In today’s economy, communities need collaboration to get things done, and they need civic engagement to get collaboration. Local government and non-profit organizations can gain the skills they need to create this type of collaboration through the West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Public Administration’s workshop on collaborative governance.

The department will host a one-day workshop for West Virginia community leaders on planning for stronger local democracy. The program will be facilitated by acclaimed author and consultant on collaborative democratic governance and civic engagement, Matt Leighninger.

“Building Democracy in Your Community,” will be held on Thursday, Aug. 30, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair’s Room. The workshop is free of charge and open to the public; seats are limited to 60. Registration is required.

Workshop participants will leave the workshop prepared to host a series of community meetings designed to build the civic infrastructure necessary for collaborative planning and action. These preliminary activities increase readiness for successful community and economic development projects that are sustainable through cross-sector partnerships. The workshop will provide tools, techniques and materials developed for use in local governance contexts by governments, nonprofits and civic organizations.

Matt Leighninger is the executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, an alliance of the major organizations and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public engagement. The consortium represents more than 50 foundations, nonprofit organizations and universities, collaborating to support research activities and advance democratic practice in North America and around the world.

Over the last 16 years, Leighninger has worked with public engagement efforts in more than 100 communities in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. He is a senior associate for Everyday Democracy, and serves on the boards of E-Democracy.Org, the National School Public Relations Association and The Democracy Imperative. He has also been a consultant to the National League of Cities, NeighborWorks America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the League of Women Voters.

His first book, “The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule is Giving Way to Shared Governance—and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same,” was released in 2006 by Vanderbilt University Press. It traces the recent shifts in the relationship between citizens and government, and examines how these trends are reshaping our democracy.

Co-sponsors of the event are the West Virginia Center for Civic Life and the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

Workshop participation is free but is limited to 60 attendees. Please register online to reserve your place.

For more information about the event, contact Assistant Professor Margaret Stout at or via phone at 304-293-7978.



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