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Register for Public Lands Seminar in Yellowstone

We want to make sure that our higher ed NCDDers know that there are a few more spaces left for a great program on dealing with public issues being held in beautiful Yellowstone National Park this July 27 – August 1. The program is hosted for higher ed professionals by the AASCU. We’ve shared the NIFI announcement about the program below, and you can learn more from the program page here.

Public Lands Seminar Program PageHow does a democracy manage competing but often equally legitimate positions over public resources? How are the rights of all citizens protected in conflicts over public lands? How do universities design courses and programs to help undergraduates develop the understandings and skills necessary to think about, and become engaged in conflict management and resolution? How do we help undergraduates become more thoughtful, more engaged citizens for our democracy?

The American Democracy Project (ADP) is creating new strategies to answer that question. For the past ten summers, faculty and administrators from American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) campuses have spent a week studying political disputes in the iconic first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park. The first year, 2005, we studied wolf re-introduction. Twenty-six (26) faculty members from 19 campuses spent a week in the Park, first studying the biology and the politics of wolf re-introduction.

But the most innovative part of the program is when we (more…)

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Lessons from the Jefferson Center’s OH Climate Dialogue

We learned from our members at the 2014 NCDD conference that D&D practitioners are looking for ways to help their communities have more conversations on climate change, so we wanted to make sure to share this piece about a process model used by NCDD member organization the Jefferson Center to do just that. Their climate dialogue in Ohio follows up on similar efforts from last year, and offers some key insights on good process for discussing climate change.

We encourage you to read their piece below or to find the original by clicking here.


Northeast Ohio Dialogue on Water & Climate

On January 29th, 2015, the Jefferson Center hosted a one-day community deliberation event in Lakeland, Ohio as part of our ongoing Northeast Ohio Climate Engagement Initiative.

The event, the Northeast Ohio Dialogue on Water & Climate, brought together community members to identify the most significant challenges a changing climate presents for the long-term quality of life in the Northeast Ohio region and to assess the importance of water and climate issues relative to other local concerns. The Dialogue convened a demographically-balanced group of twelve Northeast Ohio residents to explore the local impacts of climate change and deliberate together to identify collective priority concerns.

Community Priorities

At the beginning of the day, participants identified their top (more…)

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$3M Knight Competition Seeks Ideas for Increasing Civic Participation

Today, the Knight Foundation begins accepting submissions in a competition for part of a $3 million pot that we know many of our NCDD members could do well in. The Knight News Challenge calls for creative ideas about how to increase civic participation around elections, and we encourage all of our NCDDers to consider applying before the March 19 deadline. You can learn more in the KF blog piece below or by visiting www.newschallenge.org.

Knight-Foundation-logoOn Feb. 25 we will open the next Knight News Challenge with this question:

How might we better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections?

The challenge is a collaboration between Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, Hewlett Foundation, and Rita Allen Foundation, all of which plan to contribute funds, expertise and outreach as well as helping to review entries. What’s at stake, for the winners, is a share of more than $3 million.

As with past challenges, this one will cast a wide net. We are looking for innovative ideas on new ways that news organizations, civic tech entrepreneurs and others can better inform voters and increase civic participation. Projects could range from bringing more transparency to money and politics, to making voting easy, efficient and fair, to (more…)

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On Evaluation and Legitimacy in D&D

Our partners at the Kettering Foundation recently published an insightful interview with Prof. Katie Knobloch of the Center for Public Deliberation – an NCDD organizational member – that we wanted to share here. There’s a lot to learn from Katie’s reflection on the challenges of evaluating and legitimizing D&D work, so we encourage you to read the interview below or find the original piece here.

Does Our Work Really Matter? Deliberative Practitioners Reflect on the Impact of Their Work

kfAs attention to public deliberation has increased, one core interest of researchers has been evaluating the impact of deliberative processes. Researchers, practitioners, elected officials, and participants themselves want to know if what they’re doing matters. Does public deliberation impact policy? Does it change our attitude toward issues? Does it adhere to democratic ideals?

Professor Katherine R. Knobloch has been intimately involved in evaluation work, refining our understanding of these questions. Former research assistant Jack Becker sat down with her to talk about her work around evaluation, as well as her work with the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review.

