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Manuals & Guides…

Discussion guides and how-to manuals related to dialogue, deliberation, public engagement and conflict resolution.

A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance

This 62-page step-by-step handbook from the Policy Consensus Institute walks readers through the stages of sponsoring,convening, organizing, and participating in a public policy collaborative process. Designed primarily for elected and appointed government officials and civic leaders, the guide also is useful for those who provide leaders with the staff assistance, facilitation services, and support they need to employ these approaches effectively. The Practical Guide was developed and written by Chris Carlson, founding director of PCI and a leading authority on consensus building in the public […] (continue)

Making Public Participation Legal

Most of the laws that govern public participation in the U.S. are over thirty years old. They do not match the expectations and capacities of citizens today, they pre-date the Internet, and they do not reflect the lessons learned in the last two decades about how citizens and governments can work together. Increasingly, public administrators and public engagement practitioners are hindered by the fact that it’s unclear if many of the best practices in participation are even allowed by the law. Making Public Participation Legal, […] (continue)

Mental Illness in America: How Can We Address a Growing Problem? (NIF Issue Advisory)

In October 2013, National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) released an Issue Advisory that contains materials that can be used in deliberating over the issue of the impact of mental illness in America. This “issue advisory” is not a full NIF issue guide, but a basic outline of the options, entitled Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem? It can be downloaded here. From the introduction… Many Americans share a sense that something is wrong with how we address mental health and mental […] (continue)

Political Fix: How Do We Get American Politics Back on Track? (NIF Issue Guide)

One of the National Issues Forums Institute’s issue guides, Political Fix: How Do We Get American Politics Back on Track? outlines this critical public issue and several choices or approaches to addressing the issue. National Issues Forums do not advocate a specific solution or point of view, but provide citizens the opportunity to consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those options, and meet with each other in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common. From the […] (continue)

Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening

Over the last century, The Rockefeller Foundation has seen the incredible power of convening to create shared dialogue, to debate pathways to impact and to catalyze groundbreaking ideas and history making sectors. Learning from this past, the Foundation and our partners at Monitor Institute saw a critical and unmet need to document the skills, training, and competencies that go into a successful convening.  They present the result of two years of work with the 2013 publication of Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening - a unique guidebook for convening […] (continue)

Reaching Out Across the Red Blue Divide

Many people are reluctant to discuss politics across party lines.  This 4-page guide entitled Reaching Out Across the Red Blue Divide, One Person at a Time (available for download in PDF format) by PCP Associate and NCDD member Maggie Herzig is a step-by-step approach to inviting one other person—someone whose perspectives differ from your own—into a conversation, focusing on developing a better understanding of each other’s perspectives.  Here’s an excerpt from the guide… Why bother to reach across the divide? Many people have at least one […] (continue)

Early Childhood Dialogue to Action Initiative

The first three years of a child’s life are a time of great opportunity, as well as risk. We can tip the scales in favor of healthy development by providing early experiences and relationships that help babies and toddlers thrive. Our failure to do so can lead to long-lasting harm to our children, communities, and economy. In order to consider ways to ensure a good start for all West Virginia’s children, the Early Childhood Advisory Council of West Virginia joined with the West Virginia Center […] (continue)

How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities? (NIF Issue Advisory)

On February 1, 2013, National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) released an Issue Advisory that contains materials that communities might wish to use in deliberating over the issues raised by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. This “issue advisory” is not a full NIF issue guide, but a basic outline of the options, entitled How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities? It can be downloaded here. The 4-page issue advisory was written by NCDD member Brad Rourke, a Kettering Foundation program officer. (continue)

Responding to the Newtown Tragedy: What parents and educators can do to make schools safer

How should schools and communities respond to the Newtown tragedy? The Deliberative Democracy Consortium produced, in partnership with the National School Public Relations Association, a guide for discussion and action on school safety and other issues raised by the events in Newtown. (DDC executive director Matt Leighninger serves on the board of NSPRA.) A number of other deliberation practitioners (all NCDD members) contributed to this guide, including: Will Friedman of Public Agenda, John Dedrick and Brad Rourke of the Kettering Foundation, Martha McCoy, Pat Scully, and Molly Barrett […] (continue)

A Nation in Debt: How Can We Pay the Bills? (NIF Issue Guide)

A National Issues Forums issue guide, A Nation in Debt: How Can We Pay the Bills? (2011) outlines the effect of the growing national debt on our society and several choices or approaches to addressing the issue. National Issues Forums do not advocate a specific solution or point of view, but provide citizens the opportunity to consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those options, and meet with each other in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common. […] (continue)

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