Public Deliberation and Dialogue

Co-curricular Program

Meet the Team

Deliberation on Campus

Join PDD

Because we live in a democratic society—one that is often described as polarized, cynical, and indifferent—bringing different perspectives together to decide how to navigate challenges and move forward together is a critical skill. Public Deliberation & Dialogue (PDD) facilitates meaningful conversations among students and community members about issues of common concern.

An initiative of the Communication Studies department, PDD engages students from across campus. Students from any major may learn how to facilitate and earn .25 course credit each semester serving as a Student Fellow.

PDD activities include:

  • Hosting student deliberations every week on a variety of critical topics
  • Facilitating student deliberations about science and public policy
  • Researching and advancing deliberative pedagogy

“Public deliberation is vitally necessary for a vibrant democracy and free exchange of ideas.” 

- Gustavus Student

Class Deliberation


Deeply aligned with the values of social justice, diversity, and ethics, Public Deliberation & Dialogue 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, PDD 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.

What is dialogue?

What is deliberation?

Dialogue enables participants to effectively share their personal values, identities, and perspectives. In dialogue, participants listen to and learn about their commonalities and differences. Dialogues fundamentally ask, “who are you?” and “what do you value?”. The goal is to understand. 

Through deliberation, community members come together to weigh their options about how to move forward on a critical issue. Asking “what do we value?” and “what should we do?”, deliberation improves understanding of the issue and diverse perspectives and leads to more inclusive development of ethical policies and practices. The goal is to decide.