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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

Professional Certificate in Public Engagement Summer '22 Kickoff

This summer, we are kicking off our second summer cohort for our signature Professional Certificate in Public Engagement for Local Government. The certificate is aimed at ensuring that mid-career professionals in local government and the nonprofit sector are 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.

The certificate takes place over six weeks running from May 24 through June 28. Throughout the program the cohort prepares a public engagement work-document to use the skills they are learning to address an public engagement issue in their workplace. Executive Director Maureen Tobi starts the program by setting the context for a deep dive into public engagement with real world examples. This session establishes a common language for the participants which will guide their education in the subsequent weeks.

Session two provides the Tools, Techniques, and Best Practices of public engagement. Led by Danya Rumore, Dean at The University of Utah’s College of Law, this session provides the cohort with the analytical tools necessary to discern when to use different meeting spaces, and if a meeting is necessary to communicate their information. The third session handles how to have difficult conversations. Led by Kit Cole, a consultant with 25 years of experience, the conversation handles how to tackle polarization and engage with people who disagree with you, and who may even be angry with you. The fourth session is about Engaging Marginalized Communities, led by our Assistant Director Pooja Di Giovanna. In this session, the cohort is instructed on how to use the  principles of diversity,equity, and inclusion (DEI) to engage with marginalized communities. The fifth session focuses on Innovation and leadership and is led by Matt Bronson, City Manager of Grover Beach and Davenport Advisory Council member. This session brings together the content of the previous weeks to showcase what effective public engagement looks like. It also invites participants to consider what level of engagement is appropriate to the issue at hand and to consider pitfalls to effective engagement. The sixth session flips to the participants, as they present their public engagement plans to the trainers and cohort to receive constructive feedback.

The virtual format of our certificate program has been in place since 2020 and we have found it to be an excellent opportunity to reach public engagement professionals across the country. This summer we have a full cohort of 20 participants from California, Michigan, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, and a team from Norfolk, Virginia. Their roles are just as diverse; our participants serve as executive directors, managers, public affairs specialists, administrators, architects, planners, administrative assistants, and even chief of police. We are excited to work with our diverse summer cohort participants and share effective tools for public engagement and community development.

Apply today! If you are interested in the Public Engagement program, we still have some spots left in our fall cohort.