Great Decisions

Stimulate the Grey Matter!  Widen Your Horizons!  Understand World Affairs!

Great DecisionsThe GREAT DECISIONS discussion group enables participants to understand current events and appreciate news as it unfolds.

It’s a program that gives residents an opportunity to learn, think, share, grapple with decisions that policy makers have to make and remain engaged with world issues.  It’s exciting and stimulating – not just for history buffs or world travelers – for all adults who wish to be informed and alert!

THE GREAT DECISIONS is a monthly study group on world affairs using materials created by the Foreign Policy Association.  The materials include a briefing book for each person with eight impartial, thought-provoking analyses on eight issues of concern to U.S. policymakers today. Each topic includes background information, current data and policy options in about 15 pages and is introduced on a DVD for group viewing.

Those enrolled in the group purchase the materials for about $20, read the appropriate topic for the month and then join the group on its monthly 90-minute meeting to view the DVD and a facilitated discussion of the topic.

The topics for 2017 are:

  • The Future of Europe
  • Trade and Politics
  • Conflict in the South China Sea
  • Saudi Arabia in Transition
  • S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum
  • Latin America’s Political Pendulum
  • Nuclear Security

Leadership can operate in different ways.  Participants can take turns leading a topic.  Outside experts can be invited. Many groups that rotate the facilitator find that their leaders are not capable of the role and not willing to devote the time necessary to prepare.  Groups that are led by a consistent trained facilitator find that this is a productive and informative way to learn.

You can solve the dilemma of effective leadership by inviting Dr. Shadle to serve as your facilitator.

FACILITATOR: Dr. Carolyn Shadle

Dr. Shadle is a trained and experienced facilitator with a PhD in Communication and experience teaching small-group behavior.  For many years she has facilitated the Great Decisions group at the White Sands La Jolla Senior Community as well as the Vi Senior Community in La Jolla, CA.

Dr. Shadle is skilled in formulating questions (drawn from the materials), listening to responses and encouraging turn-taking among group members.  She knows how to create an atmosphere in which people can actively explore the material so that everyone is participating in the learning.

Now is the time to begin thinking about setting up a group. Contact us for further information, costs and references.


The Great Decisions class at White Sands is one of the few classes that not only keeps a steady enrollment, but has kept increasing its membership – all due to Carolyn Shadle, who facilitates it. The involvement of the residents is evident. She knows how to engage us and encourage us to contribute insights from our readings and travel.   I can highly recommend Carolyn Shadle as a leader of Great Decisions.

—Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.
Member of White Sands Great Decisions group