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NCDD 2014 Workshops






The 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation brought together 415 innovators in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement in Reston, VA. We had an amazing time together, and we encourage you to check out our Storify page on the conference and to join NCDD (if you’re not already a member) to stay connected. Keep an eye on the NCDD2014 tag in the blog for news on follow-up activities and check out the info below to learn more about what went on at our latest national conference in Reston, VA…

Workshops took on Friday afternoon (2:30-4pm), Saturday morning (9-10:30 and 11-12:30) and Sunday morning (also 9-10:30 and 11-12:30).

Connecting Dialogue, Deliberation and Collective Impact 

The practice of Collective Impact (CI) is taking greater hold in philanthropy and the nonprofit and public sectors as a means to address complex issues requiring multi-sector action for systemic change. Some of the core elements of CI are: developing a common agenda based on trusting relationships between stakeholders, developing a backbone organization for support, and generating and acting on shared goals and metrics. This session will provide a brief overview of the CI model as well as reflections on the types of community conditions that enhance or impede impact. We’ll then discuss: What are the overlaps between dialogue and deliberation work and Collective Impact? What lessons can each field learn from the other?

Susan Stuart Clark
Director, Common Knowledge

Marty Jacobs
Leadership and Organization Development Consultant

Mike Wood
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, The Harwood Institute

Creating It Together: Learning, Community Action and Public Engagement

This interactive discussion will focus on two different universities’ successes and challenges in promoting positive campus-community relations to address short- and long-term strategies for local improvement. Administrators and community partners from Widener U. will share the complexities of cultivating their partnerships with residents in Sun Hill—and the innovative model of democratic engagement that has emerged from this work. Faculty from UNH will share their varied outreach efforts, such as the Plant for Growth project, designed to connect multiple community partners with numerous academic departments to create both meaningful community impact and vibrant educational connections.

Kate Hanson
Professor of Community Leadership, University of New Hampshire

Ginger Lever
Director, Community Relations, UNH Manchester

Marcine Pickron-Davis
Chief Community Engagement and Diversity Officer, Widener University

Nicole Cogdell
Community Liaison, City of Chester

Deliberation Boot Camp

This session will provide an overview of the deliberative perspective and an introduction to many of the key topics and organizations related to the field. Specifically designed for newcomers to the conference, the boot camp will help acclimate participants to the conference.

Martin Carcasson (and students!)
Director, CPD and Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Democratizing (through) Higher Education: A Route to Democracy for the Next Generation?

“Democracy for the Next Generation” calls for more critical, engaged, and skilled civic agents. And with more of our nation’s youth are attending college on their way to adulthood and the full duties of citizenship, college campuses represent an excellent infrastructure for bolstering the skills, knowledge, and capacities that the next generation needs to participate effectively in democratic processes and governance at all levels in the future. But in order to properly prepare future generations for democracy, higher ed itself needs to become more democratic. This interactive discussion will look at how our field can help campuses democratize their governance and teach more civic skills. This could be a huge “win” for our field, our schools, and our younger generations, but we will also explore the consequences of things staying the same.

Bruce Mallory 
Professor of Education, University of New Hampshire, The Democracy Imperative, and New Hampshire Listens

Vanessa Lopez
Student Organizer, California Student Union

Craig Berger
Coordinator of Student Life for Campus & Civic Engagement, University of Maryland – Baltimore County

Roshan Bliss
Student & Youth Inclusiveness Specialist

Expanding the Conversation on Mental Health – One Living Room at a Time

The number of disabled mentally ill in the U.S. tripled in the last two decades – despite a dramatic rise in psychiatric treatment. What gives? How can we help the ongoing National Dialogue on Mental Health become more productive? Within a system heavily influenced by industry, how can dialogue practitioners work to ensure representation from a diversity of voices? From issues such as medicating children to forced treatment and incarceration, how can a bigger conversation about mental health impact policy-making? Through a brief Living Room Conversation, participants will learn how starting small can help expand the larger mental health conversation.

