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Bentley Brave

Bentley Brave is a series of events and programs offered to provide meaningful opportunities in our community for education, conversation and reflection on topics like race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ability, and socio-economic status.


Mission Statement

We aspire to create an environment on campus where open, honest, and direct conversation occurs often within and among various groups in a variety of settings. We believe that building capacity for this kind of engagement is essential to achieving inclusive excellence in our community and is a crucial catalyst for our cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal development. We acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of social identities and opinions that enrich our community. Bentley Brave experiences work to affirm that YOUR voice is valuable and OTHERS’ voices have value as well.


Bentley Brave experiences:

  • Foster Dialog, Not Debate – To create dialog we need to actively listen to one another and seek to understand, not just to be understood, by working to make meaning across differences through engaged, respectful exchanges of ideas.
  • Provide opportunity for self-reflection – To truly engage in open, honest, and direct conversation individuals must develop an awareness of their own identity and personal world view.
  • Create an environment that allows for courageous engagement – To be brave means to move out of your comfort zone and stretch into experiences that might be uncomfortable. We believe the discomfort should come from ideas not people and encourage experiences that allow individuals to express curiosity without the threat of shame or contempt.
  • Acknowledge and support diversity of opinion – To cultivate a climate that affirms the value of our voices, we encourage experiences that explore multiple viewpoints and allow for the expression of opposing ideas and concepts, rather than merely reinforcing accepted beliefs.

Why “Bentley Brave”?
We acknowledge that conversations about the things that make us different can be hard. It requires a willingness to ask honest questions of ourselves and others and a desire to engage even when we are afraid we might say the wrong thing.  In short, it requires us to be brave. Bravery is knowing you might not have all of the information, but being curious and prepared to be a little uncomfortable on the journey towards understanding.

Mellody Hobson, President of Arial Investments and Chair of the Board at DreamWorks Animation, in her TED Talk - Color Blind or Color Brave, encourages us all, as citizens and as business leaders, to show courage and to be bold as we confront issues like race. We were encouraged by Mellody’s challenge and chose to take up her call to talk about race, and to expand that conversation to all topics of diversity that impact us as a campus community. 

We understand that we all come to this conversation at different places in terms of our understanding and our comfort. That is why we have organized events that allow for introductions to basic concepts, opportunities for dialogue and training, and experiences that push us to dig deeper into our own beliefs and views. These experiences are targeted for students, faculty, and staff so that we can all find a way to be a part of this initiative. We also know that in your own ways you can also create these opportunities by including these topics in your classes, discussing them with you peers, or organizing a program of your own. We encourage you to seek these additional opportunities and to find ways to be Bentley Brave in your dorm, classroom or office.


The following programs are being offered this semester to create opportunities for conversation and dialogue.

Bentley Brave Conversation Cafe (CC)

The Bentley Brave Conversation Café is a two-hour focused dialog opportunity open to all members of the community. We recognize that not all employees can commit to a five-week sustained dialog group. Offered once a month, the Cafes will act as an introduction to the dialog group model and allow participants to practice a few of the six essential dialog skills covered in the Bentley Brave Dialog Groups. Participants will be placed at tables of 5 – 6 people and given a series of prompts to guide them through conversation. Each Café will explore a theme like civility, free speech, or privilege.

Bentley Brave Dialog Groups (FS)

The Bentley Brave Dialog Groups were created to increase the comfort and ability of faculty and staff to engage in difficult conversations about social identity through a facilitated semester-long dialog experience. Designed - with the assistance of diversity consultant Judy Shen-Filerman - as a professional development program focused on diversity, the curriculum allows participants to develop six essential skills necessary for effective dialog through the exploration of three core concepts related to diversity and inclusion. Sessions are structured so group members can identify and reflect on the cognitive, emotional, and physical aspects of engaging in dialog. These skills and concepts provided the foundation for participants to develop a practice of dialog that will enhance their effectiveness in their current roles on campus. Open to all members of the faculty and staff, groups of 8-10 participants will meet five times over the course of one semester. To join a group please contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at 781-891-3475 or

Real Talk: An Intergroup Dialogue Experience (S)

Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) is a leadership experience with a social justice lens.  IGD has a section theme based on a social identity.  Through dialogue and an off campus retreat, you will learn how to communicate better across difference, increase facilitation competencies, talk about hot topics, and create an action plan to benefit Bentley and beyond. Groups forming in September. Please contact Jess kenerson,, for more details. 





The following events are being offered as part of the Bentley Brave series. Events will continue to be added during the year. 

Upcoming Events

STUDENT EXPERIENCES - International Student Experiences in the Classroom (F)

October 3 | 2 - 3:20pm | Wilder Pavilion

Faculty are invited to an international student panel discussion moderated by Christine Lookner, Director of the Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS). International students represent 16% of our undergraduate population and 44% of our graduate student population. Come hear from a few of these students as they share about their academic experiences at Bentley. Presented by the Learning and Teaching Council and the Center for International Students and Scholars.



October 17 | 11 - 12:20pm | Lindsey 30 

More Than A Word analyzes the Washington football team and their use of the derogatory term R*dskins. Using interviews from both those in favor of changing the name and those against, More Than A Word presents a deeper analysis of the many issues surrounding the Washington team name. The documentary also examines the history of Native American cultural appropriation. The film will be incorporated into the Freshman Year Experience program and the community is also invited to a reception with the filmmakers, Kenn and John Little on October 17th from 4 - 5 pm.  



Looking for something interesting to read? Add both or one of these books to your list and join us later this semester for a group discussion.

In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country.  Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the mega hit Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country--a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children. Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that these are people who have been duped into voting against their own interests. Instead, Hochschild finds lives ripped apart by stagnant wages, a loss of home, an elusive American dream--and political choices and views that make sense in the context of their lives. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in "red" America.

  • (CC) - Open to the entire campus community
  • (S) - Open to students only
  • (FS) - Open to faculty and staff only
  • (F) - Open to faculty only


To learn more about the Bentley Brave series please contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at 781-891-3475.