SPD109 - The Art of Public Consultation

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-23 12:35:35.903
Last review date 2018-07-23 12:35:35.905

Subject Title
The Art of Public Consultation

Subject Description
In this course, students gain insight into best practices guiding interactions between councils, administration, media, and the public. Students are introduced to the practice of mediation, negotiation, and a number of public participation processes. Students also have an opportunity to develop their own skills in public consultation through simulations and real world observations.

Credit Status
One credit toward the Sustainable Planning and Development Certificate program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  • Evaluate and analyze the role of public consultation professionals/process stewards.
  • Apply principles and strategies to design, facilitate, and document credible engagement processes.
  • Support the public engagement/consultation process in Planning by employing key facilitative tools.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at student.conduct@senecacollege.ca.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

Unit 1 Course Overview: The Public Engagement Profession and the Role of Bureaucrats and Elected Officials – Pt. 1
Unit 2 Stakeholder and Issue Mapping: Identifying Open and Closed Doors
Unit 3 Packaging the Work and Framing the Narrative in the Planning Context
Unit 4 Promoting Understanding: Addressing Fear/Discomfort
Unit 5 Keeping Conversations Constructive
Unit 6 Engagement Tactics: Face-to-Face – Hosting, Facilitating, Promoting, and Acting
Unit 7 Engagement Tactics: Face-to-Face and Other Approaches
Unit 8 Engagement Tactics: Online
Unit 9 The Public Experience and Consultations (Presentation Delivery)
Unit 10 Developing an Engagement Plan
Unit 11 The Public Engagement Profession and the Role of Bureaucrats and Elected Officials – Pt. 2
Unit 12 Final Thoughts: Communication and the Planning Profession
Unit 13 Course Wrap Up
Unit 14 Course Wrap Up/Evaluations

Mode of Instruction
Lectures, group work, fieldwork, plenary discussions, written assignments, and presentations.

Prescribed Texts
Swerhun, Nicole. 2012. Discuss. Decide. Do. The Value of Engagement as a Decision Support Tool. Toronto: SWERHUN Inc. ISBN: 978-0991771301

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online (http://www.senecacollege.ca/academic-policy) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on which they are due.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer.

English Proficiency
  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
    • writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
    • spelling and punctuation are correct
    • sentences are structured correctly
    • main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
    • work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
    • work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
    • up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.

Format for Assignments
  • Students must use the standard, APA style for quoting sources.   Help is available at:  http://library.senecacollege.ca

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:
In-class exercises 15%
News Article Presentation 20%
Presentation (Critique) 25%
Proposal Response 40%


Approved by: Denis Gravelle