Teaching About Privilege: A Model Combining Intergroup Dialogue and Single Identity Caucusing

  • N. Eugene Walls University of Denver
  • Susan Roll University of Denver
  • Lynne Sprague University of Denver
  • Rachel Griffin Southern Illinois University


Numerous challenges in educating about issues of privilege have been documented in the academic literature. To address many of those challenges, this paper outlines a pedagogical model that combines a modified form of intergroup dialogue, called cross-privilege dialogue, with single identity caucusing to engage participants in exploring their personal embodiment of privilege and their barriers to engaging in ally behavior. The paper identifies specific issues that arose in implementing the pedagogy and theorizes a process from resistance to praxis that combines critical self-awareness with action to assist students in understanding the importance of both.

Author Biographies

N. Eugene Walls, University of Denver

Dr. Walls completed his MSSW at UT/Austin and his PhD at the University of Notre Dame. He worked for 8 years as a community-based social worker with people with disabilities; people with HIV/AIDS; homeless families; and children in foster care. His research focuses on multicultural education, issues of LGBT youth, homelessness, and modern forms of prejudice. He teaches courses on research methods, multicultural social work practice, and a course he developed, Disrupting Privilege through Anti-Oppressive Practice. His goal is to foster a structural understanding of oppression in his students so that they may be equipped to challenge the inequities in our society.

Area of specialization: Social work education, Pedagogy of teaching about privilege, Modern forms of prejudice, LGBT youth, Heterosexual privilege, Christian privilege, Cisgender privilege

Susan Roll, University of Denver


University of Denver


A study of the coping strategies of financially vulnerable families experiencing the

precarious cliff between welfare and work

, Denver, CO Ph.D., (Expected June 2010)

Doctoral Candidate: Graduate School of Social Work


Lynne Sprague, University of Denver

Lynne Sprague, a Texas girl, moved to Colorado a few years ago to continue her work in the anti-violence field.  Lynne teaches courses on gender-based violence, disrupting privilege, exploring social justice and policy at the University of Denver.  She does work on immigrant justice with Coloradans for Immigrant Rights.  She supports the independent media revolution through her work with Free Speech TV.  She is part of a local collective, the Transgender Shelter Access program, that works with local homeless shelters on issues related to their trans-inclusion and broader LGBTQI anti-violence work.  She is also part of Denver Fair Food Campaign, a local collective that works to support the organizing of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida.    She is working on a documentary that tells the story of the harm-reduction work of a local group of organizers.

Rachel Griffin, Southern Illinois University

Dr. Griffin is an Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University. Griffin's written works, including her doctoral dissertation, address the intersection of gender and race.

How to Cite
Walls, N. E., Roll, S., Sprague, L., & Griffin, R. (2010). Teaching About Privilege: A Model Combining Intergroup Dialogue and Single Identity Caucusing. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 1(1). Retrieved from https://www.wpcjournal.com/article/view/6262