Beyond Good Manners: Promoting Civil Discussions on Issues that Divide Us


Location: Virtual

This first event in the series, Bridging the Divide, will set the stage by emphasizing the need for fact-based ethical arguments on important political issues. Panelists will share their observations and insights on current challenges in political discourse and potential ways to encourage rational conversations about important issues that often divide our society.

Register for this event here.

Bridging the Divide is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, in partnership with the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy.


John Duffy is a Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. He has published on the ethics of writing, the rhetoric of disability, and the historical development of literacy in cross-cultural contexts. In his most recent book, Provocations of Virtue: Rhetoric, Ethics, and the Teaching of Writing, he examines the ethical dimensions of teaching writing in a post-truth world. John is co-editor of Literacy, Economy, and Power, and his book Writing from These Roots, was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Book Award by the Conference on College Composition and Communication. He has published essays in CCC, College English, Rhetoric Review, JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and Politics, and elsewhere. John is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He teaches courses in rhetoric, writing, and literature.

Lisa Fazio is an Assistant Professor for Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Professor Fazio’s research focuses on applying developmental and cognitive psychology to educational issues. She studies students of all ages from preschool through college and examines knowledge of simple facts such as history facts, as well as more complex forms of knowledge such as mathematics. Her research informs basic theories about learning and memory, while also having clear applications for classroom practice. She has an established publication record with publications in journals such as “Psychological Science” and “Cognition.”

Tim Weninger is the Frank M. Freimann Collegiate Associate Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He is also affiliated with the Center for Network and Data Science, the Pulte Institute for Global Development, and the Technology Ethics Center. Professor Weninger’s research focuses on machine learning, network science, and social media where he uncovers how humans consume and curate information. His work is funded through separate grants from the US National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, DARPA, USAID, the Templeton Foundation via the University of Chicago, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Maura Policelli is the executive director of the Keough School’s office in Washington, DC. She provides strategic direction for the office, including its programming and outreach. Before coming to Notre Dame, Policelli was chief of staff for Oxfam America. She has extensive experience in national politics, public policy, and communications, and has spent nearly 20 years working in Washington on and off Capitol Hill. In the Obama Administration, Policelli was first appointed to the US Department of Education as senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary. She later served as the senior vice president of communications at the Export-Import Bank of the United States.