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Posts tagged ‘Dialogue and Deliberation’

Free Materials to hold forums on Economic Inequality from NIFI

Special Offer from NIFI – FREE Materials for Forums

Making Ends Meet: How Should We Spread Prosperity and Improve Opportunity?

Over the past several months, the Kettering Foundation has been researching the increasingly important issue of economic inequality. The naming and framing of this issue has focused on the growing inequality and the difficulty that families have with surviving economically.

The outcome is a new National Issues Forums (NIFI) issue guide entitled, Making Ends Meet: How Should We Spread Prosperity and Improve Opportunity? The guide will be ready for distribution in early December. Our goal is to have 100 forums by the end of March 2016 so that the results of this research can be reported at the A Public Voice (APV) event in Washington on May 4th.

Hence, a special offer is being presented to the first 100 conveners and/or moderators who agree to conduct a forum. They will receive 20 FREE copies of the issue guide and a copy
of the starter video. The moderator will be expected to have each participant complete the questionnaire following the forum and to mail them back to us. I am asking each of you to consider offering a forum to a group with whom you have contact and who you feel is interested in this issue-your church, a book club, a class you are teaching, a civic organization to which you belong, etc. You can make a significant contribution to spreading awareness of public deliberation and to helping to find a solution to this significant public issue.

Sign up for this offer from NIFI here.

Text, Talk, Act: National Conversations about Mental Health

Text, Talk, Act is a nationwide conversation on mental health and how to help a friend in need. How does this work? A group of friends gets together and through text messaging the group receives discussion questions that lead them through a conversation about mental health. Talking about the importance of mental health issues is essential, but many people don’t know how to start the conversation.

You can register your school, club, or organization to win a prize for participating in Text, Talk, Act of $1,000 by clicking here.

TTA Infographic Fall 2015_0.

New NIFI Issue Guide: “Bridging and Bonding – Creating Engaged Communities in a Time of Rapid Change”

By Renee Baharaeen, AASCU Civic Engagement Intern and Truman State University Student

Our friends at the National Issues Forums Institute bring you a new 16-page issue guide, titled Bridging and Bonding: How Can We Create Engaged Communities in a Time of Rapid Change?, was created by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation and Franklin Pierce University.

Bridging and Bonding – How Can We Create Engaged Communities in a Time of Rapid Change?

As time has progressed, Americans are now beginning to work longer and harder than they have historically. With a societal focus shifting towards the importance of income, a decrease can be seen in civic engagement activities and volunteering. Changes also show a decline in community “social capital”, or connecting with others. Additionally, emerging trends reveal technology and entertainment are becoming more prevalent in society and causing changes in communication practices.

This guide presents readers with three ideas on how to revitalize the importance of an engaged community in a rapidly changing time.

Option 1: Embrace the Change and Affirm Differences

The first option focuses on accommodating a diverse population. Diversity is increasing in America, and it is important to understand and accept the changes. However, this option also comes with a risk that more traditional members of civic organizations will resist new changes. Additionally, this option could potentially create weaker relationships due to a lack in the quality of communication practices.

Option 2: Strengthen and Renew Traditional Ways of Connecting

Option 2 encourages creating ways for community members to bond in person. It is based on the idea that physical contact is how individuals create strong relationships. Focusing on the community will put an emphasis on cultural importance, giving everyone a role to play. On the contrary, this idea can also create fragmented communities, not encouraging communication with others outside of the local population. Additionally, resources spent on cultural efforts may take away resources from other societal concerns such as poverty, education, and health care.

Option 3: Meet People Where They Are

The final option is to understand and accept the social and economic circumstances of individuals. While time may not be an affordable option, people may be willing to contribute to their community in other ways such as donating money. It is important to consider, however, that this option may encourage economic and professional development emphasizing individualism rather than collectivism.

Learn more about the issue guide here and download the issue guide (pdf) here.

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:


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