The Semester in Dialogue is Currently on Pause

July 06, 2022

We have been asked to pause our academic programming from September 2022 to March 2023 to allow for an external review process. During this time, we’ll reflect on accomplishments and lessons learned from past semesters and how we can shape future semesters to best serve our students.

The Semester in Dialogue is a core program of SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Many of our graduates go on to be key contributors in shaping other core initiatives at the Centre, elsewhere in SFU, and with many of the organizations that partner with the Centre.

Over the past 20 years, approximately 1000 students have graduated from our Semester in Dialogue program. That’s 1000 students through 54 semesters who have learned the art of dialogue to advance causes they care about. These semesters have had transformative impacts on students while at the same time creating rich partnerships with the wider community. Extensive student feedback indicates that alumni leave the program with new understandings of leadership, better communication skills and a renewed sense of who they want to be in the world. Through hosting public dialogues and engaging with experts and community leaders, students develop networks of contacts and discover new interests and opportunities.

We conduct evaluations at the end of each semester, and student satisfaction has always been exceptionally high. In 2018, we conducted an in-depth survey after 15 years of the program to understand the long-term impacts. Overall, the survey confirmed that our alumni move quickly and successfully into their professional lives, with varied careers that hold in common a commitment to community engagement. It was also clear that the Semester in Dialogue’s learning objectives have been successful, as our graduates overwhelmingly emphasized how they have incorporated what they learned into their personal and professional lives.

Semester in Dialogue graduates have gone on to:

  • Found non-profit organizations
  • Be elected as mayors and on city councils
  • Be appointed in civil service positions at municipal, provincial and federal levels
  • Coordinate communications for a non-partisan youth voting project
  • Manage projects in public consultation for clients such as the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the Ministry of Transportation
  • Develop programs for Vancouver’s Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Write for Western Living magazine, the Vancouver Courier, Tyee and Adbusters
  • Coordinate projects and liaise with members of the Citizens’ Assembly for Electoral Reform
  • Solicit community input for transit planning at the Vancouver region’s transit provider TransLink, among many others
  • Pursue professional schools in law, medicine, architecture and urban planning, as well as enter diverse graduate programs

We can’t wait to see how our next 1000 students shape their communities. We’re excited about the future of a redesigned Semester in Dialogue. Stay tuned!

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