Deliberative Pedagogy Institute: Creating Space for Democracy

Friday, November 15, 2019

9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Providence College | The Center @ Moore Hall

Why Deliberative Pedagogy?
"This is the next step for the movement – how to hold public dialogues and teach deliberative practices, get students thinking through issues, teaching them how to value democracy." - Andrew Seligsohn, Campus Compact
We live in divisive and polzarizing times, often remaining in comfortable social bubbles and experiencing few genuine interactions with people who are different or with whom we disagree. This division negatively impacts students' sense of belonging, community cohesion, and the quality of discourse, a cornerstone of higher education. Stepping out and turning to one another is difficult but necessary if we are to achieve shared focus of building inclusive institutions that prepare students for responsible participation and leadership in civic life. Building the capacity to catalyze dialogue and deliberation is an essential component of our work, and there is a need for practices and tools to actualize change across colleges and universities. As Beverly Tatum, former president of Spelman College, reminds us, "You can't solve a problem if you can't talk about it." Our collective failure to engage in meaningful dialogue or sustained, collaborative works means complex challenges go unaddressed. We spend too much time feeling powerless and need to learn how to organize genuine dialogues that lead to productive action. This can change. We need to start talking with one another, and then turn these conversations into collective action. The Deliberative Pedagogy Institute is about making this happen on college campuses.
About the Institute
The Deliberative Pedagogy Institute is a one-day institute for faculty, staff, students, and administrators designed to deepen their understanding of current campus-based democratic practices that foster dialogue, inclusion, and civic action at colleges and universities.
Through plenary sessions, workshops, and networking, participants will:
  • Learn about various approaches to dialogue and deliberation;
  • Develop an understanding of "what works" to empower students to talk across differences, build leadership, and practice civic agency; and
  • Build a network and relationships with practitioners.
Presenters for the DPI represent some of the leading voices of the deliberative democracy movement, including representatives from Everyday Democracy, Essential Conversations, the Interactivity Foundation, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, New Hampshire Listens, the National Issues Forums Institute, and the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network.
Pre-Institute Story Circle Workshop
Thursday, November 14, 2019
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Co-Sponsored by College Unbound, and the PC-Smith Hill Annex 
Participation in a Pre-Institute "story circle" led by Lizzy Cooper Davis, assistant professor at Emerson College, is available at no cost. This is an opportunity to learn about the stories of identity, belonging, and activism of fellow travelers in the field of civic engagement while learning more about the story circle method of dialogue for social change. The story circle model involves a group of people sitting togehter and sharing stories about their experience on a given topic or theme. It is a simple, yet radical, practice. According to Lizzy Cooper Davis, "Story circles encourage us to embrase dialogue over debate and to value the nuances of experiences over even the best-structured arguments." The story circle may be used to build community within a group, to examine differences across lines of race or class, to explore social challenges that people are facing in their own lives, or for other purposes. 
Due to limited available spacing, the story circle will be available to a limited number of institute attendees. In order to attend, please select the registration ticket "with story circle" option. 
Overnight Lodging Block Rate Available
If you require overnight lodging, you may access the Providence College rate of $149/night at The Graduate Providence (formerly Biltmore).  To book at this rate, Contact Linda at 401.455.3192 or
Exclusive Book Offer for Participants: 
Participants can purchase the forthcoming book Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education (edited by Nicholas V. Longo & Timothy J. Shaffer) at the discounted price of $22.75 (35% off) and available for pick up at the event. You must pre-purchase by selecting the book during registration.
About the Book: We live in divisive and polarizing times, often remaining in comfortable social bubbles and experiencing few genuine interactions with people who are different or with whom we disagree. Stepping out and turning to one another is difficult but necessary. For our democracy to thrive at a time when we face wicked problems that involve tough trade-offs it is vital that all citizens participate fully in the process. We need to learn to listen, think, and act with others to solve public problems. This collaborative task begins with creating space for democracy. This book provides a guide for doing so on campus through deliberation and dialogue.

At the most basic level, this book describes collaborative and relational work to engage with others and co-create meaning. Specifically, dialogue and deliberation are processes in which a diverse group of people moves toward making a collective decision on a difficult public issue.

This primer offers a blueprint for achieving the civic mission of higher education by incorporating dialogue and deliberation into learning at colleges and universities. It opens by providing a conceptual framework, with leading voices in the dialogue and deliberation field providing insights on issues pertinent to college campuses, from free speech and academic freedom to neutrality and the role of deliberation in civic engagement. Subsequent sections describe a diverse range of methods and approaches used by several organizations that pioneered and sustained deliberative practices; outline some of the many ways in which educators and institutions are using dialogue and deliberation in curricular, co-curricular, and community spaces, including venues such as student centers, academic libraries, and residence halls. All of the chapters, including a Resource Section, provide readers with a starting point for conceptualizing and implementing their own deliberation and dialogue initiatives.

This book, intended for all educators who are concerned about democracy, imparts the power and impact of public talk, offers the insights and experiences of leading practitioners, and provides the grounding to adopt or adapt the models in their own settings to create educative spaces and experiences that are humanizing, authentic, and productive. It is an important resource for campus leaders, student affairs practitioners, librarians, and centers of institutional diversity, community engagement, teaching excellence and service-learning, as well as faculty, particularly those in the fields of communication studies, education, and political science.  Read more from the publisher 

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