Submit Your Nominations for 2018 Brown Democracy Medal

It’s that time again! The McCourtney Institute for Democracy – an NCDD member org, is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal. For the fifth year running, this medal celebrates those working to advance democracy. The winner will be awarded $5,000, have their work published, and will present at Penn State in the fall of 2018. Nominations must be submitted by January 8th, 2018! We encourage those in the NCDD network to apply, and check out the details in the post below or you can find the original here.


Call for Nominations for the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State is accepting nominations for the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal. The Medal and $5,000 are awarded annually to individuals or organizations doing the best new work to advance democracy in the United States and around the globe. The Brown Medal recognizes recent work that is significant but under-appreciated. The medal helps bring new ideas and innovations the public recognition they deserve.

Award Review Process

The award is open to any significant contribution in democratic research, reform, practice, or theory. All nominations will be considered according to the review criteria set out below.

Nominations for the 2018 medal will be accepted through January 8, 2018.

The winner will give a talk at Penn State in fall of 2018, when they will receive their award. Between the spring announcement of the winner and the on-campus event in the fall, the Institute will provide the recipient with professional editorial assistance toward completing a short (20-25 page) essay describing the innovation for a general audience. In the fall, Cornell University Press will publish the essay, which will be available at a very low price to aid the diffusion of the winning innovation. Essays from the previous winners are available through Cornell University Press and other online outlets.

To assure full consideration, please send all nomination letters before January 8, 2018 to democracyinst@psu.edu. Initial nomination letters are simply that, a one-to-two page letter that describes how the nominee’s work meets the criteria for this award and what distinguishes it from other work on democracy. Both self-nominations and nominations of others are welcomed. In either case, email, phone, and postal contact information for the nominee must be included.

A distinguished review panel will screen initial nominations and select a subset of nominees for the second round. Those nominees will be required to provide further documentation, including: a brief biographical sketch of the individual or organization nominated; two letters of support; and a basic description of the innovation and its efficacy. The review panel will scrutinize the more detailed applications and select an awardee in the spring of 2018.

Review Criteria

The democratic innovation selected will score highest on these features:

  1. Novelty. The innovation is precisely that—a genuinely new way of thinking about democracy or practicing it. The award is thus intended to recognize recent accomplishments, which have occurred during the previous five years. The innovation will likely build on or draw on past ideas and practices, but its novelty must be obvious.
  2. Systemic Change. The idea, theory, or practical reform should represent significant change in how we think about and practice democracy. Ideas should be of the highest clarity and quality, empirical studies should be rigorous and grounded in evidence, and practical reforms must have proof of their effectiveness. The change the innovation brings about should be able to alter the larger functioning of a democratic system over a long time frame.
  3. Potential for Diffusion. The idea or reform should have general applicability across many different scales and cultural contexts. In other words, it should be relevant to people who aspire to democracy in many parts of the world and/or in many different social or political settings.
  4. Democratic Quality. In practical terms, while the nominees themselves may well be partisan, the spirit of this innovation must be nonpartisan and advance the most essential qualities of democracy, such as broad social inclusion, deliberativeness, political equality, and effective self-governance.

Individuals or organizations who are Penn State alumni or employees, or who have worked closely with the Institute, are not eligible. Returning applicants may notice that our process has changed from previous years, when awards alternated between democratic theory and practical innovation.

Questions and Further Information

Any questions or requests for more information should be sent to .
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State (http://democracyinstitute.la.psu.edu) promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad.

Home for the Holidays: Dialogue Across Divides Among Family and Friends

Living Room Conversations released the guide, Home for the Holidays: Dialogue Across Divides Among Family and Friends, which we found Fall 2017 (original publish date unknown). The guide give excellent pointers on how to hold living room conversations with family members taking into consideration all the challenges that family can bring. You can read the guide below, find a downloadable PDF here or the original on Living Room Conversation’s site here.

From the guide…

This year we’ve been hearing from all sorts of people that they want to use Living Room Conversations skills to help heal family relationships​. People have experienced loss of or harm to treasured relationships because of politics. And now with the holidays coming up they are considering how to navigate. Does love supersede politics? For most people it does. But there is still confusion and hurt to manage. How do we do this? How can we listen to each other and hold the tension of our differences?

