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Tufts University Dialogue Center Announces New Director

Monday, October 25, 2021

Dr. Kenann McKenzie to lead the Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center at Tisch College; center focuses on civic engagement, listening and dialogue on challenging issues

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Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life today announced that Dr. Kenann McKenzie, an accomplished educator, researcher and civic leader, will direct the newly created Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center.

Designed to be a global center of excellence to promote authentic dialogue and generous listening across differences, the GLAD Center will serve as an educational resource for Tufts and beyond. The Center defines generous listening broadly, encompassing the art of listening to ourselves, to nature, and to others—especially when people disagree or when they confront differences of power and status. 

Dr. McKenzie, who will join Tufts on November 1, 2021, has worked for two decades in the higher education sector as an academic counselor, researcher, lecturer, policy analyst and administrator. She currently serves as Director of the Aspire Institute, which supports the preK-12 educational sector with professional development based in a social justice framework and community engagement. In addition, she currently teaches at Wheelock College and served as the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies’ faculty representative to the college’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. 

“Working with Tufts students—the next generation of civic leaders—is a wonderful opportunity, and I’m thrilled to join Tisch College in building and sustaining a community of robust dialogue and truly generous listening,” said Dr. McKenzie. “This work challenges us to hear each other and ourselves, and to commit to considering big questions and big issues together.”

Housed at the Tisch College of Civic Life, the GLAD Center will collaborate with schools and departments across the university and with external partners, building on the expertise of Tufts’ faculty, research centers and civic engagement programs. Its programming, research, and interdisciplinary initiatives will help people at Tufts and beyond to develop skills and awareness, address hard issues, and generate new knowledge. The GLAD Center was launched in the spring of 2021 in collaboration with the Vuslat Foundation. Dr. McKenzie will be joined on the Center’s leadership team by Dr. Deborah Donahue-Keegan, Associate Director, Tisch College Senior Fellow and Lecturer in the Tufts University Department of Education.

“We look forward to welcoming Dr. McKenzie to Tufts and Tisch College,” said Dayna Cunningham, the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of the Tisch College of Civic Life. “Her leadership of the GLAD Center could not come at a better time. To grapple with the challenges that confront our students, our university and the world—from systemic racial injustice to the existential threat of global climate change—we need to flex every civic muscle we have, including the skills of listening and dialogue.”

Dr. McKenzie has a BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University, M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in Social Foundations of Education, and a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In her civic life, she serves on the Beverly, Massachusetts School Committee and as VP III and education chair of the North Shore Branch of the NAACP. She is most proud of being a mother to amazing children who inspire her work everyday.

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CONTACT: Jen McAndrew
jennifer.mcandrew@tufts.edu | 617.627.2029