What We Heard from NCDD’s August Member Calls

NCDD’s staff was delighted to connect with members over the course of three conference calls in August, to talk about what they are working on, what’s going on in the network, and what we can be doing together. We wanted to share with you some of the things we learned and some of the common interests coming from these calls. Read more below and share your thoughts with us in the comments! And of course, to participate in future calls be sure to become an NCDD member.

Connections are Essential

Members expressed their appreciation for NCDD’s regular channels for building connections and staying in touch, including the NCDD listservs, biennial NCDD conferences, social media channels, Confabs, and Tech Tuesdays. These events offer members new connections, opportunities to learn from others, and perhaps most importantly, cross-pollination and the development of collaborative efforts! This is NCDD’s core offerings, along with the latest news on the NCDD Blog, and the extensive collection in the Resource Center. We love to connect with you all and we love to see you connect!

Free Speech, Bias, and How to Address Current Tensions

Members of course brought up recent events in the country, highlighting racial tensions, political tensions, and the national debate about free speech. There is always a strong desire among the NCDD network to discuss current events and think together about how to address them. Most recently that has centered on Charlottesville – see Sandy’s blog post for some more information on the conversation to date.

Another member raised examining the diversity of the D&D field, and purposely look for community partners to diversify our network and be able to tackle racial tensions. Further, a call for self-reflections and assessment of personal biases came up, and there was interest in helping members explore that, and dig deeper. Some folks expressed desire in creating a small group to work together in exploring these topics. If you’re interested – let us know in the comments and we’ll loop you into that conversation when it starts up!

Learning Communities

Similarly, there was a common thread among calls: members want to connect in short and longer-term learning communities, around the topics or practices that they are most interested in. Some of the topics raised included: systems change, social change, entrepreneurial work, technology for engagement, and regional efforts. Is there something you would like to connect with a group of NCDDers around? We encourage you to reach out! Folks are looking for these opportunities, and NCDD is happy to help spread the word. If you organize a call, share it on the NCDD Discussion Listserv, post it on the NCDD Facebook Group, and share it on the NCDD Blog. We’ll help you connect with others who would like to talk about your topic of interest!

Coming Up

NCDD’s staff is working on creating spaces to discuss timely topics in the coming months. We’ll be opening registrations for upcoming Confabs and Tech Tuesdays soon. The first Confab will feature staff of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, talking about their work in their community relating to community-police relations. They have been at this work for 20 years and have really built a community infrastructure for working together to address problems and discuss tough issues among a diverse community. There is lots we can all learn from their work – more details on that call coming soon!

We’re also planning to convene a conversation about dialogue following the events in Charlottesville, to discuss how we can be helping our communities tackle free speech, as well as racial, ethnic, and religious tensions. More information on this call coming soon, as well.

And of course – 2018 will be a conference year! Staff is working with the Board right now to determine the date and location of the conference. We hope to be announcing that soon, and starting to engage with you all around what you’d like to see, talk about, and do!

But for right now: What would you like to talk about? How would you like to connect with others? Take a moment to share with us in the comments below. We look forward to continuing these conversations and exploring the latest topics with the network this fall and beyond!

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!

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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!

Second Phase of D&D training with Am. Library Association

In the beginning of the year we launched our two-year partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative. For this collaborative project, we are working to train librarians on D&D methods and processes which they can in turn share with their communities to further make libraries hubs of community engagement and agents for change. We were thrilled at the response during the first phase of the project, which focused on large and urban libraries featuring NCDD member orgs Everyday Democracy and World Café.

Starting in September will be the second phase of the project, to provide D&D training tailored to academic libraries and further deepen the impact these spaces have on collaborative change on campuses. This round is comprised of three webinars featuring NCDD member orgs Essential Partners and National Issues Forums; and those that attend all three webinars will be invited to the in-person pre-conference workshop at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting early next year. This partnership is an incredible opportunity to share the work of our field and increase the possibilities for our members to network with librarians over the long-term. We encourage you to read the announcement from ALA below and you can find the original here.


