Following are examples of the types of projects we work on in the community, on campus, and for organizations. You can find information about many of our other projects in our Annual Reports.
Community Projects

City of Harrisonburg Comprehensive Planning - Working with student teams in Lori Britt’s undergraduate facilitation course, SCOM 447, graduate students in the Communication and Advocacy and Masters in Public Administration programs, ICAD facilitated public input sessions on Harrisonburg’s Comprehensive Plan for the city.

United Way ALICE Community Conversation - The United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County asked ICAD to design and implement a ‘community conversation’ about the local ALICE population or ‘Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed’ population. This project involved graduate students from PUAD 627 in process design and involved additional MPA and EMU graduate students as facilitators. Read more.

Campus Projects

JMU’s Legacy of Exclusion: Confronting our Past and Creating a Culture of Inclusion - Working with the History and Context committee of the JMU Diversity and Inclusion task force, students in Lori Britt’s undergraduate facilitation course helped JMU students learn about some of the more difficult aspects of our institutional history. The goal of the dialogue was to encourage students to think about systems or structures on campus that we may overlook on campus that may be unintentionally preventing campus from being truly diverse and inclusive.

Deliberating about Translational medicine: Public Issues in Bioethics - Students in Britt’s undergraduate facilitation course helped students in enrolled in an infectious diseases biology class (Bio 447/547) deliberate about translational medicine (medical treatments not yet approved for human use). Students were encouraged to think about perspectives of various people as they discussed each option, scientists, the medical community, patients, etc. The goal was to help these future professionals consider how to discuss complex issues in ways that reflect public concerns and are understandable by a public audience.

Organizational Projects

Renew Rocktown Strategic Planning - Rob Alexander worked with a Communication and Advocacy graduate student to design and implement a full day strategic planning retreat for Renew Rocktown, a Harrisonburg-based climate advocacy group connected to the community organization, Vine and Fig. The retreat focused on the facilitation of dialogue about the group’s vision and mission to generate actionable goals for the calendar year.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Society Visioning - ICAD has been working with the trustees of the society to create a new vision, mission, and values and engage in strategic planning.

First Step: A response to domestic violence - Students in Lori Britt’s undergraduate facilitation course helped the community domestic violence shelter think through processes that will help them make decisions and collaborate as they consider how to increase capacity to serve needs.

Grants and Publications
Grants
  • 2018-2019, Kettering New Centers for Public Life Faculty Fellow, Lori Britt
  • 2018, Campus Compact Fund for Positive Engagement Grant, Lori Britt and Rob Alexander. This resulted in the formation of the Shenandoah Valley Facilitators Network
  • 2017, Kettering New Centers for Public Life Faculty Fellow, Lori Britt
  • 2016, Kettering Research Partnership Grant, to analyze the Evolution of NIF Issue Guides, 1982-Present
  • 2016, Alumni Engagement Grant, Lori Britt and Rob Alexander, to develop and lead workshops of facilitation and collaboration with DC-based JMU alumni at the JMU DC Center.

Publications

JMU Engagement for the Common Good conference (Nov. 2018). Supporting Public Participation in Local Government Processes: A Campus and Local Government Partnership. Britt, Alexander, and JMU graduate and undergraduate students presented along with Harrisonburg City staff about their collaboration on the Harrisonburg Comprehensive Planning Process and discussed campus and local governmental partnerships.

NCDD (Nov. 2018) Democracy’s Hubs: The Role of Local Centers in Building Capacity for Dialogue and Deliberation. Lori Britt served as a workshop presenter at the biennial conference of the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation.

NASPAA (Oct. 2018) Facilitation and Dialogue: Teaching our students facilitation and dialogue skills in disruptive times Rob Alexander discussed using facilitation classes to teach engagement in an MPA program.

Britt, L.L. & Smithberger, L. (2018) Developing a civic identity by designing and facilitating public opportunities for deliberative dialogue. In Soria, K. (ed.) Educating for Citizenship and Social Justice: Practices for Community Engagement at Research Universities. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Competitively selected book chapter.

