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[Above: Author Introduction Video]

Jacquelyn Yvonne McCray, PhD, is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Philomena Essed, Dissertation Chair, [Left] with Dr. Jacquelyn McCray [Right] after her Dissertation Defense, May, 2014,

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The research explored the interactions and experiences of participants and facilitators in civic deliberative dialogue and how they worked through tension and conflict. The dissertation question asked: What is the lived experience of participants and facilitators of civic deliberative dialogue and how do group members collectively move beyond tensions and disagreements that surface during dialogue processes? The study analyzed the joint influences of tension and disagreement within the context of seven deliberative dialogues convened on the topics of race, race relations and racism. Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze qualitative research data collected from participant volunteers and facilitators. A constructivist approach, grounded theory allowed for evaluation of the interactions of participants derived from informal observations of the deliberative dialogue process and from research data gathered through semi-structured interviews, open and axial coding, and constant comparison. Using dimensional analysis, theoretical propositions emerged which convey new understanding about the ways deliberative dialogue participants confronted the difficult topics of race and racism, their shifts in perspective, and new understanding and insights generated during the process. Civic deliberative dialogue puts everyday people at the center of local problem solving. As a form of local engagement, it arms civic groups with an approach and practice for tackling difficult issues through authentic conversations that build relationships and offers a means for peeling back divergent thoughts, opinions, and interests. The civic dialogue literature includes little about confrontation and opposition during deliberative dialogue. The research produced three theoretical propositions ("creating space to move from tension to healing"; "heart stories, hurt stories—hearing and understanding differently"; and "sustaining the conversation, bridging the divide"), adds to the body of scholarly literature on civic engagement and lends understanding about how sustained deliberative dialogue promotes grassroots leadership, and creates an environment of civility and working through (Yankelovich, 1991) for healthier, more productive communities. This dissertation is accompanied by a video file (MP4), author introduction, and a PDF of a PowerPoint file used during the dissertation defense. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at AURA, and OhioLink ETD Center,'


Dr. Jacquelyn McCray, Senior Manager at Management Partners, has more than 25 years of experience in local government management. Nine of those years were with the City of Cincinnati, where she was a budget analyst, project manager and land-use planner. Since joining Management Partners Jacquelyn has been a key staff member on myriad projects analyzing development review processes, performance measurement and organizational review. She is particularly adept at process improvement, benchmarking, performance management and measures, and focus group facilitation.

Jacquelyn is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the American Planning Association, and a certified economic development professional. She served as a member and vice chairperson of the Cincinnati City Planning Commission for nine years. During her tenure with the City of Cincinnati, Jacquelyn was a member of the City Manager’s Performance Team and helped develop performance measurement training materials for all city departments. She has also served as a city planner and a budget and evaluation.

With Management Partners, Jacquelyn has led development review process analyses and improvement projects for the Louisville, Kentucky consolidated government; the cities of Cape Coral, Largo and North Port Florida; Wichita, Lenexa and Olathe, Kansas; Nevada County, California; the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas; Lexington, and Louisville, Kentucky; Howard County, Maryland; Novi, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Aurora, Colorado; Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

On performance measurement and management review projects, Jacquelyn has assisted the District of Columbia; Arlington County Public Schools and Loudoun County, Virginia; the Louisville, Kentucky consolidated government; the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas; King County, Washington, Westerville, Ohio and Manchester, Connecticut. She also conducts performance measurement training sessions for local government employees.

Jacquelyn has completed organization development and improvement reviews, position analyses and service consolidation assessments for agencies across the country. Among them are Berks County, Pennsylvania; Kansas City, Kansas; the Nashville (Tennessee) Airport Authority; Kenton County and the consolidated governments of Louisville and Lexington Kentucky; the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana; Lancaster and Muhlenberg, Pennsylvania, Chesapeake, Hampton, and Norfolk, Virginia; and Blue Ash, Montgomery and Sycamore Community Schools in Ohio. Jacquelyn has also assisted the following jurisdictions and agencies in the development of strategic plans: Montgomery, Ohio; Manchester, Connecticut; the Hamilton County, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Connecticut, Morgantown, West Virginia, and Margate, Florida.

In addition to her degree from Antioch University, she holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Cincinnati.

McCray_Defense_150514.pdf (2721 kB)
Dissertation Defense Presentation

McCray_Author_Intro.mp4 (10832 kB)
Author Introduction Video