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Students taking part in a Deliberative Dialogue.

Deliberative Dialogues

The Center for Civic Engagement is excited to offer Deliberative Dialogues on campus!

Deliberative Dialogues are guided conversations on a political or controversial topic. This model of conversation removes polarizing positions and one-sided lectures by simply asking participants to investigate specific solutions to an issue through the help of an issue guide and facilitator. Center staff, along with faculty/staff across campus, and students, have been trained to facilitate dialogues for classes, student organizations, and University groups/departments.

By participating in a Deliberative Dialogue, participants can learn skills to express their own perspectives while also listening to the perspectives of others (important civic skills). Participants can also learn how to have conversations on difficult and complex topics.

Dialogue topics

The Center uses the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) model of deliberative dialogues. NIFI outcomes are:

  • Deeper understanding of issues and tensions within it
  • Insight/awareness of different views
  • Starting point for citizen action (individually & collectively)
  • Learn about the issue
  • Improve democratic skills/attitudes

Explore Dialogue topics from NIFI

Request a Dialogue

The Center offers Delibertive Dialogue as a free experience to the campus community. Any faculty/staff member or student group can request a Dialogue.

A dialogue is optimally two hours long, but Center staff can work with instructors and groups to determine the best configuration for the setting. Classes that are 75 minutes long can host a full dialogue in one class period if the instructor is willing to show a video and/or other preparation activities. Dialogues for 50 minute classes recquire two class periods.

Center staff have drilled down to the following outcomes for students who participate in a Deliberative Dialogue:

  • Express appreciation and empathy of another’s perspective on the issue
  • Learn something new after hearing and considering another’s viewpoint
  • Analyze the issue from multiple perspectives
  • Evaluate skills need to participate in deliberation

Please submit your request at least three weeks/fifteen business days in advance. 

Request a dialogue for your class or organisation

Student Deliberative Dialogue Facilitators

In fall 2021 the Center launched the Student Deliberative Dialogue Facilitator program to help with increased demand for Dialogues across campus. The program also offers leadership and dialogue experience for the student facilitators. Learn more about this amazing program.

The Center is relying on donations to fund this program into the next academic year. If you would like to help ensure the future of the Student Deliberative Dialogue Facilitator program, please consider making a contribution to the Center.

Make a Contribution