Waco City Manager to Participate in Communication Conference

Jan. 21, 2000

Waco City Manager Kathy Rice will take part in an academic conference Jan. 27-29 that will explore methods to encourage public participation in community life. Rice will consult with Peter Lang and Martin Little of the Kensington Consultation Centre in London on increasing the community's participation in local affairs.

The conference, Practical Theory, Public Participation and Community, is sponsored by Baylor University's department of communication studies.

"One of the major challenges facing today's communities is finding creative ways to involve citizens in constructive conversations about difficult issues," said Dr. Kevin Barge, associate professor of communication studies and chairman of the conference. "We hope the presentations will describe ways to enable groups of people to develop useful abilities and to move forward effectively."

More than a dozen nationally-known scholars from across the country will meet to talk about topics such as public dialogue, community building, public education, enhancing citizenship and developing democratic discourse.

The conference will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday with the keynote address by Dr. Vernon Cronen, professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts. Cronen, who began teaching at the University of Massachusetts in 1970, is co-author with W. Barnett Pearce, of Communication, Action and Meaning: The Construction of Social Realities. His lecture is open to the public.

The conference will end at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. All sessions will be held on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center.

Rice, Lang and Little will be available for interviews. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Barge at 710-1621.

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