People have reported going home and having better conversations with relatives and friends they disagree with after having Living Room Conversations. There are skills that we get to practice in Living Room Conversations that are easy to take home. ​Some have invited relatives to join them in Living Room Conversations. Like with any Living Room Conversation you only invite people you believe will be able and willing to abide by the conversation agreements and follow the structure. People have a natural intuition about what friends and family to invite. We all know family members that aren’t good at taking turns being curious or listening with respect. We also tend to know when family is good at it, or might be, with gentle reminders of the conversation agreements

For years we’ve told people that family is one situation where we are not fully confident that Living Room Conversations will work. Why? Because family is known for breaking host and guest social norms. Because family knows each other’s triggers and because family relations often require more of us. Emotional stakes tend to be higher, conversations are colored by history and it can feel easier to take the proverbial gloves off and fight dirty, unconstrained by the politeness we give others. But in most instances, we can love our family, even when we don’t like what they believe!

We are thrilled to have more and more people doing the Relationships First and other Living Room Conversations in order to hone their relationship skills and thinking. Some people come away with a new appreciation for the power of listening or new curiosity about why people they love think the way they do or new insights about the power of a asking questions without​ ​judgement​. There are very few quick fixes in the world of relationships. Building trust and understanding takes time. This is slow and satisfying work.

INTRODUCTION
It’s no secret we sometimes disagree with families and friends. What seems secret is how to handle it when we do! At Living Room Conversations, we specialize in structuring challenging conversations so they are safe and enjoyable using our Conversation Agreements and Conversation Guides. Wouldn’t it be great if we could talk to family and friends as respectfully as people in Living Room Conversations talk to strangers? We realized it could be useful to share our Conversation Agreements more broadly for the holidays. They are good to keep in mind for kinder dinner-table conversations. True, others may not be following the Conversation Agreements but sometimes good practices can be contagious and you can have the satisfaction of feeling better about your own part in the conversation.

CONVERSATION​ ​AGREEMENTS
These are the Living Room Conversation Agreements:

  • Be curious and open to learning​. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. Enjoy hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. ​Human beings tend to judge one another; do your best not to. Setting judgments aside opens you up to learning from others and makes them feel respected and appreciated.
  • Find common ground and note differences. ​Look for common ground you can agree on and take an interest in the differing beliefs and opinions of others.
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. ​Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.
  • Be purposeful and to the point. ​Notice if what you are conveying is or is not pertinent to the topic at hand.
  • Own and guide the conversation. ​Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and that of the conversation. Be proactive in getting yourself and others back on track if needed.

THE​ ​BASICS
Listening is powerful. It doesn’t mean you agree. Just giving someone your full attention is a valuable gift. People rarely change their beliefs in a conversation; but people often expand understanding through conversation. Focus on learning and sharing rather than debating or convincing. To do so you can:

  • Ask thoughtful questions, inspired by whatever honest curiosity you feel
  • Try to understand, not convince or persuade
  • Share personal stories and experiences, not data points
  • Notice if there are areas of agreement.
  • Assume good intentions and extend the benefit of the doubt
  • Thoughtfully end the conversation when you are triggered or tired
  • Share appreciation for having the conversation

CORE​ ​SKILLS

  • Generous listening. Listen deeply, without an intention to respond, refute, or defend. Just listen.
  • Assume good intent. Give the person the benefit of the doubt.
  • Genuine curiosity. Show curiosity by asking questions and learning more about the person’s life experiences that have shaped their perspective.
  • Respectful engagement. Showing respect and kindness can diffuse a great deal of tension and it’s often contagious.

POTENTIAL​ ​PITFALLS

  • Insults or name-calling. Using unflattering names or making derogatory remarks about people that the other person cares about (including political leaders) are fighting words.
  • Overgeneralizing. Beware of using words like “you always” and “you never.” They are seldom true, and these words tend to feel attacking.
  • Leading questions. Steer clear of asking questions designed to “trap” the person or lead them to a pre-determined answer you want to hear.
  • Talking more than listening. It is rare to make progress on understanding a different perspective while doing the majority of the talking.
  • Facts, figures, and data-points. Few things shut down a good conversation faster than cold, hard, facts…and alternative facts! Focus on concerns and experiences rather than data.

