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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

Davenport Institute Training Seminar

The size and scope of today's budget deficits and longstanding planning battles mean that decisions can no longer be left to bargaining at the "stakeholder" level, instead a growing number of leaders are "looking out" to their residents rather than "looking in" to their own capabilities. 

Current Seminars

The Davenport Institute currently offers three seminars to help leaders improve their skills in public engagement: a half-day "101" seminar that provides a solid foundation in best practices in public processes, and how leaders can assess their current efforts, and evaluate the level at which to engage their residents; a full-day program that goes deeper into process design and the essentials of meeting facilitation; and a full-day training on what leaders should know about "Gov 2.0." All seminars are aimed toward mid- and upper-level department management, city and county managers, elected officials, civic leaders, and other leaders in local and regional government organizations. See all upcoming training and speaking events here.

Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership in Difficult Times (half-day)

Public Engagement can be a nerve-wracking undertaking, but conducted properly, public involvement on important decisions can lead to more creative, acceptable solutions when managed effectively. That is why the Davenport Institute has created a practical and participatory half-day seminar where you will learn:

  • The "Civic Engagement Spectrum": from "informing" to "involving" your residents
  • When your city, county, region, or special district is ready to engage the public
  • How to develop a positive public engagement campaign
  • Important attitude and behavior changes for elected officials, staff, and residents
  • The five main criteria for judging an effective civic engagement process

This seminar was developed by Executive Director Pete Peterson and Senior Fellow Ed Everett.

Gov 2.0: What Public Officials Need to Know (half-day)

From 'Open Data' to 'Gov2.0' to 'hackathons' to 'online engagement platforms', technology is fundamentally changing the relationship between citizens and their governments. Unfortunately, our understanding of what different terms mean, and what technologies should be used for particular enterprises hasn't caught up with all of these changes. In this fast-paced and interactive seminar public leaders will learn:

  • The "New Vocabulary": How the various terms interact with each other, and sometimes overlap
  • Purpose Determines Your Technology: Know your goals for citizen interaction and the technology will follow
  • Thinking Like an Online Marketer: The importance of outreach in the digital space
  • Does Online Engagement=Public Engagement?: Engaging with your public online vs. face-to-face

This seminar was developed by Alan Silberberg (founder, Gov2.0/LA), Julianne Shinto, Alissa Black (formerly Code for America and CA Civic Innovation Project), Pete Peterson (executive director, Davenport Institute/Pepperdine), and Ashley Trim (assistant director, Davenport Institute/Pepperdine).

Public Engagement: Designing and Leading and Effective Process (full-day)

In this full-day, highly interactive seminar, participants will go beyond the "what" of public engagement and into the "how", learning important process design and facilitation essentials.  Specifically, attendees will:

  • Experience different ways to conduct public meetings
  • Increase understanding of the positive possibilities of public engagement
  • Gain understanding of what makes public engagement "good" or "bad"
  • Learn value of "stakeholders" and a framework to better identify and "recruit" them
  • Be introduced to the key elements of facilitative meetings that are part of an overall process
  • Discover how to design a process that works based on experience and the latest in "brain science"
  • Develop a sketch of a plan for a public process including different levels of engagement, stakeholders to involve, and an overall process plan including timelines, goals, phases and outcomes.

This seminar was developed by Davenport executive director Pete Peterson and Mary Gelinas of the Cascadia Center for Leadership

Customized half-day and full-day seminars

In addition to our three standard trainings, the Davenport Institute can customize a half-day or full-day public engagement session to fit the particular engagement needs of your government or organization.  Past customized trainings include those for: 

  • Public Safety/ Police 
  • Planning Departments
  • Regional Governance Associations

Who Should Attend

City Staff (City Managers, Planners, etc.)

Elected Officials (Mayors, Council Members)

School District Leaders (Superintendents, School Board Members)

County Staff and Officials

Regional Governance Leaders (COGs)


Want to Host a Training?

For more information about bringing a Davenport Institute full-day or half-day training session to your municipality or organization, contact executive director Ashley Trim


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