"This has been the most beneficial class I have taken at the University of Massachusetts"
"I have done so much self-exploration that I have grown as a person. The relationships we share as a class in that room go far beyond the typical classroom."
"I have learned a great deal this semester, about race and ethnicity and the role it plays in peoples' everyday lives and experiences"
EDUC 395Z is co-sponsored by the Office of Programs and Services for ALANA Students (OPSAS), Integrative Learning Initiative. For more information, please call:

Date and Time:
Thursdays: 4:00-6:30
(Sections 1, 2, and 3)
Plus once on Saturday, Feb 27th, 9-5pm
First Day Of Class: February 4th
Last Day Of Class: April 22nd


Enrollment for EDUC 395Z is by permission of the instructor. You cannot register yourself on SPIRE. To register for this course, please fill out a Placement Form or contact us via e-mail at umassdialogue@yahoo.com. Sign up now by filling out a placement form!

What is this course about?

EDUC 395Z: Exploring Differences and Common Ground is an intergroup dialogue multi-section undergraduate course. Intergroup dialogues are facilitated small group experiences that bring students from different racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation to explore their commonalities and differences, examine the nature and impact of social inequalities, and explore ways of working together toward greater equality and justice. Examples of intergroup dialogues include Men and Women dialogue, Race and Ethnicity dialogue, and Gender and Sexuality dialogue. Intergroup dialogues strive to promote sharing of personal experiences, meaningful conversation, and critical examination of difficult issues, mutual understanding and cooperative action across differences. As a student in EDUC 395Z, you can expect to:

  • practice dialogic communication skills (e.g., speaking, listening, suspending judgment, exploring assumptions, engaging in reflection and inquiry)
  • explore differences and commonalties and learn from each other's experiences
  • learn together about the roots and consequences of intergroup conflicts
  • examine conflicting issues such as gender roles, reverse discrimination, racial profiling, interracial relationships, separation and segregation on campus, hate crimes, safety on campus, immigration, stereotypes and the media, sexuality and religion, affirmative action, immigration
  • participate in commmunity-building and experiential activities

How does this course work?

EDUC 395Z meets in small groups of only 12 to 16 students with two trained facilitators. Each group focuses on a specifically identified intergroup dialogue topic. For Spring 2010, the following sections are available:

  • Race & Ethnicity (Section 1)
  • Race, Ethnicity and Gender Dialogue for Women(Section 2)
  • Race, Ethnicity and Gender Dialogue for People of Color (Section 3)

Even though each section focuses on one intergroup topic, each section also looks at other issues. For example, students in the Race & Ethnicity sections will talk about race and ethnicity primarily, but also about gender, sexual orientation, and other kinds of social identity as they intersect with race and ethnicity. We make an effort to recruit a group of students that is diverse across race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality for every section

EDUC 395z is an elective, graded, 3-credit course in the School of Education. For more information about specific course requirements and assignments, or to see examples of course syllabi for different sections, click here.

To learn more about the teaching team that make the Intergroup Dialogues possible, click here.

If you have any other questions that are not answered on this page, try our Frequently Asked Questions page, or e-mail us at umassdialogue@yahoo.com.