Announcing Free Dialogue & Deliberation Learning Series for Academic Libraries

ALA’s Public Programs Office, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) invite academic library professionals to attend a free learning series that teaches several dialogue facilitation approaches and helps librarians position themselves to foster conversation and lead change on their campuses and beyond.

Through Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, a two-year ALA initiative in collaboration with NCDD, academic library professionals can participate in three online learning sessions and one in-person workshop, all free of charge, between September 2017 and February 2018.

Attendees of this professional development training will learn to convene critical conversations with people with differing viewpoints; connect more meaningfully with library users and better meet their needs; and translate conversation into action.

Registration is currently open for three online sessions:

Each session will be recorded and archived for free on-demand viewing on the Programming Librarian Learning page.

Individuals who view all three webinars, live or recorded, will be invited to attend the free, one-day pre-conference workshop at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver (Feb. 9 to 13, 2018). Details about the pre-conference will be available in fall 2017 and will be shared during the webinars.

LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant number RE-40-16-0137-16.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the ALA’s Programming Librarian site at www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/announcing-free-dialogue-deliberation-learning-series-academic-libraries.

Opportunity to Facilitate Ben Franklin Circles

We are excited to announce that NCDD is working with New York’s 92nd Street Y to support, The Ben Franklin Circles (BFC), a project in collaboration with Citizen University and the Hoover Institution. BFC – an NCDD member org, could use some facilitation support and that’s where NCDD comes in –  we have an exciting opportunity for you!

The Circles are inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s junto or “mutual improvement club,” – a sort of civic engagement support group the founding father started and ran for over 40 years.  In this 21st Century reboot, small groups of people get together once a month to reflect on big themes that Franklin identified as key to living a good life and creating a good society – topics like Industry/Work; Justice; Moderation; Thrift/Frugality and more.  There are 13 total.  Participants are encouraged to think about how these principles impact their own lives and how they shape our society, using the conversations as a way to create empathy and strengthen community bonds. Read more about the Circles in our Resource Center.

Here is the opportunity: 92Y has created a platform and toolkit and is offering limited stipends for facilitators to help lead these conversations in their communities. Circles meet once a month for 13 months for about 90 minutes each session. Meetings can be scheduled based on the facilitator’s schedule. 

This is a great opportunity for you to utilize this model, connect with groups in your community, and get paid for your time as well! NCDD would love to see a whole bunch of you get involved with Circles across the country. It’s another great way we can work to strengthen community connections and help people bridge divides, at this particularly divisive time in our nation. And many of you have the networks with interest in these kinds of conversations!

If you are interested in this opportunity and would like to connect with organizers to learn more, please fill out this quick form here and they will contact you to discuss this opportunity further! 

For more information, please visit: benfranklincircles.org. You can follow BFC on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter at @BFCircles as well as the hashtag #BenFranklinCircles.

NCDD Members: Thank You!

On behalf of NCDD’s staff, I wanted to thank all of our members who have joined or renewed their membership over the past several months. You all really stepped up after NCDD announced our membership changes and asked you to take action. NCDD relies on our members support, and we’ve been blown away by your response and commitment to this work!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out how to maximize your membership – there are great benefits, discounts, and opportunities to share news and information with this community! This week we sent out an email to all members letting you know about some upcoming exclusive calls for NCDD members to chat with staff about their work and what they’d like to see the NCDD network talk about in the coming months – be sure to check your email! Our staff look forward to connecting with you soon.

Our member map and directory have been updated to reflect the changes in our membership structure – you can check them out at ncdd.org/map or browse the map below!

We also want to share a big thank you to our very first sponsoring member, the Jefferson Center for New Democratic Processes!

We appreciate the added support a sponsoring membership provides.  We also want to make sure you all know about this great organization! We’ll be sharing more about the Jefferson Center on our website soon (as we will be doing for all sponsoring members), but in the meantime be sure to check out their website at  www.jefferson-center.org.

If you did not get a chance to join or renew your membership before our changes took place – it’s not too late! Be sure to join or renew today, and reinstate your membership!

The NCDD staff thank you all again for recommitting to NCDD and the work of bringing people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together. We are constantly inspired by you all and the work you do, and we look forward to connecting with you all soon!

