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Upcoming Events

Tackling Wicked Problems through Deliberative Engagement: How to Elevate our Community and Classroom Conversations in Hyper-Partisan Times

Tackling Wicked Problems through Deliberative Engagement
The Center for Faculty Excellence and the Program for Public Discourse are excited to present a new workshop series aimed at engaging with “Wicked Issues” in the classroom. Wicked issues, or wicked problems, are characterized by their complexity, their lack of clear solutions, and their tendency to place our highest values in competition with each other. Our three-part virtual series will begin with guest speaker Dr. Martín Carcasson discussing how to use a wicked-issues mindset to add nuance to our classroom conversations. In the second session, Dr. Kevin Marinelli (PPD) and Dr. Emily Boehm (CFE) will use this framework to examine the tension between inclusivity and free speech, especially on college classrooms. In the last session, we will encourage participants to identify the wicked issues that arise in their own courses and strategize about how to facilitate productive student dialogue. While we recommend participating in the entire series, we will provide online resources for those who cannot attend all three sessions.
Participants of Session One will be able to:
  • Utilize a wicked problems mindset to reframe issues
  • Understand how value arguments can undermine or elevate conversations depending on their use
  • Identify positive and negative aspects of human nature and their impact on our ability to address shared issues
  • Understand the basic components of deliberative engagement
  • Develop classroom assignments and activities that build deliberative skills

  • Register for this event here
    Date: October 4, 2022
    Times: 03:00 pm – 04:00 pm
    Audience: Public
    Venue: Zoom

    Abbey Speaker Series: Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education

    Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education

    Register Here

    Should universities make a greater effort to promote intellectual diversity? What exactly does intellectual diversity entail? Is intellectual diversity always desirable?
    On October 6th at 5:30 p.m., the UNC Program for Public Discourse in conjunction with the General Alumni Association hosts a hybrid Abbey Speaker Series event exploring intellectual diversity on campus. Come hear a panel discussion with teacher-scholars who approach this charged topic from different perspectives.
    Date: October 6, 2022
    Times: 05:30 pm – 07:00 pm
    Audience: Public Event
    Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education
    Rob Henderson is a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Cambridge, where he studies as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He is a faculty fellow at The University of Austin, where he also serves on the board of advisors. Henderson obtained a B.S. in psychology from Yale University and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Along with his popular Substack newsletter, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Quillette, among other outlets. His forthcoming memoir will be published by Gallery Books.
    Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education
    Amna Khalid is an associate professor of history at Carleton College. Having grown up under a series of military dictatorships in Pakistan, she has a strong interest in censorship and free expression. Khalid writes frequently about academic freedom, free speech, and campus politics. This year she is a fellow at the University of California National Center for Free Speech where she is working on a joint project on anti-critical race theory legislation as it pertains to higher education. Combining her interest in free expression and history, she hosts the podcast "Banished," about what happens when people, ideas, and works of art come into conflict with our modern sensibilities.
    Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education
    Michael S. Roth became the 16th president of Wesleyan University in 2007. He has overseen the launch of numerous academic programs at Wesleyan such as the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the Shapiro Center for Writing. An author and curator, Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” His newest book, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness, addresses some of the most contentious issues in American higher education, including affirmative action, safe spaces, and questions of free speech. Roth continues to teach undergraduate courses and has offered MOOCs through Coursera.
    Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education

    Event Moderator

    William Sturkey is an associate professor in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches classes on modern American history. He is the author of Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White and the co-editor of To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools. His other writing has appeared in venues such as The Atlantic, Washington Post, New York Times, and Southern Cultures.

    Abbey Speaker Series: Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Senator Thom Tillis

    Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Senator Thom Tillis

    Register Here

    The Abbey Speaker Series continues on November 10th at 5:30 p.m. with a conversation between Senator Thom Tillis and former NC State Senator Cal Cunningham on how to build and maintain friendships across the political divide. This event is co-sponsored by the UNC Institute of Politics.
    Date: November 10, 2022
    Times: 05:30 pm – 07:30 pm
    Audience: Public Event
    Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Senator Thom Tillis
    Cal Cunningham is founder of Cunningham Law, PLLC, where he represents clients in complex civil litigation across North Carolina.  He is also manager of Axiom Property Development, LLC, where he works to deliver workforce housing in the Triangle.  Cunningham obtained his BA with Honors and JD from UNC Chapel Hill and MSc from the London School of Economics.  He currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserve and recently completed a fourth active duty tour.  He is also a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2020, Cunningham was the Democratic Nominee for United States Senate in North Carolina.
    Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Senator Thom Tillis
    Senator Thom Tillis was first elected to represent North Carolina in 2014 and is currently serving in his second term after being re-elected in 2020. Senator Tillis is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and Judiciary Committee. Before serving in the Senate, he was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina General Assembly where he played an instrumental role in enacting job-creating policies and reforming North Carolina’s tax and regulatory codes. He lives with his wife Susan in Huntersville, North Carolina, and they are the proud parents of two grown children and grandparents to two grand-daughters.
    Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Senator Thom Tillis

    Event Moderator

    Sarah Treul Roberts is a Bowman and Gordon Gray Term Professor of political science at UNC. She is currently working on a book project analyzing the rise of inexperienced candidates and anti-establishment rhetoric in congressional elections. She also serves as faculty director for the Program for Public Discourse and as a co-editor for Legislative Studies Quarterly.

    Speech Competition: How Can UNC Educate a Global Citizen?

    On November 30 at 5:30pm, the Program for Public Discourse and the UNC Department of Communication will be hosting a speech competition at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Building. The event will be followed by a reception with pizza.

    The theme is How Can UNC Educate a Global Citizen.

    The winners will receive:
    $500 for 1st Place
    $200 for 2nd Place
    $100 for 3rd Place
    The competition is open to all UNC Undergraduate Students.
    Contact Kevin Marinelli (kmarinelli@unc.edu) to audition.
    Date: November 30, 2022
    Times: 05:30pm – 06:30 pm
    Audience: Public

    Student Fellows

    Student Opportunities

    We connect our students directly with our speakers through classroom visits and offer UNC-CH students the chance to involve themselves in the PPD as Agora Fellows:

    Faculty Outreach

    Faculty Collaboration

    We invite all faculty schedule faculty consultations or participate in our seminars and workshops.



    We seek to offer the broader UNC community and general public perspectives on important issues that they may not otherwise get on campus.