Katherine R. Knobloch is an assistant professor and the associate director of the Center for Public Deliberation in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University. Her research and teaching focus on political communication and civic engagement, specifically exploring how deliberative public processes can create (more…)

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PCP Launches “A Better Question” Series on Hot Topics

Recently there has been a lot of talk on our NCDD discussion listserv about how to have good conversations around the current vaccine debate, and so we wanted to share this timely piece from our friends with the Public Conversations Project. PCP is launching a new blog series aimed at helping folks have better conversations on controversial topics called “A Better Question,” and they dealt with vaccinations as their first subject.

We encourage you to read their piece below or find the original on the PCP blog by clicking here.

PCP new logoA Better Question: Vaccinations

For the past 25 years, Public Conversations Project has been helping people navigate deep differences in identity. It is understandable when people reach out to ask us to comment on a current crisis in our world. How can communities like Ferguson, Missouri resolve the tension tearing them apart? What can dialogue do for the people of Paris after the latest shootings? How do we resolve our differences about same-sex marriage?

We don’t know. Public Conversations Project doesn’t presume to know what any community should or shouldn’t do without the deep preparation, collaboration, and local awareness that has made our work effective for so long. So, what can we offer the conversation about these highly visible, hotly contested issues without being prescriptive?

A better question. A better question than “should we or shouldn’t we?”A better question than “How can you think that way?” A better question than you’d be likely to hear on TV or social media.

We have decided to offer (more…)

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Update on Pastor-Scientist Dialogue Series from PA

We have been watching the development of a fascinating series from the good folks with NCDD member organization Public Agenda wherein they are bringing together evangelical Christians and scientists for dialogue. We’ve shared their latest blog posts on how the dialogues have gone, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original here.

Diffusing Tension Through Dialogue – and a Touch of Humor

PublicAgenda-logoPublic Agenda is partnering with AAAS to facilitate a series of dialogues between scientists and evangelical Christian pastors throughout the summer and fall. The purpose of the project is to improve dialogue, relationships and collaboration between these two communities, often viewed as staunchly divided. This blog is one in a series from our public engagement team, who write to reflect on their experiences moderating the dialogues. Read more about this project here and here, and download the discussion guide used during these conversations here. For more information, email Allison Rizzolo.

A few weeks ago in Atlanta, I found myself in a room surrounded by church pastors, evolutionary biologists, theology professors, mathematicians and a former Vietnam veteran turned evangelical Christian. I was there for the third dialogue in the Perceptions Project, which brings together individuals who self-identify as belonging to the evangelical Christian community or (though in some cases “and” is more appropriate) the scientific community.

Many of the participants seemed nervous at the start of the dialogue. Though I served as a co-facilitator and was not technically a participant, I admit that I too (more…)

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Aligning Engagement with Function Over Form

We recently read a commentary by the Davenport Institute  – an NCDD organizational member – on their Gov 2.0 Watch blog remarking on an insightful article we think NCDD members would appreciate. The article has key insights about the importance of aligning engagement with the functions of government rather than its ever-shifting administrative structure, and how online engagement can help. We encourage you to read more below or find the original post here.

DavenportInst-logoContinuity in the Face of Change

One of the most common criticisms of government – especially in the age of technology – is a perceived resistance to change.  But change does bring disruption. As governments seek to become more innovative, as fiscal realities demand continue to require organizational restructuring, and as technological advances require flexibility with platforms and design, this can have real impact on a government’s community engagement.

Recently the Australian public sector blog The Mandarin took a look at how governments can keep well organized and clear channels of communication open in the face of such disruptions. The article notes:

Traditional face-to-face engagement processes are largely project based and the impact on the community is limited to some bewilderment at the new logos, and muttering about the cost. There may also be a knock on impact if there are major staff changes, if there is a hiatus in progress, or if the new department has changed priorities.

But the article goes on to describe how changing the focus and organization – not of the government but of the engagement – can lead to (more…)

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Job Opening with the William D. Ruckelshaus Center

We are excited to share that the William D. Ruckelshaus Center – one of the wonderful co-sponsors of our NCDD 2014 conference – is hiring! The Ruckelshaus Center is seeking a Development and Communications Coordinator to work with them in Washington state, and will be accepting applications until February 25th.

