Syllabi Repository

TDI is embarking on an ambitious project to develop a deliberative democracy syllabi repository. The purpose of this repository is to serve as a database of course syllabi and programs that advance learning in the principles and practices of a deliberative democracy, particularly inclusive dialogue, public reasoning, conflict management and transformation, and social and political policy and decision making. We are interested in courses that teach the theory and/or practice of deliberative democracy, as well as courses in which deliberative democracy may not be the sole focus of the course.

We welcome contributions that reflect a broad range of teaching and learning experiences that are:

  • Discipline-based,
  • Interdisciplinary,
  • Associated with a variety of institutional structures such as diversity education, first-year experiences, learning communities, study abroad programs, and capstone courses.

These resource materials, while open to the public, remain the intellectual property of the individual faculty member as well as his or her college or university. Fair use and open access are allowed, but all materials should be appropriately referenced if used in whole or in part. Reprinting for sale or inclusion in publications or commercial products is prohibited without written permission of the author.

To contribute to this database, please send materials to thedemocracyimperative@gmail.com. Please be sure that, at the bottom of the first page on the syllabus, you include a copyright (e.g., ©2014, Jane Doe).

Summer Institute of Civic Studies

In the summer of 2009, Peter Levine, Karol Soltan, and other colleagues at CIRCLE and elsewhere hosted a Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts University. Background on the Institute can be found here. The syllabi for the most current years are available here.

Other Repositories of Note

  • The Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University developed a Refworks database for sharing citations to literature on the study and practice of democracy. A Refworks database has been established for sharing citations to literature on the study and practice of democracy. Over 20,000 references have been collected. To visit the database, click here.
  • For service learning syllabi, go to Campus Compact’s repository.
  • The Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University maintains resources for those who teach collaborative public management, collaborative governance, and collaborative problem solving around the world.
  • The Conflict Resolution Information Source has a syllabi collection here.
  • National Issues Forum course and evaluation materials.

Syllabi

Course Title: Democracy, Deliberation, and Education

Professor: Timothy J. Shaffer
College/University: University of Dayton
Course Description: What role do citizens have in a democracy? What challenges do citizens face? What role or roles should/must (higher) education play? These questions invite each of us to think critically about what we mean by “democracy,” “deliberation,” and “education” and the work entailed in making sense of such deceivingly simple words. In this course, we will draw on diverse perspectives to help us make sense of their complexity.Centrally, this course is about citizenship and democracy and our role in both. This is not a course primarily about what government does or how institutions work, although we will consider education’s public and individual democratic purposes. Primarily, this course is about what everyday people (citizens, broadly understood) can do to make our world, countries, states, cities, neighborhoods, universities, and organizations work better and more equitably—by utilizing education as a means to change what currently exists.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Working It Out

Professor: Ginger Hobbs Lever
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Course Description: Working It Out (WIO) is an on-line and on-air public conversation initiated by New Hampshire Public Radio to encourage personal documentation of experiences with our current economy and to create an inclusive process for sharing differences and considering action. Students in this class will have the opportunity to assist with this project and to help New Hampshire Public Radio consider next steps for it. As part of this pilot program, students will study different methods and models of effective public discourse, encourage community members to participate in the WIO project, learn how to assess submissions for adherence to posting requirements, develop means to leverage social media such as Facebook and Twitter for projects like WIO, apply various research methods for reviewing contributions and identifying possible trends, and consider various models for moving the conversation toward specific action agendas. This is a great opportunity for students to apply various academic disciplines to a real-world project and to investigate how the media is providing new opportunities for engaged democracy and citizen initiatives.
http://www.nhpr.orh/workingitout

Course Title: Introduction to Political Philosophy

Professor: Robert Cavalier
College/University: Carnegie Mellon University
Course Description: As an introductory course, we will seek to trace out the historical and philosophical dimensions of the polis from its origins in Ancient Greece to its current manifestation in present-day society. Special emphasis will be placed on the concept and practice of “democracy.”
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Course Title: The City and Citizenship: To Be a New Yorker

Professor: Richard Guarasci, Abraham Unger, and Cassia Freedland
College/University: Wagner College
Course Description: The “City” is both an ideal concept and functional reality. Conceptually and empirically, the city is a laboratory for the interaction of the full range of social expression. What are the primary competing normative visions of urban life, and how have cities actually behaved over time politically and economically? Additionally, how can urban residents impact upon their communities in meaningful ways that help to sustain local democracy and economic development? In response to these fundamental questions, we will explore the theoretical, historical, cultural, and political dimensions of urban spaces.
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Course Title: Civic Organizing and Democracy

Professor: Palma Stand
College/University: Creighton Law School/Werner Institute for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Course Description: This course introduces the concepts and skills of civic organizing, the characteristics and importance of civic (not civil) society or “civity,” and how civic practice is connected to law and democracy. Particular emphasis is placed on civic organizing as a practical “how to” method of social change that results from building and strengthening civic culture. An individualized practice component to the course gives students hands-on experience with civic organizing and related skills such as active listening, network assessment, and one-on-ones.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Leadership for the Public Good

