In their “This I Believe” podcasts, students explored where their beliefs came from—experience, inheritance, tradition, resistance—and crafted their philosophies into a lyrical monologue. With careful attention to ornament and arrangement, students delivered their stance on how best to live, by offering one instructive lesson among the millions that make up a civic life and search for the good. In this assignment, students put their beliefs, values, and stories into play with others, focusing on dialogue more than monologue, listening more than expressing, and understanding more than asserting, all to discover the greatest good for the community.
RCL sections break into two teams, each of which devises and leads a formal public deliberation event. A deliberation is a directed discussion focused on tough choices that confront the community. Its goal is to foster a deeper understanding of the issue and to discover the values that should guide the community in deciding its future. Each team facilitates a deliberation session in a 10-day RCL-wide public event, “Deliberation Nation,” sponsored by Penn State’s Center for Democratic Deliberation. Teams are also in charge of inviting members of the community to participate. After the event, teams collectively write a post-deliberation report directed toward policymakers who are interested in understanding the public perspective on the issue.
Sample Student Issue Guides
Sample Post-Deliberation Reports