Public Deliberation and Dialogue


Deeply aligned with the values of social justice, diversity, and ethics, the program engages students, faculty, the college community, and local communities in research and practice of public deliberation, dialogue, and community advocacy. A regional and campus resource, the Public Deliberation and Dialogue program equips Gustavus students to research and design communication strategies to address pressing issues and make reasoned, community-based decisions.


  • Facilitate community discussion/deliberation;
  • Equip students and community partners with skills in deliberation, decision-making, and advocacy; and
  • Foster sustainable change and collective impact through research and engagement of best practices in communication.

Campus Dialogue & Deliberation Topics

  • CitizenshipAddressing Challenges Together
  • Climate Change
  • Free Expression on Campus
  • Higher Education
  • Immigration
  • Mental Health
  • Food Security
  • Soil

Community Projects

  • "Community Conversations around Refugee Resettlement in Minnesota: Past and Present." 
  • "Bridging the Divide." A collaboration between Gustavus and Minneapolis Community and Technical College that facilitates dialogue among students representing rural and urban communities.
  • "Youth Leadership and Dialogue Program." A collaboration with 3 local school districs that brought together high school students in dialogue around achievement and intergration in local schools. Fall 2019
  • "Addressing Challenges Together: Conversations between Educators & Immigrant Families" Fall 2018 Fall_2018_Report
  • "Community Conversations: What skills and characteristics to Saint Peter School District Graduates need?" Spring 2017 STP_Grads_Conversation_Final_Report


Dr. Pamela Conners, Director

2019 Fellows Circle2020-2021 Student Fellows

  • Tyra Banks '21
  • Kyra Bowar '21
  • Ratana Chheng '22
  • DeAnna Giles '21
  • Ava Gross '21
  • Stella Hadjiyanis '21
  • Kendra Held '22
  • Karl Jackson '21
  • Marietta Johns '21
  • Elizabeth Langan '21
  • Libby Markham '22
  • James Miller '21
  • Joesy Shea '22
  • Spencer Steckelberg '22
  • Sydney Stumme-Berg '22
  • Hiwot Sugebo '21
  • Carly Turnquist '21
  • Bailey Wagner '24
  • Brie Wintz '21
  • Georgia Zutz '23

Previous Fellows

Students interested in joining the PDD Team as a Fellow should fill out this Expression of Interest Form.

For more information, contact us

What is deliberation?
Through deliberation, community members come together to weigh their options about how to move forward. It often entails a structured, facilitated conversation designed to respond to the particular problem or question the community faces. It includes argument analysis and understanding across difference. Its primary goal is the development of ethical policies and practices.

What is dialogue?
Dialogue helps community members to better understand issues and each other. Its primary goal is to enhance perspective-taking and understanding across differences.