Professor: Dr. Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Stephanie Raill Jayanandhan
College/University: Miami University
Course Description: Leadership for the Public Good explores theories and practices of citizenship and leadership. Using the interdisciplinary scholarship of citizenship, citizenship education, and leadership studies, the course explores what it means to work in public life and lead for the public good in local, national, and international contexts.
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Course Title: Socio-Cultural Studies in Education

Professor: Dr. Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Stephanie Raill Jayanandhan
College/University: Miami University
Course Description: The narrative of the course rests on the central question, “What does it mean to educate for democracy?,” building on the basic and widely shared assumption that we live in a democratic state in a culturally pluralistic society.
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Course Title: Graduate Seminar: Red State, Blue State: Polarization and Public Policy in America

Professor: Samuel Abrams
College/University: New York University and the Hamilton Center for Political Economy
Course Description: This seminar seeks to examine polarization and the related policy questions in great detail. After reviewing some basics of political economy, the course will examine polarization and centrism from a variety of vantage points and a number of different stories will emerge. Students will have the chance to empirically and qualitatively explore polarization and centrism in this seminar.
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Course Title: The Good Society in the New Century: Introduction to Alternative Political-Economic Systems

Professor: Gar Alperovitz
College/University: University of Maryland
Course Description: The seminar will confront the problem of which structures and institutions may or may not nurture democracy, liberty, equality, community, environmental stability, and peaceful means of dealing with conflict.
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Course Title: Communication, Media and Concepts of the Public

Professor: Andrew Calabrese
College/University: University of Colorodo
Course Description: This course focuses on concepts that are central to the theory and practice of media politics, most prominent among them being the idea of the public.
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Course Title: Introduction to Habermas

Professors: Robert Cavalier and Charles Ess
College/University: Carnegie Mellon and Drury College
Course Description: This course is an introduction Jurgen Habermas’s Discourse Ethics and expose students to Habermas’s effort to sustain, in at least a reconstructed form, the Enlightenment project of political emancipation and democracy.
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Course Title: Major Themes in American Studies (Civic America)

Professor: David Cooper
College/University: Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Studies
Course Description: Looks at concepts (in particular, the notions of “pluralism” and “civil society”), historical and social movements, and grass-roots practices of American civic culture and public life that seek to make the tension in our democracy between “the many and the one” creative and productive.
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Course Title: Writing in the Public Interest

Professor: David Cooper
College/University: Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Studies
Course Description: Students explore various forms of public writing and their roles in democracy and public culture. Students practice rhetorical conventions used to deliberate and argue in democratic community.
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Course Title: Facilitating Corporate Social Responsibility

Professor: Alan Freitag
College/University: University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Department of Communication
Course Description: Develop students who can employ a purposeful, systematic and collaborative approach to long-term communication policy development, especially in the context of CSR.
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Course Title: Innovations in Democratic Governance: Solving Public Problems

Professor: Archon Fung
College/University: Harvard University
Course Description: This course explores the proposition that there are myriad untapped opportunities for greater public participation in contemporary democracies, and that popular engagement can make governance more legitimate, fair, and effective.
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Course Title: Political Deliberation

Professor: John Gastil
College/University: University of Washington
Department of Communication
Course Description: A wave of theory and research has developed the idea that the ideal form of government is a “deliberative democracy.” This course introduces you to a wide range of perspectives on political deliberation and sharpens your skills at a wide range of deliberative processes—from informal political conversation to legislative debate.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Political Deliberation (project based)

Professor: John Gastil
College/University: University of Washington
Department of Communication
Course Description: This course reviews recent theory and research on political deliberation in a wide range of settings ranging from small group discussions to large-scale public forums to print, electronic, and on-line media. The course’s primary objective is to teach you how to read and write empirical research on public deliberation.
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Course Title: Democracy and Justice

Professor: Eric Gorham
College/University: Quest University Canada
Department of Social Science
Course Description: Democracy and Justice examines the ideas of leading thinkers in the history of political thought and the questions they raise about the design of the political and social order.
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Course Title: Deliberative Democracy: First Year Seminar

Professor: Katy Harriger
College/University: Wake Forest University
Department of Political Science/Communication
Course Description: This seminar is designed to explore this theory of deliberative democracy and to practice the skills involved in such an approach to citizen involvement in politics.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Introduction to Public Service Leadership

Professors: Amanda Crowell Itliong and Nick Cheng
College/University: Haas Center for Public Service
Stanford University
Course Description: The course is designed as an introduction to the Public Service Leadership Fellows Program offered through the Haas Center for Public Service. This course helps students to begin to explore leadership theory as it relates to refining personal philosophy of ethical and effective leadership. Please note: there are a number of supporting documents that accompany this syllabus; we encourage you to make direct contact to the instructors to receive those documents.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Deliberative Democratic Theory