Joan Blades
Founder, Living Room Conversations

Jacob Hess
Co-founder, All of Life

Debilyn Molineaux
Managing Partner, Living Room Conversations

Getting Local Government Participation Right: Alexandria, Virginia’s Guide to Public Engagement

Many cities and counties are strengthening their public deliberation and engagement methods to meet the needs of diverse communities for voice and impact. Learn about Alexandria’s citizen-driven process to affirm participation goals and chart distinct involvement methods. Documents to plan multiple participation options on a project are joined by practical tools on public meetings and online outreach. Resources and cases from California and North Carolina will provide similar “ready to use” materials.

John B. Stephens
Associate Professor of Public Administration & Government, Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Government

Carrie Beach
Division Chief of the Neighborhood Planning, City of Alexandria – Department of Planning and Zoning

Patrice Cunniff Linehan
Active citizen/community leader, What’s Next Alexandria

Revitalization of Main Street: Fine Art and Deliberative Arts Downtown 

Towns and small cities often have downtown areas, or “main streets” in need of revitalization. Participants in this session will learn how creative partnerships among a community college, town government, and regional businesses can design a space for art, education, culture and deliberation. Manchester Community College’s President, an associate dean, and professor will share how and why the now award-winning “MCC on Main” formed and how its use as an art gallery, education center, and space for downtown deliberation has led to a revitalization of Manchester, CT.

Rebecca M. Townsend, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication, Manchester Community College

Gena Glickman, Ph.D.
President, Manchester Community College

Endia DeCordova, M.B.A.
Dean of Development and Community Engagement, Manchester Community College

Reviving Congress One District at a Time

The congressional district is the step-child of citizen participation, an under-tapped arena in which to activate concerned citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable for the responsible use of their power. Presenters from No Labels and Voice of the People will speak about their strategies for getting Members of Congress to be more aware of and responsive to the values and priorities of their constituents. After small group exchanges about how these or other D&D resources might be used to help upgrade congress from the ground up, the whole group will brainstorm ideas to share within NCDD.

Laura Chasin
Founder, Public Conversations Project

Steven Kull
President, Voice of the People

David Nevins
National Grassroots Coordinator, No Labels

“Them” and “Us”: Liberating Stories Through Dialogue

Storytelling can be an important part of public dialogue work. How can stories discourage civic engagement and relate to “Themification” of others? What can facilitators do to understand the group dynamics of storytelling in dialogue? This session will draw from both experience/practice of dialogue and relevant research on storytelling to explore what stories can “do” to dehumanize, imprison, or liberate. Participants will tell their own stories, listen to/make sense of other peoples’ stories and engage the activist photography of Dick Simon (www.dicksimon.com).

Robert Stains
Sr. VP for Training, Public Conversations Project

Laura Black
Associate Professor, Ohio University

Beyond Books: Librarians, Journalists and Dialogue Professionals Working Together

What’s possible when information professionals like librarians and journalists work together with dialogue practitioners to inform and engage communities? This session will support a self-organizing format to contemplate: “What’s possible at the intersection of libraries, journalism, and civic practitioners that can serve the information needs of communities and democracy?” Help us answer that question as we convene NCDD conference participants to consider possibilities for involving them with local journalists and librarians in order to build civic infrastructure and capacity.

Nancy Kranich
Convener, ALA Center for Civic Life/Lecturer, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and American Library Association/Rutgers University

Peggy Holman
Executive Director, Journalism That Matters

Marla Crockett
Public Media Consultant and NCDD Board Member

Culture Shift in City Government: Defining a New Narrative in Calgary

The City of Calgary has fundamentally transformed, not just by the output of an engagement initiative, but also by the process of the specific facilitation utilized. Part of the story involves the lead team adopting the Group Pattern Language/Group Works deck to build a common language that allowed a diverse group of stakeholders to give collective expression to a shared emerging vision. This interactive workshop introduces the Group Works deck as a dynamic tool for transforming culture on a large scale, helping you imagine ways you, too, could use this creative tool in your work contexts.