Additional​ ​Skills​ ​to​ ​Build​ ​Connection

  • Set the stage. Establish your interest in an enjoyable, productive conversation rather than a debate or argument.
  • Listen for values and desired outcomes. Most of us have core values that overlap (health, safety, prosperity). Identifying these can help strengthen the relationship.
  • Verify and acknowledge feelings. Ask about, and seek to understand what the other person is feeling about the topic. They may have very personal experiences that shape their perspective. Be aware of these feelings and acknowledge them.
  • Use humor, if possible. Be willing to laugh at yourself when and where appropriate. Humor can lighten the mood and make the conversation enjoyable.
  • First-person language. Own your feelings and express them as “I felt ______(feeling) when you ______ (describe specific behavior and when it occurred). For example, “I felt frustrated when you said I was unrealistic this morning.”
  • Explore and reflect rather than disagree directly. For example, starting sentences with “I am wondering….” can be very productive if it is sincere.
  • Find common ground. Look for and acknowledge areas of agreement.
  • Use engaging language. See how often you can replace “but” with “and”
  • Ask open-ended questions. This allows others to think out loud and may offer a better path for understanding their perspective.
  • Keep a light tone. When judgement creeps in, your tone will give you away! If this happens, own it, apologize and ask another question. FIRST​ ​AID Families know where all the buttons are. What happens if you get triggered? Avoid responding when you know you are triggered and feel yourself being defensive and/or needing to be right. Sometimes, letting go of the conversation is the best course of action. A break for a short walk or new activity or change of subject can help restore equanimity. Try the following to change the direction of a conversation and/or mend a conversation that has turned destructive:
  • Let’s change the topic. Tell me, how is your garden (or other hobby)?
  • This is a heated conversation. Our relationship is more important to me.
  • I feel bad when we argue. Let’s stop for now.
  • I’m sorry we argued. I care about you.
  • Our relationship will always be more important to me than our differences.

OTHER​ ​CONSIDERATIONS
When we stand in self-righteous anger, i.e. “how can you believe THAT?” we find ourselves separated. Some people — including family members — would prefer to be right than to be connected.

Sometimes we see family as a reflection of ourselves. We may feel an obligation to make them see “the error of their ways.” And we may want to be clear that we are not flawed in that way, too. It can be much harder to avoid judging and remain curious with family–even when we know this is the most effective way for us to connect with them.

With family, not arguing and not pushing back can feel like a betrayal of our own beliefs. It can feel like selling out just to keep peace at the dinner table. But listening with genuine curiosity is not selling out or taking the easy road. There is deep value in taking a more respectful and curious approach. When we connect in this way mutual listening is far more possible. And remember: again and again we hear from Living Room Conversation Guide users who have friends and family with very different views that love​ ​comes​ ​first​. Let’s let it!

Some family and friends may not be ready for a thoughtful conversation and that is perfectly ok. At Living Room Conversation we choose conversation partners based upon their ability — and commitment – to abide by the conversation agreements and enjoy an exploratory conversation. At a holiday gathering you may be the only person following conversation agreements. Choosing who to engage with, in what setting, and at what level is wise. For some people listening might be the only thing you want to do with them…moving on to others where you believe some mutual curiosity and appreciation might be productive. Also, recognize that a family gathering might be a place where some topics are simply not welcome. Be gentle with yourself and others. Sometimes the simple act of breaking bread together is enough.

About Living Room Conversations
Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.

Follow on Twitter: @LivingRoomConvo

Resource Link: www.livingroomconversations.org/home-for-the-holidays/

NCDD Member Explores Creating Brave Spaces

What does it look like to create not just safe spaces for conversation, but brave spaces? NCDD member, Mary Gelinas explored this is her recent blog post, Creating Brave Spaces, which challenged if it’s possible to be both safe and uncomfortable? (Spoiler alert, it’s possible.) As we navigate a myriad of conversations, especially during this holiday season, it’s important to keep in mind the needed bravery to stay within the harder conversations. We encourage you to read the post below or find the original version here. Also, let us know in the comments section, “What ground rules do you think would help one of your meetings be a brave space?”


