Intergroup Relations (IGR)

Intergroup Relations (IGR) is an educational experience about issues of social justice.

The focus of IGR is on creating understanding relationships among people from different social, economic, racial and ethnic groups. Communication skills related to careful listening and meaningful dialogue are also discussed and developed for all who participate.

Courses Are Offered Fall & Spring Semesters for Students

One credit IGR courses are designed to prepare students to create dialogues in situations where understanding and listening are needed. These courses are held in both the Fall and Spring semesters. In the Fall semester, they take place every Monday, and in the Spring semester, every Tuesday.

The Program on Intergroup Dialogue - 1 credit courses - COM 5300

Intergroup Dialogue is a program of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Communication. Specially trained faculty and staff members facilitate each small class, limited to 12 students, and the cultural identities of participants are carefully balanced.

Each course begins with attention to the dialogic process of interaction. Readings, in class dialogue, written papers, and interactive exercises are used to guide self-exploration, highlight similarities and differences among class members, and increase understandings of how social structures and institutions function to allocate priviledge and sustain societal inequities.

Most courses meet for 2 hours once a week for 7 weeks. Request courses at Placement in classes is done on a first-come first-serve basis.

NOTE: Three one-credit courses can be bundled to meet the Diversity 1 requirement for CLAS students and a free elective for VSB students. Courses do not have to be taken in the same semester. Contact Sheryl Bowen at for more information.




Gender: In this course, students explore the topic of gender identity and how gender discrimination is often invisible in our daily lives. Topics include masculinity and femininity, the related pressures men and women experience, images of women in the media, gendered language, the expectations that the construct of gender asserts broadly in U.S. society and on campus, and the intersections of gender and sexual orientation.

Socioeconomic Status (SES): In this course, students explore what it means to be a member of their own socioeconomic status. They also engage in dialogue with peers about their differing experiences and identities related class/SES. Class/SES are explored as fluid identities that change during one’s lifetime.  What it means to experience privilege and discrimination because of one’s class identity is also explored.

Religion/Faith: This course engages students in dialogue about their faith identities and faith journeys. In collaboration with peers and facilitators, students discuss what is beautiful and challenging about being a member of one’s own religion/faith group, or not having membership to such a group. Particular attention is paid to students’ experiences of faith within our Catholic University context and it is highlighted that we must make space for those who have marginalized faith identities.

Race: This course covers the topic of racial identity and racism. Students engage with peers and facilitators about the areas in which they experience privilege and discrimination because of their racial identity. Personal experiences and lack of experience with racism are discussed, as well as what this means for being an ally.

Racial Identity (intragroup):  Like the course on race, this section engages students in dialogue on race and identity. By engaging in this intragroup dialogue with peers who have similar racial identities, but different lived experiences, students gain a deeper understanding about what it means to be a member of a priviledged or marginalized racial group.  

Sexual OrientationIn this course, students unpack the various ways they identify with and understand sexual orientation. This course also builds on gender and allows students to talk about the ways in which their gender and sexual orientation intersect. 

Ability: This course asks students to consider their own ability identity, what constitutes ability/disability, and how they can be better listeners and allies to individuals with a disability. Like SES, one's ability is fluid and can change at any point during one's life, challenging students to consider forms of ability/disability priviledge and how that functions in a society that often stigmatizees those with a disabiity as less than human.

Advanced Race: A prerequisite to this class is the successful completion of IGR on Race or Racial Identity and recommendation of the instructor. This course builds on the topics of oppression and discrimination covered in the Race and Racial identity courses, and moves students into a performative place where they embody the communication styles associated with actual and perceived notions of racial identity.

Advanced Race and Gender: A prerequisite to this class is the successful completion of IGR on Race and Gender and recommendation of the instructor. This course challenges students to consider the intersectionality of race and gender, and how that works to privilege or oppress certain groups. The combination of gender and race identities are  highlighted as communicative events in this course as students share how their identities affect their social roles on campus and in their communities. 

IGR logo - Inter Group Relations


Brown Bag Logo

Brown Bag Lunch Series

Monthly opportunities for faculty, staff and students to engage in dialogue about current events related to equity and justice on campus and in society.


Apply Now

To apply for one of our IGR classes use our Online Application Form. For questions or additional information email:

Want More?

If you are interested in these topics, visit the website for the Association for Change and Transformation (ACT) to learn about more ways to get involved in social justice at Villanova.