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, Carla Cole, assists the Faculty Director with coordinating the initiative. Ms. Cole has an extensive background in higher education, having worked at several community colleges with diverse students, faculty, and staff. As an associate professor of political science at Guildford Technical Community College (a majority-minority institution serving over 35,000 students), Ms. Cole developed an innovative deliberative forum series, created a new equity, diversity and inclusion initiative, advised the college’s Model UN Club, and received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award.
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:
- Dan Layman, Associate Professor of Philosophy. As a scholar-teacher deeply interested in the intersection of ethics, good argument, and public life, Professor Layman is well-suited to serve as a Co-Convener of the DCI, having worked extensively on deliberation in both his teaching and research. In Fall 2020, he delivered a public lecture on “robust deliberative democracy” that built on a paper he published in Critical Review. Dr. Layman will be particularly focused on ensuring that the DCI accomplishes Goal #1: Teaching Deliberative Skills. He will also play a leading role in the initiative’s Deliberation Across the Curriculum Program, and will be co-facilitating the DCI’s Deliberative Pedagogy (DeeP) Collaborative.
- 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 also plays 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. Dean Riemer also plays a key 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 welcomed two new student co-conveners to our leadership team. Cadie McNaboe ’22 led the development of several of the DCI’s Deliberation and Pathway Guides, while Kyle Broxton ’22 spearheaded the DCI’s research efforts to analyze the dynamics and effectiveness of the DCI’s deliberation projects.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, the DCI accepted applications for two new student co-conveners and two new staff/community member co-conveners. From this application process we are happy to welcome four new co-conveners to the DCI’s Leadership Team:
- Nathanael Bagonza ’24: A rising sophomore, Nathanael participated in a DCI D Team in spring 2021 and is excited to assist the DCI in developing materials that foster productive deliberations and lead to creative solutions. He has participated in many conversations about politics in his own circle of friends and looks forward to helping create spaces for people to discover ideas and perspectives they hadn’t been exposed to before. Nathanael also has experience working for both the Davidsonian and Complexion, the student newspaper by students of color, and he is looking forward to contributing to the DCI Blog.
- Kevin Chen ’22: Kevin is a rising senior and also participated in a DCI D Team in spring 2021. Kevin is passionate about deliberation and productive discourse, and appreciates the DCI’s potential to encourage both humility and hope in our community. Kevin’s work as a Davidson Non-Profit Leadership Fellow and Stapleton/Davidson Urban Service Intern and enrollment in courses such as Embracing Good Argument provide him with knowledge and experience that is very relevant to the DCI. Both Nathaneal and Kevin will also serve as DCI Fellows and will facilitate both D Team and Forum discussions. They’ll also be particularly helpful in advancing its Deliberation on Campus Program and advance its Goal #4: Catalyzing Creative Solutions and Goal #5: Researching the Deliberative Process.
- Amoura Carter ’07: Amoura is a Davidson alum who works near campus at Sylvan Huntersville as its Center Director. Amoura believes in the DCI’s deliberative process and would like to see it grow to include more alumni and community members who often need an outlet to discuss important and sensitive issues in a healthy way. When she was a teacher, Amoura managed her school’s debate club and saw firsthand the value of listening to and understanding different viewpoints, even when disagreeing with them. Amoura will help the DCI particularly with its Deliberation in the Community Program and its Goal #3: Building Meaningful Community, while also assisting with other DCI programs and components as needed.
- Holly Thomas: Holly is a project manager and business analyst at Davidson College and participated in a D Team in Fall 2020. She deeply appreciates the DCI’s effort to encourage productive dialogue and respectful collaboration, and welcomes the opportunity to help promote openmindedness and humility in our political interactions. As a project manager, Holly will bring important skills and perspectives as a Co-Convener as the DCI works on multiple fronts to create deliberation opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members. She’ll help the DCI leadership team keep track of the DCI’s progress in all of its programs and goals.
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 Advisory Council was formed in 2021 and consists of interested students, faculty, staff, and community members who will meet twice per year to provide feedback and input to the initiative. You can learn more about the Council here.
The DCI also hosted 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.
To learn more about what sparked the creation of the DCI, click here.