SIT Graduate Institute

Brattleboro, VT | Washington, DC

Building community. Fostering dialog.

karen blanchardSIT faculty member Karen Blanchard recently led an in-depth dialog circle exploring spirituality and identity, as the latest session in the All SIT Social Justice series—an ongoing SIT community exploration of diversity and social identity issues.

Together with students, faculty, and others in attendance, Karen explored questions such as:

  • What does the word spirituality mean to you and how does it relate to your identity?
  • How does your spirituality influence the work you do in the world?

Karen asked participants to consider commonalities and differences between the concepts of religion and spirituality, drawing on research from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing. What is meant by “the sacred”? How do we foster connection, understanding, and well-being through the practices of storytelling and deep listening? Her talk also drew on the writings and practices of author Kay Lindahl, founder of The Listening Center.

Karen Stromgren Blanchard is associate professor and degree chair of SIT’s Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management master’s program. She teaches the Journeys of Forgiveness course and courses on intercultural communication among other classes. Karen is the faculty advisor for SIT’s on-campus spirituality exploration group and the women and gender group.

Learn more about SIT’s Social Justice Series. Launched this fall, the All SIT Time Social Justice Series, coordinated by Student Affairs, is a time set aside each week for SIT students, staff, and faculty to explore and reflect on diversity and social identity through presentations, facilitated dialogue, and community meetings.

Past sessions in the social justice series have included:

  • “Diverse Community Foundations” facilitated by Julia Karpicz, Disability Services Coordinator, SIT Graduate Institute, and Stephen Sweet, Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life, SIT Graduate Institute
  • Discussion with Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity executive director Curtiss Reed, Jr.
  • “Validating Lives and Affirming Experiences” with Lindsay Whittaker exploring the broad scope of epistemic injustice
  • “Disability and Identity” with Julia Karpicz, Disability Services Coordinator, SIT Graduate Institute
  • Film screening of We Shall Remain paired with a presentation by Larry Spotted Crow Mann, internationally acclaimed writer, poet, Native American cultural educator, traditional story teller, tribal drummer/dancer, motivational speaker, and actor
  • “Social Class, Classism, and Intersections” with Mary Kay Sigda, SIT Graduate Institute; Celeste Hayes, current student (practicum phase), SIT Graduate Institute; and Debbie Lynangale, The Mediation & Training Collaborative
  • “Masculinity, Gender, & Violence” with Brattleboro Women’s Freedom Center staff member Anna Mullany