Maura Casey, a former New York Times editorial writer and now an associate with the Kettering Foundation, reports on Nancy Cantor’s recent visit to the Kettering Foundation. Cantor was invited to speak during September Dayton Days, our monthly research meeting. In particular, she was asked to address one of Kettering’s research questions involving institutions of higher education: How can community engagement practices evolve beyond service and volunteer models to contribute to and strengthen the civic life of communities?
As attention to public deliberation has increased, one core interest of researchers has been evaluating the impact of deliberative processes. Researchers, practitioners, elected officials, and participants themselves want to know if what they’re doing matters. Does public deliberation impact policy? Does it change our attitude toward issues? Does it adhere to democratic ideals?