Apply to Host a Nevins Fellow – Deadline October 23!

NCDD was happy to host a Confab Call this week with our partners at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy – an NCDD member organization – who talked about the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. Nearly two dozen organizations participated in the call, which marked the launch of the 2017-18 application for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student who will work with their organization for eight weeks next summer at no cost.

We are encouraging our member organizations to apply today for the chance to host a Nevins Fellow next summer! Having a Nevins Fellow work with you is like bringing on a new full-time staffer, so it’s a great way for your organization to finally take on a special project you haven’t had time for, get extra help with your big summer engagements, or increase your organizational capacity overall – all while helping bring more young people into our field and growing the next generation of D&D leaders!

Opportunities like this don’t come often or last long, so we encourage you to make sure to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 23rd deadline. You can find the application at http://tinyurl.com/Nevins2017.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before, or are looking for a little more information, you are in luck!. You can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. We also had an informative discussion on the Confab Call with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute, who covered lots of the important details about the program, and you can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also get a better sense of what the program experience is like from the student’s perspective by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the the Jefferson Center.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students who applicants will have the chance to work with or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will add enormously to the organizations they work with and that this program is helping secure the future of our field – a wonderful testament to vision of the program founder and NCDD member David Nevins. We encourage you to apply today!

Don’t Miss the Sept. 20th Nevins Fellowship Confab Call

As we announced last month, NCDD is hosting a special Confab Call with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and Healthy Democracy next Wednesday, September 20th from 1-2pm Eastern / 10-11am Pacific. The call is the best place to learn more about this incredible opportunity to have a D&D trained student come work with your organization at no-cost, so we strongly encourage the NCDD network to register today!

Confab bubble image

During the call, NCDD Member and McCourtney’s Managing Director Christopher Beem will provide an overview of the Nevins Democracy Leaders Program and its aims, discuss the training that the future fellows are going through, and share more about how your organization can take advantage of this great chance to help cultivate the next generation of D&D leaders while getting more support for your work – all for FREE! We’ll also be joined by NCDD Member Robin Teater of Healthy Democracy, who will share her experiences hosting a fellow this summer.

NCDD is proud to have partnered the last couple years with the McCourtney Institute to help identify organizations in the field that can host Nevins fellows, and we’re continuing the exciting partnership this year. You can get a better sense of what the program experience is like by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with NCDD Sponsoring Member The Jefferson Center.

This is a rare and competitive opportunity for leading organizations in our field, and this Confab Call will be one of the best ways to find out more about how your group can take advantage of this program, so make sure to register today to save your spot on the call! We look forward to talking with you more then!

Join NCDD Confab on Nevins Fellowship Program Sept. 20th

We encourage our NCDD member organizations to register to join us for a special Confab Call on Wednesday, September 20th from 1-2pm Eastern / 10-11am Pacific that can help your organization build capacity while helping the emerging student leaders of our field gain skills and experience in D&D work!mccourtney-logo

NCDD is hosting an exciting presentation and discussion with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, who will be sharing about the incredible opportunity for organizations to host a D&D-trained student fellow at no cost next summer through their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program! You won’t want to miss it!

This is a rare and competitive opportunity for leading organizations in our field, and this Confab Call will be one of the best ways to find out more about how your group can take advantage of this program, so make sure to register today to save your spot on the call!

The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program was founded in 2014 after a gift from David Nevins, President and Co-Director of NCDD Organizational Member the Bridge Alliance. The program provides Penn State students with education and ­training in transpartisan leadership skills by exposing them to a variety of viewpoints and philosophies, as well as teaching critical thinking along with the tools of dialogue and deliberation.

But the flagship work of fostering the next generation of democracy leaders centers on the yearly initiative to place Nevins Program students in unique fellowship position with organizations focused on D&D, transpartisan dialogue, and civic renewal – that means organizations like yours! Stipends and living expenses are provided to the students through the program so that organizations can bring these bright, motivated students into their work for a summer at no cost to them. It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone involved! You can get a better sense of what the program experience is like by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with NCDD Sponsoring Member The Jefferson Center.

NCDD is proud to have partnered the last couple years with the McCourtney Institute to help identify organizations in the field that can host Nevins fellows, and we’re continuing the partnership this year. This Confab Call is the best way to get your organization plugged into the process, so be sure to register today to learn more about the program and how to apply!

