Deliberative Dialogues Program at Illinois State University Expands to Meet Growing Demand

Blog Category: 

  • Dialogue graphic

A February 11, 2022 article published in the Illinois State University News describes a rapidly expanding program of deliberative dialogues in classrooms at Illinois State University. The article by Emily Nafziger is titled Deliberative Dialogues: New program seeks to depolarize opinions and connect students and provides details about how work by Harriett Steinbach and Christine Bruckner led to the creation of the Deliberative Dialogues program at the Illinois State University's Center for Civic Engagement (CCE).

The following are excerpts from the article:

When political polarization and tensions increased following the 2016 election, Steinbach, assistant director at Illinois State University's Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), began to look for ways to address that polarization on her own campus. Her passion, as well as that of colleague Christine Bruckner, ultimately led to the creation of the Deliberative Dialogues program at CCE...

The program launched in spring 2020 with four pilot dialogues, and it has grown exponentially since. To date, CCE staff have facilitated 178 dialogues in classes, with student groups, for university departments, and in campus-community settings. A total of 1,648 individuals have participated.

During the fall 2021 semester alone, 77 dialogues were held among 36 different groups. Participants included 703 students, 15 faculty/staff, and four community members...

Steinbach and Bruckner are in the process of planning a research study on the various effects of Deliberative Dialogue participation that incorporates Institutional Review board approval. That way the model can be shared more widely in ways helpful to other institutions...

Click here to read the full article.

For more information about this work contact Harriett Steinbach at