NCDD’s Membership Drive Ends June 18th – Join Us!

We have reached the final THREE DAYS in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s membership drive. Our staff would love to see you join or renew your membership in NCDD before we end this drive on Sunday, June 18!

Here are three reasons why we (and others) think it’s worth joining NCDD:

1. Direct member benefits

As a member, you have access to numerous direct benefits that are worth much more than the cost of membership. Members get:

  • Access to discounts on trainings and workshops, as well as a special registration rate at NCDD Conferences!
  • First notice of news and opportunities, including jobs postings on the Making-A-Living Listserv, and the latest news through a special NCDD Member Newsletter.
  • Access to a wealth of information and experiences through access to the archives of NCDD Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays!
  • A listing on the NCDD Member Map and Directory,
  • And more! Check out ncdd.org/join for more details.

“Over the years I have reaped far more in benefits from NCDD than the tiny dues might warrant. NCDD has opened my eyes to new, powerful tools and wide-ranging perspectives that enrich my organizational work and make me a better facilitator. I’ve also gained some wonderful colleagues through NCDD. It was time to give back to an organization that has given me a great deal!”
– Juli Fellows, Ph.D.

2. Connections to others doing this work

One of the most commonly noted benefits of being a member of the NCDD network is the connections that are made between members. NCDD is unique in that our members represent a variety of professions, models for dialogue, and areas of focus or expertise. For many, becoming a member in NCDD means finding the people who best understand your work and who can help you develop and grow your practice. Imagine what you can gain from being in close communication with such a rich network!

“NCDD is the first place I turn if I need technical assistance with a dialogue issue/situation and it is the resource I share most often with others interested in learning more about dialogue. ”
– Cathey Capers, Wellspring Resources, Austin, Texas

3. Helping keep NCDD Sustainable

Your membership dues is essential to keeping NCDD sustainable. We’re a small organization, and rely on our members’ support in addition to grants and donations in order to keep this network strong and growing. Your membership dues goes directly to helping our staff continue to offer our programs and resources to you!

 “I was ‘there at the beginning’, and I think that what you all are doing is so very important for our polarized, fractured world.”

– Jim Snow, NCDD Founding Member

“More than ever now we have to support the work each and all of us are doing in the dialogue and deliberation field – or we’re doomed. As I see it, NCDD is our lodgepole.”

– Deborah Goldblatt, Director, World Café Services, World Café Community Foundation

We hope you’ll consider joining or renewing your membership in NCDD by Sunday, June 18th, when our membership drive ends. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to all we can do together going forward!

A Message from NCDD Board Chair Martin Carcasson

I wanted to take an opportunity to make another appeal to everyone to consider supporting NCDD by becoming a dues-paying member. As you’ve likely read, NCDD is changing its membership structure in order to build capacity in the organization. Effective June 19, all members will need to have their dues current to continue receiving member benefits and remain listed on the member map and directory.

As the current chair of the NCDD Board of Directors, I can tell you we struggled with this decision. We want to keep NCDD as open and accessible as possible, which is why we’ve traditionally had open membership without required dues (dues were optional). But as we continue to work to create capacity to address to the troubling hyper-partisanship of our times, we recognized that we needed more stability in the organizational structure to accomplish our work. NCDD had to grow up a little, and have a more consistent funding stream, particularly for our leadership positions. Once we establish the new structure, Courtney and Sandy should be able to focus so much more on doing the work and building, improving, and serving the network rather than searching for the dollars to cover their salaries.

I do hope you see the value in supporting NCDD. Yes, there are member benefits, but above all I hope people see this as a contribution to an organization whose work has never been as important as it is now. At a time when polarization and cynicism is tearing the country apart, those of us in NCDD know we have better ways of engaging the tough issues that actually bring people together. We also know that despite all the rancor, people do yearn for authentic engagement, and prefer that to the noise when given an opportunity.