Professor: David Kahane
College/University: University of Alberta
Department of Political Science
Course Description: This course examines deliberative democratic theory.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Environmental Policy

Professor: Rodolfo Lewanski
College/University: University of Bologna, Italy
Course Description: This course increases student understanding of the role of citizen participation in policy processes and environmental conflicts.
pdfDownload (pdf)

Course Title: Public Engagement in Science

Professor: Bruce Lewenstein
College/University: Cornell University
Course Description: This seminar will explore some of the recent publications justifying, proposing, describing, evaluating, and seeking the meaning of various approaches to “public engagement in science.” Some of the activities to be explored include local and national “public consultations”; deliberative polling; citizens’ juries, consensus conferences, foresight exercises, citizen science, and science shops.
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Course Title: Active Citizenship in a Multicultural World

Professor: Bruce Mallory and Vilmarie Sanchez
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Course Description: The overall goal of this seminar is to apply multidisciplinary perspectives to an examination of how the knowledge and skills of active citizenship are acquired and exercised in a pluralistic democracy. The primary organizing concept of the course is that of community.
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Course Title: Communication, Community and Transformation

Professor: Sheila McNamee
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Course Description: This course addresses the issue of community and change. It explores how we unwittingly participate in a wide array of communities and how our participation helps and/or hinders sustainment of very particular kinds of communities.
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Course Title: Dialogue, Teamwork and Conflict

Professor: Sheila McNamee
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Course Description: This course explores dialogue as both a condition of being human and as a method for generating change or resolving conflict. It examines the dialogic basis of human relationships, drawing on a range of philosophical traditions and practical activities that highlight the social basis of thought.
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Course Title: Special Topic: Mediation

Professor: Sheila McNamee
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Course Description: This course explores different theories and models of mediation as they inform the broader topic of conflict resolution. Emphasis will be on models that examine relational processes as opposed to models that focus on individual needs and traits with the aim of reaching a settlement or consensus.
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Course Title: Facilitating Collaborative Communication

Professor: Kim Pearce
College/University: De Anza College
Department of Communication
Course Description: To sensitize you to the power of communication in creating our social worlds and to introduce principles and practices of designing and facilitating public conversations and meetings to improve the quality of communication in the 21st Century.
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Course Title: Conversations on Identity, Diversity, Democracy and Community

Professor: David Schoem
College/University: University of Michigan
Department of Sociology
Course Description: This seminar explores such issues as social identity and intergroup relations, notions of community, and everyday politics and democracy.
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Course Title: Building a Civil Society

Professor: Ray Perkins and Leo Sandy
College/University: Plymouth State University
Course Description: This course will focus on the role of the individual in creating a civil society leading toward the advancement of peace, human rights and democracy. A main premise of the course is that the individual and society have a reciprocal influence: society nurtures and shapes the individuals that comprise it; but individuals also have the power to change society in significant ways.
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Course Title: Sociology of Education

Professor: David Schoem
College/University: University of Michigan
Department of Sociology
Course Description: Examine the purposes and roles of schooling in society; particular focus to issues of schooling in a democratic society and reforms conceived of as “democratic education.”
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Course Title: Sociology of the American Jewish Community

Professor: David Schoem
College/University: University of Michigan
Department of Sociology
Course Description: This course will examine the lively tension between tradition and change within the American Jewish Community as it reviews current issues and explores broadly the sociological literature on American Jewry.
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Course Title: Sociology 389

Professor: David Schoem
College/University: University of Michigan
Department of Sociology
Course Description: Sociology 389 is a unique learning opportunity that pairs sociological theory with experiential education, providing students with an opportunity to focus on both community work and intergroup dialogue.
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Course Title: Citizenship, Policy and Regime: Debates in Contemporary Democratic Theory

Professor: Thad Williamson
College/University: Jepson School of Leadership Studies
University of Richmond
Course Description: This course engages recent work in political theory and political science addressing important questions such as what normative aims should public policy advance, and what role (if any) should ordinary citizens have in the formulation of such policies?
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Course Title: Personal Values, Difficult Dialogues

Professor: Walter Wright and Sheryl-Ann Simpson
College/University: Clark University
Course Description: Personal Values applies a critical philosophical approach to the fundamental problem of ethics: how shall we live best as human beings? This section is a “Difficult Dialogues” and attempts to foster a dialogic approach to basic value questions.
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Course Title: Teaching Practicum in SJE: Facilitating Intergroup Dialogues

Professor: Ximena Zúñiga
College/University: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Course Description: This course applies theories, principles and practices of intergroup dialogue, critical pedagogy and social justice education to the design and facilitation of identity- based dialogues across race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality.
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Course Title: Theory & Practice of Intergroup Dialogues

Professor: Ximena Zúñiga
College/University: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Course Description: This course provides students with foundation knowledge and familiarity with relevant literature, and awareness, understanding and skills for planning, facilitating and evaluating intergroup dialogue activities in schools and communities.
pdfDownload (pdf)
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