David Plouffe
Public Engagement Consultant, City of Calgary

Sue Woehrlin
Core Faculty, B.A. Liberal Studies Program, Antioch University Seattle

The Deliberative Facilitator: Developing Theory and Practice

This session will address three central questions: What are the responsibilities of a deliberative facilitator, particularly those that are distinct from other facilitation situations? What are the inherent tensions between those responsibilities that we must address? What specific interventions help us fulfill these facilitator responsibilities and negotiate the tensions? After briefly summarizing developing research on these topics from the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation, we will break into groups to gather responses and brainstorm additional useful interventions.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CPD and Assoc Professor of Communication Studies, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Kacey Bull
Graduate Student and Leadership Team, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Mar Parsaye
Americorps VISTA, West Virginia Center for Civic Life

Lauren Riddle
Student, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

“I See What You Mean!” Using Visuals to Engage Communities

When complex ideas and information are captured and shared graphically, people engage more deeply and their commitment to cooperation and collaboration increases. In this interactive session, the facilitators will share a kit bag of visual artifacts they have used to facilitate public meetings involving contentious community issues. Explore two different case studies: one around increasing public engagement in rural communities; the other involving working to create more inclusive conversations about urban visioning. The session also explores the stages of issue engagement.

Teresa Blakinger
Visual Facilitator, Graphic Recorder, Concepts Captured

John Blakinger
Co-founder, CivilSay.net

Making Space for Sacred Convictions in D&D: Threat, Necessity or Opportunity?

Some of the greatest challenges for deliberative practitioners come from convictions – religious or otherwise – held so closely that their adherents consider them “sacred” in some sense. Indeed, no popular consensus exists around how exactly (or even whether) to make space in public dialogue for these beliefs. Using the LGBT/conservative Christian encounter as an example, we will brainstorm strategies for discussions in which sacred beliefs and identity convictions are at stake – as well as exploring how to better work with the considerable resistance and fear that such a dialogue may invoke.

Jacob Z. Hess
Co-Founder, All of Life.org

Heidi Weaver
Founder & President, LOVEboldly, L.L.C.

John Backman
Principal, The Dialogue Venture

Arthur Peña

Phil Neisser
Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Chair, Department of Politics, SUNY Potsdam

Tracy Hollister
Program Manger, Marriage Equality USA

Restorative Conversations: Bringing Our Best Selves to the Table

Restorative practices prime our best for healthy relationships and learning environments. When difficult situations arise, restorative-minded educators can encourage new mindsets that bring out the best in themselves and their students through inquiry-based, one-on-one processes, for both students who harmed and those who were harmed. Participants will be introduced to restorative conversations and practices such as double listening, three-minute peacebuilding, and mini-chats that help students access their own best in understanding the impact of their actions on others.

Jan Kauffman
Graduate Student, Bowling Green State University

Dr. Judy Mullet
Professor of Psychology, Eastern Mennonite University

Teaching Next Generation Democracy: High School, College, and Beyond

In this session, we will help each other explore different approaches to teaching discussion skills for next generation democracy. We will share experiences and insights from 3 programs working at different educational levels: the Close Up Foundation’s work teaching democratic skills to high school students, the Wesleyan College-Interactivity Foundation collaboration teaching first-year college students to facilitate their own discussion teams, and James Madison University’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy & Dialogue teaching upper-level college students to facilitate community discussions.

Jeff Prudhomme, Ph.D.
Vice President, Interactivity Foundation

Lori Britt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Communication & Director of JMU’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue, James Madison University

Deidra Donmoyer
Associate Professor of Communication, Director of the Women’s Studies program, and Co-Director, Wesleyan College

Rachel Talbert
Vice President, Programs and Curriculum, Close Up Foundation

Richa Adhikari
Student, Wesleyan College

Katie Lese and Leanna Smithberger
Graduate Students, James Madison University

Text, Talk, Act: A Breakthrough in Youth Civic Engagement

Engaging the next generation in our democracy will require a fundamental shift in approach. Text messaging is the most popular digital activity for youth – with over 87% texting monthly. With this in mind, Creating Community Solutions, part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, developed Text, Talk, Act. Following a brief introduction, participants in the session will join in a Text, Talk, Act event, utilizing cell phones and small group conversation. Presenters will then lead a brainstorming session about how this idea can be brought into our field.

