Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government | Pepperdine University | School of Public Policy

Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government

public engagement

Three-Day Intensive Workshop for Local Government Practitioners 

In response to the growing interest from local leaders, the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership have developed a professional certificate program that offers a deep dive into public engagement at the local level.

In an age where trust in government (and indeed in all institutions) is at an all time low, and indifference toward local government is at an all time high, the very future of local representative democracy requires leaders with a new skill – an ability to break through cynicism and mistrust and engage residents in local policy. From public safety, to city budgets and spending, to planning and environmental policies, today's challenges need leaders who can re-vitalize public involvement and lead residents engaged in the difficult work of self-government.

Over this long-weekend at our Malibu campus, mid-career professionals will be prepared to lead a publicly-engaged organization by gaining a deep understanding of the context, purpose, and best practices for engaging residents in the decisions that affect their lives and communities.


July 28-30, 2017
Class Meets:
8 am-6 pm Friday & Saturday
8 am- 2:30 pm Sunday


Pepperdine University
Villa Graziadio 
Malibu, CA


$1990. Includes instruction and materials, meals and optional welcome dinner.

Thursday Night Welcome Dinner Featuring Stephen Goldsmith

 Participants are invited to join us on Thursday, July 27 for a kick-off dinner with special guest Stephen Goldsmith. Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He directs Data-Smart City Solutions, the Project on Municipal Innovation and the Civic Analytics Network and is author of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance. He has also served as Deputy Mayor of NYC and as Mayor of Indianapolis.

stephen goldsmith


Thursday, July 27 

(Optional) Welcome Dinner and Kickoff Featuring Special Guest Stephen Goldsmith


Friday, July 28

Session 1: Why Public Engagement? Why Now?

This session will set the context for a deep-dive into public engagement by offering an overview of the current state of Public Engagement and providing a shared vocabulary and framework.

Session 2: Role Clarification

This session will identify the various players in local policy making and clarify their respective roles when it comes to productive engagement around policy. It will introduce a new paradigm for engagement.

Session 3: State of the Art Public Engagement

This session will introduce best practices and innovative techniques in public engagement across a local government organization.

Session 4: Public Engagement for Public Safety

This session will introduce address the specific benefits of and challenges to public engagement as it applies to law enforcement.

Session 5: Pitfalls, Common Errors & Warning Signs

This session will offer a discussion of common mistakes in public engagement, how to avoid them, and how to assess what works

Evening Workshop – Local Government Challenges in Public Engagement

This workshop will allow participants to share their current public engagement struggles and discuss the example they prepared in their pre-work. It will involve small group workshops with full group report outs.

Saturday Sessions:

Session 6: Collaborative Leadership & Public Engagement

This session will introduce explore the relationship between public engagement and collaboration, identifying distinctions between stakeholder and resident engagement, and between dispute resolution and civic engagement.

Session 7: Engaging the Disengaged

This session will explore public engagement beyond the usual suspects, and how to reach out to traditionally disengaged groups including ethnic minorities, immigrant populations, low income residents and youth.

Session 8: The Role of Technology in Public Engagement

This session will offer an overview and demonstration of platforms, apps and survey tools and address the pros and cons of technology as it relates to public engagement.

Session 9: Case Stories Review

This highly interactive session will offer examples of successful PE and discuss what made them successful.

Sunday Sessions

Session 10: Role of Leadership in Public Engagement

This session will explore the special types of leadership needed to make public engagement work in our current environment.

Sunday Workshop: Proposed Policy Solutions

Participants will discuss their proposed policy solutions in small groups before presenting them individually before the full cohort.


About the Davenport Institute

The first program of it's kind in the United States, this professional certificate draws on the expertise of the Davenport Institute, which over the past decade has become a leader in equipping local governments for legitimate public engagement. The Davenport Institute has impacted over 117 municipalities across California, including providing over 40 funded-service grants in support of public engagement. Last year, the Institute also launched How Are We Doing? a platform for evaluating local civic engagement efforts and recognizing agencies that are taking great strides in the field.

Who Can Attend

Local government practitioners, including professionals from cities, counties, and special districts, private sector employees who serve local governments and graduate students focused on local government.


Lodging is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Pepperdine Malibu campus's Villa Graziadio at the discounted room rate of $175/ night.

**Registration is Now Closed **

Email us if you would like to be notified when registration for next year's class opens.