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K-State Today

May 29, 2020

ICDD leadership changes and move to communication studies department

Submitted by Melissa Winkel

Effective July 1, the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, ICDD, will move to its new home within the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and will be directed by Timothy Shaffer, associate professor of communication studies. He has served as assistant director of ICDD since 2016.

The institute was formed as an interdisciplinary, nonpartisan organization in 2004 in response to polarizing political discourse and increasingly complex public issues that challenge democratic decision-making. Led by David Procter, professor of communication studies, and housed within the Center for Engagement and Community Development since 2006, ICDD has engaged in research, education, and facilitation of civic conversations to promote greater citizen participation in deliberation and public dialogue. In addition to Dr. Procter, Donna Schenck-Hamlin, program manager of CECD and ICDD, has played a critical role on campus and across Kansas through facilitation trainings. Examples include ICDD trainings with the Johnson County Library System, with KSRE's culture of health initiative, with 4-H participants, with history graduate students working on an NEH grant, and with the Civic Engagement Fellows. Her work has been vital in building and sustaining cohorts of facilitators on campus and across Kansas. 

ICDD has long connected faculty and students from all academic disciplines with community affiliates and partners to address prominent issues of inclusiveness, equality, reciprocity, reflection, reason-giving, and shared decision-making through public engagement rooted in dialogue and deliberation. These focus areas align with the Communication Studies' emphases in interdisciplinarity, social justice, relationships and organization. ICDD’s home within Communication Studies affords the ability to continue to pursue its founding mission while further integrating efforts in classrooms and communities to educate individuals with skills required for facilitating and engaging our most serious challenges today. ICDD will continue to offer community-engaged programming through trainings, workshops, and presentations to Kansas communities seeking to address wicked public problems. It also will provide curricular offerings for undergraduate and graduate students through offerings such as the Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement certificate program and its partnership with the Leadership Communication PhD program. Additionally, ICDD will continue to engage in externally funded research. For example, current research is supported by the Charles F. Kettering Foundation and Sunflower Foundation. Through public engagement, teaching, and research, ICDD will continue to fulfill the tripartite mission of the land-grant university. 

Shaffer brings his expertise in deliberative democracy, civic education, and group communication to grow and enrich the work of ICDD. He is associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy; research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse; country expert on deliberative democracy with the Varieties of Democracy research project housed at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; member of the Teaching, Training, and Mentoring Committee of Participedia; and a member of the Rapid Response Team of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy that developed the national Coming Together for Racial Understanding training program. He has edited four books exploring deliberative pedagogy, dialogue and deliberation in higher education, civil discourse, and civic professionalism in addition to dozens of articles and chapters. 

For questions about ICDD's curricular offerings, public trainings, as well as scholarly resources and research, contact Shaffer at tjshaffer@k-state.edu or icdd@k-state.edu. To learn more, visit k-state.edu/icdd/ and commstudies.k-state.edu/.