Britt, L. L. (2017). National Issues Forum Guides: Eliciting and Habituating Public Judgment. Higher Education Exchange 2017. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation.

Britt. L. L., & Smithberger, L. K. (2017). Collaboration among Bike/walk advocates: Facilitating process or empowering action? In M. G. Izbell & R. G. Heath, Interorganizational Collaboration: Complexity, ethics and communication. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Alexander, R.A., Barrella, E, & Britt, L.L. (2014). Converging on sustainable placemaking through transdisciplinary process. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 4(3). doi: 10.1007/s13412-014-0192-x.

Britt, L. L. (2016). An Analysis of the structural, semantic, and pragmatic evolution of the NIF Issue Guides, 1982-2015. Report for research funder, The Kettering Foundation.

Britt, L.L., Alexander, R. W., & O’Brien, R. (2016) Qualitatively Assessing Civic Climate for Improved Public Process Design. A report for the Kettering Foundation, Dayton, OH.

Presentations

Britt, L. L. (2017, Nov.) A Relevant future: Discussing the Honors basic course. Lori Britt presented on using a public issues and deliberation approach in the Honors Basic Course. Participant on a competitively selected panel of the Basic Course Division of the National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.

Britt, L. L. (2017, Nov.) Addressing Complex Problems: A Series of Interconnected Assignments to frame deliberation. Presented in the Experiential Learning Discussion Circles, National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.

Britt, L. L. (2017, Nov.) The Legacy of shaping public talk: National Issues Forums. Analysis of the structural, semantic, and pragmatic evolution of the NIF Issue Guides, 1982-2015. Competitively selected paper presented on a panel of the Public Dialogue and Deliberation Division, National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.

Britt, L. L., Schaffer, T., Townsend, R., Ruminski, E., and McMillan, J. (2017, Nov.) Using Our Legacy of Dialogic Deliberation as a Foundational Approach to Teaching Communication. A Short course of the National Communication Association Annual Conference, Dallas, TX.

Britt, L. L. (2017, Nov.) Co-designer and moderator of a special presidential panel session on NCA and Polarization, Panel. National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.

Britt, L. L., Carcasson, M., and Napoli, L. M. (2017, June) Centers for Public Life: Creating Opportunities to Address Complex Public Issues. Session presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference, Baltimore, MD.

Britt, L. L. (2017, June) Creating a culture of civic and community engagement on college campuses: Missions, history and future directions. Presenter with JMU Associate Vice Provost Meg Mulrooney and student Josh Roesch on a joint panel of James Madison University and Stockton University at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference, Baltimore, MD.

Britt, L. L., Alexander, R. A., and O’Brien, R. (2016, Nov.) Qualitatively exploring civic climate for improved public process design. Competitively selected paper presentation on a panel of the Public Dialogue and Deliberation Division, National Communication Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

(2016, Oct.) Bridging the Campus Community Gap via Student Involvement, Co-presenter with five others from U.S. colleges engaging students in shaping spaces of public deliberation. Presented at the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation conference, Framingham, MA.

(2016, Oct.) How Do We Talk About Guns, Co-Designer and Co-Presenter, Workshop presented at the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation conference, Framingham, MA.

Britt, L.L., and Townsend, R. (2016, Apr.) “Advancements in Deliberation and Dialogue” on the “[R]evolutions in Communication Courses: Theory, Research, Pedagogy, and Assessment special programming at the 2016 Eastern Communication Association Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

(2015) Public dialogue and deliberation: An Invitation to integrate our teaching, research, service, and professional networks, Short Course Co-Designer, Co-Moderator and Presenter. Presented at the National Communication Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

(2015) An Opportunity to Enhance Learning: Cases from Program- and Course-Level Assessment. Panel discussant on competitively selected panel by the Communication Assessment Division, of the National Communication Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

Alexander, R. A., Britt, L. L., & Ruebke, T. (2015). Assessing community capacities for public dialogue. Presented at the Public Management Research Association Conference, Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.

Back to Top