Raquel Goodrich
Online Engagement Manager, National Institute for Civil Discourse

Susan McCormack
Senior Associate, Everyday Democracy

Matt Leighninger
Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Where is the Public in Public Budgeting?

There is no better expression of the values of a culture than its budget: the formal process for making decisions about where and to whom resources should be directed. Typically, budget decisions are made by elected officials without much public involvement. The process is complex, there are decades-old commitments to honor (e.g. veterans), there are reams of data to sift, and math is often involved. But could budgeting be improved with the addition of more thoughtful processes? Learn about and discuss two promising practices–an online simulation and a direct outreach to residents.

Brenda Morrison
Partner, Engaged Public

Josh Lerner
Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting Project

Co-Designing our Transpartisan Journey

Are you a transpartisan? Are you inspired to find political solutions that are transformative and beyond partisan labeling? Given the hyper-partisanship of media and politics in our country, many transpartisan leaders and citizens have started to ask: What can we create together? How do we support one another in our many efforts, and what is the relationship between local and national action? How do we measure our success? Join this powerful conversation where participants and presenters explore together what is possible within a transpartisan movement.

Debilyn Molineaux
Project Coordinator and Managing Partner, Center for Transpartisan Leadership and Living Room Conversations

Mark Gerzon
President, Mediators Foundation

Joan Blades
Founding Partner, Living Room Conversations

Michael D. Ostrolenk
Liberty Coalition

John Steiner
Mediators Foundation and Transpartisan Center

Corporations: A Key to Evolving Democracy

For better or worse, corporations are a key player in our democracy. This session explores questions about using D&D with and within corporations including: What might we learn from using D&D in corporate settings that can be applied to community interactions? What are some of the challenges of integrating D&D into the business world? What are the most important differences between D&D in corporate vs. community settings? Why and how might the two sectors engage with each other? What have we learned works and what should we avoid? We will interweave brief presentations with individual reflection and small and large group conversations.

Mary V. Gelinas, Ed.D. and Roger James, Ed.D.
Co-Directors, Gelinas James, Inc. and Cascadia Center for Leadership

Barbara Simonetti
Conversation Architect/President, Meetings That Matter

Susan Partnow
Senior Organizational Development Consultant, Swedish/Providence Health Systems

Facilitating With Grace, Even Under Fire

When contentious topics are under discussion, even the most skilled facilitator can come under fire, charged by a participant with bias or another form of inadequacy. In this session, the presenters will lay out some basic principles of facilitation, introduce the Walk About Model for staying grounded in difficult moments, then have small groups work on a case asking not only “What would you do?” but also, “What would your thinking be?” and “What does that suggest about how you see your role?”

Maggie Herzig
Senior Associate, Public Conversations Project

Robert R. Stains, Jr.
Senior Vice-President for Training, Public Conversations Project

From Box to Bridge: Kansas Libraries as Places for Community Conversations

Five librarians from across Kansas will describe how they build internal and public capacity for conversations about a range of challenging topics. Most of the session will be presenter and participant conversation about 1) the strengths libraries bring to capacity building and related strategies and 2) community conversation models libraries use to meet the demands of each situation. Participants will leave with strategies and an expanded list of potential partners to convene community conversations.

Myles Alexander
Project Coordinator, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University

Donna Schenck-Hamlin
Assistant to the Dean for Grants and Collaborative Projects, Kansas State University, Hale Library

Fun with Conflicting Worldviews: Building Bridges Between the Boxes We Inhabit

Comedian Stephen Colbert, in his conservative persona, has said he doesn’t watch the news because “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” We laugh, but Colbert isn’t alone. How can we advance toward solutions when values shape our understanding of facts? Cultural cognition research shows that Americans’ decision making often reflects deeper conflicts between values of individualism and community, equality and authority. Can we invite everyone into the conversation? In this lively, experiential workshop, we’ll explore our values and how to foster understanding across the cultural divide.

