Lisa M. Perhamus, Ph.D.

Director, Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse
Grand Valley State University

About Me

Lisa M. Perhamus, Ph.D. serves as the director for the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Perhamus has been with the Center since its inception in 2013, serving first as the inaugural Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse and then becoming director in 2019. Originally from upstate New York, Lisa has been engaged in dialogue and facilitation work for 32 years across a variety of settings including community spaces, workplaces, and classrooms. Her civil discourse trainings focus on creating cultures of conversation and offer strategies for having productive conversations across differences in life experience, worldview, and identity. Lisa is an active member of the Michigan chapter of the national dialogue and depolarization organization, Braver Angels as well as organizations committed to viewpoint diversity and bridge-building such as Heterodox Academy and the Listen First Project. Her work has included: serving on the Board of Directors for a NY neighborhood YMCA; serving as the Co-President of a local chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); facilitating focus groups for the United Way and the Monroe Office of the Aging; facilitating group conversation for the Chelsea, Michigan Public Library; and providing civil discourse training for the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Lisa earned her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester where she worked to apply sociology to questions that plague the field of public education.