William Doherty

William Doherty

Professor, Co-Founder of Better Angels, University of Minnesota and Better Angels

Bill Doherty is a Professor in the Department of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. Following the 2016 Presidential election, he co-founded Better Angels, a citizen initiative to counteract political polarization and restore the fraying social fabric in American society. This work comes out of a long career in grass roots organizing among parents and other citizens around cultural, community, and health issues. These projects have ranged from the cultural discontents of middle class families (like overscheduled kids) to challenges of urban single fathers, from medical overuse to the relationship between police and African American men. Bill is also a family therapist, and among his awards is the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Family Therapy Academy.

Better Angels: Bridging Our Partisan Divide


The United States is disuniting. Today Americans increasingly view their political opponents not only as misguided, but also as bad people whose ways of thinking are both dangerous and incomprehensible. This degree of civic rancor threatens the vibrancy of our democracy. Better Angels is a bipartisan citizen’s movement to unify our divided nation. A Better Angels facilitator will lead activities and discussions with participants that identify blind spots, reduce stereotyped thinking, and begin building the relationships needed to find common ground.

Breakout session