Susan Clark
Author, Facilitator, Slow Democracy

John Gastil
Head and Professor, Communication Arts and Sciences and Director, McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Penn State University

Moving From Nervous to Confident – A Peer Exchange on Online Engagement Tools

It’s clear that online tools will play a role in the next generation of engagement. Still, many practitioners remain nervous and have questions. Let’s talk about them! As a peer exchange, this lively session will include experienced practitioners who can offer a unique perspective: each was once skeptical and now uses a wide variety of tools regularly. They come bearing stories of challenges, successes, and best practices. Learn by stories — Experienced panel, great case studies. Learn by doing — Try them yourself. Learn by dialogue — Ask your questions, join this lively dialogue!

Dave Biggs
Co-Founder, MetroQuest

Theresa McClure
Public Involvement Manager, HDR Inc.

David Whyte
Vice President, Senior Planner, Kimley-Horn

Kenneth Mobley
Public Engagement Practice Leader, Michael Baker International

The Oregon Story: Creating Statewide Infrastructure for Civic Engagement

Oregon has been a testing ground for new governance approaches, and the last 5 years have been no different. 3 new innovations empower Oregonians to contribute feedback, ideas, and resources to decision-makers and public projects: the Oregon Solutions Network, Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and the Citizens Initiative Review. Presenters will talk about lessons learned in embedding a civic infrastructure within state government and then engage in discussion about where such efforts may go from here and applicability to their own states, and participants will leave with an understanding of components needed to embed such infrastructure.

Wendy Willis
Executive Director, Policy Consensus Initiative

Tyrone Reitman
Excutive Director, Healthy Democracy

Sarah Giles
Project Manager, Oregon’s Kitchen Table / Portland State University

Jim Jacks
Project Manager, Oregon Solutions / Portland State University

Strategies for Gathering Data to Support Evaluation of D&D Initiatives

Useful evaluation is grounded in careful program documentation. Practitioners and researchers will explore strategies, techniques, and tools for collecting information about what happens before, during, and after D&D initiatives. Participants will work in small groups and plenaries to identify: (1) program elements for which we need to collect data in order to analyze individual programs and conduct comparative analyses, and (2) strategies to overcome challenges that make it difficult to gather program data. Session leaders will also highlight some useful tools and strategies currently available.

Patrick L. Scully, PhD
President, Clearview Consulting and Director, Participedia.net

Tina Nabatchi, PhD
Faculty Research Assoc for the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict & Collaboration, Syracuse University

The Student as Facilitator

This workshop brings together higher education faculty with experience in training students to moderate deliberative discussions. The faculty members participating in this workshop employ multiple course and program-based methods when training students in facilitating deliberation. In a series of small group discussions facilitated by students and faculty experienced in moderation training, this workshop gives space to share diverse ideas, experiences, and syllabi related to incorporating facilitation trainings into higher education practice. We briefly explore outcomes of student training.

Elizabeth Hudson
Senior Lecturer, Wayne State University

Kara Dillard
Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Alaska — Fairbanks

Martin Carcasson
Director and Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Windy Lawrence
Director, UHD Center for Public Deliberation, and Associate Professor, Communication Studies, University of Houston Downtown

Catherine Krege & Matthew Jake Braunstein
Students, Political and Civic Engagement Program at Indiana University

Training Small Group Facilitators and Note Takers: Building and Sharing Capacity

Many deliberative exercises rely on volunteer facilitators and note takers: how can we best prepare and support them? We will share methods used in two citizen deliberations around climate change in Alberta, including training sessions and materials, weekly debriefings and orientations, mentoring for new and seasoned facilitators, and process designed to minimize the impact of weak facilitation. We will share learning from surveys and focus groups with volunteers, and work with session participants to capture good practices and challenges remaining for the field.

Jacquie Dale
Principal, One World Inc. 

Susanna Haas Lyons
Public Participation Specialist + Civic Technologist

Mary Pat Mackinnon
Vice President, Public Engagement, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Deborah Schrader
University of Alberta

The Community Collaboration Game

True collaboration is hard to create and even harder to keep. In The Collaboration Game, attendees learn how a simulation can help people, businesses, organizations, and communities see and experience each other by generating demand for what they do when they are at their best, and how to hold onto that stellar reputation. This workshop will explore the ins and outs of living in smaller communities and how the important relationships and conversations that happen behind the scenes can make all the difference. The Collaboration Game was created by The Inside Out Partnership Ltd. This is a partnership of Alchemy & the Orton Family Foundation.

