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Last Update: 6 months ago
Signup Date: Oct. 17, 2007
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Higher Ed Group, Decision-Making, Everybody!, New England

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1 years ago

NancyThomas updated their profile.

2 years ago

NancyThomas updated their profile.

My Personal Info
Full Name: Nancy Thomas, J.D., Ed.D
NCDD Member Since: Oct. 5, 2002
Contact For: The Democracy Imperative
About Me: I have a checkered past — as a litigator (not so good) and as university counsel (pretty good). By 1990, however, I was exhausted by the adversarial nature of public life and inspired by the few but potent examples of democratic leadership and civic education demonstrated on some campuses. I left the practice of law to study leadership, ethics, and decision making at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. There, I experienced a form of collaborative and discussion based learning that I had never dreamed could exist.

My life’s work is in democratic education, ethical decision making, participatory governance, conflict transformation, and dialogue and deliberation. I direct the Democracy Imperative at the University of New Hampshire, a network of academics and practitioners committed to strengthening public life and deliberative democracy in and through higher education. I work with colleges and universities to set up study circles programs, issue forums, intergroup dialogues, and other discourse communities. My work includes conflict (and crisis) prevention and management, organizational change, faculty development and curriculum reform, diversity, and community ethics. I am often brought in to help campuses sort through challenges related to academic freedom, free speech, workplace ethics and civility, and diversity.

I live outside of Hartford, Connecticut and work nationally. I live with my husband, our two great kids, ages 12 and 16, and a snarly but cute-to-look-at dog in a cottage-like home with great sunsets and yoga mats in everyroom..
My Interest Areas: higher education, democratic education, ethics, decision making, participatory leadership
My Work
Organization Name: The Democracy Imperative at the University of New Hampshire
Title / Position: Director
Description: The Democracy Imperative is a national network of educators and practitioners dedicated to strengthening public life and advancing deliberative democracy in and through higher education This is a free, national network. Members work in communities of practice or design collaborative projects (e.g., working papers, workshops, convenings, programs on campuses). Our focus areas are teaching and curriculum, leadership and governance, civic engagement, and research. We welcome collaborators and members!
Other Organizations: Senior associate, Study Circles Resource Center; senior associate, New England Resource Center for Higher Education; Advisory Board, Diversity and Democracy (Association of American Colleges and Universities publication); Board member, Glastonbury A Better Chance; Commissioner, Glastonbury Ethics Commission
Where to Find My Work: You’ll find a lot of resources and some articles on the TDI web site, I particularly recommend the framing paper and the statement on principles and practices, accessible through the home page. My latest publication is on public reasoning as a learning goal, which can be found at I am proud to have been the organizer and convener of the Wingspread gathering on religion, public life, and higher education. You can read the Wingspread declaration at
My Favorite Links: The TDI web site has a lot of links related to higher education. I hate to pick favorites!
My Contact Info
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: 860-657-9907
Website URL:
Street Address: 3 Arrowhead Drive
City: Glastonbury
State/Province: CT
Zip or Country Code: 06033
NCDD Involvement
Member Type: Individual Member (non-dues-paying)
NCDD 2002 Attendee: Yes
Mentorship Program: N/A
I’d like to: I’ll be organizing a pre-conference workshop for NCDD on higher education and DD. Collaborators welcome!
Other involvement: I’ll be coordinating the higher education group.

I am co-facilitating a pre-conference workshop the day before the 2008 NCDD conference begins in Austin. The workshop is entitled “Deliberative Democracy and Higher Education: A Workshop on Innovative Democratic Education and Leadership.”

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