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World Cafe

A Group Conversational Process

A "World Café" is a group conversational process that was pioneered in California in 1995 and has been used successfully by hundreds of organizations.

The conversations connect and build on each other as people move between groups and hear different points of view.

The process stimulates a group’s collective intelligence to build consensus on how to solve a problem, inform decisions, or attain a common goal.

Consensus Building Forums

On September 20 through 22, 2011, Campus Planning & Architecture representatives and our master planning consultant team organized five (3-hour) information and consensus building forums which were attended by nearly 130 people.

Approximately 320 invitations were sent to a broad cross section of University alumni, staff, faculty and senior leaders; city aldermen, planners, local architects and community members; and our ULSU Executive Council. A general invitation was extended to nearly 500 students living in residence. Associate Director of Campus Planning & Architecture, Spencer Court, personally canvassed the library and other campus spaces to promote the master planning process, encourage student engagement and personally invite dozens of students to participate in the forums.

Complementary Strategies

To ensure that we had reached the broadest demographic possible, members of the campus alumni and local communities were invited to participate and provide input in further defining key planning considerations. See News.

In order to further engage the student population, in consultation with the Student's Union student executive the World Cafe strategy was extended through an experimental Whiteboard Forum & Facebook Campaign presented at six locations across campus over a ten day period.

Facilitator Michel de Jocas, Educational Consulting Services (ECS)

University of Lethbridge President and Vice Chancellor, Mike Mahon

University Architect & Campus Planner, Spencer Court (Campus Planning & Architecture)

Management Professor, Dan Kazakoff (right), UMSU President, Zach Moline (centre)