Scott Neu
Director of Operations, Alchemy: The Art of Transforming Business

Christine Chopyak
Senior Partner, Alchemy: The Art of Transforming Business

Community Dialogue on Race: Aiming To Reach Beyond the Usual Cultural Boundaries

Explore how divided communities move beyond “debates” to “dialogues” and work together to address allegations of racial profiling and race. Understand how communities can collaborate and share understanding about the factors that contribute to mistrust by “walking through the local racial history together” that may ultimately lead to a mutual commitment to affect policy by reaching beyond “their” usual cultural boundaries.

Mildred I. Duprey de Robles
Conciliation Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service

Knight Sor
Conciliation Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Services

Azekah Jennings
Senior Conciliation Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Services

Cooperation Skills and the New Economy Movement

This hands-on workshop explores how everyday people are applying facilitation and dialogue skills on the ground. We’ll explore how trained mediators and facilitators can support the popularization of more sophisticated group decision making, conflict resolution, and productive dialogue in new economy spaces. Throughout North America, communities are creating a new economy that puts people, place, and the planet first. These communities use dialogue and deliberation to weave economic democracy into new structures and practices– from community-led participatory budgeting to consumer and worker-owned cooperatives. New Economy models are human-centered; fundamentally based in democratic process of cooperation and collaboration.

Esteban Kelly
Lead Organizer, New Economy Coalition

Susan Gleason
Media & Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

Don’t Eat Your Broccoli. Eat Warm Cookies. Yep, This is an Actual Session.

Important issues are often boring and mind-numbing: Budgetary allocations, taxes, conversations about moral values. For regular folks who are working hard and raising families, the idea of purposefully engaging in these meetings sounds like punishment. So, how DO we get people to come and engage?  We’re going to share how 3 organizations have navigated through these puzzles and brainstorm new and helpful ways to bridge community divisions, bring people together and talk WITH instead of AT each other. Cookies MAY be served. No broccoli though!

Evan Weissman
Executive Director, Warm Cookies of the Revolution

Liz Joyner
Co-founder, Content Director, The Village Square

Jaime Rae Walker
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension

Getting Real about the Politics of Environmental Deliberations

How can deliberations on complex environmental issues like climate change make a real political difference? This raises questions around framing, partnership with government, links to civil society, and incremental vs. transformative understandings of change. Members of Alberta Climate Dialogue will host a short deliberative exercise on climate change, then reflect on political issues that have played out in our practice. We’ll facilitate discussion of how dialogue and deliberation can support the systemic responses we so urgently need to our toughest environmental challenges.

David Kahane
Professor, University of Alberta and Project Director, Alberta Climate Dialogue

Susanna Haas Lyons
Public Participation Specialist + Civic Technologist

Gwendolyn Blue
Assistant Professor, Department of GeographyUniversity of Calgary

Lorelei Hanson
Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, Athabasca University

The Role of Campus-Based Centers and Institutes in Expanding D&D in Communities

Individuals connected to established and newly forming on-campus centers and institutes that serve as local resources for deliberative civic engagement will reflect on their work and their journeys establishing new campus-based centers together. Models from research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, etc., will be involved. Participants will learn about the Kettering Foundation’s Centers for Public Life program, a year long training program, and discussions will focus on the various models of centers, how to start new centers, and how to further develop existing centers.

Martin Carcasson
Director and Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Windy Lawrence
Director, UHD Center for Public Deliberation, and Associate Professor, Communication Studies, University of Houston Downtown

Louise Fleming-Dufala
Director, Center for Public Life, Ashland University

Andrea Houchard
Director of Philosophy in the Public Interest, Northern Arizona University

Amanda Buberger
Assistant Director – Partnerships, Tulane University

Sara A. Mehltretter Drury
Assistant Professor and Director, Wabash Democracy & Public Discourse, Wabash College

Leroy Brady
Professor of Business, San Diego City College

Lisa-Marie Napoli
Lecturer, Political and Civic Engagement Program (PACE) at Indiana University, Bloomington

Understanding Local Government Cultures: Practical Partnering for Civic Engagement

Local government plays a central role in many dialogue and deliberation projects, as host, client or essential ally. Yet, officials may have mixed results from past public engagement experiences, skeptical colleagues, political constraints, limited staff and budgets, and higher priority responsibilities. How can we understand their realities and be more effective partners in what’s often a change management process? We’ll share findings from candid interviews with local officials and invite you to share your stories and lessons learned. Together we will reflect on ways to assess the need and opportunities for culture change to promote more local public participation.

