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Davenport Institute Graduates Another Cohort in Advanced Certificate for Public Engagement | Civic Business Journal

Davenport Institute Hosts Second Certificate Program for Mastering Public Engagement


Caroline Lee | February 28, 2018 | Civic Business Journal

The second class of mid-career professionals has graduated from the Advanced Certificate in Public Engagement for Local Government program. Hosted by the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership in partnership with the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, the three-day intensive course was held from January 19 to 21 in Malibu, California. The workshop offers local government and civic leaders the opportunity to enhance their public engagement skills while working with and learning from their peers.

The Davenport Institute began hosting the Advanced Certificate program in July 2017. Current and former local government leaders from a variety of backgrounds came together to gain a deeper understanding of the context, purpose, and best practices for engaging residents in the decisions that affect their communities.

Building off of the success of the first program, Davenport Institute again hosted a workshop focused around the idea of why public engagement is vital. The January cohort began their workshop experience by bringing a project and/or problem in their field to discuss with other participants. The goal of this assignment was to present said project at the end of the program, incorporating new ideas and lessons learned throughout the workshop.

“The Professional Certificate program in Advanced Local Engagement, for me, was a reawakening to what it means to make local representative democracy work, and work well,” stated Seth Patton, January 2018 Certificate Recipient and Policy Advisor for County of San Diego Supervisor Bill Horn, 5th District. “Good government protects the role of the public in the public policy process and these three days in Malibu were a crash course in how to do just that, particularly at a time of both rapid technological innovation and a general trend of declining trust of government. I left with a fresh perspective and actionable techniques that I can put to use immediately in serving our citizens.”

Over the course of the weekend, Davenport Institute trainers and facilitators empowered the cohort members to engage in highly interactive sessions on constructive engagement processes. Participants had opportunities to hear from speakers on leading-edge techniques in the world of civic engagement, such as tactical urbanism, partnering with existing community-celebrations, and creative approaches to traditional processes. Experts also guided participants through strategies for engaging marginalized groups, the growing role of technology, and how to facilitate difficult conversations.

Beyond learning about public engagement in the local government sphere, the January cohort members were encouraged to network with and learn from one another. Peer learning as a program element was incorporated throughout the entire process as each participant is working towards the same goal – enhanced public engagement – and facing the same challenges.

“The experience offered philosophical and strategic insight, tactical approaches, and a network of trusted professionals that I can consult with going forward,” said Megan MacPherson, APR, January 2018 Certificate Recipient and Director of Public Affairs & Communications for the City of Roseville. “Taking the time to focus on this important, emerging aspect of governance was both a privilege and a necessity given the evolving expectations of our elected leaders and the people we serve.”

“We have had the chance to learn from two great sessions with diverse cohorts, so our Advanced Certificate program just keeps getting better,” said Executive Director Ashley Trim. “This workshop provides a space for local government leaders to come together and discuss creative, actionable solutions with their colleagues. Davenport Institute has strived to create a program that inspires in-depth conversations about leadership and what is required to champion public engagement, and I think we have succeeded.”

The next Advanced Certificate program will be offered again this summer in Malibu on June 8 to 10, and at the Pepperdine Washington DC campus on July 13 to 15. More information, including cost of participation and how to apply, can be found here: https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/certificate-public-engagement/

For questions, please contact Davenport Institute Executive Director Ashley Trim via email at ashley.trim@pepperdine.edu or by phone at (310) 506-6878.