Deliberative Forum

From 2011 to 2013 the Deliberative Forum came out of a Learning Exchange that was hosted by the Kettering Foundation,” which, as indicated on their web page (clickable link to Kettering) , is “a nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Kettering’s research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.”

The Learning Exchange advanced these goals by training people to host and moderate, as neutral conveners, public forums on issues important to their communities. From 2011 to 2013 St. Edward’s University New College faculty member Vicki Totten and CEL Director Jack Green Musselman participated in a Kettering Learning Exchange by working with a Kettering Foundation cohort from 13 different colleges and civic centers to learn how to better engage different members of our own Austin community in public dialogue. By doing so, St. Edward’s University students, staff and faculty also increased their civic capacity by adopting different methods of dialogue and deliberation to address Austin’s complex issues.

In particular, on March 30, 2012 St. Edward’s University hosted the forum “Can Higher Education Help us Solve our Toughest Problems?” On April 6, 2013 St. Edward’s University will host the forum “Right from the Start: What Should We Do to Help Our Youngest Children Thrive?

So, faculty and staff who are interested in pursuing different models of dialogue and deliberation should contact Vicki (vickit@stedwards.edu) or Jack (jackgm@stedwards.edu) . While Jack has trained on the Kettering model, Vicki has a background in models ranging from Kettering to World Café and the Public Conversations Project. Time permitting, one or the other may be able to help you pursue your interest in these different models of dialogue and deliberation.