Dr. Hayes Receives EP Founders Award for Campus-wide Dialogue Initiative

Dr. Harriett E. “Betsy” Hayes, the Division Head of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lawrance C. and Carmen C. Miller Chair in Ethics, received a 2020 Founders Award from Essential Partners via a virtual gala on Oct. 2, 2020.

Hayes was recognized for her work with the campus-wide Dialogue Initiative at Bridgewater College over the last eight years.

“I’m utterly humbled to receive this award, in part because being recognized in this way is only possible due to the amazing team of people I’ve been blessed to work with both on campus and off campus,” Hayes said.

In 2012, Hayes co-directed with Dr. Jamie Frueh, Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, the launching of the College’s Academic Citizenship project, designed to help students recognize themselves as empowered members of an academic community. At the core of the project is a belief that the skills that promote success in the classroom—openness, curiosity and mutual respect—also apply to life beyond the classroom in civic, social and professional contexts.

In 2013, Essential Partners led a training workshop for Bridgewater faculty, staff and student leaders to learn the art of modeling reflective dialogue and engaging their peers in reflective structured dialogue. The success of that workshop has led to a long-term collaboration with Essential Partners, which seeks to equip people to live and work better together in community by building trust and understanding across differences.

“What I love the most about investing in this work is when I hear President [David] Bushman and Dean [Leslie] Frere address our student body and underscore the need for all of us ‘to speak to be understood and listen to understand,’” Hayes said. “It confirms for me that I’m part of a larger project, part of a team that recognizes the benefits of building a dialogic campus together. Community isn’t a given—it’s something we must actively and continually create.”

Hayes also served as Co-Principal Investigator on a multi-year, multi-institutional grant, “The Dialogic Classroom: Teaching for Humility and Civic Engagement,” coordinated by Essential Partners and funded by the Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute and the John Templeton Foundation.

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