Transformative Participation for Democratic Practice
This course introduces participatory frameworks and tools that help students cultivate capabilities to engage others and participate with them in sustained collaborative problem solving within a highly contested public service environment. Examples of these capabilities, among others, include fostering and facilitating structured dialogue; seeing and helping others see the larger system; cultivating reflection to uncover and challenge assumptions that act as barriers to collaboration; practicing deep listening from the perspective of “the other”; recognizing, acknowledging, engaging, and bridging across differences in constructive ways; enacting values-based language in an embodied creative practice to “live” the talk.
Theoretically framed by ideas at the intersection of deliberative civic engagement and transformative participation, the course offers students a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity to practice the aforementioned and similar capabilities. They will also clarify their relevance for impactful action in their immediate and prospective circles of influence. Cultivating these will increase their chances to generate impact for the common good from any public service role associated with democratic problem-solving: whether it is as a policy or financial analyst, a policy advocate, a public a manager, a funder of public programs or a fund raiser to create them, an urban planner, an economic development or infrastructure expert, a community organizer, a social or a policy entrepreneur, or a public policy maker, to name a few.