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Deliberative andragogy: The role of education in deliberative democracy

Timothy J. Shaffer, Kansas State University

Tue 21 July 2020

11:00am - 12:00pm

Virtual seminar

Seminar recording is available on our YouTube channel.


As we think about public discussion shaping political decisions, the role of education plays a part in shaping how people come to think about complex issues and the place of deliberative democratic engagement in public forums, mini-publics, and the like. Today, there is a growing literature exploring deliberative pedagogy—teaching and learning for democratic engagement in formal and non-formal settings such as universities, schools, and community-based settings. While the language does not necessarily denote these distinctions, there is a philosophical difference between pedagogy and andragogy—the education of children and the education of adults—as it influences and shapes the way in which we think about education in democratic practice in multiple settings. This talk will make an argument for why we should think about deliberative andragogy as an impactful way to think about the role of education and why we should consider how this conceptual approach to civic learning offers an important perspective on expertise and lay knowledge in deliberative democracy.

About the speaker

As an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner of deliberative democracy, civic education, and group communication, Dr. Timothy J. Shaffer focuses on the advancement of democratic practices by focusing on the role of civic professionals in institutional settings such as higher education, local government, and non-governmental organizations in relationship with diverse communities.

Dr. Shaffer is the editor of Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement (Michigan State University Press, 2017), Jumping into Civic Life: Stories of Public Work from Extension Professionals (Kettering Foundation Press, 2018), Agri-Culture and Future of Farming: An Interactivity Foundation Discussion Guidebook (Interactivity Foundation, 2018), A Crisis of Civility?  Political Discourse and Its Discontents (Routledge, 2019), and Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education (Stylus, 2019).

He has published dozens of articles and book chapters in academic publications; presents and engages diverse public audiences through radio, TV, and print; and offers workshops and training to professionals in universities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and with legislative bodies.

Dr. Shaffer currently serves an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and as director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. He is also principal research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.

Connected to these efforts, Shaffer serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy and as a country expert on deliberative democracy in the United States with the Varieties of Democracy project based at the University of Gothenburg. His research centers on the advancement of democratic practices through deliberative politics and civic engagement in higher education and other institutional and community settings. He received his B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University, Master’s in Theology and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Dayton, and his Ph.D. in Education (Adult and Extension Education, City and Regional Planning, and Community-Based Natural Resource Management) from Cornell University.

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