Creating Brave Spaces

Setting ground rules or conversation guidelines seems to be the sine qua non of meetings these days. Having ground rules can create a safe space for people to interact, but they can also interfere with authentic conversation because people conflate safety with comfort. Is it possible to be both safe and uncomfortable?

My husband and business partner Roger James and I believe it is and that it is essential to be able to be both safe and uncomfortable without reverting to self-protective behaviors. When we react to discomfort by fighting, fleeing or freezing, we do not have the conversations we need to have to solve tough problems or create the organizations and communities we want to create. It is often in exploring our differences—uncomfortable for many of us—that we deepen our understanding of one another so we can find a way forward.

What’s the difference between safety and discomfort? Earlier this month Roger provided a good example in a workshop we led during the Campus Dialogue on Race at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. After noting that we were married he said, “We have difficult and uncomfortable conversations but I never feel unsafe.”

To tackle tough issues, in addition to tolerating discomfort, we also need to be brave, to stay present and engaged in the face of fear and unease. It takes courage to take risks and say what might be hard for others to hear, to listen to people’s painful experiences, and to hear things that contradict our opinions and challenge deeply held beliefs about the world and us. This is especially true when the conversation involves issues of inequality, inequity, racism, sexism, or agism, i.e., topics related to power and privilege.

Two ground rules that contribute to creating safe spaces but not necessarily brave ones are:

Agree to disagree. People can use this rule to avoid or retreat from a disagreement. If we are brave enough to stay with the frisson of a conflict—not get overwhelmed by fear or anger—we will no doubt learn something new and deepen our understanding of what the disagreement is really about. More constructive ground rules are “Listen to understand, first” and “Speak the truth without blame or judgment.”

Respect. This is ubiquitous in lists of ground rules and is the least controversial or discussed. But what does it really mean? When someone proposes this, ask, “What does respect look like? What would each of us be doing and saying to follow this ground rule?” Ask for examples of how anyone could challenge or disagree with someone else in a respectful manner. There are multiple, cultural understandings of what “respect” means. Talking about it surfaces these perspectives and helps people understand one another better. It also sets the stage for a common definition of “respect” that helps create a brave space.

What ground rules do you think would help one of your meetings be a brave space?

* I am grateful to Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens whose article “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice” inspired this blog.

You can read the original version on this article at www.gelinasjames.com/creating-brave-spaces/.

Davenport Offers Local Gov’t Public Engagement Certificate

We are excited to share, NCDD member org , the Davenport Institute, in partnership with the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, recently launched a professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government [non-academic] and are offering the workshop this Jan 19-21, 2018. NCDD members receive a 20% discount on the training, so make sure you register by Jan 7th at the latest to receive this great benefit. Excellent for anyone involved or working with local government, or in graduate school for local government/public policy. They are accepting applications until the class is full, so sign up while you still can! You can read the announcement below or on the Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s website here.


Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership: Professional Certificate in Advance Public Engagement for Local Government

Are you a local government practitioner in search of a New Year’s Resolution? Do you know someone who is?  Why not make 2018 the year to become a champion of resident engagement?

Join us in Malibu, California on January 19-21 for a three-day intensive workshop.

In an age where trust in government (and indeed in all institutions) is at an all-time low, and indifference toward local government is at an all-time high, the very future of local representative democracy requires leaders with a new skill – an ability to break through cynicism and mistrust and engage residents in local policy.

From public safety, to city budgets and spending, to planning and environmental policies, today’s challenges need leaders who can re-vitalize public involvement and lead residents engaged in the difficult work of self-government.

This program is designed for local government and private-sector practitioners serving local governments as well as for graduate students focused on local government. Concepts covered include:

  • Getting engagement right from the start
  • Leading edge techniques for creative public engagement
  • Engaging marginalized communities
  • The role of technology in public engagement
  • Facilitating difficult conversations
  • Leading public engagement from where you are.

For more information and to apply visit: http://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/certificate-public-engagement.

