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Newark Talks the Talk: Introduction to Deliberative Forums

February 27, 2018
deliberative dialogue illustration

These events are open to Rutgers students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the Newark and Essex County community.

While social and political rifts deepen in the United States, citizens seem to have lost the ability to talk to one another in a meaningful way about the challenging issues we face, as a nation and in our communities. A popular recommendation for building understanding and reaching consensus has been to engage in structured conversations. While there are many methods for engaging with others on a one-to-one or group basis, the opportunities to learn about and practice these skills are limited.

During March, the John Cotton Dana Library will offer a three-part public series of events, “Newark Talks the Talk,” designed to introduce the basics of deliberative dialogue and empower attendees to use this method in their own activities. In three sequential sessions attendees will Experience, Learn, and Practice deliberative dialogue as they engage in discussions that explore complex issues our communities face.

This method of structured conversation method from the National Issues Forum Institute promotes conversation on difficult subjects to promote understanding and learning. Nancy Kranich, Special Projects Research Librarian, New Brunswick Libraries and Instructor at the School for Communication and Information will moderate the programs. Kranich is a nationally known and experienced leader in conducting deliberative forums.

Calendar of Events:

March 1, 2018, 2–4 p.m. “Coming to America: Questions Surrounding Immigration” (RSVP:

The first forum, exploring the topic of immigration, will take place on March 1st from 2 to 4 p. m. in the Dana Room and provide participants with an experience of this type of discussion.

March 8, 2018, 2–4 p.m. (RSVP:

On March 8th, again from 2 to 4 p. m. in the Dana Room, Ms. Kranich will lead a training session so participants may develop their own skills in moderating a deliberative forum. The topics selected for the second and third programs include community-police relationships and the impact of mental illness in our communities.

March 30, 2018, 2–4 p.m. (RSVP:

The third program on March 30th will provide the participants with an opportunity to lead a discussion on their own. At the conclusion of the third session, space will be reserved for an additional hour to facilitate sharing information and networking among the participants. They will be invited to share information of interest to others in the group such as causes to support and the names of local organizations that address the issues raised in the discussion.

Events will take place in the Dana Room of Dana Library (185 University Avenue, Newark, NJ)

The Libraries are particularly proud to bring this type of programming to Rutgers University–Newark because it builds on the diversity of the university and its commitment to social justice. This is an important part of the Library’s outreach, explains Consuella Askew, director of the John Cotton Dana Library.

The faculty and staff of Dana Library are committed to the ideals of our namesake, John Cotton Dana,” says Askew. “He believed that there is value in diversity and access to great information and instruction. We hope programming like this helps the communities we serve—on campus and in the city of Newark—come together to seek realistic solutions to some of the shared issues we face.”

Dana Library appreciates the support given to the series by their cosponsors, the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of University-Community Partnerships, the Rutgers–Newark Alumni Association, the P3 Collaboratory, and the Newark Public Library.

RSVPs are requested at

For more information, please contact Ann Watkins via email, or by phone (973) 353-3809.