Public Agenda
Susan Shelton, Ph.D. Director of Public Engagement Programs

Susan directs the public engagement department at Public Agenda, designing, managing and implementing projects across the country. Susan provides technical assistance to Public Agenda’s partners by conducting focus groups, facilitating deliberative conferences, leading trainings in effective facilitation, publishing comprehensive conference analysis and reports, and providing strategic guidance for the design of engaging and productive stakeholder conversations related to complex and divisive issues.

Susan has just completed her doctorate at the University of Bradford’s Peace Studies department in Yorkshire. In her research, based on deliberative democracy theory and practice, Susan evaluated the democratic legitimacy of a series of public meetings convened to debate the authorization of a proposed open-pit gold mine in Transylvania, Romania.

While pursuing her doctorate, Susan also worked as a program director, mediator and trainer for Community Accord. She co-founded and managed Community Accord’s Community Mediation Program, which earned awards for volunteer satisfaction and for community impact. As part of Community Accord’s public policy mediation program, Susan convened and facilitated public engagement programs and projects that brought together government officials, individuals, experts and business and civil society representatives to debate environmental, community development, ethnic conflict and social justice policy issues. She also holds a M.S. in Policy Analysis and Public Management from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant.

Areas of expertise: public and stakeholder engagement, convening design and facilitation, facilitation training, mediation, qualitative research, environmental impact assessment and deliberative democracy theory.