A Message from NCDD Board Chair Martín Carcasson

For the past seven years, I have had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, the last four as the chair. My term is officially over at the end of the year. NCDD serves as an umbrella organization for academics, practitioners, artists, and volunteers committed to improving how we all talk to each other and address our shared problems. They are a network of networks, a bridging organization dedicated to helping individuals, organizations, and communities build capacity for quality democratic engagement.

I still vividly remember my first NCDD conference in San Francisco in 2006. I remember because it was the first time I ever got that wonderful, overwhelming feeling of finding my people. I was passionate about community, democracy, and improving the world, but the world of politics was incredibly frustrating to me, and seemed mostly counterproductive. I had strong views about how things needed to change, but politics did not seem to be a useful route. People seemed to just talk past each other, assume horrible motives for those that disagreed, and while they sometimes won elections and sometimes lost, not much seemed to really change about the issues I cared about. It was a game people loved playing that to me seemed at best a distraction and at worst something that undermined everything democracy requires to function well (trust, mutual respect, the ability to have tough conversations, etc.).

NCDD was a whole other world. People that shared my passions for community and democracy, but recognized that what we were doing wasn’t working. They realized we needed to work together, to bridge differences, and get past simple narratives, but also knew that was not going to be easy. We needed a lot of new ideas, tools, and organizations. They also recognized that we didn’t just need a simple “both sides” or an abstract balance, but deeper explorations of what it would mean to work together across perspectives.

I greatly looked forward to NCDD’s conferences every other year, to learn new tools, meet new people, and engage deeper with others that shared my concerns. I started doing everything I could to get more of my students to attend, and with a lot of help from a lot of people, managed to take groups of 10-25 to conferences in Seattle, Washington DC, and Boston. In 2014, I accepted the call to join the board of directors of NCDD, and in 2016, became the board chair.

I’ll be honest, it has been tougher than I thought. NCDD does incredible work on a very tight and tiny budget. The board is all volunteer, and we survive with essentially three part time employees (sometimes just 2). We spend too much time thinking about money and not enough time thinking about the actual work. It is difficult to fund organizations like NCDD that serve more as a connector and a resource to other individuals and organizations rather than as a direct service provider. We literally spend billions on election campaigns, but struggle to raise hundreds for an organization truly dedicated to make democracy work.

As I exit my role — but still plan to be heavily involved with NCDD moving forward, I very much plan to serve again once I retire from my day job so I can really focus on elevating the organization — I ask you all to consider a NCDD membership (either for yourself or as a gift to a friend you think may be interested in what I’ve described) or consider NCDD in your end of year giving. I know you have a lot of options, and with the pandemic, an incredible amount of immediate needs. NCDD is much more of a long term investment. I truly believe the most pressing issue we have in our communities is the inability to talk with each other and work together on our shared problems. I think it will be difficult to move forward on any issue unless we first make some progress on that. In many ways, the pandemic has shown us that even a global crisis caused more polarization and distrust, rather than sparking the collaborative efforts that we know we are capable of as humans. Even a $10 or $20 donation can make a big difference to NCDD having the resources to help communities across the country build capacity for the kind of engagement democracies need to thrive.
More information about membership is here (https://ncdd.org/community/join), gifting memberships here (https://act.myngp.com/Forms/1424112249932744704), and donations here (https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-8754304382901286912).

Lastly, as I leave the board, I want to thank all the exceptional people I have had the pleasure to work with these past seven years (too many to mention), and I am particularly excited about the incoming chair, Lori Britt, and the strength of the board moving forward. I’ve known Professor Britt since her Ph.D. days at CU-Boulder, when she assisted with CPD events, and have been incredibly impressed with what she has built up at James Madison University. NCDD is in wonderful hands with her, the board, and Courtney Breese’s exceptional leadership as our executive director (who very very much deserves a higher salary and full time job!). We aren’t quite sure when we will all be able to gather together again — and may end up with more of a virtual conference this year — but I do know I can’t wait to gather with my people once again.

Martín Carcasson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University, and the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD, www.cpd.colostate.edu). We thank him for his service to the NCDD network and all he does to help advance efforts for dialogue and deliberation in communities and higher education!

All Are Welcome at NCDD

First of all, thank you to everyone in this community for sticking with the work in a tough year.

NCDD’s staff and board have been talking a lot over the last nine months of the pandemic about what this year has shown us about this network’s necessity in the world, and where we can most support you all. It’s been encouraging to see that much of what we’ve always offered – news and resources, and opportunities to connect and collaborate – are still highly valued and needed, especially when times are tough.

