Posts Tagged 'Dialogue and Deliberation'

New National Issues Forum: The Changing World of Work–What Should We Ask of Higher Education?

National Issues Forums Institute
Releases New Issue Guide


The Changing World of Work:
What Should We Ask of Higher Education?

FREE download - For a limited time, this guide is available as a free pdf download for those who would like to be part of this national project by holding community forums for a national report on this issue.

A new issue guide about higher education’s role in society, The Changing World of Work, from the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), explores questions about what role higher education should play in preparing people for the workplace:

There is a pervasive anxiety in America about the future of higher education. Spiraling costs combined with seismic changes in the American workplace raise questions about whether a bachelor’s degree is still worth the cost. In a recent cover story, Newsweek magazine asked: “Is College a Lousy Investment?” For a growing number of Americans, the answer appears to be yes…

The guide presents three possible options for deliberation.

  • Option One: Prepare students for the job market.
  • Option Two: Educate for leadership and change.
  • Option Three: Build strong communities.

Groups, organizations, and individuals planning to hold forums using this issue guide are invited to become part of the conversation and national report by posting forums on the National Issues Forums website calendar. Just sign up for an account, then log in and post your event. Your efforts are appreciated.

Learn more and to order or download these issue materials.

About Deliberation in National Issues Forums
National Issues Forums issue guides are designed to stimulate public deliberation, which is a way of making decisions together that is different from discussion or debate. The purpose of deliberative forums is to inform collective action. As citizens, we have to make decisions together before we can act together, whether with other citizens or through legislative bodies. Acting together is essential for addressing problems that can’t be solved by one group of people or one institution.  These problems have more than one cause and therefore have to be met by a number of mutually reinforcing initiatives with broad public participation.

About the National Issues Forums Institute
The National Issues Forums Institute’s mission is to promote the use of public deliberation in schools, colleges, civic organizations, and religious institutions in the United States. The institute’s members are volunteers drawn from leaders in government, colleges and universities, libraries, civic organizations, the media, and medicine. For more information visit

Journal of Public Deliberation | The State of the Field

Journal of Public Deliberation 

Laura W. Black, PhD, Editor
Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD & Nancy L. Thomas, JD, EdD, Associate Editors

July 2, 2014
Special Issue: The State of the Field
Essays on the accomplishments of and challenges to public engagement and deliberative democracy

Edited by Laura W. Black, Timothy J. Shaffer, and Nancy L. Thomas

This special issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation consists of a collection essays by leading innovators and scholars who share a commitment to increased and improved participation by everyday Americans in public discourse, community problem solving, and social policy making.  The “field” of public deliberation has made impressive advances in the last thirty years in both theory and practice.

Despite these gains, many scholars and practitioners can point to challenges and concerns, ranging from “what do we call this work?” to “how do we build a strong civic infrastructure for public engagement?”  Writers responded to questions about the scope and boundaries of the work, the relationship between deliberation and democracy, the tensions between advocacy and deliberation, the risks associated with steadfast neutrality, and future directions for the field. They help us see that popular declarations in favor of “more public participation” require more reflection and intentionality.  The issue also includes promising future directions, some insightful personal essays, and reviews of books that highlight the breadth of deliberative engagement. To read the issue, visit

The Journal of Public Deliberation is supported by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the International Association for Public Participation. This issue is being used as the basis for discussion and planning at the 2014 Frontiers of Democracy conference, July 16-18, 2014 at Tufts University. For information on the conference, please visit

An annual event, Frontiers is co-sponsored by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, The Democracy Imperative, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), and the Jonathan M. Tisch College for Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. After the conference, there will be a reflective essay in the Journal of Public Deliberation based on the discussion that takes place at Frontiers to continue the conversation about the state of the field of public deliberation and its future.

JPD is supported not only by IAP2 and DDC, but by a range of other institutions, including:

The Future of Higher Education: Divided We Fail?

Divided We Fail: Why it’s Time for a Broader, More Inclusive Conversation on the Future of Higher Education 

A 2014 Report by Public Agenda

Divided We Fail_covThis is a final report on the 2013 National Issues Forums on higher education using the issue guide Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?

This report describes the thinking of college students, parents, professors, employers, retirees, and others who have gathered in more than 115 public forums around the country to deliberate on the future of higher education. Held under the auspices of the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), in collaboration with the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), and The Democracy Commitment (TDC), these deliberative forums began in summer 2012 and will continue through summer 2014. All three conveners are nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations.

Read the full report here: 

Campus Programming: Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health

Text, Talk, Act is back! This April 24th, gather together to help end the silence on mental health.

Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health is an hour-long event that uses text messaging to get people talking about mental health and encourage them to take action. Through this event, young people can have a conversation with their peers and give voice to an issue that can otherwise be difficult to speak about. Using a technology that is ubiquitous with their lives, this is a fun event that reaches youth through text messages.

Text, Talk, Act helps impact the way people think and talk about mental health. Participants in a previous event said:


This event is geared toward young people, but people of all ages can participate and benefit from it. It’s very simple:

  1. At any time on April 24th, gather 3-4 of your friends, family, classmates,  students, and/or colleagues;
  2. Text “start” to 89800; and
  3. Receive polling questions and discussion questions via text messaging while having a face-to-face dialogue with your group.

The process takes one hour. The result can last a lifetime.

Please join us this April 24th! Visit to learn more, sign up to receive reminders for the event AND make a statement by adding a pin to our map – showing that a conversation will be happening in YOUR  community!


Looking for funding? Deliberative Democracy & Public Engagement Grant Opportunity

By Stephanie South, Intern, American Democracy Project

NIFI LogoThe deadline for the Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Fund Grants has been extended until December 31, 2012.

This grant, from the National Issues Forums Institute, aims to enable an individual to develop an understanding of public engagement and deliberative democracy and to plan and launch one or more deliberative forums in their communities or organizations.

Grants are expected to be in the range of $500-1,000.

To learn more about how to apply, click here.

To learn more about Taylor L. Willingham and her work, click here.

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