I first became connected with NCDD in San Francisco in 2006. I don’t actually remember how I initially heard about the conference, but I was in the process of getting the Center for Public Deliberation started at Colorado State, and made it out to the coast to hopefully learn some useful skills. What I actually found was my tribe. An incredibly diverse group of people who saw the world like I saw it, passionate about making a difference and catalyzing change, but recognizing that the best way to do just that was by focusing on changing the conversation and giving people real opportunities to engage each other genuinely. I hope you see NCDD through a similar lens, and will help us expand and solidify our work by supporting the organization moving forward as an NCDD member.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Professor, Communication Studies at Colorado State University
Chair, NCDD Board of Directors

Envisioning What We Can Do Together in NCDD

The NCDD network has been finding new ways to address the deep divisions in our world. Most recently, following the 2016 Presidential election, we’ve found our work to be more critical than ever. Our network has been thinking a lot about #BridgingOurDivides, and we think now is the time to get excited about what we can do together!

XS Purple NCDD logoThe Opportunities We See

Recently, NCDD has been working with the American Library Association on their newest project, Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change. This project brings training on numerous D&D methods to librarians eager to learn how they can apply them in their communities. And boy, are librarians eager! We’ve had at least 500 librarians participate in the project to date. This provides an exciting opportunity to introduce librarians to NCDD members, and NCDD’s hope is to expand this effort to include more direct connections between libraries and our members. These libraries will need some guidance and support as they get started with these community engagement efforts – and what better support system than NCDD members!

Our Confab Calls have been focused on new opportunities to connect and collaborate to bridge divides. Recent calls have featured Not In Our Town, which works with communities to address issues of hate and intolerance, and Journalism That Matters, bringing together journalists and public engagement practitioners to explore areas for collaboration. These are just the start of conversations about ways we can align our work to help our communities engage in dialogue on the issues important to them.

NCDD has also been talking with new folks and organizations about opportunities to connect to and tap into our membership. Information on new opportunities are coming soon from the 92nd Street Y’s Ben Franklin Circles, The Chisel, and others for our network to work with, connect to, and collaborate!

Finding new avenues for collaboration, whether with libraries, journalists, or other organizations and sectors is essential to expanding and sustaining the work of bringing people together across traditional lines to make decisions on the issues that affect them. We’re excited for what’s to come, new opportunities, and ways we can continue to help bridge the divides in our communities and nation.

Stay in the Loop!

Make sure you don’t miss out on these opportunities – be sure to join,  renew, or upgrade your membership in NCDD to stay in the loop! NCDD members hear about new events and work opportunities first and get access to special opportunities! Plus, being a member of NCDD gets you a seat at our table – our membership is at the heart of NCDD, and we consult and work with our membership to create programming, explore collaborations, and more!

If you’re currently a non-dues-paying member, the last day to upgrade your membership before the new changes to membership benefits take full effect is June 15th. Don’t keep waiting! We want you to continue to be a part of the future of NCDD and the dialogue & deliberation field, so join usrenew, or upgrade your membership today!

New NCDD Podcast Episode Featuring Bring it to the Table!

The latest episode of the NCDD Podcast is now live! You can find this on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play.

In this episode, NCDD Managing Director Courtney Breese speaks with Julie Winokur of Bring it to the Table. Julie is Producer and Director of Bring it to the Table, a project seeking to bridge political divides and break down partisanship through a documentary, webisodes, online platform and community engagement campaign. Julie speaks about her experiences filming the original documentary in 2012 (some of you saw the documentary at NCDD 2014!), as well as her more recent work bringing the film and table talks to college campuses. She also shares her reflections on the state of U.S. politics today and the opportunities she sees for us to come together through dialogue.

The NCDD podcast is a new format for leaders and practitioners from the D&D field to share their stories and ideas, as well as discuss opportunities and challenges in this work. The podcast will also help us to continue our conversation from the NCDD 2016 Conference about #BridgingOurDivides.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, particularly about the opportunities you see for dialogue across political and other divides. In light of Julie’s story, what more can we be doing as individuals and dialogue & deliberation practitioners to bring people together across our differences? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Our thanks to Ryan Spenser for his continued help recording and editing these podcast episodes.

Please share this episode and the podcast links with others – and let Courtney (courtney@ncdd.org) know if you have any ideas for future episodes!