I am glad to share highlights from a discussion with six local government and health affairs colleagues in Kannapolis, NC on September 20th. While discussing evaluation of public participation, someone said, “I see participation different from engagement.”
That comment led to a vigorous discussion.
From my perspective, the terms are often used interchangeably. I was interested in how those doing a lot of participation/engagement see the differences.
In my role as an associate professor at the School of Government, I often find myself leading discussions with various groups on the topic of public engagement. Just within the last couple of months I have spoken with numerous current and future government officials about public engagement practice, including:
a local elected official here in Chapel Hill,
several local government staff members from various communities here in North Carolina,
dozens of MPA students, many of which are current public service practitioners, and
a group of government officers from India.
I also read a lot about and conduct research on various aspects of public engagement. With that in mind, there are some overarching observations or principles that I keep coming back to that I’d like to share here on the blog. Continue Reading