Community Development Society

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Stephen Jeanetta

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Please Review Revisions to the Bylaws

The Community Development Society (CDS) Board recently approved changes to the organization’s bylaws in February 2018. The major change involved eliminating two elected officer positions (Vice President for Operations and Vice President for Programs) and replacing them with two other positions (Vice President and Past President). The reason for this change was to more efficiently and effectively manage the organization. Besides holding the annual conference, the organization also provides three publications, maintains an active website, and hosts the Fellows program. Enhancing the role of the Past-president will provide additional institutional memory and continuity. You can find the the proposed changes by going to:


Before implementing these changes, the Board would like to receive comments and input from the CDS membership. There will be two comment opportunities. First, the changes have been posted on  CDS Connect under “General Topics” Just log into the member side of the website, click on CDS Connect and then on General Topics. The bylaw changes should be near the top. Please look over the changes and let us know what you think by sharing your perspective on CDS Connect or by simply sending a note with your input to any of the board members ( In addition, there will be a session at the annual conference in Detroit, July 22-25. As community developers, we believe stakeholder participation is very important. We look forward to your thoughts online and/or at the conference.

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Call for papers for a proposed special issue in Community Development focused on Polarized Communities

Recently, we have witnessed increased polarization on many levels and in a variety of contexts (e.g., politics, class, race, religion, environment, energy). This special issue aims to move communities beyond binary polarization and discover the more nuanced subtleties hidden within the fog of polarization. We hope this spurs practitioners and researchers to explore innovative spaces for finding common ground within a continuum of polarization. We invite authors to submit manuscripts that portray illustrative cases of polarization, explore and share alternative methodologies, advance theory around the construct of polarization, provide a comprehensive literature review, or unveil historical perspectives that inform contemporary practice and research in the field of community development.

In addition, and more broadly, we always encourage submissions of comprehensive reviews of the literature focusing on contemporary questions that help inform our field. Manuscripts of this nature may be submitted for any issue, at any time.

Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to this special issue.
Manuscripts will be due by April 15, 2018.

Leanne M. Avery & John W. Sipple
Co-Editors, Community Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Help CDS Define Community Development

This past summer the International Association for Community Development adopted the following statement defining community development:

Community development is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings.

The community development society is starting a conversation about how we should define community development as a society. We are starting the conversation using the definition IACD developed as a starting point. The following questions have been posed to start the dialogue.

1. What are your thoughts on this definition?
2. What are its strengths?
3. What is it missing?
4. What alternative language do you propose?

We will be hosting the discussion in CDS connect, the networking forum established for CDS members. To participate login to the website and click on the banner promoting the discussion and share your perspectives.
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Refer a Colleague Membership Campaign

CDS is trying something new to grow the membership of the organization. We call it the “refer a colleague” campaign. During the month of February we are encouraging you as members to go into your rolodex and identify colleagues you believe would benefit from being a member of CDS. To encourage your participation CDS will add an additional two months to your existing membership plan for each referral you make that joins CDS. This can save your or your organization resources and help grow CDS. The colleagues you refer will also get an extra three months in their initial membership for trying us out and exploring the ways that CDS can be resource and support to their community development efforts.

If you’re not sure your colleague is already a member you can check it out on the website. To do so, login to the membership side of the website. Under “Member Menu” select “CDS Connect Advanced Search” Under search criteria, “select field” and then select “name”. Where it says “is equal to” change to “contains” and then enter the name you want to verify. If your colleague is already a member their profile will appear. If their profile does not appear, then your colleague is not currently a member of CDS and would be eligible to participate in the “refer a colleague” program. It’s a simple way to grow our membership and strengthen our capacity to support others with a passion for community development. The program expires at the end of February so refer a colleague soon!

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Online Course Explores Community Systems

Sustainable Communities:  Online course explores community systems

As communities struggle with increasingly complex social, economic and environmental issues related to sustainability they need the expertise of community development professionals now more than ever. Whether your expertise is in agriculture, natural resources, youth, family or economic development you will be asked to help guide a stakeholder group through a difficult decision making process.  The Foundations of Practice course, Sustainable Communities, offers you the tools, skills and knowledge to be the trusted resource community groups need in the emerging dialogs around local foods, energy and natural resources.

Successful community sustainability initiatives rely on understanding systems thinking, sustainability models and the needs and conditions in your town, county, state or region. Tapping into a long legacy of one of the country's most respected organizations, this training, brought to you by the Cooperative Extension System and the Regional Rural Development Centers, provides the background, resources and strategies to support your work in communities.

Best of all, this program comes directly to you! Each week via Zoom, an Extension Specialist will deliver world-class training to you in your office, conference room or even home.  Discussions and supplemental resources will be supported using a course website.

The eight-week series begins February 2, 2017. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on timely topics including Energy, Local Foods, Built Environments, Mobility and Natural Resources. Supplemental resources and online discussion opportunities will be available on the course website. Participants can log in at their convenience to explore these topics further, pose questions, investigate additional resources and visit with colleagues in similar situations.

Sustainable Communities is an offering of the Foundations of Practice Program. It is appropriate for individuals who regularly work with community groups in any subject area and have a basic understanding of community development principles.  If you find yourself called upon to facilitate community-based initiatives, or you just want to better understand how communities function, this course is for you!

