Politics, debates and other timely issues are likely to spark controversy and divide public opinion on our respective campuses. How can we encourage students to engage in these conversations with courage and respect? What role does family, media, pop culture, campus culture, and social media play in forming our truth and beliefs? Are we obligated in our role as educators to set aside our personal opinions, identities, and emotions in discussion of politics and other hot button issues? What are effective “ground rules” for dialogue that facilitate student learning about alternative narratives and perspectives? How do we find the balance between unrestricted free speech and hateful/hurtful speech?

On this episode of Student Affairs Live, host Tony Doody explored these questions and many more with Dr. Marcella Runell Hall, Vice President for Student Life at Mount Holyoke College, Dr. Kelly E. Maxwell, faculty member in and academic Co-Director of the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Demetri Morgan, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the Loyola University Chicago School of Education.

Resources shared during the episode:

University of Michigan Program on Intergroup Relations
Institute for Democracy and Higher Education
Special Issue: Student and Institutional Engagement in Political Life
Five Things Student Affairs Professionals Can Do to Institutionalize Civic Engagement
List of publications on Intergroup Relations and Intergroup Dialogue
Free Download of Love, Race & Liberation
Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center
Intergroup Dialogue National Institute
Guidelines For Dialogue
LARA/LARI and Empathy


Episode Host

Tony Doody

Tony Doody

Tony Doody has over 25 years of practical experience and oversight in senior leadership positions within the Higher Education industry in the areas of Facilities Management, New Student Orientation, Recreation, Parent and Family Programs, Leadership and Training, Marketing and Communications, Adult Learning, and Major Events and Programs. He currently serves as the Director of Student Centers at the University of Delaware. Over the last six years, Tony has presented at over thirty universities and national conferences on topics of innovation, digital leadership, technology, and unconventional leadership. He received the Diamond Honoree Award from the ACPA Foundation, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, recognizing transformative contributions to the field (2017) and earned NASPA's 2017 Technology Emerging Practice Award. In addition, Tony has worked over 20 years as a consultant in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, presentation skills, risk-taking, innovation, social media, conflict resolution, and team cohesiveness. Past clients include J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vistakon, Navigant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, United Way, Merrill Lynch, Tumi International, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


Dr. Marcella Runell Hall

Dr. Marcella Runell Hall was named Vice President for Student Life in August 2016; and previously became Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke College in 2014. She is a social justice scholar and accomplished author. She previously spent seven years at New York University, where she was the founding co-director for the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership in collaboration with Chelsea Clinton and Hall served a clinical faculty member in the Silver School of Social Work.

The Huffington Post recently called Dr. Hall “a leading scholar on the interweaving between social justice, activism, hip-hop, and faith.” Hall has edited three award-winning books, The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook: Volume 1 (2007) with Martha Diaz, Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip-Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change (2008), and Love, Race, and Liberation: ‘Til the White Day Is Done (2010) with Jennifer “JLove” Calderon. Additionally, she has written for Scholastic Books, the New York Times Learning Network, VIBE, and various academic journals, including Equity and Excellence in Education. Her forthcoming book, “Uncommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race & Friendship” with Kersha Smith, PhD is coming out in late 2016.

For her accomplishments in the field of Student Affairs, Hall has received numerous teaching and programmatic awards, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. She was honored by inclusion in the JFK 50th Anniversary Legacy Gallery along with other luminaries such as Madeleine Albright and Harry Belafonte. She is also a former fellow for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.


Dr. Kelly E. Maxwell

Kelly E. Maxwell, Ph.D., is a faculty member in and academic Co-Director of the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan.  She co-directs a partnership unit between the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Student Life.  Dr. Maxwell served as the chair of the University Diversity Council from 2012-2014 and is active in improving campus climate for underrepresented groups. She currently serves on the coordinating team for Faculty Liaisons for Inclusive Teaching to develop inclusive pedagogical practice throughout the campus community. She also recently co-led faculty workshops on using dialogic methods in traditional academic courses.  Her co-edited book, Facilitating Intergroup Dialogues: Bridging Differences, Catalyzing Change (2011, Stylus) emphasizes the significance of sound facilitation in processes that bridge social differences based on social identities. Dr. Maxwell received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and also coordinated the University’s intergroup dialogue program, called Voices of Discovery.  Her M.S. is in Higher Education in Student Affairs and she began her career working in residence education, new student orientation, and student life.  As a result, she takes a developmental approach as she works with students at all stages of their undergraduate careers.


Dr. Demetri Morgan

Demetri Morgan, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the Loyola University Chicago School of Education. His research interests center on the purpose and responsibilities of higher education in a diverse democracy. Demetri seeks to understand how colleges and universities create campus climates that build the cultural competencies of students in order to foster lifelong civic and political engagement. Additionally, he explores issues of academic governance and institutional policy in relation to boards of trustees and their influence on the outcomes and success of students. He earned his  Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.