On this Confab, NCDD Member and McCourtney’s Managing Director Christopher Beem will provide an overview of the Nevins program and its aims, discuss the training that the future fellows are going through, and share more about how your organization can take advantage of this great chance to help cultivate the next generation of D&D leaders while getting more support for your work – all for FREE! We’ll also be joined by NCDD Member Robin Teater of Healthy Democracy, who will share her experiences hosting a fellow this summer. We can’t wait to talk more with you on the call!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls…

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing, and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Register today if you’d like to join us.

Recap from Frontiers of Democracy 2017

Outgoing NCDD Youth Engagement Coordinator Roshan Bliss attended this year’s Frontiers of Democracy Conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University in the Boston area. The conference was held from June 22-24 and focused on the theme, Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.

Around 150 of D&D scholars, practitioners, and leaders participated in workshops, discussions, and plenaries focused on the question of what the rising leaders who appear opposed to democracy around the world means for the field of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement, and most importantly, how we should respond. The full schedule for Frontiers 2017 is still available to check out here with detailed information on plenaries, speakers, and break out sessions.

NCDDers were prominently featured in the gathering’s schedule, including NCDD Board member Wendy Willis of Deliberative Democracy Consortium, who gave opening remarks on the effect of loneliness on civic life. Roshan presented a workshop on Saturday afternoon with several individuals, including Shari Davis of the Participatory Budgeting Project – a NCDD member org, on the promise and potential of seeing student governments as key venues in which to grow and spread deliberative democracy. Organizational NCDD member Ashley Trim of the Davenport Institute challenged our field to be more genuinely open to conservatives and you can read her poignant talk on Healthy Democracy’s site here. The gathering ended with a challenge from Dr. Archon Fung for our field to rethink the role of power in the work of dialogue & deliberative democracy and to deeply consider that we may not change much without engaging in real ways with efforts to build and wield it.

We wanted to lift up the post-conference reflection piece from Peter Levine, where he explores the direct and indirect paths to deliberative democracy and the future of dialogue and deliberation work. He wrote:

“My main point is that we must consider the choice between direct and indirect paths to deliberative democracy, taking due account of the institutions, incentives, power structures, and social divisions that actually exist in our society.

For what it’s worth, my own view would be that it’s important to build and sustain a movement devoted to explicit work on dialogue and deliberation. Deliberative experiments yield knowledge of group processes, generate models that can be inspiring, and produce a cadre of professionals whose well-deserved reputations for skillful neutrality make them useful at opportune moments.”

For more information on the Frontiers conference, check out the info from Tisch below or on their website here. You can also look through the #demfront hashtag on twitter or this great Storify page that Joshua Miller created of the #demfront hashtag which you can see here.


Frontiers 2017 via Tisch

Thanks to everyone who joined us at an exciting, thought-provoking, and timely Frontiers of Democracy 2017. You can watch video of this year’s introduction, “short take” speakers, and one of our afternoon plenaries, below. (Click on each video’s description for timestamps that allow you to skip to a specific speaker’s presentation.)

Frontiers 2017 was focused on multiple frameworks for civic and democratic work developed respectively by Caesar McDowell of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and MIT, Archon Fung of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tisch College’s Peter Levine. Our short take speakers included Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, the senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri; Wendy Willis of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the National Policy Consensus Center; and Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

In addition, the Journal of Public Deliberation, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and The Democracy Imperative held a pre-conference symposium on “Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.”

More about Frontiers of Democracy
Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. The event is organized in collaboration with several partners, which in 2017 included Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium.

Now more than ever, the frontiers of democracy are threatened around the world. Leaders and movements that have popular support—yet are charged with being undemocratic, xenophobic, and illiberal—are influential or dominant in many countries. Meanwhile, many peoples continue to face deep and sustained repression. Social movements and networks are confronting this global turn to authoritarianism. This conference brings together scholars and practitioners from  do to defend and expand the frontiers of democracy.

Frontiers of Democracy immediately follows the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, a 2-week seminar for scholars, practitioners, and advanced graduate students.

Lessons on Non-Hierarchical Decision Making from Our Confab with Loomio

On Thursday of last week, NCDD hosted another one of our Confab Call events with over 40 people from our network. The call featured Rich Bartlett and MJ Kaplan of the Loomio cooperative who talked about their experience with decision making in non-hierarchical organizations. If you missed this Confab Call, you missed a great event!

We had a lively conversation on how non-hierarchical organizations can be structured, how decisions are made (spoiler alert: deliberatively!), and how work flows can be managed in ways that don’t require anyone to be “the boss.” Rich and MJ also shared interesting reflections on what they’ve been learning on their US tour in meetings with all kinds of organizations – from government departments to non-profits to grassroots organizations – who are exploring “the democracy question” internally and in civic society.

