Building Capacity and Diffusing Innovation in Community Development Education

Grants and Contracts Details


Community development is a critical discipline for the future of rural and urban America. Globalization, technological change and devolution are just a few of the issues buffeting both rural townships and urban neighborhoods. In fact, revitalizing rural communities is so important that it is one of the foremost goals of the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A). In its strategic plan for 2014-18, U.S.D.A identifies its Goal 1 as “Assist(ing) rural communities to create prosperity so that they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving.” (United States Department of Agriculture, 2014). The community development field has grown by over 100,000 jobs to address the amplified need for community enrichment. The increased demand within the workforce created a need for further higher education training in Community Development Education. United States (U.S.) higher education responded by creating 32 Master’s degree programs in colleges and universities across the country that focus on rural and urban community development. While this seems quite positive, there have been several divergences as a result of this growth. Researchers have yet to identify the specific number of undergraduate programs in the field. Furthermore, no foundational education standards or core content for community development education have been recognized or identified. Lastly, the potential synergy associated with multidisciplinary faculty, focusing on rural and urban development, coming together to discuss pedagogical practices to enhance student experiences and engage diverse student audiences, has yet to be realized. Therefore, the focus of this project is to build capacity and diffuse educational innovation within Community Development Education. To complete the project, we propose six objectives: 1. Conduct a national study examining the status of graduate and undergraduate Community Development Education including student demographics, program epistemologies, philosophies, programmatic structure, and educational practices 2. Build capacity by creating and conducting a national education conference focusing on innovative curricula, educational practices, student development and professional development needs within Community Development Education 3. Convene a summit of diverse community education experts to provide leadership and vision for Community Development Education 4. Create a virtual community of practice within Community Development Education to share educational research, practices, resources, and community engagement techniques 5. Develop a special issue of the Community Development Society Journal focusing on the complex dynamics associated with Community Development Education 6. Encourage instructional and programmatic innovation within Community Development Education through a mini-grant system established for graduate and undergraduate educators
Effective start/end date6/1/175/31/21


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $731,296.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.