Fielding Graduate University’s Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Program Enters its 7th Year!
Friday, July 9th, 2010

The DDPE Graduate Program is entering its seventh year running at Fielding Graduate University and is now working in collaboration with the University of Western Sydney, Center for Citizenship and Public Policy. Fielding Graduate University is located in Santa Barbara, California – not that its students need ever visit campus. Fielding’s learning model utilizes distance learning via an “online campus” in addition to face-to-face events.

When I took the DDPE course last year, we had two face-to-face meetings (one in September in San Diego, and one in January in Santa Barbara), and during the rest of the five month program we met “virtually” once every other week in different group formations by phone and through online discussions.

Full disclosure: Ascentum has partnered with Fielding to provide resources and support to host the online dialogue in a learning module mid-way through the DDPE course.

This distinctive program [DDPE] strives for the development of mastery through building the skills, knowledge and intuitive sensibility that are needed to make wise choices about how to bring forms of dialogue, deliberation, and engagement into situations where they are most effective.”

I found the DDPE program stimulating (great readings, discussions, guest speakers), relaxed and at the same time challenging. Relaxed in that there is a lot of flexibility in how you participate online, by phone, and in person, and also in the peer-to-peer learning model. However it was also challenging in the sense of getting the group to work together: getting “communicators” to communicate well with each other, and managing the delicate flow of facilitation in a room full of facilitators. Good practice for all.

Overall, it’s an interesting course, and a valuable learning experience.

– Nicole Pollack –

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