Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

The Dialogue Zone is located on the first floor of Roesch Library, in Room 107.

Individuals, groups, departments, offices, and organizations on campus can reserve the Dialogue Zone's meeting space (RL 107) for their own dialogue-related events. Requests are limited to faculty, staff, and students who can demonstrate that dialogue will be an essential part of the event or program that will be held in the space.  If you would like to reserve the space, you must submit an event request form at this link.  As with other library spaces, the Dialogue Zone can be used as a study space whenever it is not reserved for an event. 

Dialogue is a communicative process in which people with different perspectives seek understanding. Participants in dialogue need not adopt each other's views, nor must their interaction result in agreement. Rather, mutual understanding is their primary goal.

There are many reasons to hold a dialogue:

  • Dialogue builds intergroup and/or intercultural competency as participants listen affirmatively to each other's views, learn through their interaction, and reflect on their experience. As participants engage each other in these ways, they often develop greater awareness of their own identities and clarify their own perspectives.
  • It invites participants to examine, question, and potentially change practices and structures that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, have advantaged or disadvantaged groups of people.
  • Dialogue contributes to the recognition of multiple social, political, cultural, and organizational identities from the wide range of human experience and the complex ways these identities intersect and are expressed.
  • It provides a means for people to engage each other in a way that respects their multiple identities, perspectives, experiences, and contributions

In these ways, dialogue reflects a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. It also promotes the Marianist vision of the University of welcoming a multiplicity of viewpoints and traditions regarding what is true, beautiful, and good; upholding the inviolable dignity of all persons; and building an inclusive learning community in pursuit of the common good.

When people engage in conflict, they tend to understand their differences in terms of "sides" and see each other as adversaries or obstacles to be overcome. In conflict mediation, participants invite a third-party to help them to find a mutually acceptable solution. While dialogue can be emotionally charged, participants avoid seeing their interaction in a "win-lose" manner. They don't have the goal of agreeing on a solution, but rather understanding each other's views. A facilitator promotes understanding, not a particular solution.

No. Both dialogue and discussion involve hearing different perspectives, but in a typical classroom discussion, participants don't explore each other's viewpoints in any depth beyond what is initially said. One person talks, then another, and then another until a new prompt is given. In contrast, dialogue involves deep listening. This includes asking probing and clarifying questions, paraphrasing, perception checking, and describing similarities and differences between views. The goal is reaching a profound understanding of people's perspectives.

First, check the Programs and Events page here at our site. There might be a dialogue already scheduled in which you might be able to participate. If you do not see a dialogue on the topic that you have in mind, contact the Dialogue Zone. You can email the staff at In your email, share your thoughts about the topic that you have in mind and why you feel that a dialogue would be beneficial. Although not every suggestion will result in a scheduled dialogue, the staff will certainly consider your recommendation.

Any topic can be the focus of a dialogue. However, topics regarding which there are misunderstandings, division, and estrangement among people are especially appropriate for dialogue. In some cases, there might be a significant need to explore particular topics, but people are reluctant to have the conversations necessary for building understanding. Often, such topics relate to differences in power among people. In such cases, dialogue can be helpful in exploring these differences in a way that resists seeing one group as oppositional to another.

The Dialogue Zone hosts a number of training programs that help people to build their skills for engaging in dialogue with others. Check the Programs and Events page here at this site. Look for a training session that reflects your interests and register for it. The Dialogue Zone also hosts talks on topics relating to dialogue. Registering for one of these talks can build capacity for dialogue by increasing knowledge, broadening awareness, and strengthening appreciation for dialogue and its various applications in the community.


Dialogue Zone

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1360