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Energy Choices: What Should We Do About America’s Energy Future? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The issue guide placemat, What Should We Do About America’s Energy Future?, was published on National Issues Forums Institute site in Summer 2017. This issue guide gives three options for participants to deliberate around the issue of how America’s energy consumption is sustainable.

In addition to the issue guide placemat, there is also a post-forum questionnaire available to download on NIFI’s site here.

From the guide…

Meeting the United States’ substantial appetite for energy raises a complex network of economic, environmental, and political issues. There are national-security and economic concerns, environmental problems like air and water pollution, and potential climate-change effects from fossil fuels, such as extreme weather, sea- level rise, and changing growing seasons.

Americans have long been aware of the wide- ranging impacts of fueling our energy needs, along with ever-increasing global demands. This awareness is reflected in growing support for clean energy, development of new ways to extract oil and natural gas, efforts to do more with less power, and so on.

Concerns over foreign entanglements, terrorism, and carbon pollution from fossil fuels have grown. At the same time, new domestic production from oil, natural gas, and renewable sources has helped America move closer to energy independence. New technologies for power production, storage, vehicle fuels, and energy efficiency are proliferating. The question is how to navigate this changing landscape and arrive at an energy future that supports a thriving economy.

This guide presents three options based on views and concerns of people from across the country. Any path we choose will put some of these concerns into tension with some others. Our task is to deliberate, or weigh options for action against the things that people hold valuable. What should America do to ensure a continuing supply of energy to meet our needs as well as those of our children and grandchildren?

This issue guide placemat presents three options for deliberation: (more…)

Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance

The Collaborative Governance Graduate certificate is available at Portland State University and is part of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. In response to a growing need for collaborative approaches to complex problems that span multiple jurisdictional, sectoral, and organizational boundaries, the Hatfield School of Government, the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC), and the Center for Public Service (CPS) have partnered to offer a set of courses that lead to a Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance. Non-certificate students may also opt to take one or more courses individually.

It is our goal to improve the practice of collaborative governance (and therefore governance) by providing students with the following knowledge and skills:

1. Define collaborative governance and its value in public policy-making and creation of public goods.
2. Identify and exemplify principles of professional responsibilities and ethics in a collaborative setting.
3. Design and manage collaborative processes, partnerships, and networks.
4. Employ appropriate analysis techniques to understand and monitor collaborative efforts and outcomes, including the identification and application of relevant technical and scientific information.
5. Demonstrate leadership, as well as verbal and written communications skills aligned with principles of collaboration.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of group dynamics, deliberation, and decision-making by effectively engaging with teams and groups in collaborative contexts.
7. Identify and apply appropriate negotiation and conflict management theories and frameworks in two-party, and multi-party settings.
8. Employ computer and web-based decision and communications tools in a collaborative context.

The certificate program consists of 16 credit hours of graduate coursework and is intended to provide working professionals and graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully lead or engage in collaborative efforts designed to generate and/or implement sustainable solutions. All core courses for the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance are offered on-line. In addition, at least one of the elective courses (PA 577) is offered on-line.

Course of Study
[NCDD note: Below are the current courses for the program as of Spring 2017 and they may be subject to change in the future.]

Core Courses
Students must take the following four core courses:

  • PA 575: Foundations of Collaborative Governance (3 credits) – Fall
    This initial course provides an overview of the current governing context and the new models that have emerged in response. In addition, students will explore the nature of collaborative relationships, the role of trust, harnessing the potential power of groups, and how to address conflict and reach consensus.
  • PA 576: Collaborative Governance Process & Systems (3 credits) – Winter
    This skills-based course focuses on the assessment, organization and phases of facilitating collaborative agreement-seeking processes, emphasizing techniques and challenges for reaching mutually satisfying agreements, including how to frame an issue to increase the group’s chance for success.
  • USP 584: Negotiation in the Public Sector (4 credits) – Summer
    This course offers an overview of the conventional and innovative applications of negotiations in public sector activities, and the potential and limitations of negotiation-based approaches to public decision making. Key components include negotiation theory, individual skill development and a review of the institutional, legal and political context of negotiations.
  • PA 578: Collaborative Governance Practicum (3 credits) – Fall
    In this culminating practicum, students participate in discussions with faculty experts and fellow students as they apply the knowledge and skills gained in core courses to a community-based problem, issue, or project of their choosing.

