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Understand Others. Understand Yourself.

We help colleges, universities, and organizations to engage students in reflective conversations that strengthen civic habits of listening, civility, and engaging diverse perspectives.

Ask Big Questions conversations are proven to make students feel more connected to campus community.


OUR approach

Ask Big Questions Shifts the conversation from debate to discovery.

Our work centers on small-group reflective conversations that can be led by staff or students in residence halls, on service trips, and all around campus. These conversations are built around a Big Question that matters to everyone and that everyone can answer. They are structured in four parts: Ask-Share-Learn-Do.



We frame conversations by asking Big Questions that matter to everyone, and that everyone can answer.


Big Questions lead to conversations where participants share personal stories to build trust and understanding.


Participants discuss and reflect on a text, image, or video to broaden and deepen the conversation.


Participants connect the conversation to their lives and communities.


Ask Big Questions in the press

Ask Big Questions’ work has been featured in O Magazine and the New York Times. We also have a rich archive of thought-provoking essays in the Huffington Post.


“Ask Big Questions helps students discover how to establish a foundation of trust and confidentiality in a group, invite contributions from everyone, and guide others into deeper learning.”

David Bornstein  |  The New York Times



Our work leads to positive change — individualLY and IN groups.

People who participate in Ask Big Questions conversations report significant, lasting increases in their abilities to:

  • listen;
  • understand their own values and beliefs, and those of others;
  • demonstrate the skills and attributes of empathetic, engaged citizenship.

They build the trust necessary to work on common problems in more civil, productive ways. And the people who lead these conversations report even more significant gains in their abilities to facilitate group work, to strategize creatively, and to design productive approaches to community challenges.

Our assessment indicates the following changes for students after participating in an Ask Big Questions conversation or program:


feel more connected to campus community


feel more prepared to engage in social issues on campus


enhanced inter- and intra-personal skills¹


deepened core skills for critical thinking²


strengthened skills for socially responsible leadership³