What is Public Deliberation? An Introduction
For those unfamiliar with public deliberation, the deliberative process brings people together to sort through three or four different research-based perspectives on a given social issue. The goal is not to come to consensus, but rather to understand each perspective and its underlying values, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. This structured process ensures that we hear and understand multiple perspectives and that we recognize the need to balance our individual interests with those of the community. It is a process undergirded with the recognition that there are often competing positive values that require us to make tough choices between multiple legitimate options, and that even our preferred options come with trade-offs and consequences that need to be considered.
Does Dialogue Make a Difference?
Over the last semester, and really the last year, in working so closely with our students around civic learning and democratic engagement I have developed a new appreciation for dialogue as not only a way to exchange ideas, but also a way to help heal communities. Whether a conversation started by registering a student to vote for the first time or having a conversation with an undocumented student on why they aren’t eligible to vote learning and understanding happens in many different forms. It’s for these reasons I am so grateful the commitment our campus has made to keep dialogue on the forefront of our university values.
Engaging White Professionals in Race Conversations
I want to get uncomfortable and vulnerable, so I can share my lessons about being a white staff member connecting with the small community of students of color on campus. I have divided my lessons into four sections based on quotes from my students to me.
Practicing and the Past
If graduate programs in higher education and student affairs really wanted students to reflect, I’d highly recommend a cross-country road trip. (I want to recognize that there’s serious economic and citizenship privilege in that statement). After completing an ACUHO-I Internship in the Pacific Northwest, I drove the entire way back to UConn, stopping to visit my parents and continuing along the rest of the way to Connecticut. During my solo drive I had the space to reflect (while still safely operating a motor vehicle) about my experience over the summer, and broadly on my experiences over the last few years within higher education.
As the director of a research institute studying higher education’s role in democracy, I have been inundated on November 9 with emails, texts, and calls. Donald Trumps’ election as the 45th President of the United States shocked people on college campuses who are worried about his messages of exclusion, hate, and fear, his disregard for facts and truth, and an anti-intellectualism that may characterize his leadership and “base.” As I have written before, his messages are antithetical to goals of truth, equal opportunity, and inclusion central to higher education’s mission.
Call for Proposals Now Open: 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE17)
The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and NASPA Lead Initiative are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education. During this year’s Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) Meeting in Baltimore, Md. from June 7-10, 2017, our goal is to bring together our collective networks of faculty, student affairs professionals, senior campus administrators, students, and community partners to advance our work to ensure that students graduate from our colleges and universities--both public and private--prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our communities and our democracy need.