Shaping conversations that impact individuals, organizations and communities.

The Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue at JMU serves to advance the practice of designing and facilitating conversations that help communities talk and think together. ICAD believes that encouraging people to engage in problem-solving in their communities strengthens the promise of democracy.

We educate and train students, faculty, staff and community members to be able to facilitate campus and community conversations, conversations that ask tough questions and that encourage people to come together to gain an understanding of each other as they seek to address challenges and envision possibilities.

We also advance research about dialogue, deliberation, and collaboration, and partner with national organizations interested in ensuring these processes are inclusive, accessible, and benefit from collective wisdom.

Vision and Mission

We seek to create a world that engages in dialogue and deliberation across differences as a cultural norm and as an effective tool for addressing the challenges and opportunities of civic life.


Our mission is to inspire dialogue and deliberation that shapes engaged and inclusive communities and informs sound policies.

We do this by:

  • Creating spaces where exploring values and tensions can transform communities for collaborative public problem solving.
  • Training students, campus, and community members to build capacity for productive talk.
  • Grounding this work in and seeking to add to theory and best practices.

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