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A pilot program that brings together UW-Madison undergraduates with diverse ideological perspectives to deliberate on important public issues.

The purpose of the Deliberation Dinners is to provide UW-Madison undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about important public issues in a setting that exposes them to multiple and competing ideas.

Why run the UW-Madison Deliberation Dinners?

The Deliberation Dinners will use a particular form of discussion called deliberation. Discussion writ large is focused inquiry through speaking and listening that is purposeful, broadly collaborative, and leads to deeper understanding through analysis of different perspectives. And deliberation is a discussion that answers the question, “What shall we do?” — without requiring or seeking consensus.

What is the structure of the Deliberation Dinners?

Groups of Undergraduate Students

The Deliberation Dinners pilot program will bring together twelve groups of ten UW–Madison undergraduate students (a total of 120 students) for a series of seven, two-hour sessions throughout the 2023-24 academic year.

Location and Dates

All of the dinners will be held on a Monday night in Varsity Hall at Union South.

Here are the dates of the dinners:

  1. Monday, October 23, 2023
  2. Monday, November 20, 2023
  3. Monday, December 11, 2023
  4. Monday, January 29, 2024
  5. Monday, February 12, 2024
  6. Monday, March 4, 2024
  7. Monday, April 8, 2024

Faculty Facilitators

Each group of ten students will be matched with one UW-Madison faculty member who will facilitate deliberation.

Faculty Facilitators have all taken The Discussion Project, and thus have specialized training in discussion pedagogy.

Issue questions from Deliberation Dinners

Deliberation Dinner #1, October 23, 2023
What should UW-Madison’s policy be with respect to students’ use of artificial intelligence for academic work?

Deliberation Dinner #2, November 20, 2023
Should marijuana be legalized, regulated, and taxed in Wisconsin?

Deliberation Dinner #3, December 11, 2023
Should Wisconsin adopt a flat tax on personal income?

Deliberation Dinner #4, January 29, 2024
Should we expand nuclear power generation capacity in Wisconsin?

Deliberation Dinner #5, February 12, 2024
What should Wisconsin do to address rising gun violence in the state?

Deliberation Dinner #6, March 4, 2024
What abortion policies should we have in Wisconsin?

Deliberation Dinner #7, April 8, 2024
Should the United States adopt mandatory voting?

The UW-Madison Deliberation Dinners is a pilot program run by The Discussion Project in 2023-24. The Deliberation Dinners is funded by UW-Madison and housed in The Discussion Project. This pilot program will be evaluated by the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative.

Deliberation Dinners program director and project manager, and a Discussion Project instructor, standing with the School of Education Dean and the Chancellor of UW-Madison.

The UW-Madison Deliberation Dinners was honored to have Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin provide opening remarks on December 11, 2023 for Deliberation Dinner #3. From the left: Lynn Glueck, Program Director of The Discussion Project; Diana Hess, Dean of the UW-Madison School of Education; Jennifer Mnookin, Chancellor of UW-Madison; Emma Cabrera, Project Manager for the UW-Madison Deliberation Dinners; and Susan Gevelber, Curriculum Designer & Instructor for The Discussion Project.