The Deliberative Citizenship Initiative is a cross-campus, interdisciplinary effort that requires extensive communication, effective coordination, and respectful collaboration across multiple offices, departments, and organizations – both within Davidson College and with external partners. In recognition of this need for collaboration, a diverse team of faculty, staff, students, and community members is being formed that will bring together the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and connections to successfully implement the initiative. This team will not only ensure that the DCI’s goals are accomplished but that it effectively connects with and complements other ongoing initiatives that have related objectives.
The DCI Faculty Director, Professor Graham Bullock, is responsible for the development, implementation, and assessment of the initiative’s programs and components. As a political science and environmental studies faculty member, Dr. Bullock both teaches courses and conducts research on American politics, polarization, partisanship, citizenship, and public policy. He also has experience managing programs for a non-profit organization, co-founding a social venture startup, and directing the Davidson in China Program. Combined with experience integrating deliberation into his classes, this background prepares him well for this role.
The DCI Coordinator, Clare Magee, assists the Faculty Director with coordinating the initiative. Ms. Magee has an extensive background in fostering deliberative dialogue, having served most recently as Executive Director of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship. In partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, she coordinated the Center’s annual College and High School Congresses, which brings together conservative and liberal students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to deliberate on and develop bipartisan solutions to major policy challenges facing the country.
The DCI Co-Conveners provide regular advice on and assist with the coordination and implementation of the overall initiative and with individual programs and components, particularly as they relate to their expertise and interests. Each co-convener is also responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the Initiative is making progress on accomplishing one of its five main goals. In 2020-2021, the Co-Conveners will be:
- Van Hillard, Director of the Writing Program, Professor of Rhetoric. As a scholar-teacher deeply interested in the intersection of good writing, good argument, and good citizenship, Dr. Hillard has been thinking and working on encouraging robust deliberation in the classroom for much of his career. With this experience and his deep knowledge of the field of rhetoric, he is well-positioned to monitor and ensure that the DCI accomplishes Goal #1: Teaching Deliberative Skills. Dr. Hillard will also play a leading role in the initiative’s Deliberation Across the Curriculum Program.
- Byron McCrae, Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs. Equipped with a PhD in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy and experience in improving student life at 10 different institutions, Dean McCrae is deeply committed to helping students navigate their way towards meaningful lives of leadership and service. Part of this work involves helping students identify and live by their own values, and thus he is well-equipped to monitor and ensure that the DCI accomplishes Goal #2: Reinforcing Humane Instincts. Dean McCrae will also play a leading role in the DCI’s Deliberation on Campus Program.
- Stacey Riemer, Associate Dean of Students, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement. With more than 20 years of experience teaching about and leading efforts related to community engagement and change, Dr. Riemer has collaborated with countless local organizations, student groups and faculty members on making new connections, learning relevant skills, and identifying common goals. She therefore has the expertise and experience to effectively monitor and ensure that the DCI accomplishes Goal #3: Building Meaningful Community. Riemer will also play a leading role in the DCI’s Deliberation in the Community Program, while also assisting with other DCI programs and components as needed.
In 2019-2020, the DCI benefited from the involvement of two student co-conveners, John Crawford ’20 and Lizzie Kane ’22, who actively contributed to the design and implementation of our various activities last year. In 2020-2021, we have welcomed two new student co-conveners to our leadership team:
- Cadie McNaboe ’22: In her role, Cadie is responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the initiative is accomplishing DCI Goal #4: Proposing Creative Solutions. Cadie has a strong interest in the development and analysis of local and national policies and programs that can help solve some of our society’s most pressing challenges. She is helping to identify, adapt, and create innovative ideas that can seed deliberations organized by the initiative, as well as build out ideas discussed and generated in the deliberations themselves.
- Kyle Broxton ’22: In his role, Kyle is responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the initiative is accomplishing DCI Goal #5: Analyzing the Deliberative Process and Supporting Deliberation Research. Kyle has a strong interest in researching discourse and deliberation, and is helping to identify the most promising and problematic deliberation practices being used elsewhere. He is also evaluating what is working well and what is not working well in the DCI’s programs.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the DCI Working Group and DCI Advisory Group, which collectively include over 30 faculty and students, were enormously helpful in providing advice and suggestions regarding the goals and direction of the initiative. Members of these groups came from a wide range of departments and programs, including Physics, Economics, Philosophy, Biology, Religion, Chemistry, Political Science, Anthropology, Theater, Communication Studies, Environmental Studies, Educational Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Health and Human Values, the Writing Program, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
The DCI has also selected eleven Deliberative Citizenship Fellows for the 2020-2021 school year. They include seven students, two faculty members, and two staff members who are immersing themselves in deliberative theory and methods, helping choose the issues for the year’s focus, facilitating robust deliberations on those issues, and recording their experiences as fellows and sponsors of these discussions. You can read some of their reflections on the DCI Blog.
The Deliberative Citizenship Advisory Council is being formed and will consist of at least ten interested students, faculty, staff, and community members who will meet twice per year to provide feedback and input to the initiative. If you are interested in serving on this Council, please email email@example.com.
To learn more about what sparked the creation of the DCI, click here.