Christoph Berendes
Senior Associate, Justice and Sustainability Associates (JSA)

Susan Stuart Clark
Founder/Director, Common Knowledge

Kyle Bozentko
Executive Director, Jefferson Center

Unleashing the Student Voice

Students need, want and deserve to be heard on the public-policy issues affecting their lives, but institutional and legal obstacles can deter their participation and marginalize their voices. We’ll share success stories about using social media to invite young people into the dialogue about education policy, and how students can take ownership of improving the state of their own legal rights through legislative reform, making the campus a safer place to speak up without fear.

Frank LoMonte
Executive Director, Student Press Law Center

Zak Melamed
Executive Director, Student Voice

What’s Equity Have to Do With It? Ensuring Inclusive Participation

Many of us strive to involve all kinds of people in our community civic efforts, but we don’t always succeed. Why is this? We schedule discussions that meet people’s busy schedules. We provide childcare and food for participants. These tactics can work, but there are often less obvious ways in which we render such tactics useless. This session will introduce the concepts of privilege, power and equity, and will draw on the experiences of the audience to surface the successes and challenges of ensuring that people of all backgrounds can take part in civic life.

Carrie Boron
Organizational Effectiveness Officer, Everyday Democracy

Susan McCormack
Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy and Community Liaison for Creating Community Solutions

Valeriano Ramos
Director of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships, Everyday Democracy

Building Bridges between Deliberative Democracy and Collaborative Public Policy

Where do we stand in 2014 in bringing these related fields together, formally or informally? Does a public policy conflict resolution practitioner need to know the D&D and civil discourse worlds, and vice versa? If so, what should they know? What are the best ways to make that happen? What new connections could or should be made? Are these different names for the same discipline? Different disciplines? Related elements of the same discipline? This session will review and build on earlier efforts (including a similar session at the 2013 ACR-EPP Conference), and provide a venue for discussion.

Michael Kern
Director, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington/Washington State University

Wendy Willis
Executive Director, Policy Consensus Initiative

Carolyn Lukensmeyer
Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse

Mary Jacksteit
Associate, Public Conversations Project 

#CanWeTalkGender: Safe, Compassionate Conversations about Gender

This year’s hashtag firestorm (#YesAllWomen / #notallmen) exemplified the daunting difficulties and myriad sensitivities involved in any conversation about gender. D&D practitioners are uniquely equipped to address those challenges by fostering a safe space for all genders and creating powerful questions for unlocking discussion. But how do we foster that space? And what are the questions? This session will engage all participants in imagining a fruitful, respectful, compassionate conversation.

Dave Joseph
Senior Vice President for Program, Public Conversations Project

Barbara Simonetti
Principal, Meetings That Matter and NCDD Board Member

John Backman
Principal, The Dialogue Venture and NCDD Board Member

Debilyn Molineaux
Project Coordinator and Managing Partner, Center for Transpartisan Leadership (CTL) and Living Room Conversations

Envisioning Civic Infrastructure: Designs for Durable Dialogue & Engagement

To make dialogue and deliberation more powerful and sustainable, communities need to rethink their “civic infrastructure” – but how do we help people grapple with that abstract-sounding term? We believe pictures and other visualizations can help. This interactive session will describe some of the ways participation has been visualized, including Sherri Arnstein’s participation ladder, the IAP2 Spectrum, and NCDD’s Engagement Streams. We will present ideas about the ingredients for civic infrastructure, offer some images we have developed, and help participants develop first draft images or diagrams to help them think about long-term engagement in their communities.

