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Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy


ICDD is directed by faculty from Communication Studies in collaboration with Associates and Affiliates representing scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines, sectors, and communities of interest. Many of these individuals contribute to our professional facilitation services in addition to educating others on dialogue, deliberation, and facilitation. ICDD Partners include local and national organizations contributing to civic discourse and democratic engagement.


Timothy J. ShafferTimothy J. Shaffer, Director

Dr. Timothy J. Shaffer is an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner of deliberative democracy, civic education, and group communication. Dr. Shaffer focuses on the advancement of democratic practices by focusing on the role of civic professionals in institutional settings such as higher education, local government, and non-governmental organizations in relationship with diverse communities.

Dr. Shaffer is the editor of multiple booksDeliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement (Michigan State University Press, 2017), Jumping into Civic Life: Stories of Public Work from Extension Professionals (Kettering Foundation Press, 2018), Agri-Culture and Future of Farming: An Interactivity Foundation Discussion Guidebook (Interactivity Foundation, 2018), A Crisis of Civility? Political Discourse and Its Discontents (Routledge, 2019), and Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education (Stylus, 2019).

He has published dozens of articles and book chapters in academic publications; presents and engages diverse public audiences through radio, TV, and print; and offers workshops and training to professionals in universities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and with legislative bodies.

Dr. Shaffer currently serves an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Kansas State University. He is also principal research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.

Connected to these efforts, Shaffer serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy and as a country expert on deliberative democracy in the United States with the Varieties of Democracy project based at the University of Gothenburg. His research centers on the advancement of democratic practices through deliberative politics and civic engagement in higher education and other institutional and community settings. He received his BA in Theology and Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University, Master’s in Theology and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Dayton, and his PhD in Education (Adult and Extension Education, City and Regional Planning, and Community-Based Natural Resource Management) from Cornell University.

Read his Communication Studies Faculty page.  

Aliah Mestrovich SeayAliah Mestrovich Seay, Extension Liaison

Ms. Mestrovich Seay is the 4-H Youth Development Specialist for Community Vitality with K-State Research and Extension. With 21 years of experience working in K-12, higher education and the not-for profit sectors, she brings specialization in intercultural communication and conflict styles awareness to her training and facilitation work with ICDD.  She initiated a comprehensive statewide program of 4-H youth leaders in community conversations, offering middle school and high school students the same rigorous facilitation strategies that adults master through well-established protocols such as National Issues Forums and Visual Thinking Strategies. 

Mestrovich Seay is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and also works as an Instructor at the Staley School of Leadership Studies. She holds a B.S. degree in Clinical Psychology in French from the Université de Caen, Basse-Normandie, France and a M.A. Degree in Counseling Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University in Orange County, California.

She is currently a doctoral student in Leadership Communication at the K-State Staley School of Leadership Studies. Aliah’s professional and research interests involve intercultural coaching and training techniques that focus on cultural identity development, critical whiteness, listening, mindfulness, and finding innovative ways to engage with difference differently. 

Recent Publications: Transformative Leadership Education Using Arts-Based Storytelling; "Pedagogy: Developing Ally Identities" In: Transformative Leadership in Action: Allyship, Advocacy & Action, ed. by Jacklyn A. Bruce and Katherine E. McKee.

Lance RossiLance Rossi, Project Manager

Mr. Rossi is currently a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Shaffer and Project Manager for the Kansas Civic Life Project. After a 14-year career as a healthcare specialist in the United States Army, Rossi's work seeks to continue serving the military community by conducting communication research towards improving general veteran well-being, suicide prevention, and advocacy. As second-year graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies at Kansas State University, his studies place a special emphasis on interpersonal and intercultural communication theory and applied communication research. He is a research consultant to the K-State Military Affairs Innovation Center for the Diavolo Veteran Project, a multi-regional study providing veterans with an art therapy workshop and measuring wellness outcomes. Rossi serves as Senator for the KSU Student Governing Association and is a member of the Graduate School Caucus. His work with the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy centers on management of the Kansas Civic Life Project including targeting, outreach, correspondence, as well as data collection, analysis, and visualization.Rossi received his BS in Communication Studies from Kansas State University.

DSHDonna Schenck-Hamlin, Community Partnerships

Donna Schenck-Hamlin is a co-founder and a facilitator of community partnerships with the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in literature and a Master’s degree in library science from the University of Oregon, with a Master’s degree in musicology from Kansas State University.  Within ICDD, Donna convenes public conversations in partnership with civic groups, and offers facilitator training for students, faculty, and community organizers.  Her current issue focus is on assisting the Workforce Solar Housing Partnership to demonstrate new models of energy efficiency and financial sustainability for home-owners.  Citizen engagement and interaction with complex issues is of particular interest in her work, and she joins researchers in psychology, library science, and planning in studying the self-efficacy of inquiry.  

David ProcterDavid E. Procter, Senior Advisor

David Procter is a professor emeritus in the Department of Communication Studies and the founding director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy as well as the Center for Engagement and Community Development at Kansas State University. Since arriving at K-State in 1987, he has worked in partnership with communities across the state. He has worked on issues of school consolidation, community strategic planning, heritage museum education, facilitation of community dialogue, and strategies for re-populating rural communities.

Procter has authored two books on community building - Enacting Political Culture (1991) and The Rhetoric of Community Building (2005) plus numerous essays and book chapters on the subject. Before becoming the Director of CECD, Procter served on the Advisory Board for the Kansas Center for Rural Initiatives. He received his BS and MA from Kansas State University and his PhD from the University of Nebraska.

Read his Communication Studies Faculty page.  

Greg PaulGregory Paul, Communication Studies Department Head

Dr. Gregory Paul’s research focuses on the construction of communities both at work and at home. He specifically explores issues related to restorative justice, conflict management in the workplace, forgiveness and revenge, dialogue and deliberation. He has conducted research that explores how facilitators of victim-offender dialogue understand justice and their roles in helping participants to accomplish justice. His dissertation explored how employees in four different organizations practiced forgiveness following hurtful events. He is also conducting research on motivations to forgive following hurtful events as well as motivation to participate in deliberative programming. Dr. Paul’s research has been published in journals such as Conflict Resolution Quarterly and Communication Quarterly. Dr. Paul received his BA, MA, and PhD in communication from Texas A&M University.

Read his Communication Studies Faculty page.



Melissa Winkel, Office Specialist

Melissa Winkel is the Office Specialist for the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy as well as the Department for Communication Studies. For questions about ICDD courses and programs, please use the contact information below. 


E-mail: icdd@k-state.edu 
Campus Phone: 785-532-6875
Campus Address: 234 Nichols Hall