The intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Fellowship (ICDP) is our most recent fellowship opportunity for Harvard College undergraduates. The Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Partnership (ICDP) is a consortium of five colleges and universities located throughout the United States. The mission of the ICDP is to advance fundamental democratic commitments to freedom of expression, equality, and agency; develop students’ skills to facilitate conversations across political difference; and create spaces for civil disagreement to flourish on college campuses.
The core of the ICDP is a cross-institutional fellowship that brings together students from a range of public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions. The fellowship develops students' abilities to engage in and lead conversations about difficult, important topics across political difference at their respective universities and beyond. Eight fellows are selected from each partner school. Fellows will receive training in facilitation, engage in deliberative conversations within the fellows’ group, and have opportunities to interact with speakers from different sectors.
- St. Philips College, San Antonio, TX
- California State University at Bakersfield, CA
- Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL
- Stanford University, Stanford, CA
- Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
As its name suggests, the ICDP is truly a partnership. Leadership of the program is distributed among its members equally, with primary contacts at each school working in concert to plan, adapt, and execute a collaborative vision of the program. But, unique to our program, the commitment to reducing polarization and empowering students to reach across political difference is anchored in existing organizations on campus. The ICDP reflects an awareness that we can be more effective together than on our own.
The partner institutions are intentionally and purposefully diverse. They include a mix of public and private institutions; two-year and four-year institutions; a historically Black college with a strong focus on education for military veterans; those that are primarily Hispanic-serving; and two institutions known for high research activity. In its first year, the program has accepted eight fellows from each of the five participating institutions, for a total of 40 student fellows.
The Cohort Experience
In addition to acquiring real-world skills to become practitioners in facilitating civil disagreement, Fellows will have special opportunities to interact with the community of scholars connected to the ICDP. Fellows will also have access to a wide range of additional online programming offered by the five partner institutions throughout the academic year in support of their academic, professional, and personal development.
- Undergraduates from all concentrations and political ideologies are encouraged to apply.
- Willingness to engage in dialogue with others across a diversity of opinions and experiences is essential.
- An interest in learning how to lead productive and enriching conversations across a diversity of opinions and experiences is essential.
- Part- or full-time enrollment as an undergraduate during the 2021-2022 academic year at one of the five sponsoring institutions is required (with eligibility determined by each institution’s enrollment/funding policies).
Regular Sessions: Fellows meetings are required. This year they will be held on Fridays, 12-2pm PST/2-4pm CST/3-5pm EST.
Events: Students are also required to attend an all-Fellows event (via Zoom) each term. Additionally, Fellows will choose two events to attend per term from the public programming offered by the partnering institutions.
Total time commitment: approx. 2-3 hours per week, on average.
Students who are selected as ICDP Fellows will receive a $1,000 honorarium for their year-long participation (disbursed on a schedule set by students’ home institution).
Some funding is also available to support fellows’ technology needs to participate in the program.
The Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Partnership (ICDP) has developed a handbook that describes its innovative approach. It explains the conceptual and pedagogical foundations of the program by focusing on three understandings that shape the ICDP:
- Democracy requires on-going work and investment.
- Civil disagreement is a core democratic practice.
- Civil disagreement begins with dialogue; a dialogic approach provides needed structures and practices for civil disagreement.
First, each of the three foundational understandings are defined. Then, the handbook details the pedagogical approach the program has developed over its initial years. Finally, the handbook concludes with example pedagogical tools included as appendices.