This coming Monday at 7:30 pm in Wait Chapel, we will be hosting a Deliberative Dialogue about “What does it mean to live in community?” This is a chance for all members of our community – students, faculty, and staff – to come together to discuss and reflect on the issue of living in community.
For those not familiar with the concept of Deliberative Dialogue, the event website describes it as follows: “A public discussion format for a group to work through a challenge that faces them. When possible, there is a short, central text that lays out various ways in which people understand the problem but stops short of adopting a position. Rather than “sounding off” with derision and name-calling or deferring solely to expert opinion, participants discuss together personal experiences with the issue; what they regard as valuable concerning the issue; pros and cons of available options; and the costs and consequences of possible actions. Though it is unrealistic to expect that all participants will agree at the conclusion, the hope is that the deliberation will yield common ground for action and a better understanding of people who hold a different perspective from our own.”
An important part of the Deliberative Dialogue is the reading of the Issue Guide, which describes the basis of the discussion. There is some background information about previous Deliberative Dialogues and their results, and then the Issue Guide offers three different potential perspectives or solutions to help inform issues.
Here is a snippet from the Issue Guide explaining more: “The purpose of this issue guide, and the deliberation scheduled for November 3, 2014, is to offer some ways of thinking about these issues and to identify action steps for change. What does it mean to be a member of a community? What does it mean for all of us when some members of our community feel marginalized? How should we proceed together? The three perspectives that are offered here are based on interviews with a cross-section of students, faculty, and administrators, and a review of various campus documents, surveys, and studies that have been done in recent years. Each proposes a way of thinking about the challenges we face as a campus community and possible approaches to becoming a more inclusive community. These perspectives are not mutually exclusive; you may support elements from all of the proposed ways forward. Somewhere among these three perspectives you should be able to find something that connects to your own experience and aspirations for Wake Forest.”
Your students should strongly consider attending this event. This is their home for 10 months of the year and we hope they have a vested interest in this community and making it the best it can be. Students and campus community members can register for this event online here (preregistration is required so we can have an accurate account of attendees).
This will be a great way to hear lots of different campus perspectives, discuss possible options, and meet new people in the process. Take advantage of it, Deacs.
– by Betsy Chapman