Applicants who are accepted to the program can receive a 20% discount when they use the code “NCDD” during registration.

You can read the announcement on the Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s website at www.publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/certificate-public-engagement.

Winner Announced for Leadership in Democracy Award

NCDD member org, Everyday Democracy recently announced the winner of the first ever Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award. Please join us in congratulating Generation Justice of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s premier youth media project focused on uplifting underrepresented voices through social justice and media. In addition to the other honorees, we’d like to congratulate the West Virginia Center for Civic Life led by NCDD board member, Betty Knighton, for being among the top finalists. We encourage you to read the announcement below or on Everyday Democracy’s blog here.


Generation Justice is Announced the Winner of the First Annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award

EvDem LogoFor more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism.

This year, Everyday Democracy launched the Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award, and out of 80 nominations, Generation Justice, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was selected as the winner, and recipient of the $10,000 award to help further its mission and vision.

Generation Justice’s vision is to raise underrepresented voices, to heal from internalized wounds, to lift up narratives of hope and inspiration, and to build pathways to equity and leadership. Noted as New Mexico’s premiere, award-winning youth media project, Generation Justice was founded on social justice, decolonization, and media justice principles.  Generation Justice has a track record engaging with communities state-wide via KUNM radio broadcasts and the use of the internet to connect with individuals, schools and organizations. In addition to the high quality media that is produced, benefits of the broadband access work that Generation Justice does extends statewide, including to rural youth and families in New Mexico who pay the highest price for their lack of access.

“Generation Justice really understands how to engage young people,” said Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director Martha McCoy. “There is so much potential for the future of New Mexico because of their work.  This model should exist everywhere.”

“Generation Justice is what democracy looks, feels, and sounds like!” said Jaelyn deMaria of the University of New Mexico who nominated Generation Justice for this award.  She continues, “At their core is the sincere desire to present and give rise to a different type of narrative, one produced by those in the communities we come from.  Journalism schools teach a dominant culture lens and Generation Justice offers an alternative. Media influences beliefs, resulting in communities of color continuing to be represented in sensationalized and deceptive ways to a public that accepts those narratives as truth. This is the moment that youth of color and allies trained from a media justice lens are revolutionizing media to foster equity.”

In accepting the award, Roberta Rael, Founder and Director of Generation Justice said, “I’m so delighted that Generation Justice is receiving this recognition from Everyday Democracy, which has an amazing reputation and national reach.  The financial award is important, of course, but even beyond that, it is a deep honor to be seen and recognized for our work and approach to media justice.

“Our work looks at how media creates long term change – how structural racism has played a role in this issue – how the mainstream media is covering this issue – and, whose voices are not being heard.  We go out and get those voices and include them.

“This is one way dialogue and a racial equity lens is connected to everything we do,” she continued. “This award will assist in sustaining our mission, of empowering young people to harness the power of media, through a combination of developing their internal assets, and love for oneself and the community, using media as a powerful tool to both tell stories, capture stories, create dialogue and change the narrative.”

Families United for Education, of Albuquerque also attained honors as one of the four finalists for this award. Families United is a community/parent group noted for addressing discrimination and alienation of minorities and marginalized sectors of student population in the region. These two New Mexico organizations were honored along with Rapid City Community Conversations, Rapid City, South Dakota; Racial and Social Justice Program of the Delaware YWCA, Wilmington, Delaware.  Each of these organizations, is exemplary in the democracy-building work they are doing in their communities.  Additional Honorees were:  S. Nadia Hussain, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey; and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. Two organizations were honored as Promising Practices: Speaking Down Barriers of Spartansburg South Carolina, and WOKE of Greyslake Illinois.
_________________________________________________________________________
Paul J. Aicher and his wife Joyce were known for their generosity and creative genius. A discussion course at Penn State helped Paul find his own voice in civic life early on, and sparked his lifelong interest in helping others find theirs. Paul founded the Topsfield Foundation and the Study Circles Resource Center, now called Everyday Democracy, in 1989.  The organization has now worked with more than 600 communities throughout the country, helping bring together diverse people to understand and make progress on difficult issues, incorporating lessons learned into discussion guides and other resources, and offering training and resources to help develop the field and practice of deliberative democracy.

