National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, 2021, Vol. 17:109–18


Copyright © 2021 National Collegiate Honors Council


These student-led, co-curricular programs are designed to give honors students the opportunity to learn and practice civil discourse through difficult conversations. Issues such as race, religion, politics, gender, and sexual orientation are carefully curated to help students practice and hone their dialogue skills outside the classroom where grades are not a factor. A brave spaces ideology provides the foundation for shared pools of meaning, encouraging students to move from certainty to curiosity with the shared understanding that discomfort is an opportunity for growth. By teaching students how to engage in controversy with civility, Tough Talks support an honors ethos of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. Fast becoming the college’s signature program, authors suggest that with the proper infrastructure and support, Tough Talks can be implemented at other institutions.