“Many Americans feel silenced, so they are shutting down and refusing to talk about politics. At the Stubblefield Institute, we believe that we need to talk about politics more. Not less.” – David Welch, Institute Director


The Stubblefield Institute places great value on conversation as an important step in bridging divergent views and learning to debate politics in an authentic, meaningful way. Only by breaking away from our partisanship and group can we minimize polarization. Our public forums are dedicated to this purpose.

The American Conversation Series (ACS) This dynamic series of public forums presents high-profile speakers from all sides of the partisan and ideological aisle to discuss competing approaches and solutions. The forums—open to students and the public alike—include elected leaders, political and media personalities, and policy experts.


Candidate Town Halls and Debates

From the White House to the Courthouse, the Stubblefield Institute will always be a safe, civil zone for a robust discussion between candidates. Here, candidates can bring their ideas, passion, and beliefs for how they see the best way forward for our community, state, and nation.


The Stubblefield Civility Awards

Presented annually to elected leaders and members of the media for consistent displays of fairness and civility, this award calls attention to those who have consistently set a positive example of constructive debate, while also earning respect from those with whom they disagree



March 12, 2020

Healthcare: The Issue of Our Time- POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE

Due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19), The Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications, regretfully, is postponing this forum for a later date. Once rescheduled, this forum will present an all-star panel of experts, each with different approaches to healthcare, ranging from free-market solutions to Obamacare to Medicare for all. We thank our sponsors by WVU Berkeley/Jefferson Medical Center, Meritus Health and Valley Health.


February 3, 2020

Talking Politics in An Angry America: How Do We Discuss Politics in a Divided Nation?

Moderated by Convergence founder and president Rob Fersh, this panel consisted of Frank Sesno, former CNN political correspondent, Scott Widmeyer, former media director to President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale, and Kelly Johnston, former Secretary of the U.S. Senate under Bob Dole. A video of the forum can be seen here.


November 4, 2019

An Evening with Donna Brazile and Mercedes Schlapp: The State of Political Discourse in Today’s America.

This exciting ACS featured former Democratic Chairwoman and President Trump’s media director discuss political civility in our divided nations. Shepherd University President, Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, served as moderator. These two powerful women shared views that ranged from Donna’s fried chicken recipe to the impeachment of President Trump. Although feisty at times, civility and respect ruled the day. This forum was broadcast live to a national audience by C-SPAN. It can be seen here.


October 1, 2019

The Stubblefield Institute of Civil Political Communication Dedication

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito, representing two parties but one state, come together to help dedicate the Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications. You can view the dedication here.


Corporate ACS Sponsors

Single and multiple event sponsorships are available for foundations, companies, and associations. Sponsors will receive maximum exposure in our email and printed materials, banner, and signage display, mention from the event’s master-of-ceremonies and invitations to all pre-event presidential receptions. Please call Director David Welch at 304-876-5005 to discuss becoming a corporate sponsor.


Coming Soon to the Stubblefield Institute

Stubblefield Podcast Series

The Stubblefield Institute is currently working to develop a podcast series, that will feature discussions with prominent experts on important political and policy issues.


“Working Together” A Mini-Documentary Series

The Stubblefield Institute is presently working to produce a series of mini-documentaries featuring examples of historical bi-partisan cooperation that led to notable outcomes. Titles will be announced in the Summer of 2020, with production to begin soon thereafter.



Planning for Academic Year 20/21 now in planning stages. Stay tuned for the announcement of more exciting forums as part of The American Conversation Series.

Friends of The American Conversation Series

Friends of ACS is a special way to support this important forum series and belong to a community that believes in positive discourse and constructive debate. All proceeds go to securing the highest quality experts and nationally known speakers. Individuals can join at our Gold ($500), Silver ($250), or Bronze ($100) levels. All members will be listed in our forum programs. Gold members will be invited to all pre-event presidential receptions. Silver members will receive two invitations to presidential receptions. Bronze members will receive one invitation.