Citizen Panels, Timely Topics, Raising the Level of Public Discourse
As a part of its commitment to serve the public good, the University of Denver regularly convenes a group of citizens to examine an issue of particular importance to the people of Colorado. These groups, called strategic issues panels, reflect the University's belief that, as an independent institution, it is in a unique position to make contributions to the state that has been home to the University since our founding in 1864. In a real sense, these panels affirm the values of informed civil discourse, intellectual freedom, open communication and rigor that guide the University of Denver itself.
Panels are non-partisan in their orientation and are comprised of 15-20 citizens appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Denver. Panel members are thoughtful citizens drawn from various segments of the Colorado community. Panels often reflect a diversity of perspectives but do not attempt to be representative in a traditional political sense. Panels seek practical solutions to issues rather than ideologically-oriented outcomes and operate through a consensus process. The goal is to identify underlying issues, develop findings and create a broad strategy to inform public discourse and the efforts of policy makers.
Selecting an Issue
After receiving suggestions and input from a number of sources, the Chancellor and director of the Strategic Issues Program select an issue for the upcoming panel to consider. Typically, the issue chosen will have the following characteristics:
- The issue is of strategic significance in terms of public policy and is a matter of fundamental, long-term importance to Coloradans.
- The issue has reached a critical stage, where the need to address the matter is clear to policy makers and citizens.
- The issue is timely—there is a general feeling that the time to deal with the matter is approaching, and something needs to be done in the reasonably near future.