Professor to oversee dialogue programs at Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Xavier's Cathy McDaniels Wilson to head up Dialogue Zone, Healing Through History | October 28, 2003

One of Xavier’s newest department of psychology faculty members is the link in a unique new joint appointment between Xavier and Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Psychology professor Cathy McDaniels Wilson has been appointed the director of dialogue for the Freedom Center, set to open in July 2004.

In this joint appointment, McDaniels Wilson will split her time between teaching classes at Xavier and overseeing the “Dialogue Zone” and “Healing Through History” programs at the center.

The Dialogue Zone is a place at the end of the exhibits where visitors can reflect upon what they have just seen. Graduate students in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Xavier will be working with seasoned facilitators to process the experiences of the museum visitors who choose to enter the Dialogue Zone.

“Our hope is that we can create a safe space so people can be honest and open and able to share and hopefully improve interracial dialogue,” McDaniels Wilson says. “This is also a great opportunity for our students to not only gain a deeper understanding of themselves, but also to understand the world view of others.”

McDaniels Wilson’s second program, “Healing Through History,” is a joint endeavor between the Freedom Center and the National Conference For Community & Justice. Healing Through History involves small groups taking part in a series of interracial dialogues that focus on different episodes of history. Xavier graduate students also are taking part in developing this program.

In addition to overseeing the two programs, McDaniels Wilson is developing a practicum-training site at the Freedom Center for Xavier’s doctoral psychology student trainees.

“This is a wonderful way for developing professionals to go beyond what is presented to them and immerse themselves in something different,” she says.

McDaniels Wilson completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Much of her research focuses on women's issues, including sexual abuse and trauma. She also is interested in studying obesity and body image, and currently serves as chair of the diversity committee of the Ohio Psychology Association.

For more information, contact McDaniels Wilson at 513 745-3072.