The Center for Democratic Deliberation supports educational initiatives designed to better prepare future generations for engaged democratic citizenship. With its strengths in rhetorical studies, the Center focuses on teaching the communicative skills necessary to participate in public deliberations: public speaking, writing and composition, critical listening and thinking, argumentation and debate, rhetorical theory and criticism, and the history of rhetoric and public address. The Center is also interested in supporting educational initiatives in other fields, however, including (but not limited to) literary studies, history, politics and government, sociology, media studies, health communication, intercultural communication, and any other area that might relate to the Center's mission.
The Center seeks to build interdisciplinary collaborations with teachers across the humanities and social sciences. These collaborations might include curriculum development projects that result in new, interdisciplinary courses in civic engagement and public deliberation, or they might involve making linkages between existing courses in English or communication studies and courses in other disciplines concerned with issues of interest to the Center. In addition, the Center supports the development of teaching and learning resources that help develop the habits and skills of engaged citizenship and deliberation, such as the Voices of Democracy project. Faculty and graduate students with ideas for teaching initiatives related to the mission of the Center are encouraged to contact the directors.
Current CDD Education initiatives include:
- Page 268: Deliberating Penn State after the Freeh Report, a resource for discussing controversies that emerged after the Freeh Report.
- Deliberating in the Midst of Crisis, a resource for discussing the Penn State sex abuse scandal.
- Rhetoric and Civic Life, a new first-year honors course that offers comprehensive training in oral, written, visual, and digital communication
- Civic Engagement Public Speaking Contest, a semi-annual public presentation of student-authored speeches
- Rhetoric Minor and Excellence in Communication Certificate, recognizing undergraduate students who demonstrate superior skill in various types of communication
- Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award, recognizing undergraduate and graduate students who have made significant contributions to public deliberation and debate.
- Voices of Democracy, an an online curriculum and teaching resource with multimedia texts, critical essays, and other pedagogical materials focusing on great speeches in U.S. history