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Fall 2014 Events

Immigration in America: How Do We Fix a System in Crisis?, October 1, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. University of Houston - Downtown, ROOM A-300 and October 8, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Lone Star College, Kingwood, held in the Conference Center

For a growing number of Americans, the immigration issue is a tangible and pressing one. Those who support immigration are often bent on helping or employing newcomers. Those in favor of restricting immigrants worry about the growing costs—both social and economic—of assimilating and aiding new arrivals. For their part, immigrants themselves typically want little more than a better life. Can these often-conflicting interests be balanced?


The question facing Americans today is how to create a system that meets our diverse needs—a system that values the role immigrants play in society, takes heed of today’s economic and legal responsibilities, and keeps us strong and competitive in the future.

To promote deliberation about immigration reform, we will ask participants to deliberate three options, each built on a framework of ideas and information drawn from studies, speeches, interviews, books, and public policy proposals.

These options are not definitive prescriptions for action so much as starting points for dialogue. In the framework we use to hold the dialogue, we will avoid using partisan labels like Democrat, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages forum participants to judge them on their merit and openly explore them with others.

We are holding these forums because we are interested in creating more recognition that citizenship has to go beyond voting or writing our representatives. Citizenship also must include the democratic skills to organize diverse, groups of people, listen to each other, validate different values and experiences, build capacity, discover areas of both agreement and disagreement, and solve public problems ourselves. We are offering four forums this semester that attempt to give people these types of “democratic learning” experiences.

Registration is required for this event.

Please read this issue guide to discuss at the forum Adobe Acrobat Reader Icon - Download Reader Link

Linked Futures: Communities, Higher Education, and the Changing World of Work, November 12, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the University of Houston - Downtown, ROOM A-300 and November 13, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Lone Star College, Kingwood, held in the Conference Center.

Linked Futures builds on Shaping Our Future – How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?, a National Issues Forum and American Commonwealth Partnership public deliberation launched at a National Press Club event on September 4, 2012, with Undersecretary Martha Kanter and higher education and civic leaders including David Mathews, president of Kettering Foundation, Muriel Howard, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Scott Peters, Co-director of Imagining America, Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, and others. Shaping Our Future convened more than 150 forums across the country, bringing together college students, parents, faculty, employers, retirees, policy makers and others to deliberate about the purpose of higher education and its roles in the society

The findings, described in Divided We Fail, a report by Jean Johnson of the public opinion and engagement group Public Agenda, revealed a gap between the ways in which lay citizens outside the policy making arena talk about higher education, and the debate among elected officials and other policy makers. As Johnson puts it, “Facing a more competitive international economy and relentlessly rising college costs, leaders say now is the moment for higher education to reinvent itself.” In contrast, “Forum participants spoke repeatedly about the benefits of a rich, varied college education…where, in their view, students have time and space to explore new ideas and diverse fields.” Lay citizens emphasized the need to broaden, not narrow, STEM education and preparation for other careers, in the context of rapidly changing work roles and globalized workplaces.

The next stage is Linked Futures where we address the question, “How can communities and higher education work together to address the changing world of work?” A framework is being tested with three options to consider:

  • Prepare Students for the Job Market: Our colleges and universities have to raise academic expectations, tailor their programs to the real needs of employers, and direct more of their educational resources toward vocational and pre-professional training.
  • Change Jobs for the Better. Many of the positions available to new graduates are poorly paid, offer little in the way of job security or job satisfaction, and are vulnerable to downsizing and outsourcing. Colleges and universities should take the lead in shaping a new kind of workplace…and a new kind of worker, one with the skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in a complex and rapidly changing world.
  • Be a Good Partner to the Community. Colleges and universities represent vital anchor institutions, places where the community gathers, engages issues, organizes activities and makes common cause. We depend on them to provide the civic and intellectual leadership that can strengthen democracy and drive long-term social and economic progress.

Required Registration

Issue guide will be available soon


Events for Spring 2014

Bullying: How Do We Prevent It?
Mar. 20, Mar. 27, April 3, April 10, 2014, from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Room C-212


Linked Futures – Communities, Higher Education, and the Changing World of Work
April 18 from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Seating is limited. Please register by emailing Dr. Windy Lawrence at lawrencew@uhd.edu.

Linked Futures builds on Shaping Our FutureHow Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?, a National Issues Forum and American Commonwealth Partnership public deliberation launched at a National Press Club event on September 4, 2012, with Undersecretary Martha Kanter and higher education and civic leaders including David Mathews, president of Kettering Foundation, Muriel Howard, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Scott Peters, Co-director of Imagining America, Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, and others. Shaping Our Future has convened more than 150 forums across the country, bringing together college students, parents, faculty, employers, retirees, policy makers, and others to deliberate about the purpose of higher education and its roles in the society.

The findings, described in Divided We Fail, a report by Jean Johnson of the public opinion and engagement group Public Agenda, revealed a gap between the ways in which lay citizens outside the policy making arena talk about higher education and the education debate among elected officials and other policy makers. As Johnson puts it, “Facing a more competitive international economy and relentlessly rising college costs, leaders say now is the moment for higher education to reinvent itself.” In contrast, “Forum participants spoke repeatedly about the benefits of a rich, varied college education…where, in their view, students have time and space to explore new ideas and diverse fields.” Lay citizens emphasized the need to broaden, not narrow, educational opportunities, given the rapid change in workplaces. The next stage is Linked Futures. UHD's CPD invites the community to work with the American Commonwealth Partnership to begin the next phase of dialogue.

How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities?
Feb. 6, Feb. 14, Feb. 20, Feb. 27, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Room C-212


“Deliberating Racial and Ethnic Tensions.”
February 28, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Commerce Building, Room C-230 View the issue guide Adobe Acrobat Reader Icon - Download Reader Link


January 23, 2014 – Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want. 9:50 - 11:15 AM, Room C-212
Part of a national discussion in partnership with American Commonwealth Partnership and National Issues Forums Institute. Issue Guide, View the flyer, View the Video, Contact: Dr. Windy Lawrence.


“Framing What is Important to Our Community"
Jan. 14 to Jan. 30, 2014 Online Deliberation



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Last updated or reviewed on 9/25/14

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