Students must also complete one elective course of their choice. The following is a list of suggested elective courses. Courses not on this list may also be eligible with pre-approval by certificate program faculty.PA 577: Case Studies in Collaborative Governance (3 credits) – Spring

  • PA 543: Creating Collaborative Communities (3 credits)
  • PA 553: Sustainable Development Policy and Governance (3 credits)
  • USP 550: Concepts of Citizen Participation (4 credits)
  • USP 619: Development Partnerships (3 credits)
  • SYSC 511: Systems Theory (4 credits)
  • PA 564: Current Issues in Environmental Policy and Administration (3 credits)
  • CR 515: Negotiation and Mediation (4 credits)
  • CR 524: Advanced Mediation (4 credits)
  • CR 526: Intercultural Conflict Resolution (4 credits)
  • CR 512: Perspectives in Conflict Resolution (4 credits)

About PSU’s Hatfield School of Government
Dedicated to public service and social justice, the Hatfield School does more than teach — we prepare students for community leadership and for making the world a better place. Located in the vibrant heart of downtown Portland, the Hatfield School offers real-world application of studies only steps away from the classroom. Students actively engage in a variety of hands-on public service projects throughout Oregon, the nation, and the world.

Resource Link: www.pdx.edu/hatfieldschool/collaborate

This resource was submitted by Sarah Giles, Special Projects Manager at Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government via the Add-a-Resource form.

The Future of K-12 Education (IF Discussion Guide)

The 20-page discussion guide, The Future of K-12 Education, was published by Interactivity Foundation and edited by Adolf Gundersen; based on discussions facilitated by Gunderson, Dennis Boyer, Sue Goodney Lea, and Zeus Yiamouyiannis. This guide provides five policy perspectives regarding learning and the nature of education. From IF, “The discussion report on the Future of K-12 Education grew out of a longer-term project discussion in 2006-2008 that produced an initial set of more conceptual or theoretical possibilities for education in general. These possibilities were eventually re-rafted to make them somewhat more practical or policy oriented. And the revised possibilities were then tested in four additional public discussion series in the fall of 2010. Overall, six different discussion panels (meeting in four regions of the country) and seven IF facilitators/fellows contributed to the development of this report.” This report is available in Spanish and can be found on IF’s site here.

Below is an excerpt of the guide, which can be downloaded as a PDF for free from IF’s site here.

From the introduction…

Purpose and Origin of This Report
You are here because you’re interested in discussing the future of K-12 education. The materials in this Citizen Discussion Report will help you do so in a way that is exploratory, rather than competitive or argumentative. The more exploratory your discussion, the more likely you will leave thinking about K-12 education as a social concern and about how public policy might respond to it. You will also be better equipped to make more informed choices as a citizen.

This report has two main parts: a short list of possible questions and answers about K-12 education policy, followed by five public-policy responses. The information is designed to help launch your discussion. It will serve as a point of departure for your discussion, not as a map of what’s already been “discovered” through expert study or what’s been agreed on by influential groups. It will also help keep your discussion exploratory, as it provides general possibilities rather than final answers.

The descriptions you will find here examine a variety of perspectives on K-12 education policy, while maintaining the idea that there are always more to consider. Because they are general, or conceptual, there should guide you in examining the “big questions”, while helping you avoid technical arguments over details. They invite you to develop them further or come up with entirely new ones of your own. (more…)

Taking the Goals of Deliberation Seriously: A Differentiated View on Equality and Equity in Deliberative Designs and Processes

The 20-page article, Taking the Goals of Deliberation Seriously: A Differentiated View on Equality and Equity in Deliberative Designs and Processes (2016), was written by Edana Beauvais and Andre Baechtiger, and published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 12: Iss. 2. The article reviews the goals of healthy deliberative systems and the different designs of civic forums, including participant recruitment, nature of interaction, and decision-making. The authors reviews research which shows evidence that the design of a deliberative system affects its outcomes and goals.

Read an excerpt of the article below and find the PDF available for download on the Journal of Public Deliberation site here.

From the article…

Deliberative theorists have long stressed that deliberation must be immunized against coercive power by a baseline of equality (Habermas, 1990). But what does the democratic pre-condition of equality mean, in practice, for organizers designing deliberative events and forums? After all, as Bernard Williams (1972) notes, equality is fundamentally about two – at times contradictory – values. On the one hand, the value of universal moral equality, which refers to the fundamental sameness of common humanity, requires abstracting from social circumstances. On the other hand, the value of equity, which refers to just distributions of power and resources, requires attending to social circumstances. Deliberative institutions vary in their capacity to promote one value over the other, or in their capacity to compromise between the two. We argue that negotiating between these twin values should be done with reference to the different goals of the deliberative process, with an eye to the trade-offs that achieving particular goals might require, and to the context within which the deliberation takes place.

In the first section of this paper, we discuss some of the central normative goals that discourse achieves in a healthy deliberative system. In the second section, we review existing empirical research on how institutional designs impact deliberation’s different goals, including the trade-offs different institutional design choices might require. While there are many examples of deliberative sites in political systems, we restrict our discussion to instances of organized, structured deliberation, or “civic forums” (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014), because these are instances where practitioners can more easily exert direct influence over design.1 Civic forums include a wide variety of deliberating bodies, such as community policing initiatives (Fung, 2009; Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014), participatory budgeting (Avritzer, 2009), civic intergroup dialogue meetings (Walsh, 2004), and deliberative “mini-publics,” such as Deliberative Polls and citizens’ assemblies (Fung, 2003; Goodin & Dryzek, 2006; Grönlund, Bächtiger, & Setälä, 2014; Smith, 2009). We consider three important aspects of design – participant recruitment, the nature of the interaction, and decision-making – and review existing research regarding how different designs impact deliberation’s different normative goals. (more…)

Civil Conversations Project

The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference. We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.

Better Conversations: a starter guide
It seems we are more divided than ever before — unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and others. We offer this guide as a resource for creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more as citizens, out of what we’ve learned in over a decade of conversation on On Being.

The seven-page pdf opens with an invitational letter from Krista Tippett, and provides a flexible roadmap for speaking together differently in a way that allows us to live together differently.

This guide is intended to help ground and animate a gathering of friends or strangers in a conversation that might take place over weeks or months. Adapt this guide for your group and your intentions, choosing a focus and readings you find meaningful and relevant.

Download the Better Conversations PDF here

From the guide…

Our young century is awash with questions of meaning, of how we structure our common life, and who we are to each other. It seems we are more divided than ever before – unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children.

Yet you and I have it in us to be nourishers of discernment, fermenters of healing. We have the language, the tools, the virtues – and the calling, as human beings – to create hospitable spaces for taking up the hard questions of our time.

This calling is too important and life-giving to wait for politics or media at their worst to come around. We can discover how to calm fear and plant the seeds of the robust civil society we desire and that our age demands.

This is civic work and it is human, spiritual work – in the most expansive 21st century sense of that language. We can learn for our time what moral imagination, social healing, and civil discourse can look like and how they work.

The Civil Conversations Project is a collection of audio, video, writings, and resources for planting new conversations in families and communities. How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? Can we find ways to cross gulfs between us about politics and the meaning of community itself? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep, contrasting convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes? You will have your own questions – particular to your community and concerns – to add.

We insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not an exercise in niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that aren’t serving our age of change. This is a resource and reflection for beginning this adventure — creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more urgently as citizens.

Public life is bigger than political life. We have narrowly equated the two in recent years, and we’ve impoverished ourselves in the process. Public life includes all of our disciplines and endeavors, including our selves as citizens and professional people and neighbors and parents and friends. The places we’ve looked for leadership and modeling have become some of the most broken in our midst. And so it is up to us, where we live, to start having the conversations we want to be hearing and creating the realities we want to inhabit.

I have seen that wisdom, in life and society, emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and fierceness, mine and yours.

About On Being
On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.

Resource Link: www.civilconversationsproject.org/

21st Century Civic Infrastructure: Under Construction

The 28-page paper, 21st Century Civic Infrastructure: Under Construction, written by Jill Blair and Malka Kopell was commissioned by The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and published in spring 2015. The paper offers 3 keystones for building an effective and more equitable civic infrastructure: engaging all sectors; enlisting all voices; and creating vertical and horizontal thoroughfares for the exchange of information and practice. Below is an excerpt of the paper, which can be found in full on The Aspen Institute’s FCS’s site here.

