The phrase Citizens Forum is adopted from Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies and follows their approach to "refining methods for bringing the voices of 'ordinary' citizens into the public arena and studying what happens when they deliberate together." We also draw upon a growing body of knowledge about how deliberative democracy works at the grassroots level – through, for example, Citizen Juries (the Jefferson Center), National Issues Forums (NIF), and large-scale town hall meetings (AmericaSpeaks).
Throughout all these applications of deliberative democracy – face-to-face and online – the tasks of representing issues, getting good samples, creating the conditions for well-structured conversations, and conducting useful surveys are enormous. The resources needed in terms of time and personnel are daunting. In short, the task of doing democracy, of making democracy stronger, is incredibly hard. But in today’s world, we have no other choice. And it is our hope that well-designed forums, augmented by well-designed online tools, will help in some way to bring about these needed changes.
Carnegie Mellon University is applying the concept and practice of deliberative polling at the campus level. The result of this effort is to (1) create social capital within the student body, (2) raise the level of campus-wide discussions of important issues to new levels, and (3) highlight the virtues of campus diversity, as this is embedded in the nature of deliberative polls.
These campus-wide polls will be held twice yearly on matters of relevance to the campus community. Each poll will educate the campus community about the many facets of, and interpretations of, the issues to be discussed.
An innovative approach to the challenges and opportunities of The Marcellus Shale, produced by WQED.
September 25, 2010
September 27, 2008
The first ever statewide deliberative poll on same-sex marriage.
A district-level deliberative poll on issues of relevance to
City Council as well as local organizations and associations.
The Issue of Marriage in America
A campus discussion of same-sex marriage as it appears in arguments
put forth in the proposed Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment,
Vermont's Civil Union Laws and the Massachusetts Supreme Court
Decision: Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
Arts and the Campus
The Arts play a vital role in campus life. They can also be the source
of controversy and debate. This campus conversation will look
recent issues arising from Public Art on the campus and seek to
ascertain current attitudes toward the works and the Arts in general.
Faculty Course Evaluations
FCE's have been part of campus life for decades. This deliberative
poll will discuss various formats for developing and assessing
course evaluations and the role they play in evaluating courses
November 19, 2005
October 29, 2005
America's Role in the World
January 24 and October 16, 2004