You can read the original version of this announcement on Everyday Democracy’s blog at www.everyday-democracy.org/news/generation-justice-announced-winner-first-annual-paul-and-joyce-aicher-leadership-democracy.

Exciting Updates from the Center for Public Deliberation

We want to lift up the work going on in our network and the incredible value it brings to improving dialogue and deliberation, public engagement and democracy. To show the value of both the work going on in our field and why we encourage you to support NCDD during our End-of-Year fund drive.

As part of the Fund Drive, we will be sharing the highlights from around the field every week and why we believe in this network’s vital work. That’s why we want to share these exciting updates from our NCDD Board Chair, Martín Carcasson, co-founder and director of the Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) at Colorado State University, and the talented CPD alumni.

Martín gave a “CivicEdTalk” keynote at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) meeting that took place in Baltimore, Maryland from June 7-10, 2017. The talk, which you can find here, is a condensed version of his NCDD bootcamp talk that some of you may be familiar with, tailored to the higher ed audience. He talks about how we engage communities to work to address the “wicked problems,” that he describes as “not bad people with wicked values, but the wickedness is in the problem and not the people.” By framing it this way, the situation shifts people from a less adversarial place to a more collaborative one. We recommend you check out his Facebook page called “the Wicked Problems Mindset,” for more information.

Martín has an upcoming online webinar with IAP2 called “Beginning with the Brain in Mind” on how to build public processes by taking human nature into consideration. Learn how to avoid the negative human tendencies like confirmation bias and selection exposure, and instead tap our positive aspects like creativity and empathy. The webinar is on December 12th at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern and you can register for it by clicking here.

We also wanted to share some of the fantastic work his CPD colleagues and alumni have produced…

  • Kalie McMonagle, the new CPD Program Manager, released the report called, “Partnering for Inclusion: Recruitment strategies for deliberative conversations”, which focuses on how cross-sector partners gathered participants to engage in deliberative conversations.
  • Samantha Maldonado released the report, “Inclusion Around the Cycle: Applying strategies of sufficient inclusion throughout the cycle of deliberative inquiry”on being more inclusive before/during/after deliberative events.
  • Leah Sprain, former CPD Associate Director, released the report, “Citizens Speaking as Experts: Expertise discourse in deliberative forums”.

You can keep up with the CPD’s work at their website or on Facebook.

Keep an eye on the blog and NCDD’s social media this month (and always) for more great updates from the dialogue & deliberation field. Don’t forget to help NCDD and our network continue the important work of sharing the stories of the power of D&D, collaborating, and connecting to improve our work, by contributing to the NCDD End-of-Year Fund Drive!

MetroQuest Webinar on Public Engagement for LRTPs, 12/7

NCDD member org, MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar “Online Public Engagement for Long Range Transportation Planning (LRTP), co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA). The webinar will be this coming Thurs, Dec 7th at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific and we think it will be particularly interesting for those working with/for government agencies. Space is limited! So make sure you register ASAP to join the webinar. We encourage you to read MetroQuest’s announcement below or find the original here.


Mastering Online Public Engagement for LRTPs Webinar

If you looking for cost-effective ways to engage the public for Long Range Transportation Planning (LRTP) projects this webinar is for you.

Thursday, December 7
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern

REGISTER NOW

Join Bob Brendal from the Missouri Department of Transportation and Maggie Doll from Burns & McDonnell as they speak about how they engaged over 7,700 people on their 2017 LRTP update.

Connecting with the public on long range planning is not easy. The issues are complex and the public is often preoccupied with short term issues. So what does it take to engage thousands of people across a broad demographic and collect meaningful input on preference and priorities? Find out December 7th.

This highly-visual webinar will showcase the Missouri Transportation Future case study along with proven best practices, research findings and practical tips to guide agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for LRTP projects.

Attend this webinar to learn how to…

  • Engage more people from a broader demographic
  • Collect informed public input on complex LRTP topics
  • Employ cost-effective strategies for promoting online participation
  • Ensure that your LRTP results are actionable

Seating is limited – save your seat now!

