Timothy J. Shaffer is the inaugural Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Chair of Civil Discourse in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration with a joint appointment in the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware. Shaffer is also director of Civic Engagement and Deliberative Democracy with the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona. Connected to these efforts, Shaffer also serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy, as a country expert on deliberative democracy with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem Institute) research project, and as a co-director guiding the work of the Deliberative Pedagogy Lab, an international project focused on applied scholarship about the ways that deliberation can transform higher education educational approaches and environments.
As an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner of civil discourse, deliberative democracy, public engagement, civic education, and small group communication, Shaffer focuses on the role of civic professionals in institutional settings such as local government, higher education, and non-governmental organizations in relationship with diverse communities. Through his scholarship, he contributes to discussions within fields such as communication studies, higher education, and civic studies where themes of citizenship, professionalism, community, and civic life are explored.
In addition to numerous articles, Dr. Shaffer is a co-editor of Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement (Michigan State University Press, 2017), Jumping into Civic Life: Stories of Public Work from Extension Professionals (Kettering Foundation Press, 2018), Agri-Culture and Future Farming: An Interactivity Foundation Discussion Guidebook (Interactivity Foundation, 2018), A Crisis of Civility? Political Discourse and Its Discontents (Routledge, 2019), Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education (Stylus, 2019), Grassroots Engagement and Social Justice through Cooperative Extension (Michigan State University Press, 2022), and author of Small Group Discussion Methods: An Open Alternative Textbook Initiative (New Prairie Press, 2021).