Rhetoric's Conversation Center
The Conversation Center supports intercultural communication skills at the University of Iowa. Co-founded January 2016 and run as a collaborative effort between dedicated undergraduate students and Rhetoric faculty, we host quality one-on-one and small-group conversation between international students (undergrad and grad) and confident English speakers (enrolled in a 3-credit service-learning course, RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum).
As both international and domestic students practice their communication skills at the Conversation Center, they connect with their larger communities and encourage a rich exchange of culture on campus. We firmly believe the University of Iowa can create a more welcoming environment for international students and that all can benefit from the diversity on campus.
Since our 2016 founding: 96 practicum students have hosted 522 unique conversation seekers for a total of 3,471 sessions, & are asking you to support our continued success.
& we go beyond developing one-on-one communication skills with our Peer Leader Program, where Practicum graduates return as mentors and help run the program. They often speak in front of large audiences, whether recruiting conversation seekers, practicum students, or staff and faculty collaborators (e.g., the State of the Center, a catered event where Peer Leaders spoke before faculty, staff and student representatives from all over campus, including the University President). They develop promotional materials and present at conferences about our work.
They become leaders by becoming advocates for international engagement on campus and beyond.
& we extend our support beyond the University to immigrant and refugee populations in the Iowa City area, partnering with local non-profits (like the Friendship-Community Project, which teaches ESL, and the MERGE space, “the living room of Iowa City”) to host drop-in conversation practice we call the Community Conversation.
In sum, we work to remove social barriers: for our students, for our community members, for our society. That we might reach out more easily, that we might learn from each other, that we might build leaders capable of reaching out across difference to make things work.
We seek financial support for our Conversation Program, our Peer Leader Program, and our Community Conversation:
- Space (e.g., Community Conversation space would cost $2,700/year)
- Marketing (to connect to all who might benefit in the University, community, and beyond)
- Scholarship support for RHET:2090 students (ensuring supportive access to everyone)
- Conference travel and accommodation (e.g., last fall 4 Peer Leaders spoke together at the Iowa Civic Action Academy in Des Moines)
- Human comforts (conversation is more human over a cup of coffee or a pot of tea)
NOTICE: The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Center for Advancement disclosures site for additional information.