Ruckelshaus works to foster collaborative problem solving across the Pacific Northwest, and we know that many of our NCDD members could be a great fit for the job. Here’s how the position is described:

The Development and Communications Coordinator is a development professional with strong written, oral, visual and interpersonal communications skills. The position supports the work of the Project and Development Lead by overseeing preparation of grants, contract proposals and reports for the William D. Ruckelshaus Center Foundation, as well as coordinating development-related events. The position assists in research, refinement and implementation of Center fund raising strategy including relationships with the Center’s Advisory Board Development Committee, university development staff and current/potential donors and funders, and coordinates donor stewardship. The Development and Communications Coordinator also supports the work of the Communications Specialist by coordinating the design, writing, editing and publishing of Center printed and electronic communications including outreach materials, brochures, newsletter, eNews, website, reports, etc.

We encourage all who are interested to check out the full job listing by visiting www.wsujobs.com/postings/16810. You can also learn more by visiting the Ruckelshaus Center’s website at http://ruckelshauscenter.wsu.edu.

Good luck to all the applicants, and thanks again to the Ruckelshaus Center for supporting NCDD!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

How Not to Use the IAP2 Spectrum in Engagement

We recently saw great piece on common misunderstandings and misapplications of the IAP2 Spectrum – a widely used tool in our field created by the good people with the International Association of Public Participation – shared on our NCDD discussion list, and we found it valuable enough to share here. The reflections come from Max Hardy of Max Hardy Consulting, an NCDD organizational member, and we encourage you to read his piece below or to find the original on his blog by clicking here.

Hardy logoReflections on the IAP2 Spectrum

I remember well how thrilled I was to come across a thoughtful framework for community engagement, the IAP2 Spectrum, in the late 1990s. Developed by some highly skilled and generous practitioners in North America, it has since become the most recognizable brand and image related to the field of community engagement. The IAP2 Spectrum has become synonymous with the association itself and is now proudly referred to policy statements and guidelines for hundreds of organisations, especially in Australia and New Zealand. Sadly the IAP2 Core Values have not had similar attention or profile, but that is a blog for another time.

During my time with Twyfords we probably explained the IAP2 Spectrum (and ran exercises drawing upon it) to thousands of students, practitioners, elected representatives, professionals in a multitude of sectors. Unfortunately, it has in many instances been misused, abused or at least misunderstood. Even where it is understood and applied, it has not always been helpful or offered the intended clarity. So here I want to talk about what the Spectrum is about, what it is meant to do, how it has been misinterpreted, and also what I consider to be some limitations of the framework. (I need to stress that I am not pretending to offer the definitive view of these matters; our application and understanding of the Spectrum continues to evolve).

What is it? (more…)

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Register for the Citizen University 2015 Conference

We want to encourage our members to attend the 2015 Citizen University annual conference this March 20th-21st in Seattle, Washington if you can. Citizen University conferences are impressive gatherings that do a lot to help galvanize leaders from many different sectors, and we know NCDD members will be able to both contribute and gain a lot by attending.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Citizen Power,” and here’s a bit of how the organizers describe it:

The Citizen University annual National Conference is like no other civic gathering in America. Hundreds of changemakers, activists, and catalysts show up to learn about power, build their networks, and recharge their sense of purpose. They come from across the country, the political spectrum, and a wide range of domains — from immigrant rights to national service, voting reform to veteran re-integration, civic education to Hollywood and tech. They are you.

Our theme this year is Citizen Power, particularly in the shadow of Ferguson and Staten Island, and the 50th anniversary of so much of the Civil Rights Movement. This is a time when citizens are solving problems in new ways, bypassing broken institutions, stale ideologies, and polarized politics. We are part of a movement to rekindle citizenship in America. We hope you’ll join us!

Regular registration for this year’s conference is $200, but you can still take advantage of the $175 early bird rate or even cheaper rates if you are a student, veteran, senior, or volunteer. The early bird registration cut off is February 28th, so make sure to register ASAP.

The conference has an impressive lineup of presenters and speakers and will be attended by lots of movers and shakers, including our own executive directory Sandy Heierbacher. If you’re planning to (more…)