If you couldn’t participate in the Confab, never fear – we recorded the whole presentation and conversation, and you can hear and see the whole thing again by clicking here. You can also find the slides from MJ and Rich’s presentation by clicking here, and the transcript of the discussion being had in the chat during the call can be found here.

Confab bubble imageWe want to thank Rich, MJ, and the whole Loomio team again for collaborating with us on making this timely conversation happen. We encourage our network to explore how the Loomio tool can help your or other “flat” organizations work together better at www.loomio.org.

To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Don’t Miss Thurs. Confab Call Exploring D&D in “Flat” Organizations

In case you missed our original announcement, we want to remind everyone that we are hosting our next Confab Call event this Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to register today!

Confab bubble imageThe Confab will feature the insights Rich Bartlett and MJ Kaplan, two of the co-founders of a non-heirarchical, cooperative organization called Loomio that has helped develop online tools to help groups across the globe make consensus-style decisions. But instead of focusing on the tech side of Loomio, we’ll take a dive into their cooperative’s internal dynamics. We’ll look at Loomio’s unique decision-making processes, talk about the ins and outs of “flat” organizations, and think about what the D&D field and non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs can learn from each other.

We’re sure to have a rich, lively discussion on the call, and you can sign up to be part of it today!

This Confab Call is a “virtual stop” on a US tour that Loomio staff have embarked upon to host discussions with groups who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” There are many ways that what we do in the D&D field applies to, intersects with, and diverges from the kinds of shared work and collaborative workplaces Loomio embodies and supports, and we hope this conversation can serve as a jump off point for a deeper exploration of those commonalities and differences.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of this provocative conversastion – register today to join us! For more background on Loomio or on Rich and MJ, check out our original announcement at ncdd.org/23494.

Join NCDD Confab on Non-Hierarchical Orgs with Loomio, May 4th

We are excited to invite the NCDD network to register to join us for our next Confab Call on Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. This one-hour webinar event will feature a conversation with staff of Loomio, a collaborative online decision making tool and a worker-owned cooperative based in New Zealand.

Some of you may remember that NCDD hosted a Tech Tuesday webinar on Loomio a couple years ago where we showcased the features of Loomio’s decision making tool. But during this Confab, the discussion will focus on Loomio’s organizational dynamics, philosophy, and what lessons the dialogue and deliberation field can learn from – and offer to – non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs.

Loomio is part of Enspiral – a global network that is also a lab for new ways distributed innovators can collaborate. Their team recognizes that there’s a need and opportunity for new ways of working for diverse groups to become more nimble, creative and productive. Loomio recently made an open source handbook that teaches others to use their cooperative work processes, and a few of their staff have been on a US tour this month to host discussions with different organizations who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” We are inviting Loomio to share and reflect with the NCDD network as a “virtual stop” on their tour, and we hope you will join us!

We will be joined on the Confab by Rich Bartlett, one of the co-founders of both Loomio and Enspiral, and NCDD member MJ Kaplan, also a Loomio co-founder and social innovator in her own right. Rich and MJ will help us learn more about the unconventional, non-hierarchical approaches that their networks apply to shared work and collaborative workplaces, and engage in dialogue with participants about how these approaches apply to, intersect with, and diverge from the work of the D&D field.

You won’t want to miss this great discussion, so to register today to be part of it!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk withand hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

About Our Guests

Rich Bartlett is co-founder and Director of Autonomy at Loomio, as well asa software developer, activist, and open source hardware hacker. He is also a co-founder of the Enspiral Network, a “DIY” social enterprise support network of companies and professionals brought together by a set of shared values and a passion for positive social impact. Rich believes in the boundless potential of small self-organising groups to reshape society in a way that works for the planet.

MJ Kaplan is a social entrepreneur and consultant who weaves across sectors and industries to enable groups to align purpose and operationalize innovative collaborative practices. She splits her time working with Loomio, Kaplan Consulting, teaching/coaching at Brown University and serving on Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Commerce RI boards. She founded Kaplan Consulting in 2000, a networked consulting group that works globally with groups to gain clarity about shared purpose and to design innovative approaches to work that are deeply human-centered, agile and adaptive. In 2013, MJ was Ian Axford Fulbright Fellow in New Zealand. MJ was awarded the Cordes Innovation Fellowship by Ashoka U and honored as The Outstanding Mentor for RI Business Women Awards. MJ earned her M.Ed. from Harvard University and B.A. Brown University.

