Policy Analysis and Civic Engagement


The Chiesman Center’s Policy Analysis & Civic Engagement (PACE) component offers independent program evaluation, research and strategic planning for organizations and governmental entities.  Services also include facilitation of non-partisan forums for the thoughtful discussion of public policy issues in search of strategies and solutions.  It is a project that brings citizens together to discuss and deliberate through active dialogue on public policy issues in order to make more informed decisions and to promote civic leadership for implementing and sustaining the public will.


PACE provides strategic planning and leadership development services for non-profit organizations and local governmental entities in order to ensure a clear understanding of necessary actions and targeted use of limited resources.

PACE acts as a third-party moderator, allowing multiple opposing viewpoints to be heard while working towards the creation of shared goals and/or understanding.

PACE also performs public polling and analyses of public policies and issues.  Reports from these polls contribute to a richer discussion of an issue so that citizens can come to common ground for a possible solution or direction for action.

PACE provides workshops to help citizens become moderators, conveners, recorders, and reporters of community discussions using a deliberative dialogue forum format.  The forums provide a way for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of a problem and to search for common ground for action.

PACE forum workshops help individuals interested in:

  • Convening public forums and helping citizens discuss difficult issues;
  • Learning a new skill set or enhancing current facilitation skills; and
  • Incorporating public deliberation into workgroup, classroom, committee, or community discussions.

PACE public forums provide:

  • An opportunity for citizens to join together to deliberate, to make choices with others about ways to approach difficult issues and to work toward creating reasoned public judgment;
  • An opportunity for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of a problem; and
  • An opportunity for people to get past heated debate about difficult issues and instead, consider an issue from multiple angles and find common ground for action.


"I’ve attended a number of issue forms, they are always well organized and the facilitators ensure that everyone actively participates. They really do a great job."
Jane P.
Rapid City, SD

Who makes this happen

Rob Timm

Wes Brown
Special Projects Director

Tamara Heidinger-Larson
Office Manager

News & Events

Open States app available

Posted: September 11, 2014

Who are my legislators?

Posted: December 30, 2016

Voting Center expansion in SD

Posted: July 02, 2014


“I am convinced that Kids Voting is the most effective program for teaching the next generation of voters the importance of informed participation.”
Chris Nelson, SD Public Utilities Commissioner
Pierre, SD

Member Resources

Kids Voting Activities