Student Associate Program

The Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for students who are academically driven and looking to give back to the Northern Colorado community.

Why Join?

The CPD is an incredible opportunity to earn CSU credits while simultaneously developing skills that 1) are highly sought by employers, 2) are useful to the community, and 3) put academic theory into practice.

Students who complete the program have the chance to develop a vast array of communicational and organizational skills such as facilitation, event planning, community outreach, data entry and analysis, video recording and editing, and project management. As a result, students who include these skills on their resume report getting hired by various companies based mainly on interview questions related to their work with the CPD.

Fort Collins and the surrounding Northern Colorado community is known as one of the most desirable places to live in the country, and the CPD definitely plays a role in making our community great. We help our community talk through tough issues like AirBnb/VRBO regulation, BOB Tax policies, marijuana legalization, and homelessness (to name a few) so that citizens can be more informed about political decisions that affect our lives. As a facilitator, you are on the front lines of this process helping citizens become more engaged in their community and ultimately, you will play a major part in making our community a better place.

Finally, participation in the CPD is a great way to put some of the skills you learn in the classroom to actual use. Students learning about topics related to communication, management, conflict management, relationship building, and politics get the chance to apply skills that can often seem overly theoretical, and thus, make better use of their college education.

Program Details

Every semester, the CPD recruits about 15 new students to become trained conversation facilitators. Students are enrolled in a 3-credit course, SPCM 408, to learn all of the skills needed for managing effective and meaningful conversations.

Following this first semester, students are required to register for at least one credit of practicum (SPCM 486). Every practicum credit is equal to 40 hours of CPD related work. This work includes facilitating at community events, working on a CPD team (i.e. process analysis, teaching, public relations, and research), data entry, and many other skill-building duties. Though students are only required to stick around for one semester for SPCM 486, most continue with the CPD for multiple semesters.

SPCM 408 details

Class time: Fall MW 4-5:15 or Spring TTH 3:30-4:45

SPCM majors

  • 3 credits toward SPCM elective

Non-SPCM majors

  • 3 credits toward general elective
SPCM 486 credit details

After completing SPCM 408, students have the opportunity to continue the program and complete SPCM 486 practicum hours as a Senior Associate to utilize their new skills for community events about various issues and decisions that need to be made.

SPCM majors

  • Up to 3 credits toward SPCM electives
  • After 3, 18 credits toward general electives


Non-SPCM majors

  • As many credits as you want
  • Count as general elective
Who has been a CPD student associate?

While the Center for Public Deliberation is operated out of the Communication Studies (SPCM) department, we welcome and encourage all majors to apply for our program regardless of your year at CSU. Many MA programs also allow this course to count towards your degree. 

Majors represented (now and in past):

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Business
  • English
  • Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Psychology
  • Journalism and Media Communication
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Greenhouse Gas Management
  • Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
  • Communication Studies
  • Biomedical Science
  • Health and Exercise Science