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Pepperdine Workshop: Public Engagement for Local Government

July 28-30, 2017


Pepperdine University and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership are teaming up to offer a three day intensive workshop on a full range of public engagement activities and techniques for local government.

In these times of endemic mistrust of government (and all institutions for that matter), local governments are finding that well planned and executed public engagement helps communities come together for civic improvement.  Public engagement is not a fad, buzz phrase or government jargon.  It is a movement that is gaining momentum from experiences throughout California and beyond.

Pepperdine University and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership are teaming up to offer a three-day intensive workshop on a full range of public engagement activities and techniques for local government.  This is a first of its kind offering and will provide attendees with a professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement upon completion.

Mid-career professionals will be prepared to lead a publicly-engaged organization by gaining a deep understanding of the context, purpose, and best practices for engaging residents in the decisions that affect their lives and communities.  

No doubt you have some experience with attempts to get more than the “usual suspects” to take part in public decisions-making.  Perhaps you had some success and wish to learn more.  Or maybe these attempts didn’t work out very well, and you want to hear from others what works and why.  In either case, this short course could be a milestone in your career.    

From bolstering local representative democracy, improving governmental decision-making, repairing damaged public relations, increasing trust and civility in local government, enhancing public support of important civic decisions, or just making your work more pleasant and satisfying, there are many reasons to give your public engagement strategies and techniques serious scrutiny.

In workshops led by former city managers, thought leaders in civic engagement, and School of Public Policy faculty, this inaugural cohort will explore questions like:

  • How has public engagement been practiced in the past, and why is it so important in this moment in history?
  • What are the roles of local government, residents, community groups and the media in good engagement?
  • What are the state-of-the-art public engagement techniques and when where and how to use them?
  • How do leaders identify pitfalls, common errors and warning signs?
  • How can leaders reach out to traditionally disengaged members of the community?
  • What role does technology play in public engagement? Are there limits?

Those who have completed this process will be equipped both to lead innovative and robust public engagement processes and to create a culture of engagement within their local government.  They will have a better sense of how to facilitate engagement, and when to partner with outside facilitators or online technology.  And they won’t be at the mercy of salesmen or vendors, but will have a strong sense of what processes and technologies fit with which engagement purposes.

The workshop is offered to professionals with cities, counties and special districts as well as graduate students and private sector professionals serving local government.

  • It will be held July 28-30, 2017 at Pepperdine University’s Villa Graziadio Executive Center in Malibu. 
  • Lodging is available at the Villa Gaziadio Executive Center at the discounted rate of $175 per night. 
  • Tuition is $1,990 including instruction and materials, meals and an optional dinner Thursday evening with a renowned keynote speaker.  Limited financial aid is available.  The application is straightforward.

The Pepperdine School of Public Policy seeks to train professionals to excel in the 21st century world of public policy, especially at the local level.  The Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership has been focused on finding and disseminating better ways to engage a wary public for 10 years. Its staff and volunteers have been conducting research and training, offering grants, consulting, and championing those local governments that are leading the way in this growing field of study and practice.

Click here for more information and to apply.

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