Discussion will examine interpersonal and group dynamics in academia

On Thursday, June 23, join UCITE, the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education, as it presents “Flipping in Academic Settings.” The talk will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Herrick Room on the ground floor of the Allen Building at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Adelbert Road.

So, what is “flipping”? After observing how adult wolves teach pups within the pack to recognize and respect their authority, some dog trainers suggest that one way to establish authority over new dogs is to gently, but firmly, flip them onto their side on the ground, hold them steady until the dogs are completely calm and then let them go. After such an exercise, in theory, the dog will remain devoted and obedient to the person who did the flipping. 

The theory presents an interesting question: Do humans, either unintentionally or deliberately, engage in the verbal equivalent of flipping to establish dominance in a conversation? Often in campus discussions, certain voices are drowned out, while stronger ones command. This happens when participants interrupt, speak loudly, gesture and invoke seniority, among other behaviors.

Is this verbal flipping a kind of bullying behavior, or is it simply animated discussion? Those who find themselves dominated may think it is the former while those who dominate may think it is the latter. However one views it, the practice is inimical to the kind of free-flowing collegial discussion that ideally should characterize academic discourse.

How can you recognize if you are a flipper or are being flipped? And what can you do to rectify the situation?

Join the discussion. Pizza, lunch and sodas will be provided. Please RSVP if you plan to attend by sending an email to ucite@case.edu.