Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership Skill in Difficult Times

Date(s) - Jan 13, 2021
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Offered by the American Planning Association’s Central Coast Section and facilitated by Pepperdine University’s Davenport Institute, the two-session seminar, January 13, 2021, and January 20, 2021,  will include instruction and discussion related to best practices and principles in boosting public participation and engagement with local communities, tactics for post-COVID community engagement, and strategies for increasing dialogue with hard to reach communities (vulnerable communities, communities of color, environmental justice communities, disadvantaged communities, non-English speaking community, etc.).

Course Description and Key Learning Outcomes:

Session 1: Public Engagement Basics

This introductory session offers an overview of the current state of public engagement factoring in the pandemic and providing a shared vocabulary and framework . It also invites participants to consider what level of engagement is appropriate to the issue at hand and to consider some common pitfalls to effective engagement.

  • Why Public Engagement and Why Now? exploring challenges to and opportunities for inclusive engagement in our current context of COVID 19 Social distancing as well as heightened polarization in our communities
  • The public engagement spectrum: from informing to empowering your residents.
  • How identifying a common purpose supports a cohesive strategy for public engagement within your department.
  • Key best practices at each point along the public engagement spectrum.
  • Distinctions between stakeholder engagement and broad public engagement
  • The difference between customer relations and public engagement and how they relate to each other.
Session 2: Public Engagement – Putting it Into Practice
  • Engagement tactics: Before, During, and After COVID
  • Key strategies that apply both online and offline
  • Considerations for engaging marginalized communities
  • Designing a good public process: thinking like a marketer, a facilitator, and a participant
  • Stories from the trenches – case stories of success (and a few of failure)

CM Credits: Each of the two sessions provides 2 CM credits for a total of 4 credits


Questions? Contact Clay Downing, Ventura County Sub-Section Director for APA Central Coast