PDI Vision & Goals

The Public Deliberation Initiative (PDI) at Baylor University is an initiative of critical deliberative democracy, activism, interdisciplinary collaboration, pedagogical research, student involvement, and training for ongoing community engagement. This initiative seeks to engage students, staff, faculty, and community members in constructive dialogue and deliberation that addresses important global and local issues and offers new perspectives for participants. The PDI at Baylor enhances local civic culture, increase student/citizen participation in community problem solving, expand collaborative decision-making on campus and in the local community, and improve citizenship through civic pedagogy. There is currently nothing like the PDI in Waco, and as such, the primary mission of the PDI is to promote the development of vibrant deliberative democracy in Waco and the surrounding areas. This occurs by combining teaching, research, and service in the activities of the PDI in order to benefit Baylor faculty and students as well as citizens in the surrounding communities. 

The primary mission of the PDI is to promote the development of vibrant deliberative democracy in Waco and the surrounding areas.

Baylor’s Public Deliberation Initiative (PDI) hosts deliberation forums and offers resources for the campus and local community for participants to learn this new way of civic discourse. Members from Baylor’s faculty and the community serve on an advisory board. Dr. Josh Ritter, Assistant Director for Spirituality and Public Life serves as the leader of Baylor PDI. Please contact baylorpdi@baylor.edu if you have questions or would like additional information. 

 Goals of Baylor’s Public Deliberation Initiative
  • Enhance student involvement and retention, academic research and development, as well as community relations and outreach
  • Improve the quality of public discussion and public participation concerning important institutional, local, and national issues
  • Increase civic engagement of both students and local community members
  • Provide service to the university, city, county, and region by being available for special projects connected to public deliberation and collaborative decision-making
  • Serve as a research laboratory for deliberative communication practices
  • Develop a local reputation as fair and non-partisan facilitators of public debate and a national reputation of excellence among institutions dedicated to deliberative democracy
  • Advance expertise in a wide variety of face-to-face and on-line deliberative approaches
  • Contribute to the development of a “civic habit” in Waco of high quality public deliberation concerning important issues
  • Improve student communication skills
  • Encourage sustained interest and activism in students, faculty, and community members

Public Deliberation Initiative

Baylor Public Deliberation Initiative is a departmental program of Spirituality & Public Life sponsored by The Office of Spiritual Life with the support of the advisory board composed of Baylor staff, faculty, and community members.