Student Associate Program

Develop a skill that can be applied to nearly any industry: the ability to get people to connect and problem solve.

About the Program

The Center for Public Deliberation has been facilitating community conversations for over 10 years. Every semester, the CPD selects 15-20 new students to become trained facilitators. Students are enrolled in a 3-credit course, Applied Deliberative Techniques, to learn all of the skills needed to manage effective and meaningful conversations.

Following the first semester, students are required to register for at least one credit of practicum. Every practicum credit is equal to 45 hours of CPD-related work. This work includes facilitating at community events, working on a CPD team, data entry, and various other skill-building tasks. Though students are only required to complete one semester of practicum, most continue earning credits with the CPD for multiple semesters.

Learn about our deliberative projects.

Why Apply?

The CPD is an incredible opportunity to earn CSU credits while simultaneously developing professional skills and working in our communities.

Develop skills employers want

Students who complete the program develop skills in many important areas including:

  • Facilitation
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • Conflict management
  • Community engagement
  • Data entry and analysis
  • Project management

CPD students in their second semester onward also have the opportunity to be more involved in process design, public relations, and research. According to Forbes, the ability to work in teams, make decisions and solve problems, and communicate verbally are the skills most sought out by employers. The CPD can teach you how to do just that.

Make a change in your community

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 plays a role in making our community great. We help our community talk through tough issues like affordable housing, climate change, elder abuse, and homelessness (to name a few). This empowers citizens to be more informed about political decisions that affect their lives. As a facilitator, you are on the front lines, helping citizens to become more engaged and ultimately, playing a major part in making our community a better place.

Put your education to work

Participation in the CPD is a great way to put some of the skills you learn in the classroom to actual use. Students oftentimes learn about communication, management, conflict management, relationship building, and politics in their classes. These classes, however, can seem overly theoretical.  Group projects or class activities can feel more like a simulation than the real thing. Student associates get the chance to apply skills they’ve learned throughout their education in real-world scenarios. Many CPD students have gone on to work in city governments, state governments, law offices, and some have even opened their own facilitation firms!


About Our Students

While the Center for Public Deliberation operates 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.

Students associates have majored in:

  • 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

Questions about fitting the CPD into your degree program? Send us an e-mail at or visit us in Clark B322!

Linda Cates Scholarship for Democratic Deliberation

Students who are enrolled in the CPD and have at least a 3.2 GPA are eligible to apply for this scholarship opportunity. Recipients are selected each semester. Learn more.