The Deliberative Citizenship Initiative is committed to enhancing the quality of our political discourse with one another through deliberative efforts that span the Davidson community and beyond. One of the ways the DCI aims to achieve this goal is through its Deliberative “D” Teams. D Teams are small groups of 6 to 10 people who meet regularly to discuss important but difficult issues facing society.
The DCI seeks individuals with diverse perspectives to participate in D Teams to share their thoughts and ideas for broadening our understanding of one another’s opinions and addressing the challenges we face – everyone’s voice is welcome and needed! Teams meet every 3-4 weeks over the course of a semester. Past participants have noted the opportunity for transformative experiences through D Teams participation and their appreciation for the opportunity to hear perspectives from a diverse group of people:
“D Teams … give students, alums, community members a chance to meet and learn, discuss, bolster, formulate, or reformulate their opinions about an issue because of the structured discussion. The most unique aspect is the wide spectrum of ages in the group. In my group it went from 20 – 80. There are not that many places where this intergenerational exploration occurs.”
– D Team Participant
In order to allow Davidson alums and families who live throughout the United States and around the world to participate, we offer a Zoom option for D Team meetings — in addition to in-person options on or nearby the Davidson campus.
Prior to each meeting, the DCI sends participants a Deliberation Guide that contains background information on each topic. We strive to present information in a fair and balanced manner – the DCI does not endorse any particular view or policy proposal. Rather, we hope that participants will come to their own conclusions, and possibly even generate some new ideas and innovative solutions, after hearing good arguments and insightful perspectives from one another.
Following each meeting, the DCI also sends participants a Pathways Guide that outlines possible next steps, a variety of ways to get involved, and other helpful resources. These documents are also designed to reflect a range of different perspectives.
The study materials were excellent. Reading them ahead of time helped me understand positions that differed from my own, and I recognized that issues were often more complex than I had anticipated. The discussion format of sharing the strongest and weakest arguments for both sides encouraged reflection. Participants usually chose different arguments which deepened my understanding of the issues and respect for opinions different from my own.
—D Team Participant
“Invite a Friend” Program
When signing up, interested individuals have the opportunity to participate in the DCI’s new “Invite a Friend” Program. If you are most interested in engaging with viewpoints different from your own, we encourage you to invite a friend, family member, or colleague who has opinions on the issues we will be discussing that you disagree with. This will help us ensure that a diversity of views are represented on each D Team.
On the other hand, if you are interested in joining but are hesitant because you might not know anyone in the group or won’t share important things in common with other participants, you can also invite a friend who you do share something in common with. By reaching out to friends with backgrounds similar to your own that you think might not be well-represented, you’ll also help us diversify the range of perspectives in these conversations.
The application has a sample email that you can use to reach out to either type of friend (or both). You can invite as many friends as you would like! On the application, you can list the people you have invited, and we will do our best to put you on the same D team together (assuming you have overlapping availabilities).
Now here’s the fun part — for every person you invite who signs up and attends their D Team meetings, we will give you a virtual raffle ticket for a $50 gift card. The more people you invite, the more likely you will be to win the gift card! So we encourage you to sign up yourself and encourage others to do so as well, all in the interests of improving our deliberation skills and building bridges between us as we explore both our areas of agreement and disagreement on important issues.
The popularity of D Teams continues to increase, and we hope you’ll sign up for one! We do our best to accommodate scheduling preferences by offering D Teams at various times throughout the day on both weekdays and weekends.