Capturing Lessons from the Journalism-D&D Confab Call

Last week, NCDD and Journalism That Matters (JTM) co-hosted a special Confab Call between journalists and public engagement practitioners, and it was an incredible discussion. We had just shy of 70 practitioners, journalists, and others from our network who participated, along with some distinguished guests.

Confab bubble imagePeggy Holman and Michelle Ferrier of JTM kicked us off with a discussion of some of the amazing potential of more meaningful collaboration between the D&D world and journalism professionals, then we launched into examples of what’s already been happening. Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center and 45-year journalism veteran Doug Oplinger shared stories of how they collaborate to help Ohio journalists rebuild public trust in the press. Betty Knighton shared about how the W. Virginia Center for Civic Life has partnered with public broadcasting groups to help regular people explore the interconnections between hot current issues. We also discussed how journalists can provide a much-needed “community listening infrastructure” for public officials and many other critical topics in our break out group discussions.

If you missed the call, you missed an exciting and thought-provoking conversation. But don’t worry – we recorded it, and you can hear (and see) the whole thing again by checking out the recording below or here. You can also follow along with what was happening in the live chat during the call by downloading the saved conversation here.

We know that we only scratched the surface on this call, and that the conversation about how we can strengthen our field’s connection to the power of the media world will continue to percolate over the coming months and years.

If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we highly encourage you to register to attend JTM’s Elevate Engagement Un-Conference this May 18th-21st in Portland, OR where journalists and public engagement/D&D practitioners will all come together in person to take this collaboration to new heights. We also recommend checking out the recent NCDD podcast on the same topic here, or revisiting the D&D-journalism panel discussion that we hosted during NCDD 2016 here.

Thanks again to Journalism That Matters, all of our featured speakers, and the participants for helping make this a great conversation. We look forward to continuing it in the future and seeing the fruits of where it can lead our work!

Don’t Miss the Special Journalism-D&D Confab Call on Wed.

As we announced last month, NCDD is co-hosting a very special Confab Call along with member org Journalism That Matters (JTM) on deepening collaboration between the world of journalism and the field of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement this Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific. It’s going to be one our most engaging Confabs yet, so we encourage you to register todayConfab bubble image

During the call, we’ll continue the conversation that we began during NCDD 2016 about how journalists and public engagement practitioners are needed now more than ever to help our communities in #BridgingOurDivides, enhance the impact D&D practitioners’ work, and find new ways to change the narrative about whether and how our country can overcome our bitter partisanship and political disfunction.

How can we bring our skill sets together to do this? How do community engagement practitioners and journalists work together to share stories? We’ll have in-depth conversations about these questions and more, hear from case studies of successful D&D-journalist partnerships, and even host special region-based small group discussions using Zoom technology to allow for more concrete opportunities to move from conversation to action.

We are excited to have NCDD’s Managing Director Courtney Breese co-hosting this call with JTM Executive Director and NCDD member Peggy Holman. We’ll also be featuring insights and stories from JTM President Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center, Doug Oplinger of the Akron Beacon Journal, and Betty Knighton of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. You can find more info about the details of the call and our speakers in our original announcement here.

Don’t miss this highly interactive discussion about an exciting new direction emerging in our field! Be sure to register today!

Invite Your Local Librarians to Join Our Free Online D&D Trainings!

NCDD is proud to be partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) to help build the capacity of libraries across the country to support their communities using dialogue and deliberation methodologies through a series of online trainings, and we are asking our network to invite your local librarians to join us!

This first series of webinar trainings is designed to support staff members at large and urban public libraries in employing D&D methods, but all libraries are welcome to participate. Subsequent series of trainings will focus on supporting medium, small, and rural libraries as well as academic libraries, respectively.

If you have connections at your local library, we encourage you to share more information about this great opportunity with staff there and invite them to join these free online trainings! They can learn all about the partnership by visiting the ALA website, reading our announcement about the partnership from earlier this year, or they can just go ahead and register for one of the upcoming trainings.

The dates, topics, and registration info for the first series is here:

  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Introduction to Dialogue & Deliberation
    Thursday, March 9, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now
  • Libraries Transforming Communities: World Café
    Thursday, April 6, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now
  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Everyday Democracy’s Dialogue to Change Process
    Monday, May 1, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now

We also encourage you to invite your local librarians to participate in the training that will be part of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference, which will take place Friday, June 23, 9 am – 4 pm. You can learn more and register by clicking here.

This free webinar series is offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the ALA and NCDD that seeks to strengthen libraries’ roles as core community leaders and agents of change. LTC addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources, and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways. As a result, we believe libraries will become more connected to and capable of supporting healthy, sustainable communities.

This initiative is made possible through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).