College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Community and Rural Development

Community and rural development programs focus on building the “capacity” of communities by providing residents with information that helps them reach community and economic goals.

Typically, development work is achieved when citizens are learning skills on how to work together to solve problems and share decision making. Both university- and county-based faculty in Cooperative Extension adapt various programs to assess the dynamics of your community. We help focus on how to engage people that you work with – by helping them to envision, plan and implement the change they want to have in their lives.

Our typical audience includes organizations, informal community groups, community leaders and small businesses, as well as municipal officials. Organizational development with boards, nonprofits and community-based groups, and leadership/civic engagement represents a big service area for us. Our CRD programs also complement other specialized areas such as economic development with a special emphasis placed on agribusiness development and marketing local foods, group process and facilitation (informal coaching and technical assistance), and community emergency preparedness.

Community and rural development faculty strive to:

  • Help citizens have effective civic engagement and discourse around local issues.
  • Empower organizations and groups to develop and implement programs that will make a difference in their communities.
  • Provide technical assistance and education to local government, organizations and residents in preparing and responding to natural and man-made disasters.

Prominent Community and Rural Development programs include