Dialogue, Deliberation and Decision-Making Processes (610)

Catherine Barnes

This course is designed to develop participants’ capacities as skillful facilitators and to enable them to design and conduct effective group processes for dialogue, deliberation and decision-making.

We will learn methods appropriate for guiding community and organizational meetings, conducting public processes, and enabling difficult dialogues across conflict divides. Participants will learn how to assess the needs of the group and then to design processes to address them. This will include processes to help groups improve understanding, strengthen relationships, engage in collaborative problem solving and make effective decisions. Participants will become familiar with a variety of methods and techniques to achieve process goals, with groups ranging in size from three to 3,000.

Through a variety of readings, exercises and reflections, the course will assist participants’ formation as reflective practitioners assisting group processes. We will focus on developing self-awareness and awareness of group dynamics, while cultivating openness and offering a calm presence even in the midst of high levels of anxiety and conflict. The course will consider a variety of facilitator roles and functions and critically assess the ethics and appropriateness of these for different types of situations. While rooted in a North American peacebuilding paradigm, facilitation in other cultural traditions will be explored and participants will develop an awareness of the challenges of facilitating cross-culturally.

This course is being offered for training and for academic credit. The syllabus will detail the number of credits hours and associated course requirements.


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