Comments from previous participants…

“I’m going to make your next session required for our planning and public engagement staff.”
“The best presentation on outreach I’ve ever attended (and I’ve done outreach since 1993)”
“Really well-organized and digestible. Lots of good ideas on how to get citizens engaged.”

REGISTER NOW

You can find the original version of this announcement on the MetroQuest blog at www.metroquest.com/Mastering+Online+Public+Engagement+for+LRTPs+

Highlights from the Kettering Newsletter – November 2017

In case you missed it, NCDD organizational member the Kettering Foundation sent out their November news and we wanted to share with some of the exciting updates! There’s a lot going on over at Kettering and below are some of the highlights, like the 2017 Kettering Review think piece, how the Connections 2017 publication is almost ready to be released, the impact of the new book Deliberative Pedagogy has had in the higher ed community, and the recent Kettering Research Exchange. There’s more to the newsletter that we didn’t share so make sure you sign up for their monthly updates by clicking here to stay up-to-date on all that Kettering is working on.


Kettering Foundation News & Notes – November 2017

This month, we’re feeling particularly grateful for a productive year collaborating with all of you–the fruits of which you can read more about below! 

2017 Kettering Review: This Is Not Another “The Problem with Democracy Is Voters” Think Piece
By Nick Felts, Coeditor, Kettering Review

Thanks to public opinion polls, social media, and pundits, we hear quite a bit about what people think. We hear a lot about what people support, what they oppose, what makes them mad, and what makes them cheer. We hear significantly less about the hows and whys of public thinking. How do people arrive at the thoughts they hold and express? Why do they feel the way that they do? How do the places they live and the people they care about influence their thinking? Why is sound judgment so seemingly hard to reach nowadays? These are important questions to ask, especially in times like these, when the public’s capacity for sound decision making—so essential to democracy–is coming under question.

This year’s Kettering Review argues that understanding how and why citizens can and do think together offers hope for those who worry democracy is in peril.

READ MORE ON THE KETTERING BLOG.
DOWNLOAD THE FALL 2017 ISSUE.

Connections 2017

KF director of strategic initiatives Melinda Gilmore and KF program officer Randall Nielsen are the coeditors of Connections this year, which focuses on experiments in democratic citizenship. The final touches are being put on the issue now, so look for an announcement of the latest release of Kettering’s flagship publication in the coming weeks.

Deliberative Pedagogy Strikes a Chord with Higher Education as it Looks to Spark Agency, Civic Skills in Students

Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement (Michigan State University Press, 2017), which combines the theory and practice compiled and refined throughout a multiyear Kettering research exchange, has received a startling amount of interest from a wide variety of academic conferences. Contributors to the book have already presented at nearly a dozen sessions at conferences this fall, with more scheduled 2018. It’s a testament to the salience that the idea of a more democratic-minded approach to teaching and student learning has in the current landscape of higher education.

November Research Exchange Week

From November 6-10, the foundation welcomed more than 170 participants from around the country for a fruitful week of research exchanges. The 13 research exchanges brought together researchers and civic practitioners with foundation program staff and associates for face-to-face exploration and analysis of research questions at the heart of Kettering’s work: how do people become engaged as citizens and make sound decisions? How can citizens work together to solve problems and educate their children, beginning in their communities? How can a productive citizenry engage governmental and civic institutions as those institutions try to engage citizens?

As always, if you have news you would like to share, please get in touch. We’re especially interested in stories of how you apply ideas and insights shared with you at Kettering.

Helpful Tips to Navigating the Holiday Conversations

As we face the holiday season, we wanted to share this article written by NCDD member Parisa Parsa, Executive Director of Essential Partners, with some tips on dealing with those tricky conversations that may come up. The holidays can be an exciting and also stressful time, uniting people who you may not see eye-to-eye with. While many of these conversations can be challenging, these helpful guidelines may hold the opportunity to connect deeper with those around you on important issues this holiday season. We encourage you to read the article below or find the original on Essential Partner’s blog here.


Facing the Holidays – And Each Other

My kids and I just flew across the country, making that annual sojourn home for the holidays. The airports were packed, and nerves were frayed. Between flights we sat down to a quick meal of expensive and unsatisfying food. Wedged in the only empty seats in the dining area, it was impossible not to overhear the intent discussion of the family next to us.

