An Introduction to Models of Inclusive Dialogue, Public Deliberation, and Deliberative Democracy on Campuses

One of the greatest challenges facing American higher education is how to educate students for responsible participation in public life. Colleges and universities know that service and community based learning exposes students to social concerns, but these efforts fall short of educating students to be agents for change locally, nationally, and globally, particularly when faced with divisions linked to ideology, social identity, or personal perspectives. The academy’s more daunting challenge is to teach students to build upon differences and work through conflict in ways that are collaborative, productive, and that lead to a more just society.

Nationwide, there is a growing movement toward greater and more inclusive citizen participation in public life. More and more communities are turning to public forums, study circles, public conversations, and other experiments in civic engagement to address critical social and political problems. Colleges and universities are taking notice. They too are discovering that deliberative democracy has broad application in areas of curricular reform, classroom teaching methods, integrative learning, intercultural and civic learning, and institutional leadership, planning, and decision making.

In this workshop, participants will learn:

  • The principles and practices of exemplary models of deliberative democracy: study circles, public conversations, issue forums, intergroup dialogue, and appreciative inquiry.
  • How and where to apply these models across campus
  • How to start a project or program employing models of deliberative democracy
  • Where to find resources for new ideas

Workshop duration: one and a half days

Suggested participants: faculty, academic and student affairs officers/administrators, and individuals responsible for diversity, civic education, first-year experiences, capstones, study abroad, residential learning communities, and service learning.

Dates: TBD

Workshop Leaders: TBD

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