There are also some areas we can work on – expanding our network, for one, in an inclusive way to welcome everyone who is committed to helping their communities have better conversations. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional doing this work as your career, or a volunteer doing this to better your own community – all are welcome at NCDD.

And, there are some real opportunities for NCDD’s community of practice to embrace. The opportunity to look at how privilege shows up in our work and to address it, and to increase community access to dialogue and deliberation opportunities. This year has brought both of these opportunities to the forefront and it’s time to address them. There is plenty more for us to work towards together, and to discuss this and more, we will be announcing a call for early January. More on that soon.

But today, I’m reaching out to let you know that NCDD is launching an effort to boost our membership as we continue our end of year fundraising. This starts today with new options for membership and opportunities to invite others in.

First, NCDD has decided to make a few adjustments to our membership levels. For individuals, we have added a “pay-what-you-can” option to the membership form. This allows us to remove the primary barrier to membership and welcome everyone in.

For our organizational members, we’ve expanded our membership levels to better reflect the reality of many of our small organizations working on a limited budget. Those with budgets under $150,000 a year now have lower priced options.

Finally, we’ve launched a gift-a-membership option! That means two things: First, that members of our community have the option to invite others in with a gift of a year’s membership. And second, that you can gift a membership to those who need a subsidized member rate. These gifts are offered at a special reduced rate!

As 2020 comes to a close, we hope you will renew your commitment to the work by renewing or gifting a membership today! As always, membership and donations are tax-deductible!

Thank you for all you do to keep this community of practice vibrant. Here’s to getting through 2020, and to the work ahead in 2021!

Free NCDD Online Engagement Showcase Tomorrow – 9/29!

Did you know?! NCDD is hosting our first ever Online Engagement Showcase and it’s happening tomorrow! We’ve teamed up with the wonderful Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University to host this exciting free event happening on Tuesday, September 29th from 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM-12:00 PM Pacific on Zoom and QiqoChat. RSVP at this link in order to save your spot!

The Online Engagement Showcase will feature synchronous tools and platforms that can help you with your virtual engagement. In this uniquely formatted event, you will have the opportunity to learn about numerous platforms in a booth format in QiqoChat, where participants can learn more about each tool they choose to. Presenters will be available in private zoom rooms for participants to engage with, ask questions, and learn more!

Some of the presenters will include:

  • Axis Workshops
  • Common Ground for Action
  • Ethelo
  • GroupMap
  • QiqoChat
  • And more!

Join us for this first event in what we hope will be a recurring series featuring these and other platforms and tools in the future! To register go to https://bit.ly/3gXkllb – this will take you directly to QiqoChat.

Our event flyer is linked here – please use this to spread the word with your networks: Showcase-Announcement!

NCDD is extremely grateful for the partnership of the Center for Public Deliberation on this event. We’ve been working on a resource to share of the different tools and platforms out there as well – stay tuned!

Join Us for the Online Engagement Showcase!

NCDD is excited to partner with the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University to host our first Online Engagement Showcase! This free event takes place September 29th from 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM-12:00 PM Pacific on Zoom and QiqoChat. RSVP at this link in order to save your spot!

The Online Engagement Showcase will feature synchronous tools and platforms that can help you with your virtual engagement. In this uniquely formatted event, you will have the opportunity to learn about numerous platforms in a booth format in QiqoChat, where participants can learn more about each tool they choose to. Presenters will be available in private zoom rooms for participants to engage with, ask questions, and learn more!

Some of the presenters will include:

  • Axis Workshops
  • Common Ground for Action
  • Ethelo
  • GroupMap
  • QiqoChat
  • And more!

Join us for this first event in what we hope will be a recurring series featuring these and other platforms and tools in the future! To register go to https://bit.ly/3gXkllb – this will take you directly to QiqoChat.

Our event flyer is linked here – please use this to spread the word with your networks: Showcase-Announcement!

NCDD is extremely grateful for the partnership of the Center for Public Deliberation on this event. We’ve been working on a resource to share of the different tools and platforms out there as well – stay tuned!

Watch our Confab on D&D Pedagogy in an Uncertain Fall

Last week NCDD hosted our special July Confab Call for our Higher Education folks.  On the call, 30 participants engaged around how they are planning to teach dialogue and deliberation pedagogy this coming fall, and what resources or tools they could use to assist them. Thanks again to all who participated, and to those who captured notes from the breakouts!

