Public Discourse Initiative

What is Public Discourse?

Public Discourse is an ongoing public conversation that can take many forms, ranging from in-person discussions, to journalism, to online and off-line activism, to community projects, and beyond. The purpose of public discourse is usually to promote understanding of complex issues among people who disagree, in order to find common ground and take action.

Why the Public Discourse Initiative?

Campus Compact for Southern New England (CCSNE) believes that the ability to communicate, deliberate, and bridge differences with others is a key civic competency and attribute of a healthy democracy. Our commitment to put this into action is motivated by two fundamental premises. First, as institutions vital to democratic engagement, higher education has the responsibility to prepare its community members to be active, engaged citizens who are prepared to improve community life. The related knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes must be formally developed and practices through the academys focus on knowledge creation, transfer, and application. Additionally, as communities themselves, campuses are not immune to critical issues such as economic disparity, racism, and gender inequality, and all members of campus communities must be skilled at engaging others in creating a just, equitable, and sustainable society.

CCSNE’s Public Discourse Initiative seeks to increase member campus capacity for public discourse by providing professional development, key resources, and a vibrant network of scholars and practitioners in order to advance theory and practice of democratic engagement.

Public Discourse Initiative In Action

Campus Compact for Southern New England (CCSNE) aims to improve public discourse on college and university campuses to bridge divides within their communities.  We are currently identifying public discourse programs and practices on our member campuses and at our partner organizations. Through workshops and training programs, we provide opportunities for member campuses to learn more about discourse and dialogue, strengthen existing programs, and implement new ones. We identify and connect leading campus and community dialogue practitioners to collaborate on the practice, research, and programming of public discourse. CCSNE is committed to collecting and disseminating our findings to member campuses regarding best practices in public discourse.

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Supported by

The Public Discourse Initiative is made possible through the
generosity of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute