Kara Dillard

Kara Dillard

Lecturer, University of Washington | Moderator Training Specialist, Kettering Foundation

Dr. Kara N. Dillard is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and the moderator training specialist with the Kettering Foundation. Her research focuses on the role of public issues moderators in bringing communities to common ground via deliberative practices. As a facilitator herself, she has moderated over 70 deliberative dialogues across a series of topics on her campus, in the community, and online. At the UW, she has taught classes in Social Problems, Political Deliberation, Civic Engagement in Urban Governance and Facilitation in Action. She has been published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research and the International Journal of Communication.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

I work a lot with college students who have grown up thinking politics is a dirty word and that their participation in our democracy doesn’t have an impact. Innovations that encourage young adults to see how people are listening to them and that their voices make an impact is crucial for the functioning and sustaining of our democracy. Innovations like online budget games and online deliberation are key tools to energize students.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

What do these innovations look like in the real world? What works and what hasn’t worked? How can I translate these new practices to my campus and city? These are the sorts of questions I hope to answer after attending the conference.