During this event three topics were discussed by participants as they explored their plans for fall. The notes from these breakout groups have been captured in the Google Doc accessible here. This is the start of a gathering of resources for folks in Higher Ed which NCDD will pull together over the coming weeks and months. If you have a resource you would like to share so others know about it, or if you are interested in offering your expertise in a brief video, as a guest speaker, etc. please fill out this brief survey so we can get you in touch with those interested!

In addition to the notes, the event recording includes brief report-outs from each of these groups on their discussions. Check out the recording here.

Many thanks to Lori Britt for helping organize this event, and to all who participated! NCDD is pulling together resources to share more broadly, so if you know of something that could benefit the Higher Ed community, let us know below or in the survey linked above! We’ll follow up once this resource page is up and running.

Confab bubble imageTo learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs. We love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

Join us TODAY for our Special Confab Call on Planning D&D Pedagogy in an Uncertain Fall!

In just a few hours, NCDD is excited to host a special Confab Call on Planning D&D Pedagogy in an Uncertain Fall: Using this as a time to collaborate, discover, and create shared resources!  

Register ASAP for this free event happening TODAY from 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM-12:00 PM Pacific. All who are working with students using dialogue & deliberation are welcome to join. We encourage participants to complete this survey so that we can better tailor the session to respond to your needs!

The upcoming fall semester is full of uncertainties. Even if there will be in-person instruction, it seems for many in Higher Education that online components will be a significant part of courses. For those who teach dialogue and deliberation to students, this presents some challenges. How can we do this work with students smoothly in a hybrid or fully online format?

The special NCDD Confab Call is intended to help Higher Ed folks – faculty and student affairs staff working with dialogue & deliberation pedagogy – share and explore together resources for transitioning to a predominantly online format in the fall (and perhaps beyond). On the call, participants will share resources they have been using, as well as talk about what the kinds of resources are needed to assist in this new format. NCDD hopes to utilize this event to help boost collaborative efforts and identify many resources, tools, and approaches that can be cataloged as a resource for everyone going forward.

If you have developed lessons, or tools, or have experience with student dialogues in an online format, join us and share! If you are still figuring out what you will do, bring your questions and needs to the discussion! This Confab is all about working together to make everyone’s work easier, as well as to help show just how connected and vibrant this field is and reinvigorate D&D studies in Higher Ed. We’ll share and explore perhaps what still needs creating for the fall and beyond.

Unable to join us? Fill out the brief survey we have created so we can learn more about your needs and offerings.

Don’t miss this collaborative event – register today!

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. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

NCDD Confab: Planning D&D Pedagogy in an Uncertain Fall

NCDD is excited to announce a special Confab Call for folks using dialogue & deliberation pedagogy in Higher Education:

Planning D&D Pedagogy in an Uncertain Fall
Using this as a time to collaborate, discover, and create shared resources

This free event takes place Thursday, July 30th from 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM-12:00 PM Pacific. All who are working with students using dialogue & deliberation are welcome to join. Register today to secure your spot and complete a survey that will help us shape the session to respond to needs!

The upcoming fall semester is full of uncertainties. Even if there will be in-person instruction, it seems for many in Higher Education that online components will be a significant part of courses. For those who teach dialogue and deliberation to students, this presents some challenges. How can we do this work with students smoothly in a hybrid or fully online format?

The special NCDD Confab Call is intended to help Higher Ed folks – faculty and student affairs staff working with dialogue & deliberation pedagogy – share and explore together resources for transitioning to a predominantly online format in the fall (and perhaps beyond). On the call, participants will share resources they have been using, as well as talk about what the kinds of resources are needed to assist in this new format. NCDD hopes to utilize this event to help boost collaborative efforts and identify many resources, tools, and approaches that can be cataloged as a resource for everyone going forward.

If you have developed lessons, or tools, or have experience with student dialogues in an online format, join us and share! If you are still figuring out what you will do, bring your questions and needs to the discussion! This Confab is all about working together to make everyone’s work easier, as well as to help show just how connected and vibrant this field is and reinvigorate D&D studies in Higher Ed. We’ll share and explore perhaps what still needs creating for the fall and beyond.

Unable to join us? Fill out the brief survey we have created so we can learn more about your needs and offerings.

Don’t miss this collaborative event – register today!

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. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Webinar Recording: Social Distancing Meets Public Engagement

Last week’s webinar, Social Distancing Meets Public Engagement, was our largest to date, with over 325 participants! This webinar, co-hosted with our partners at the National Civic League, featured Wendy Willis, Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and Larry Schooler, Director of Consensus Building and Community Engagement, CD&P.  Wendy and Larry showcased strategies for virtual public engagement in this time of social isolation.