From the introduction…

Our existing civic infrastructure was not designed with intention; it evolved over time in an ad hoc fashion and was built, in part, as a result of investments made over time, largely by philanthropy, but also by private and public sector entities. While philanthropy has helped to populate our current civic infrastructure with nonprofit organizations, the public sector has introduced civic infrastructure policies – from public hearings to citizen budget commissions, and the private sector has contributed to civic infrastructure as well by sponsoring everything from volunteer engagement programs to corporate social responsibility efforts.

The investments and contributions have created a set of institutions, organizations, policies and practices upon which society has come to rely to facilitate public engagement in what Alexis de Tocqueville described as “associational life.” This is civic infrastructure, and it is made up of civic platforms of interplay and participation that enable us to connect with one another and to discover, express, and act on our collective community and civic interests.

We are suggesting here that given the myriad ways in which the world has changed and the persistence of the problems our civic infrastructure is intended to address, there is a need not only to revisit that infrastructure but to consciously create an infrastructure capable of meeting the challenges of our times. Our existing civic infrastructure is, in some cases, failing to take advantage of opportunities, in terms of today’s technology, communications and access to information. In other cases, our current system is failing to meet the challenges it was intended to overcome. Some remnants of 20th century civic infrastructure are ineffective and others may be damaging or undermining or compromising our potential for positive social impact. (more…)

The Civic Engagement Primer (PACE)

The resource, The Civic Engagement Primer, from Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) was released April 2017. It was designed to help philanthropies explore fostering civic engagement interests and increase their understanding of the civic engagement field. You can view the primer’s write up from PACE below and check out the primer on PACE’s site here.

From the site…

A new conversation about civic engagement is emerging. At PACE–a network of funders and foundations committed to civic engagement and democracy–we’ve seen the swell in interest and urgency around this work firsthand.  Philanthropies are continuing to understand the civic engagement field and the role they can play in its future.  We’re getting a lot of questions–things like:

– What is civic engagement? How is it defined and what does it look?
– How might civic engagement relate to my work?
– How do I get started? Who might I learn from about how to do this work?

We don’t have all the answers, but we do have this:

This Civic Engagement Primer–also known as the #PACEprimer–is a resource designed to explore these questions and help philanthropies assess their interest and understanding in civic engagement, and ultimately help them along their journey toward integrating it into their work.  This tool is intended for:

– Philanthropies thinking about civic engagement for the first time
– Philanthropies that are not new to civic engagement, but have yet to invest in it
– Philanthropies that are already investing in civic engagement, but seek common language and shared tools

It should take users 20-30 minutes to work through the Civic Engagement Primer. At the end, we hope philanthropies will:

– Have a foundational understanding of civic engagement philanthropy
– Know if pursuing civic engagement philanthropy might be right for them
– Have resources at their fingertips to share with colleagues and explore further

Click here to view PACE’s Civic Engagement Primer. (more…)

The Future of Family (IF Discussion Guide)

The 48-page discussion guide, The Future of Family, was edited by Jeff Prudhomme and Jack Byrd, and published from Interactivity Foundation in the fall 2013. This guide explores the evolving ways in which families are shaped, and takes  into consideration how to shape policy with the varying ways in which family is defined. In this guide are nine contrasting public policy options concerning the family unit for participants to explore regarding how policy questions and concerns.

You can view the discussion guide in full on IF’s site and it can also be downloaded as a PDF for free here.

From the introduction…

What makes a family a family? Who should get to decide the answer to this question? What does family mean to us as a society? When does the notion of family become a matter of public concern? What might the future hold in store? These are the kinds of questions at the root of the following exploration of the future of the family.

Our idea of family continues to shift with changes in cultural norms and in demographics. In a culturally diverse society, what roles should cultural heritage play in policy decisions about the family? Different cultures have different ideas about how families are formed, how big they should be, and the roles people have within them. Speaking of different family roles, what about changing our ideas about gender roles and of human sexuality? How might public policy for the family take these into account?

