Higher Education Exchange 2017
This volume of HEX attempts to distill Kettering’s understanding of deliberation, based on 30 years of experience using the distinctive approach now known as National Issues Forums (NIF). As our public discourse becomes increasingly adversarial, higher education and other expert professions may be tempted to double down on “informing” the public with expert knowledge. Kettering’s research suggests that we are in need of something different, what the Greeks referred to as an ethos—a set of skills, norms, and habits for civic discourse. While higher education is in a position to help bridge our differences, its overwhelming tendency has been to prioritize technical knowledge at the expense of civic ethos. Proponents of deliberation may unwittingly compound the problem by confusing the two. For those who wish to bridge our divides, we hope this collection will help them return their focus to the human faculty of judgment, and recover the political roots of deliberation.