Hugh Downs School students dispersed throughout campus in the spring of 2018 with "Free Listening" signs. What did they hear? People shared about exam grades (both the good and bad outcomes), stressors regarding setting time boundaries with romantic partners, and the highlights of accomplishing the most challenging level of a video game. Listening is a great skill, and this exercise helps foster a community where everyone is heard.

The Transformation Project focuses on communicatively transforming lives and relationships at all levels of human interaction. We are a consortium of faculty, students, and community members who seek to discover and promote creative change processes that encourage healthy communication patterns, collaborative group behavior, and equitable forms of social organization. Our work centers on harnessing the energy and urgency inherent in problematic situations and directing it toward empowering individuals, nurturing relationships, enriching organizations, and cultivating community.

We work diligently to accomplish our mission in the following ways:

Collaboration and Support

A cornerstone of the Transformation Project is regular meetings among associates to collaborate and encourage each other in our individual and collective transformative research interests. In addition to regular on-campus meetings, the Transformation Project also sponsors off-campus writing retreats to create the time and space needed for focused, collaborative work. Additionally, the Transformation Project directly supports Graduate Students through financial assistance for ongoing research and conference travel, helping create cross-university collaboration and getting valuable feedback from others to further their work.

Innovative Research

Diverse Research Methodologies. Faculty and students utilize and combine varied quantitative and qualitative methods, including conversational and observational analysis, experimental design, surveys, and arts-based research. The Transformation Project is committed to diverse research methodologies in order to approach complex problems from a variety of research perspectives.

Broad Research Topics. Associates within the Transformation Project are committed to a broad array of research topics related to Transformation lives and relationships. In past years, work has been done to address competent management of conflict, abuse in the marriage, promoting peace in Cyprus, workplace bullying and emotional labor, interpersonal stress, and counteracting aggressive driving. Recent and active work has focused on organizational resilience and emotional well-being, transformative leadership and pedagogy, the responsible use of privilege, step-sibling relationships, and navigating gender identity within organizations. See more in Media, White Papers, & Publications and Transformation Project Associates

Community Partnership and Engagement

Community Partnerships. The Transformation Project understands that true transformation is often best accomplished by partnering with our community. As such, associates have worked with a variety of community partners, such as partnering with organizations to help understand and create compassion, resiliency, and generosity, helping facilitate dialogue and peacebuilding efforts among groups in conflict, and partnering with indigenous communities to promote sustainable development. 

Community Engagement and Education. The Transformation Project believes it is critical to both apply academic work to real-life contexts, as well as make their work accessible broadly. Transformation Project associates have organized community events to promote civil dialogue, conducted a training workshop for public and private employees, performed public workshops on conflict transformation, delivered workshops on the responsible use of privilege, and participated in creative programming for sexual violence prevention. Additionally, associates have been involved in co-creating education and training material related to work-life balance, the division of household labor, and the economy of gratitude. 

Transformative Teaching

Faculty offer courses on transformative communication across the discipline, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Seminars include a focus on interpersonal and group conflict, group facilitation, transformative leadership and social impact, and emotional well-being. New courses are regularly developed based on student interests and needs, such as “Communication for Well-Being and Social Impact,” a graduate seminar offered in Spring 2018.

The Transformation Project is a new initiative of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. The Conflict Transformation Project and the Project for Wellness and Work-life (PWWL) are now components of the Transformation Project.