Elizabeth Parks

Sustainability Speaker Series: Listening Differently

Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • Virtual Event via Crowdcast
Dialogue & diversity specialist Elizabeth Parks discusses creating space for sustainable collaboration

What does it take to build collaborative relationships where we truly try to understand each other through listening, especially among people who have very different backgrounds or values? How can we build dialogue that promotes enduring connection that shows care, genuine curiosity, and moves our shared work forward? During this conversation, Elizabeth Parks offers a model for sustainable dialogue marked by expanding our understanding of what listening is, different listening styles we might adopt, and how expanding our listening toolkit can help foster organizational and stakeholder interactions that meet our shared goals.

Before her talk, Parks has two one-page listening self-assessments (download both at the bottom of this page) that attendees are encouraged to complete. These self-assessments will deepen the conversation and possibly help improve your own listening.

About the Speaker: Elizabeth Parks

Dr. Elizabeth Parks is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Dialogue and Diversity Specialist with the Center for Public Deliberation, and Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University. Her research and teaching blends social scientific and humanistic methods to better understand how we can improve ethical listening with people who are different than ourselves, whether that be based on diverse ethnicity, race, language, culture, gender, ability, or other identity performance. After intensive cross-cultural negotiation in the United States as an American Sign Language interpreter (since 2001), teaching in US colleges and universities on both coasts and the Midwest (since 2004), and international sociolinguistic research with a community development NGO in Latin America and the Caribbean (from 2006-2012), her scholarship is grounded in the belief that our individual, relational, and organizational lives are enriched by bravely creating hospitable spaces of dialogue across difference. Her first book, The Ethics of Listening: Creating Space for Sustainable Dialogue, was published in 2019.

Parks is committed to creating academic environments that are not just spaces for deep thinking, but also places where ideas impact individual lives and theories change community processes. As a pragmatist, she strives to lean into paradoxical questions to better understand the values, attitudes, and skills that can make intercultural dialogue a challenging but constructive practice for everyone. When not at work, you'll likely find her hiking or skiing in the mountains, playing around with a stringed instrument, on an international adventure, reading continental philosophy, or playing "Eurogames" with friends over a strong brew.

Listen to Elizabeth Parks talk about Learning to Listen on KUNC's Colorado Edition.

Check out The Ethics of Listening: Creating Space for Sustainable Dialogue at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Buy The Ethics of Listening: Creating Space for Sustainable Dialogue from Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.

Self-assessment downloads

About the Sustainability Speaker Series

Bud Werner Library, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Colorado Mountain College are partnering to present the Sustainability Speaker Series. This ongoing series seeks to connect our community with timely insights, research and actions that inform and inspire how we build our sustainable Yampa Valley futures. The Series and discussion topics advance an integrated approach to social, economic, educational and environmental dimensions of sustainability challenges that lead toward collective solutions.