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For an overview of the types of projects we work on in the community, on campus, and for organizations, explore the content below. More information about many of our other projects can be found in our Annual Reports.

Community Projects

Harrisonburg ARPA Public Engagement Process: ICAD designed and facilitated a nine-month community engagement process for the City Council of Harrisonburg. The goal was to gain public input about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted members of our community and consider how investments using American Recovery Plan Act Funds could aid in an equitable recovery from the pandemic and create a more sustainable city. The process resulted in a final report available from the City's ARPA webpage,  and an online data visualization dashboard

Harrisonburg/Rockingham Bike-Walk Summit: ICAD continued its longitudinal support of this annual Summit, a collaborative effort by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Central Shenandoah Valley Planning District Commission to bring together key decision-makers, public administrators, university actors, and bicycling/walking enthusiasts to discuss ways to improve biking and walking in the City and the County.

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 in public administration in process design and involved additional MPA and EMU graduate students as facilitators. Read more.

Campus Projects

Exploring Historical and Contemporary Blackface: In collaboration with faculty members of the Department of History, ICAD developed an interactive forum that combined the expertise of historians with the engagement of facilitated dialogue to challenge conventional notions of knowledge and meaning regarding racial history in the U.S. The resulting innovation entailed dividing participants into four groups and assigning a history ‘expert’ to each group.

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.

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.

Virginia Social Studies Leadership Consortium: ICAD designed and facilitated a series of three sessions focused on helping this organization develop a mission and vision, and key advocacy objectives for the Virginia Social Studies Leadership Consortium. 

Grants and Publications


2019-2022, Kara Dillard is in her second year of a three-year $195,000 grant by the Kettering Foundation to pursue research into digital deliberative practice and online moderator training.

2021-2022, Lori Britt and Rob Alexander, received funding as members of the EU/US Project TRACK-STAR grant. The TRACKSTAR: TRAnsatlantic Civil society dialogues with Key policy STAkeholdeRs project (JMU P.I. Chris Blake) is seeking to establish a mutually beneficial collaboration platform between EU and US civil society organisations (CSOs) and dialogue on seven vital policy areas in EU-US relations. This dialogue will improve understanding of European, US, and transatlantic efforts and will build out improved feedback loops with policymakers. Britt and Alexander had responsibility for Objective 2: Training in dialogue facilitation, active listening, and conflict management. Britt and Alexander produced four theory-based asynchronous training modules for the 120 plus participants and conducted two synchronous training sessions prior to the first meetings of the working groups. This training was designed to overcome common challenges to collaboration including initially divergent perspectives, priorities, and backgrounds. The goal of this preliminary training is to support the fruitfulness of the other TRACKSTAR activities — and is hoped to improve the effectiveness of these CSOs beyond this project. The Asynchronous Training modules produced with technical support from JMU Libraries can be viewed here

2020, Lori Britt was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Interactivity Foundation for summer pay and fall course buyout, to edit and run pilot for the Interactivity Foundation Collaborative Discussion Curriculum


Dillard, K. and Felts, N. A. (2021). Forward. Deliberating Online: The unique value of Common Ground for Action. An Occasional Paper for the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.

Britt, L. L., and Dunn, R. C. (2020). Turning points in deliberation: How they emerge and how to coax them forth. A funded research report for the Kettering Foundation and The National Issues Forums

Britt, L. L., & Alexander, R. (2019). Stories Communities Tell: How Deliberative Practitioners Can Work with Community Narratives. Journal of Public Deliberation, 15(3), 6. DOI:

Presentations, Speaking Engagements, & Workshops

Conference Presentations:

Dedrick, J., Dillard, K., Lindaman, K., Muse, B., (2020, June). “Democratic Deliberation: Free Speech and the Inclusive Campus. ”Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Conference.

Britt, L. L., Goldberg, A. Boehm, J., Koether, K., Pickering, B., and Churchill, L. (2020, June). “Shaping Dialogues to Generate Ideas and Support for strengthening Campus Democratic Engagement.” Workshop presentation at the virtual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Conference, June 2020.

Dillard, K., Lindaman, K., Robinson, V., & Theis, J. (January 2021) Innovations for teaching the deliberative experience online: Our experiences and experiments using Common Ground for Action and online conferencing tools. Presentation for the Campus Compact National Webinar Series.

Speaking Engagements:

Lori Britt, ICAD Co-Director, was invited to speak about best facilitation practices for student leaders in JMU’s Make Your Mark on Madison (MYMOM) program, April 2021.

Lori Britt gave a guest Lecture on Facilitative Leadership, in an Honors Leadership Course taught by Brian Charette and John Alger, Fall 2020.

Britt, L.L., Invited Speaker, Inaugural Saturday Scholars Program, JMU Honors College, Transforming Talk about Public Issues, February 2020.


ICAD trained 33 undergraduate and graduate students as online deliberation moderators for the Kettering Foundation’s Common Ground for Action Platform. ICAD then co-convened the National Week of Cross-Campus Dialogue.

Sadie Rosenfeld, ICAD Intern and Lori Britt, ICAD Co-Director, designed and facilitated a workshop on facilitating conversation for Alternative Spring Break Leaders for JMU’s Office of Community Service-Learning. January 2021.

Lori Britt was a presenter for an American Democracy Project / ALL IN / NASPA Workshop to Prepare for Elections and Debates, September 2020.

ICAD Public Annual Reports

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