Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 12 No. 3

Public Deliberation and Civic Engagement on Issues of Diversity in Higher Education

  • Edward M. Olivos
July 23, 2010


The United States is becoming an increasingly polarized society, bogged down by a two-party political system and a disengaged civic society. “Politics” has become a dirty word, and many citizens are choosing to turn away from actively participating in our democratic society. As institutions of higher learning, universities and colleges must step forward to help restore civic engagement in our nation. They can begin by instituting public deliberation into their purpose and into their curriculum. This article highlights one researcher’s efforts to provide a space for public deliberation at a four-year comprehensive urban university in southern California as part of a campuswide accreditation self-study on diversity. The article describes public deliberation as a means of promoting civic engagement, as well as the processes utilized for this project. The article concludes with findings from the public deliberations as well as implications for
future implementation at the higher education level.