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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Becoming a More Inclusive Community through Dialogue

Norander and Galanes

How can we become more inclusive in our communities? Dr. Stephanie Norander and Dr. Gloria Galanes, researchers and professors of communication at Missouri State University, studied efforts in Springfield, Missouri, to become a more diverse and inclusive community to answer this question. They found that engaging and embracing racial differences through ongoing dialogue are central to creating and maintaining a strong sense of community.

Norander and Galanes share the genesis of their study, “Bridging the Gap: Difference, Dialogue and Community Organizing,” and their findings. Galanes explains how it all came about.

They collected and analyzed two years of qualitative, ethnographic data via focus groups and interviews of three organizations: The Springfield Chamber of Commerce, The Network and Minorities in Business. The results were recently published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research. Norander elaborates.

During these interviews, Norander and Galanes were told many stories of life in the Ozarks. Some were very positive. Some showed good intentions yet glaring insensitivities. And others revealed ignorance. Norander notes that these anecdotes are the impetus for opening dialogue to improve the community as a whole.

That was Dr. Stephanie Norander, professor of communication, and Dr. Gloria Galanes, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University, discussing their research, “Bridging the Gap: Difference, Dialogue and Community Organizing.”

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