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Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy



A Public Voice:  Safety and Justice deliberations

Public input from forums held over the past year in Kansas and five other states were presented to Congressional staffers at A Public Voice event May 9 in Washington, D.C. ICDD Assistant Director Dr. Tim Shaffer collaborated with other National Issues Forums leaders in this first phase of an on-going project to engage the public in discussions of community policing issues. View the discussion guide.  

Reconstructing Civility: 2017 Engagement Symposium

Modes of engagement were highlighted in a symposium addressing the problems of polarized public discourse, in the wake of a contentious election year. The event was part of Championing Civility Week at Kansas State University. 

Tim Shaffer: Deliberative Pedagogy

Dr. Shaffer, Assistant Director of ICDD, shares this webinar, originally published April 13th by the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE). Watch the 55 minute presentation, Deliberative Pedagogy: What it is, where it connects with community engagement, and why it matters, here. 

FEAST: Community Food Security Discussions

On October 15, Junction City held its first FEAST, modeled on the Oregon Food Bank's plan of community engagement for "Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions Together.” Organized by Live Well Geary County and facilitated by the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD), the half-day event was attended by 42 residents who agreed to develop community organizing around the theme of locally grown, healthy food for everyone. Participants included public and non-profit working groups such as a food policy council and a food pantry, as well as individuals describing themselves as food insecure who also distribute home-grown produce to others in need. Additional Kansas counties are planning FEAST events in the coming months. If you are interested in participating, email Donna Schenck-Hamlin. Read more here.

Agreeing to Disagree | A Look at Civility in Political Discussion

ICDD Project Coordinator Donna Schenck-Hamlin was interviewed for a K-State video on civility by Matthew Blomberg, News Specialist at the Division of Communications and Marketing. "Agreeing to Disagree" examines what civility means in the context of political discourse, and offers some tips for successfully talking, even with disagreement, about current issues. Read more here.

Cats for Inclusion: Civic Leadership Training

The Cats for Inclusion campaign, supported through the Staley School of Leadership Studies and the Kansas State University Black Student Union have formed a partnership to develop a public discussion and civic leadership training series. The first of three community conversations took place on September 3rd, October 2nd, and 27th. Read more here.

Voter Readiness

During every election season, ICDD works with local campus and community organizations to increase voter registration and public discussion of critical issues. Riley County Young Voters, the League of Women Voters, K-State's Student Governing Organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Movies on the Grass, and Alpha Phi Alpha are some of the non-partisan organizations supporting voter education.  Data on student voter registration is compiled for K-State by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE).  See 2012 and 2016 reports.

Juvenile Justice

Community engagement with juvenile justice reform has taken on special urgency in Kansas with recent passage of Senate Bill 367, written to reduce the placement of low-risk juvenile offenders in detention. ICDD faculty associate Greg Paul and community affiliate Thea Nietfeld have been conducting a series of public forums on this issue throughout the year, in a project supported by the Kettering Foundation.  On May 5 they held the fourth forum, "They're all our kids; cultivating cultures where families can thrive", in Topeka.  Participants generated ideas for community-based alternatives to detention for youth in trouble, and discussed the larger context of families in need of public programs supporting mental wellness, education, and food security.  To obtain a copy of the forthcoming report from this forum contact Greg Paul.

Kansas Reservoir Health  - collaboration with Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education (KACEE)

Development of issue guides following the choice-work protocol of National Issues Forums involves focus groups and interviews with subject experts as well as laypersons. ICDD is assisting members of KACEE as part of a national initiative by the Kettering Foundation to explore value systems fundamental to public discussion on a range of water policy topics.  An issue guide is under development on the topic of Kansas reservoir health.  If you are interested in participating in water focus groups and public forums planned this year, email Donna Schenck-Hamlin.