Other social changes will impact our family policies. If we face an increasingly aging or mobile population, what concerns might arise for families? What about the economic concerns facing families? How might public policy respond to each and all of these concerns? What are the values or moral considerations that might shape these policies? What are the rights and responsibilities in regard to the family that public policy should take into account? How should we approach the relationship between political power and the family? What are other moral, legal, or political concerns that our family policies might need to address? (more…)

More Than a Seat at the Table: A Resource for Authentic and Equitable Youth Engagement

The article, More Than a Seat at the Table: A Resource for Authentic and Equitable Youth Engagement (2016), was written by Rebecca Reyes and Malana Rogers-Bursen, and published on Everyday Democracy.  This article explores several challenges when it comes to youth engagement and offers solutions to more effectively engage young people. It is important to engage young people in meaningful ways and for them to be a part of the key decision-making processes. Use this article as a way to gauge if your processes are inclusive of young people and how to improve those processes to better engage youth. Below is an excerpt of the article from Everyday Democracy, and can find the full article with all the examples of the specific challenges and solutions here.

From Everyday Democracy…

If you’re working on creating change in your community, it’s important to include all kinds of people in decision-making, including young people. The insight and talents of young people can bring value to any community change effort, yet community groups led by older adults sometimes find it hard to involve younger people, or keep them engaged.

We’ve led workshops on youth engagement to help people explore challenges they may face and think about possible solutions. People of all ages and from many sectors contributed their ideas for successfully engaging young people in their efforts. We’ve compiled a number of challenges that you may have encountered in your work or that may come up in the future, along with ways to address these challenges in your group.

There are many barriers young people can face that prevent them from getting involved. The barrier may be logistical, such as a meeting time or location. Even when we get young people to the table, they might not feel like they have an equal voice or decision making power.

Whenever we bring young people onto a planning team or steering committee, we need to make sure they’re making a meaningful contribution. Think back to how you were involved as a young person. Would you have been satisfied if you were asked to join a sports team, but were never allowed to play? What about if you volunteered with a group, but weren’t given any specific task to do? Or if you didn’t see the impact you were making at your workplace, however small?

Ultimately, the goal is to create intergenerational work with equitable relationships. This means that young people not only have a seat at the table and contribute in a meaningful way, but they are also a key part of decision-making. Engagement is just the first step. (more…)

Affinity Groups, Enclave Deliberation, and Equity

The 42-page article, Affinity Groups, Enclave Deliberation, and Equity (2016), was written by Carolyne Abdullah, Christopher Karpowitz, and Chad Raphael, and published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 12: Iss. 2. The article provides evidence for the practice of holding enclaves for marginalized groups within dialogue and deliberation processes, as part of a larger conversation. They have found that by creating space within affinity groups for enclaves to dialogue; processes are more inclusive, participatory, and democratic. The authors show several ways in which enclave groups can be used in democratic processes and implemented within government practice.

Read an excerpt of the article below and find the PDF available for download on the Journal of Public Deliberation site here.

From the article…

Organizers of dialogue and deliberation employ several common strategies aimed at achieving equal inclusion, participation, and influence in civic forums. In forums that are open to all who want to join, each participant typically has an equal opportunity to attend, speak, and, if applicable, an equal vote. Forums that restrict participation to a sample of the public take further steps to practice equality. To achieve proportional representation of members of marginalized groups, organizers often recruit random samples or quasi-representative microcosms of the public, or recruit participants in part through networks of social service or civil society organizations (Leighninger, 2012). Some forums subsidize the costs of participation – including information acquisition, time, and money – by providing background materials about the issues, translation services, paying stipends to participants, and the like (Lee, 2011). To create conditions for equal participation and influence, facilitators set ground rules that encourage sharing of speaking time, respect for participants regardless of status or identity, and openness to a broad range of communication styles (Gastil & Levine, 2005). Each of these strategies seeks inclusion of the disempowered on more equal discursive terms than are often found in traditional public meetings, which can be dominated by more privileged citizens, or by officials or policy experts, and which are not designed to engender cooperative talk between community members as equals (Gastil, 2008).

While these are important strategies, they can be insufficient. Even forums that most aim to create representative microcosms of a community are hard pressed to include proportional numbers of community members who are disadvantaged by their education, income, race, gender, age, and political interest (Jacobs, Cook, & Delli Carpini 2009; Ryfe & Stalsburg 2012). Research often finds that despite organizers’ best efforts, more privileged participants – white, male, highly educated, and professional – speak and influence decisions more than other participants (for summaries, see Black, 2012; Karpowitz & Mendelberg, 2014; Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014). Information, issues, and choices are often framed from the perspective of the powerful, even when presented as neutral or in terms of the “common good” (Young, 2000; Christiano, 2012). (more…)