This week I created a tool to teach the UWEC students about Neutrality in a collaborative process. It was overwhelming to me to think about breaking down an issue as big as neutrality into 25 minutes of a workshop. We spend SO much time on this issue in my CRES classes. I worry that it may not be possible to promote the ideal of neutrality (and it’s importance!) AND do justice to the complexities and impossibilities of actually achieving it. In addition, I wanted to highlight the different role that neutrality plays in a collaborative process depending on your role. I imagine that may of our students will be participants in collaborative processes much before they will be facilitating them. Given this, I wanted to be sure to highlight that parties themselves should NOT be neutral but that facilitators need to give they impression that they are (even as they acknowledge their own bias). Ultimately, I made the handout linked above. I’ll be interested to see how this works with the actual students.
As a side note, this week I started reading the report that Sarah gave me about the district boundary process in Portland Public Schools (PPS). This situation is SO messy! I’m thankful that they have skilled facilitators involved in the process but I imagine that even with a very thoughtfully crafted process, there is going to be a high level of frustration and dissatisfaction with the results.