In a Nation Divided, Civility is Essential

Community leader Elaine Galinson to direct $5M in grants to continue momentum of UC San Diego’s student program in partnership with National Conflict Resolution Center


  • newswise-fullscreen In a Nation Divided, Civility is Essential

    Credit: Photo: UC San Diego Foundation

    San Diego community leader Elaine Galinson is committed to civil discourse, social justice and the importance of an excellent education.

  • newswise-fullscreen In a Nation Divided, Civility is Essential

    Credit: Photo: UC San Diego Center for Student Involvement

    Principal members of all student organizations at UC San Diego—sororities/fraternities, volunteer clubs, and other groups—are required to take “The Art of Inclusive Communication.”

  • newswise-fullscreen In a Nation Divided, Civility is Essential

    Credit: Photo: National Conflict Resolution Center

    Steven Dinkin is president of the San Diego-based National Conflict Resolution Center.

Newswise — San Diego community leader Elaine Galinson is committed to civil discourse, social justice and the importance of an excellent education. “It has always been a part of my being. It was a part of my upbringing, my parents, part of my Jewish religious background. And it just seems to have been in my heart and mind always.”

Galinson, a loyal supporter of the University of California San Diego, intends to make recommendations expected to total $5 million from a donor advised fund held by the Jewish Community Foundation that her father entrusted her to oversee. When completed, the recommended grants will include $4.5 million to endow the Galinson/Glickman Campus Civility Program at UC San Diego, a partnership between the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) and UC San Diego’s Center for Student Involvement. An additional $500,000 will name two classrooms in the Public Engagement Building of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Community, currently under construction on the campus in which some of the campus civility programming will occur.

The UC San Diego Galinson/Glickman Campus Civility Program—named after Galinson’s late father who passed away in 2018—is focused on students. The program is intended to provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves and perspectives of others, and to gain the skills needed to put the university’s Principles of Community into action.

“The seeds for UC San Diego’s civility and conflict resolution programs were planted years ago by Murray Galinson—Elaine’s late husband—in partnership with the National Conflict Resolution Center,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Today, our successful program model is having an even greater impact throughout higher education, influencing the creation of similar civility programs at peer universities across the country. Elaine’s vision, commitment to make change, and generosity ensure that this important program will benefit UC San Diego students in perpetuity.”

When it comes to managing a club or student organization, conflict resolution is an important yet often overlooked aspect of working with others. Principal members of all student organizations at UC San Diego—sororities/fraternities, volunteer clubs and other groups—are required to take NCRC’s “The Art of Inclusive Communication,” a three-hour workshop designed to help students learn and practice key communication techniques, focus on inclusive communication skill building and understand and practice conflict resolution.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 84 workshops were held between August and April, with a total of 2,197 students participating. The benefits of dialogue include a better understanding of others’ perspectives; increased empathy, inclusivity and civility; promoting community building and social cohesion; and exploration and re-evaluation of assumptions.

“Ultimately, dialogue fosters a safe, supportive space for people to talk across differences, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced in order to be effective,” said Patricia Mahaffey, assistant vice chancellor of Student Life at UC San Diego. “Thanks to Elaine Galinson’s generosity in endowing our excellent civility program, future Tritons will be able to reap the benefits for years to come.”

The purpose of Galinson’s grants is to make a lasting difference. “The America that I knew and believed in does seem to be slipping away,” Galinson said. “I know that these students who receive the training will most likely become the leaders of whatever field they go on to. And they will become parents who hopefully will teach their children about civility. So, through those two aspects—what they do professionally with their futures, and what they do with their progeny—is the way that I really see this having a long-lasting impact.”

After many years of support and involvement with NCRC, Galinson recognized that the organization has the staff and expertise to teach these methods. “They already started a program at UC San Diego, so they know what needs to be done and how to do it,” she said.

Steven Dinkin, president of the San Diego-based NCRC, has much respect and admiration for Galinson. “We set up a campus civility advisory committee, and she took a leadership role. As we were developing the concepts of how to take this program to scale, Elaine was involved in the nuts and bolts, including how to make the most impact and how to really move this process forward,” he said. “Through her engagement and relationships with other leaders in the community, it became a movement. Elaine’s active engagement is what has been so exciting and instrumental in the success of our campus programs.”

Dinkin added, “The student civility program at UC San Diego is the most comprehensive model that we have worked on, and it has launched programming on college campuses across the Western United States. The excitement of what was happening at UC San Diego led to programs at UC Merced, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State University and California State University San Marcos. Right now, we are on about 10 campuses.”

Elaine Galinson has contributed to many areas across the UC San Diego campus, including a lifetime membership in Chancellor’s Associates, a donor group in partnership with UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla that advances access to higher education through its scholarship program. She is a trustee emerita of the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees, having served from 1997-2003 and then again from 2004-2010, serving as board chair from 2006-2008. Galinson formerly served as a board member for the prestigious American Jewish Joint Distribution committee, the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. She continues to be active with the National Conflict Resolution Center, and is a former board member of the Jewish Community Foundation.

The collaboration between UC San Diego and the National Conflict Resolution Center started over 15 years ago and has resulted in a variety of programs that teach the importance of effective communication skills to faculty, staff and students.

Elaine Galinson’s grants contribute to the Campaign for UC San Diego, a $2 billion comprehensive fundraising effort to transform the student experience, the campus, and ultimately the world. With philanthropic partnership, the university will continue to impact lives here and across the globe. Learn more at campaign.ucsd.edu.

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