“We think about [Democracy] happening someplace else … and how I think about it and encourage students to think about it: it’s there yes … but it’s also in you.” – Timothy Shaffer, PhD

Today I interviewed Timothy Shaffer, PhD

Timothy J. Shaffer is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. He is also principal research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona. Connected to these efforts, Shaffer also serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy, as a country expert on deliberative democracy with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem Institute) research project, and as a co-director guiding the work of the Deliberative Pedagogy Lab, an international project focused on applied scholarship about the ways that deliberation can transform higher education educational approaches and environments.

As an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner of deliberative democracy, civic education, and small group communication, Shaffer focuses on the role of civic professionals in institutional settings such as local government, higher education, and non-governmental organizations in relationship with diverse communities. Through his scholarship, he contributes to discussions within fields such as communication studies, higher education, and civic studies where themes of citizenship, professionalism, community, and civic life are explored.

He received the Early Career Recognition Award from the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement.

In this episode we speak about:

  • Democracy is more than institutions, it’s also about the individual and a constant practice
  • How Facebook rants are not constructive civil discussion
  • What civility really means
  • People must be able to change your mind is okay
  • The rise in authoritarian is significant and real
  • The idea that colleges make people more liberal is a myth

To catch up with our guest: