Senior Research Associate, Web-Based Communication
Maak manages WestEd’s WebDialogues development and production. She has evolved a successful development and production strategy based on dialogues she produced in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, members of the U.S. Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Legislative committees, California and U.S. Departments of Education, and the California legislature. The dialogue process, coupled with WestEd's information management tools, creates a powerful resource for lawmakers, agencies, and organizations to engage the public.
WestEd recently co-hosted a WebDialogue for the U.S. Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (21st CCLC). Participants discussed the characteristics of high quality after-school programming, the professional development needs of the 21st CCLC community, and the challenges inherent in addressing those needs. The three-day dialogue involved over 500 people — state coordinators, program directors, site coordinators, activity leaders, K–12 educators, and representatives of community-based organizations nationwide. Participants contributed their insights and concerns, helping to inform the development of an online learning portal for the after-school community.
Maak's dialogue work integrates prior experience conducting human relations training, developing extracurricular classes for gifted students, creating a transportation alternatives program for the University of California at Berkeley, managing the Consortium for School Networking, and developing online dialogues with Information Renaissance.
A chapter describing Maak's dialogue work entitled, "Bringing the Public and Government Together Through Online Dialogues," is included in The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century (Jossey-Bass, 2005). Articles published in the National Civic Review describe WebDialogues conducted for the International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada, Washington State legislative committees, and Virginia Delegate Kristin Amundson, who held two dialogues about the state budget with high school students in her district.
She received a BA in psychology from the University of New Mexico and an MEd in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.