Equity and Engagement in Communities

Michele Holt-Shannon speaking to a group of volunteers at a NH Listens event.

June 12 – August 1, 2020

Enroll deadline has passed.

This graduate-level, 3-credit online course combines several synchronous sessions with asynchronous learning over a period of eight weeks. Public engagement in communities requires keen skills in listening and facilitating deliberative processes that are framed with an equity lens. Current and future public leaders need the knowledge and skills necessary for addressing inequities and discrimination in public decision-making. In this online course, students will learn about the theories and practices associated with public engagement, equity, and dialogue in public spaces.

The Public Engagement in Communities – Using an Equity Lens for Listening and Dialogue course introduces theoretical frameworks and established practices effective for increasing social equity and fostering inclusive participation in the decisions that impact people’s lives. Students will engage in discussions about their identities, biases, and power within their work, learning, and home communities. Students will also learn about facilitation strategies that guide challenging conversations, address conflict, and build coalitions ready for collaborative action.

Team taught by practitioners and scholars in equity and public engagement, we ground this course in case examples from our work in schools, towns, state and regional initiatives.

To register for Continuing Education classes, call (603-862-1500) or email (registrars.office@unh.edu) the UNH Registrar's Office. They will assist you with registering for the course. See more registration directions below.

Course: Public Engagement in Communities - Using an Equity Lens for Listening and Dialogue, PA 897F (1SY)(earn 3 graduate-level course credits which can be applied to any Carsey graduate degree program)

Dates: June 12 – August 1, 2020

Delivery: This course is offered as an online program consisting of 3 synchronous sessions combined with asynchronous learning, as follows:

Synochronous Session Dates/Times –

  • June 12 (Friday): 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • June 13 (Saturday): 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • August 1 (Saturday): 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Synochronous Session Dates/Times –

  • June 14 – July 31

Pre-Requisites: Bachelor's Degree (Please note: if you do not have a bachelor’s degree, contact Sanjeev.Sharma@unh.edu to see if this requirement can be waived.)

Cost: NH residents $1696; Non-residents $1861 (for both costs, includes tuition + $20 registration fee + $26 technology fee)

Registration: Course Registration: Call (603-862-1500) or email (registrars.office@unh.edu) the UNH Registrar's Office. They will assist you with registering for the course (note that you will need to provide your undergraduate transcripts). For details about registering as a Continuing Education student, please visit the Continuing Education webpage.

Registration deadline is Friday, June 5, 2020

Image of Michele Holt-Shannon

Michele Holt-Shannon is director and co-founder for New Hampshire Listens at the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. Her work on and off campus is focused on inclusive civic engagement, community problem-solving, and building coalitions for community-initiated change efforts. She joined Carsey in 2011 to focus on process design to ensure fair, inclusive, and informed outcomes for local and statewide projects. She works to bring people together across perspectives and backgrounds to solve problems and create equitable solutions for their communities.

Michele is consulted on navigating controversial community issues and fostering organizational and community cultures of sustainable civic engagement. Recent projects include statewide conversations on the American dream and NH’s kids, mental health and substance use, community police relations, race and equity, and water sustainability. Michele is a Senior Associate with Everyday Democracy and a 2018 Better Selves Knoll Farm Fellow. She is a graduate of Leadership New Hampshire, Class of 2013.

She earned her MA in higher education and human development from Bowling Green State University, an MTS in world religions and theological studies from Boston College, and a BS in biology and psychology from the University of Alabama.


  • M.A., Higher Educ./Higher Education Admin, Bowling Green State University
  • MTS, Theology & World Religions, Boston College
  • B.S., Biological & Biomedical Sci. Rel., University of Alabama

Registration Deadline: Friday, June 5, 2020

Space for this course is limited and enrollments will be accepted until the course fills.

Questions? Please email Michele Holt-Shannon, Michele.Holt-Shannon@unh.edu

Course Instructors

Image of Michele Holt-Shannon

Michele Holt-Shannon
Director, New Hampshire Listens