Center for Public Deliberation

Welcome to the Center for Public Deliberation.

The CPD also provides workshops for community members to learn about deliberative practices and community problem solving, often at the beautiful Tamasag retreat center near LaPorte.

The CPD also provides workshops for community members to learn about deliberative practices and community problem solving, often at the beautiful Tamasag retreat center near LaPorte.

The CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) was established in the Fall of 2006 and is “Dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication and community problem solving. It serves as an impartial resource for the northern Colorado community to assist in community problem-solving. We analyze issues, design public participation events, host forums that students facilitate, and write reports on key issues while working with a wide variety of local institutions, including city, county, and state government, school districts, and campus and community organizations. Deliberation requires safe places for citizens to come together, good and fair information to help structure the conversation, and skilled facilitators to guide the process, and the CPD is dedicated to providing these three key ingredients to Northern Colorado.

About Us

The CPD serves as an impartial resource to the northern Colorado community. It is based on the belief that democracy requires high quality communication, but unfortunately such communication is rare. Working with students trained in small group facilitation, the CPD assists local government, schools boards, and community organizations by researching issues and developing useful background material, and then designs, facilitates, and reports on innovative public events. 

Dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication and community problem-solving.

For an extended video of CPD Director Martin Carcasson explaining the work of the CPD and the need to change the way we talk about tough issues in our democracy, see the video linked below.


Our Three Broad Goals:

1. Enhance the Local Civic Culture

  • Increase local participation in community problem solving
  • Decrease the sense of polarization, cynicism, and frustration with politics
  • Help develop a civic habit of relying on deliberation to address local concerns

2. Expand Collaborative Decision-Making

  • Promote interconnections between local government and citizens
  • Expand and improve the role of the public in decision-making processes
  • Help incorporate deliberative techniques in local institutions

3. Improve Civic Pedagogy

  • Study and improve methods of developing citizenship skills at all levels (K-12, higher education, citizen education)
  • Incorporate deliberative pedagogy at all levels

Student Associate Program

The Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for students who are academically driven and looking to give back to the Northern Colorado community. 


Why Join?

The CPD is an incredible opportunity to develop skills that 1) are highly sought by employers, 2) are useful to the community, and 3) put academic theory into practice.

Students who complete the program have the chance to develop a vast array of communicational and organizational skills such as facilitation, event planning, community outreach, data entry and analysis, video recording and editing, and project management. As a result, students who include these skills on their resumé report getting hired by various companies based mainly on interview questions related to their work with the CPD.

Fort Collins and the surrounding Northern Colorado community is known as one of the most desirable places to live in the country, and the CPD definitely plays a role in making our community great. We help our community talk through tough issues like AirBnb/VRBO regulation, BOB Tax policies, marijuana legalization, and homelessness (to name a few) so that citizens can be more informed about political decisions that affect our lives. As a facilitator, you are on the front lines of this process helping citizens become more engaged in their community and ultimately, you will play a major part in making our community a better place.

Finally, participation in the CPD is a great way to put some of the skills you learn in the classroom to actual use. Students learning about topics related to communication, management, conflict management, relationship building, and politics (just to name a few) get the chance to apply skills that can often seem overly theoretical, and thus, make better use of their college education.


Program Details

Every semester, the CPD recruits about 15 new students to become trained conversation facilitators. Students are enrolled in a 3-credit course, SPCM 408, to learn all of the skills needed for managing effective and meaningful conversations.

SPCM 408 details

Class time: Either MW 4-5:15 or TTH 3:30-4:45

SPCM majors

  • 3 credits toward SPCM elective

Non-SPCM majors

  • 3 credits toward general elective

SPCM 486 credit details

After completing SPCM 408, students have the opportunity to continue the program and complete SPCM 486 practicum hours as a Senior Associate to utilize their new skills for community events about various issues and decisions that need to be made.

SPCM majors

  • Up to 3 credits toward SPCM elective
  • After 3, as many as you want toward general elective

Non-SPCM majors

  • As many credits as you want
  • Count as general elective


While the Center for Public Deliberation is operated out of the Communication Studies (SPCM) department, we welcome and encourage all majors to apply for our program.

Majors represented (now and in past):

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Business
  • English
  • Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Psychology
  • Journalism and Media Communication
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Communication Studies



CPD Student Associate Application

Applications are being accepted now, and applicants will begin to be invited into the program on November 4th (applications will still be accepted until the beginning of the spring semester). Feel free to contact Martín Carcasson by email at if you have any questions about the program, or drop the CPD office (Behavioral Science A244) during office hours.  Applications can be returned to the CPD office in Behavioral Science A244, or the main SPCM office in Behavioral Science A203. You can also visit the CPD website at for more information.

Contact Us

CPD Leadership

Founder and Director: Martin Carcasson, Ph.D., (970)-491-5628

Associate Director: Katie Knobloch, Ph.D.