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UNC School of Government

Public Engagement: the Vital Leadership Skill for Difficult Times

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Across the nation, cities, counties and special districts face unprecedented decisions on issues ranging from budgets, to land use, to housing, to community resilience. Addressing these challenges and opportunities requires more participatory and transparent ways of arriving at policy solutions. Conclusions that could once be reached through bargaining at the stakeholder level, now require new methods of reaching the full diversity and creativity of community voices. This can be a challenging undertaking, but managed effectively, public involvement on important decisions can lead to more creative, sustainable solutions.

In this practical and participatory seminar, you will learn:

  • The “public engagement spectrum” from informing to empowering your residents
  • When your city, county, or special district is ready to engage the public
  • How to appropriately match your purpose for engagement to an appropriate process.
  • How to design and implement an effective public process


Lydian Altman works with and across various public sector organizations to diagnose, design, develop, and deliver leadership programs and services for public officials through the School’s Center for Public Leadership and Governance. Since she joined the School in 1999, her work has included cons...