“Do not engage Uncle Matt in any topic related to the election,” the father told his college-aged son. “I know you have strong feelings. I am just telling you that if you bring it up, the whole house is in for a two hour tirade. Please don’t do that to us.”

“If I can’t talk about what I believe in, especially now, what’s the point of even being in the same room with Uncle Matt? If he won’t change his mind, he at least needs to know how wrong he is,” replied son. My own teen son raised his eyebrows and his younger brother looked alarmed. A little later, he snuggled up to me on the plane and asked if there would be fights at our Thanksgiving.

That family is in good company. As many of us leave our comfortable bubbles of politically like-minded friends and neighbors and venture into the mixing and mingling that the holidays bring, we’re faced with similar choices. We can make nice, talk about the weather, the kids and their activities, or the glories of Aunt Dot’s pumpkin pie. If the other option is civil war, making nice is indeed the route of mercy. Especially this year, I can’t help but imagine that everyone is so desperate to just get through it, to just get along.

The dread is real. So, too, are the opportunities. During the holidays, we spend hours with people we don’t see very often either by choice or physical distance, and situate ourselves in a different story than the one we craft in our daily lives. We encounter more parts of ourselves, welcome and unwelcome, as we are reunited with the folks who made us who we are (or who made our spouses who they are). In a time when the nation appears torn asunder, holiday sojourns give us a critical moment to see if we can stitch together a better understanding of just what in the world is going on. A chance to risk seeing and understanding our kin in greater dimensions, and sharing more of ourselves than we normally would.

If you are game to try this exploration, to lean in with the courage it takes to craft deeper connection, there are three things I would have you consider:

  • Is this a relationship where it is important for me to be known in this way? We don’t need to have these conversations with everyone in our lives. If political beliefs are not a strong and important part of your connections, bringing the election to the forefront may not be necessary. With some family members, though, we feel the need to be understood and to try to understand where they come from. If these are folks in the second category, proceed to:
  • What do I hope for? If your desire is to change their mind, your conversation is likely to be unsatisfying. If your desire is to have deeper understanding and to be more deeply understood, what are you going to communicate about your own values? Share your experiences, not the bullet points of your favorite pundit, and encourage your family members to do the same. Then you might proceed to:
  • Can we work together to understand each other? It is not enough for one person to have made the commitment and reflected on their wishes: it takes willing participants to be successful. If you are willing, then take turns, ask real questions, and listen to understand.

If you want more guidance – we have a handy guide and a list of potential questions for conversation. However you choose to engage this Thanksgiving, may you find some space to digest not just a great meal but also the many possibilities for action, for connection and for a future worthy of the generations to come. We owe it to each other and to the future to set aside momentary discomfort for the future of our planet. Let’s give thanks for each and every moment we have, to be alive, to learn, to connect.

You can find the original version of this on  Essential Partner’s blog at www.whatisessential.org/blog/facing-holidays-and-each-other.

Recap from the Nov. Tech Tuesday Featuring Gell

In case you missed it, we had another great Tech Tuesday event last week featuring NCDD member Loren Bendele, CEO and Founder of the new engagement platform, Gell! Joined by over 60 participants from our network, Loren walked us through how to use this online/mobile platform to help better facilitate civil discourse.

Gell was created to provide a platform which harnessed the wisdom of a larger group in order to discuss vital issues, with systems built-in place for the discussion to not degrade because of spam, personal attacks and/or insults. Loren showed us how to post discussion questions either publicly or within a private invited group, how to like or respond to submitted points of view, how to bring in expert opinions, and other interesting aspects of the platform. Many in our network have been working on bridging divides and so we understand the importance of a tool like Gell in an era of immense partisanship and societal divides.

If you were unable to join us on the call, never fear! We recorded the webinar which can be found on the archives page here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).  We had an active chat discussion which raised some really interesting points, and you can check out the transcript of this chat by clicking here.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeThanks again to Loren and everyone who participated and made this an engaging and educating call! We encourage you to check out this tool and get started on contributing to the discussions at www.gell.com.

To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.