Toolbox Dialogue Initiative | About Us
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About Us

Toolbox Mission

The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) helps our partners create high-performing teams and engaged collaborators by utilizing a variety of evidence-based dialogue techniques, including the Toolbox dialogue method as well as co-creation activities such as concept mapping and visioning. TDI conducts research on communication and collaboration in cross-functional teams that adds to the published literature on the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, and can improve the effectiveness of the suite of dialogue-based techniques used by TDI to enhance collaborator engagement.

Building Teams

TDI enhances team effectiveness by enabling cross-disciplinary research and practice teams to identify and leverage their differences.

Better Conversations

TDI helps cross-disciplinary research and practice teams improve their communication by increasing mutual understanding.

Facilitating Collaboration

Teammates who participate in Toolbox dialogue collaborate better because they know one another better as researchers and practitioners.

We are
Dialogue Experts

We structure dialogues that enhance communication and collaboration by revealing unobserved differences that can impeded collaborative decision-making.

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We offer
Workshops

By working with you to identify your goals and priorities, we create a workshop tailored to your needs to enhance communication and collaborative capacity in your group.

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We conduct
Research

Members of TDI are investigate aspects of cross-disciplinary process and practice, and also collaborate with partners on independent research projects.

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Our Team

TDI is based at Michigan State University and is located in the Center for Interdisciplinarity, although team members reside at universities around the US. TDI team members facilitate workshops and conduct research.

TDI Central

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Michael O’Rourke

Interim Director, Center for Interdisciplinarity; Professor, Department of Philosophy, AgBioResearch, Michigan State University

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Edgar Cardenas

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University

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Chet McLeskey

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University

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Marisa Rinkus

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University

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Stephanie E. Vasko, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University

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TDI Team Members

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Stephen Crowley

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Boise State University

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Shannon Donovan

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Department Chair, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Alaska Anchorage

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Sanford D. Eigenbrode

Professor of Entomology, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, University of Idaho

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Chad Gonnerman

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern Indiana

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Troy E. Hall

Professor & Department Head, Forest Ecosystems & Society, Oregon State University

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Graham Hubbs

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and Philosophy, University of Idaho

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Bethany K. Laursen

Ph.D. student, Community Sustainability, M.A. student, Philosophy, Michigan State University

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Anna Malavisi

Assistant Professor, Western Connecticut State University

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Brian Robinson

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

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TDI Advisors

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Kara Hall

Director, Science of Team Science (SciTS), Director, Theories Initiative, Health Behaviors Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute

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Julie Thompson Klein

Professor of Humanities Emerita, English Department, Wayne State University; International Research Affiliate, Transdisciplinarity Lab (USYSTdLab), ETH‐Zurich

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Steven Orzack

Senior Research Associate, Fresh Pond Research Institute, Cambridge, Mass.

Collaborators

  • Eric Berling, Ph.D. student, Philosophy, Michigan State University
  • Jan Boll, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Interim Director, Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO), Washington State University
  • Nilsa Bosque-Pérez, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology & Nematology, University of Idaho
  • Barbara Cosens, University Distinguished Professor, University of Idaho College of Law
  • Bryan Cwik, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and University Studies, Portland State University
  • Tom Dietz, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Sociology, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Animal Studies Program and Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
  • Jesse Engebretson, Faculty researcher, Forest Ecosystems & Society, Oregon State University
  • Lissy Goralnik, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Sustainability, Environmental Science and Public Policy, Center for Gender in a Global Context, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, Michigan State University
  • John Kerr, Professor, Dept of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
  • Paul Kjellberg, Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Whittier College
  • Robert T. Pennock, Professor, Lyman Briggs College and Departments of Philosophy and Computer Science & Engineering, Michigan State University
  • Zachary Piso, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Dayton
  • Katie Plaisance, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, Department of Knowledge Integration, Cross-appointed to the Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo
  • Sean Valles, Associate Professor, Lyman Briggs College and Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University
  • Kyle Whyte, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability, Timnick Chair in the Humanities, Department of Philosophy, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

Former Collaborators (Since 2007)

  • Brian Crist, M.A., Department of Philosophy, University of Idaho, 2010 (2008-2010)
  • Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Small Farms Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno County (2007-2008)
  • Frank Davis, Distinguished Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and Executive Director, Long Term Ecological Research Network Communications Office, University of California, Santa Barbara (2008-2012)
  • Paul Griffiths, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney (2008-2012)
  • Renée Hill, Ph.D, Environmental Science, University of Idaho, 2014 (2010-2014)
  • J. Britt Holbrook, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (2014)
  • Justin Horn, Ph.D. student, Philosophy, University of Auckland (2009-2011)
  • Chris Looney, Entomologist, Washington State Department of Agriculture (2007-2013)
  • Ian O’Loughlin, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Pacific University (2007-2012)
  • Sara Pepper, MA MPH International Grants Manager, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University (2007-2010)
  • Liela Rotschy, M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language, Department of English, University of Idaho (2010-2012)
  • Lynn Schnapp, Professor of Medicine, Division Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (2011-2014)
  • Thomas P. Seager, Associate Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment, Arizona State University  (2014)
  • Dan Steel, Associate Professor, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia (2013-2017)
  • Lori Stinson, PhD, RN, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Lewis-Clark State College (2007-2009)
  • Brianne Suldovsky, Assistant Professor of Communication, Department Communication, Portland State University (2009-2010)
  • Chris Williams, Professor and Chair, Department of Statistical Science, University of Idaho (2007-2012)
  • J.D. Wulfhorst , Professor of Agricultural Economics and Director, Environmental Science Program, University of Idaho (2007-2012)