"If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost." ---- Aristotle
The University of Houston – Downtown (UHD) Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) is dedicated to improving our local, civic capacity to dialogue and deliberate across differences about critical issues. The CPD designs and implements community dialogues, deliberations, and other acts of public discourse all done for the purposes of: building stronger relationships, creating more productive decision making processes, and bolstering collaborative action. Furthermore, we aim to serve as a resource for leaders who seek to implement dialogue and deliberation change processes in their communities and organizations.
Listen to UHD Communication Studies graduates discuss their participation in public deliberation.
View our Interact-to-Innovate high impact, multidisciplinary curriculum that merges deliberation with service learning.
Four Primary Goals:
Improve the quality of Houston’s civic culture
Better our local leaders’ public participation effectiveness
- Increase the public’s will to be a part of addressing community issues
- Decrease the sense of polarization and cynicism in our politics
- Facilitate civic habits that incorporate a consideration of dialogic and deliberative approaches to address issues
- Expand people’s understanding of politics from simply voting, volunteering or “buying green” to include the importance of being active co-creating agents in our communities
- Hold dialogues and deliberations on important issues with good and fair information, in safe places and with skilled facilitators to guide the processes
Improve democratic learning in education
- Provide consultation for local leaders who seek to better their public participation skills
- Bolster the social connections between citizens, leaders and experts
- Make ideas available for other higher education center members to incorporate dialogue, deliberation and public participation approaches into their work
Foster opportunities for deeper relationships between higher education institutions and members of our local communities
- Support higher education faculty across the curriculum through workshops, training and research to incorporate high impact deliberation into their pedagogy
- Enable students to develop effective civic leadership skills
- Demonstrate for educators and students the ways that the development of public participation skills also build students’ career “soft skills”
- Work to connect with K-12 to support civic education at all levels
- Recognize that meaningful relationships with members of our surrounding communities are vital for higher education
- Collaborate with community partners who recognize respectful, reciprocal relationships with higher education members (students, staff and faculty) are integral to the fabric of our communities