary courses offered by IGR are distinguished by their experiential focus, teaching philosophy, and incorporation of dialogical models of communication.

History of the Program on Intergroup Relations

The Program on Intergroup Relations was founded at a time of heightened racial and ethnic tensions at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus in 1988. It was originally conceptualized as an academic initiative fully integrated with student life. IGR was supported by Presidential Undergraduate Initiative funds awarded to the Pilot Program, a living-learning program for first-year students, and the Program on Conflict Management Alternatives, a research development center of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

IGR's initial philosophy was to advance student understanding of and respect for diversity and to augment student skills in the area of intergroup relations and managing conflict between social identity groups. The central goal of the program was, and still is, for students to be engaged proactively to learn about the complexities of living in a multicultural society.

In 1989, the program established intergroup dialogue as its signature focus and contribution to the University undergraduate community. In 1994, IGR was instituted as a unit in the Division of Student Affairs and began collaboration with the Departments of Sociology, Psychology, and American Culture to offer intergroup dialogue academic courses.

In 1999, IGR was further institutionalized and now operates as a unit in the Division of Student Affairs in full partnership with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Since 1999, the program has grown to offer a greater number and variety of intergroup dialogues as well as new courses, co-curricular programs, and services.

Resource Link: www.umich.edu/~igrc

Charles Behling, Co-Director



3000 Michigan Union, 530 S. State Street

Ann Arbor



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