John B. Stephens
Associate Professor of Public Administration & Government, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government

Matt Leighninger
Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC)

Negotiating Deliberation Projects with Civil Servants and Elected Officials

Many of us have battle stories about working with public servants and elected officials. Where in the policy cycle should deliberation take place? How can we secure real impact? How do we navigate constructions of what’s risky, what’s productive, and what citizens need to learn and decide? Presenters will share lessons learned through the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges, a six-day deliberation in partnership with municipal government. Participants will see what pointers and signposts they can develop for those working with government on deliberative projects. 

Mary Pat Mackinnon
Vice President, Public Engagement, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

David Kahane
Professor, University of Alberta and Project Director, Alberta Climate Dialogue

Jacquie Dale
Principal, One World Inc. 

Politics, Race & Abortion: Using Controversial Topics to Build Meaningful Connections

Polarized, politicized and controversial topics don’t have to be divisive. These session leaders all have experiences and data that prove these topics can actually be used to bring people together. Each leader comes from a different organization and issue area, and in this session will share different approaches and models for having conversations about “hot button” topics. This interactive section will give participants tools and strategies to have conversations across partisan lines, and address the how and why behind the way people approach these topics.

Danielle Thomas
Senior Manager, National Programs, Exhale

Joan Blades
Co-Founder, MoveOn.org and LivingRoomConversations.org

Dori Maynard
President, The Maynard Institute

The Intersection of Slam Poetry and Justice

With sites like Upworthy picking up performance poetry videos in droves, poems addressing sexuality, body image, racism and many other social justice issues are now getting millions of views on YouTube. Unlike any year prior, 2014 has been the year for performance poetry to be accessible to all. In this session, participants will learn how poetry crosses the intersection of social justice, how to utilize poetry as a tool for change and how to keep the dialogue going about the “it” poem of the moment long after the media has moved on. This session will include performances of poetry.

Sarah Lawson
Founder and Curator, Beltway Poetry Slam

Jonathan B. Tucker
Youth Programs Coordinator, Split This Rock

Pages Matam
Assistant Youth Programs Coordinator, Split This Rock

Video Deliberations: the Opportunity and Challenge

Online video conferencing is quickly becoming an important tool for dialogue and deliberation. This session will feature lessons learned from a number of projects that used Google Hangouts, Webex and other platforms to conduct live video conferences for people to discuss public policy issues—including Interactivity Foundation projects, Face the Facts Hangouts, Soliya’s cross-cultural web dialogues, and the NCDD 2012 Catalyst Award winner Real Dialogues. Through recorded video, live demonstrations and group discussion, participants will explore the strengths, challenges, capacities and pitfalls of online video conferencing for public discourse.

Mark Amadeus Notturno and Shannon Wheatley Hartman
Fellows, Interactivity Foundation

Susanna Haas Lyons
Public Participation Specialist + Civic Technologist

Waidehi Gokhale
Director of Partnerships & Development, Soliya

What’s Next, WV? A Statewide Conversation . . . One Community at a Time

What’s Next, West Virginia? is a nonpartisan, statewide initiative to encourage local dialogue about West Virginia’s future and to help communities plan actions, based on their own ideas for building stronger local economies. Through sharing the story of What’s Next, WV, project partners will paint a picture of the growing civic infrastructure and community capacity to talk and work together on public issues in West Virginia. Participants will share their own insights in a discussion about what it takes to develop ongoing practices of civic engagement in a community–or even a state!

Betty Knighton
Director, West Virginia Center for Civic Life

Kent Spellman
Director, West Virginia Community Development HUB

Young People are Citizens: Preparing the Next Generation for Active Citizenship

This session will highlight insights, stories, and lessons learned from ongoing community-based projects in Alabama that increase civic knowledge, build civic skills, and enhance civic dispositions among young citizens. During action-oriented, small-group discussions, we will seek to answer the question: “How can we forge new pathways within higher education, community organizations, K-12 schools, and local government to more effectively engage young people in public deliberation and active civic learning?”

Cristin Foster
Program Director, David Mathews Center for Civic Life

Hollie Cost
Mayor of Montevallo and Professor of Education and Service Learning Coordinator, University of Montevallo

Lowery McNeal
Living Democracy Fellow, Auburn University

Lauren Davis
Intern, University of Montevallo/David Mathews Center for Civic Life


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