– By Carla Cole, DCI Coordinator
The Duke Endowment recently published an article highlighting the work of the DCI titled “The Art of Argument: Things to Know About Davidson’s Deliberative Citizenship Initiative.” The article discusses the various DCI programs and achievements, emphasizing the important work of the DCI. Davidson College President Carol Quillen, Byron McCrae, a DCI Co-Convener and Davidson College Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students are quoted in the article, along with Dr. Graham Bullock, DCI faculty director and associate professor of political science.
As the article states, “Launched in 2020 with a $256,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, the initiative hosted a guest speaker series, forums and training workshops for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Davidson community. Despite the challenges of COVID restrictions, leaders say inaugural events were a success.” The DCI’s programs have continued to grow and participants have reported that their experiences have been transformative. The DCI continues to seek ways to bring together people with diverse perspectives to deliberate difficult topics in productive, meaningful ways that bridge polarization.
In August, the DCI welcomed ten new Fellows, including two new student co-conveners. As mentioned in the article, DCI Fellows “spend the academic year in a leadership role,” within the DCI. Throughout the year, the Fellows will immerse themselves in deliberative theory and practice and will facilitate the DCI’s D Teams. Fellows will also complete individual projects designed to elevate their understanding and practice of deliberation. They’ll also be contributing posts to the DCI Blog – stay tuned to hear from each Fellow over the course of the semester and year.
Fall Deliberative “D” Teams will begin soon with a record number of participants consisting of Davidson students, staff, alumni, and community members – nearly double the number who participated last spring. These facilitated, small groups will meet regularly throughout the semester to discuss topics such as the future of democracy, economic mobility and affordable housing. Participants will have an opportunity to not only enhance their understanding of the complexities of various topics, but they will also broaden their awareness of other, varying perspectives. By adopting deliberative dispositions, participants engage in an exploration of ideas that may challenge their previously held views while seeking common ground with those with whom they may disagree.
As part of its deliberation across the curriculum program, the DCI hosted a training for its new Deliberative Pedagogy (DeeP) Collaborative, which includes both Davidson faculty and faculty from other ACS (Associated Colleges of the South) institutions. These faculty are working to incorporate deliberation as a key component into one of their spring 2022 classes. Facilitated by Professor Graham Bullock and Professor Daniel Layman, the DeeP Collaborative will continue to meet throughout the year as they explore and implement innovative ways to introduce more deliberation into the classroom. Currently, Professor Bullock and Professor Layman are also co-teaching a deliberative course entitled Ethics and Policymaking.
The DCI also recently hosted its third Deliberation Facilitator Training, and participants included DCI Fellows, DeeP Collaborative members, Davidson alumni, and community members. Using robust technology, the DCI was able to train over 40 participants using a hybrid model that combined in person and virtual participation. Upon completion of the eight-hour training and required components, participants will be DCI Certified Facilitators.
The DCI will also host a fall Deliberative Forum – more information coming soon! The forum will consist of expert panelists who will discuss the topic in question and small break out groups where participants will also have the opportunity to deliberate about the topic together. Last spring, DCI’s “Our Housing Future” forum attracted more than 100 people. We are excited about how this year’s opportunities can build on last year’s successes! So stay tuned for more details about upcoming opportunities to participate in more DCI events…