This webinar included information about leveraging government access television to enhance the efforts of local government to connect with their residents and stakeholders.  Presenters also talked about differences in various forms of online engagement and when it might make sense to use them, as well as tips for turning your in-person meetings into virtual ones.

This webinar is full of resources! Check out the recording of this session at this link. The PowerPoint slides, which contain loads of information, can be viewed separately here.

Additionally, a whole host of resources and guidance were shared by presenters and participants alike in the chat.

Thanks to our presenters, Wendy and Larry, the National Civic League for hosting with us, and everyone who participated!

If you have benefitted from events like this one, please consider making a contribution to help support the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation: www.ncdd.org/donate. NCDD is a small nonprofit and we have expanded our programming to be responsive to our community during the pandemic. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated and go directly to helping support our staff.

 

ConversationCafe Recording and Resources

Last week NCDD held our first virtual Conversation Cafe session, and we were blown away by the turnout – thank you to the 125+ of you who joined us to learn about how to host Cafes online and participated in one on the call!

The level of interest and enthusiasm was overwhelming, and so we wanted to make sure that anyone who is interested in this simple, open-source model for dialogue has the information and resources to do so! The following is a list of links to new and existing materials that everyone is welcome to utilize:

  • NCDD’s current director Courtney Breese, co-founder Sandy Heierbacher, and Conversation Cafe co-founder Susan Partnow, created a bunch of resources for hosting Conversation Cafes online during this pandemic: http://www.conversationcafe.org/for-hosts/resources-cafes-online/. Resources include a guide for hosts, the mini guide for use in the cafe, topics and questions for cafes, and an instructional on using Zoom for Cafes.
  • Beyond Conversation Cafe, NCDD’s Communications Coordinator Keiva Hummel has helped curate resources for responding to this pandemic. They are available (and can be added to!) over in Google Docs.

The recording of the virtual Conversation Cafe session is available at this link. Please note: the recording includes an overview of Conversation Cafe, the set-up for the cafe, and then the Q&A and wrap-up at the end. It does not include the breakout group conversations. Additionally, numerous resources and lots of information was shared in the chat.

NCDD is excited to see all the enthusiasm for what’s possible. We’ll continue to support these efforts as best we can, particularly by continuing to share resources and events. We’ve created a new Events Calendar to start sharing upcoming events, and a simple form for posting your event.

NCDD can also definitely use your help! If you want to help with social media, blog posts (share your stories of Cafes!), helping to create a stronger community of hosts, or something else you’d like to offer, send Courtney an email at courtney@ncdd.org. We will convene a team if there is enough interest to support Conversation Cafes in this unique moment. If you are not in a position to give your time right now, perhaps you might consider making a contribution to help support Conversation Cafe: www.ncdd.org/donate. NCDD is a small nonprofit and we steward Conversation Cafe without any dedicated funding support, so any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.

We are all juggling a lot right now, no doubt, but it is so heartening to see you, connect with you, and talk about what we can do for our communities during these difficult times. NCDD looks forward to continuing to work with you all!

Join us in #WeavingCommunity during crisis

NCDD is partnering once again with numerous organizations in our field to encourage a national conversation – this time around the importance of weaving community during times of crisis. We hope you can take part!

The National Conversation Project is a coalition of partner organizations inviting Americans into online conversations and mutual support to weave a stronger community even now–especially now. Together, we’re promoting conversations and community amidst fear and isolation. We seek to serve our neighbors and nation in a moment of acute social crisis.

This pandemic can drive us apart or it can drive us together. Americans often rise to common challenges like this with kindness, love, mutual support, and shared responsibility to endure together. We need community now more than ever. Although our nation’s social fabric is badly frayed by distance and division, together we can weave a strong social fabric and emerge healthy and united.

Though we may avoid gathering in person, we can support each other in many ways online, via phone, and through acts of kindness for neighbors. By #WeavingCommunity now, we will be a stronger, more genuinely connected society on the other side of the pandemic.

We invite you to…

  1. Check out the Weaving2020 website now.
  2. Use the hashtag #WeavingCommunity whenever you invite people to your own online conversations or talk about your work.
  3. Host a video or phone conversation, spark a social media or text conversation, or do an act of kindness for a neighbor.
  4. Become a partner by contacting pearce@weaving2020.org.

Check back at www.weaving2020.com, where we’ll soon be adding lots of resources for online dialogue, dialogues you and others can participate in, and more.