Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Communications

Advisor(s)

Lori Britt

Robert W. Alexander

Abstract

The integration of the university and its students into the broader Harrisonburg community has promoted increased interaction amongst JMU students, JMU faculty and staff, and community members. Navigating this complex relationship can be challenging and, in recent years, this relationship has become increasingly strained. The following research seeks to cultivate processes that aid in its improvement. The research finds that utilizing dialogue and deliberation as an approach to designing public process is a promising approach to mending and maintaining the relationship between JMU students and the broader Harrisonburg community, as well as to addressing town-gown tension at large. The research also employs a unique, flexible, methodology to allow for ongoing learning in developing a multi-phased, responsive process that helps participants move from understanding to finding sustainable solutions. The research offers insights into how information and perceptions that emerge in dialogic conversation can be used to design processes that transition into collaborative solutions for town-gown tensions.

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