Registration is $125 per person. Register before January 27 and save $25. Registration forms and payment information is available at To learn more about the Sustainable Communities class visit our webpage.

Foundations of Practice is sponsored by the Regional Rural Development Centers in partnership with your Land Grant University network.  The course content was created by the eXtension Land Use Planning Community of Practice, Task Force for Sustainable Communities, with grant support from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.


Mary Peabody
UVM Extension, Community & Economic Development
23 Mansfield Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401-3323

Phone: 802-656-7232
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Seeking Proposals to Host 2018 CDS Conference

Would you like to have the CDS conference in your community? The Community Development Society is currently seeking proposals to host the 2018 CDS conference. For more information go the the RFP at:

The deadline is February 10th so check it out soon!

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Pre-Conference and Ignite Sessions Due January 15th

We are extremely excited for the upcoming June, 2017 joint conference, “Big Skies, Bold Partnerships: Moving Mountains Together” in Big Sky, MT. We are elated to say that we received over 250 proposals for conference sessions and posters!

As we look ahead, we are seeking proposals for both our pre-conference workshops and Ignite sessions.

Pre-conference Workshops: On Sunday June 11, 2017 - we will be hosting 4-6 pre-conference workshops. Each workshop will be scheduled for a half day or a full day (2.5 hours or 5 hours). Pre-conference workshops should be highly engaging and can cover a variety of topics related to the Field of Community Development.

Ignite Sessions: On Wednesday June 14, 2017 – we will be highlighting Ignite sessions. An Ignite session is a method of sharing an inspiring and exciting story in 5 minutes using 20 Power Point slides, advancing automatically every 15 seconds. This is a great opportunity to share a story about a successful project, a rewarding initiative, changes that are happening because of your work. Show us what are you doing that is building a future for your community. What “Bold Partnerships” have you established? The audience will be voting for the People’s Choice award during the session. For more information regarding Ignite formatting please click below: 

For more information and submission guidelines go to:


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CDS Connect to Feature 2016 Conference Presentations

Each of the presentations from the 2016 CDS/IACD conference will be featured on CDS Connect. This will allow us to get familiar with the work that our members have been engaging in and share our perspectives on that work and its implications for community development practice and research. Starting on November 28th, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (except on holidays) between now and the CDS/NACDEP conference this coming June at Big Sky Montana, a presentation from the CDS/IACD conference will be posted to the CDS interest group most relevant to that topic with one or two questions to stimulate discussion about that the presentation. Take some time to log in to CDS Connect using your member login and take a look at the presentations as they are being posted, share your perspectives and engage with your colleagues around the topics you have a passion for. CDS Connect is a social media tool on the CDS website that facilitates the interaction of CDS members and provides a place to share resources and ideas on the research and practice of community development. There are more than a dozen interest groups that you can explore. The presentations will be featured within the interest groups that best represents that work. To access CDS Connect login to the member side of the CDS website and select CDS Connect from the menu.
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International Case Studies: New Resource on Website

If you have visited the website in recent weeks you have probably noticed that there have been a number of changes to the look, feel and operation of the website. The “member only” section has been total revamped and the home page has a new look. In addition, a new resource has been added to the website called “Case Studies.” You’ll find it under the professional development tab on the home page of the website. This is a resource that has been developed by the international committee under the leadership of Jim Cavaye and Gary Goreham. The goal is to highlight the good community development work happening around the world. So far, five case studies have been published with more on the way. Each one includes a short description of the project and some photos to provide a little context. Take a look and see what you think. If you have a case study you would like to share simply write up a short description of your case study (half page is fine), add a couple of photos and/or a short video clip and send it to Gary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and/or Jim (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). They will make sure your story is told and becomes a resource for all of us to learn from.
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CDS Website Lauches New Social Networking Tools

Over the past 18 months there have been lots of changes to the CDS website. Most of them are changes you may not notice unless you use the site regularly but some of the more recent changes are pretty big. If you go to menu bar at the top of the front page of the website you will notice three communication tools that have their own tabs (CDS Connect, CDS Discuss, and CDS Blog). Two of the three (CDS Connect and CDS Discuss) are brand new and the CDS Blog has been substantially changed over the past 18 months. CDS Discuss is a new feature that we hope to use to engage in discussions across the organization around key issues affecting the field of community development or issues important to the organization itself. For instance, we hope to start a discussion in the next few months around the CDS Principles of Good Practice. These discussions will be open to the membership and the public so we can get anyone involved who has an interest in that discussion. Once the discussions are completed they will be archived and can be accessed later by those with interests in that topic or issue. The third item “CDS Connect” is a tool we are really excited about and are launching right now.  CDS Connect is a “members only” social networking site that provides a simple and easily accessible way to connect with friends and colleagues around the things you care about most in your community development work.

To get started go to the CDS Website .  On the front page select the “CDS Connect” in the menu bar across the top of the page.  It will take you to a login screen. You will need to login with your membership login to gain access. If you have no clue what your login is anymore there are a couple of tools to help you retrieve that information. If you still have problems contact Julie White This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at our association business office so we can figure out how to get you in. This does require a current membership to access, so if you’re behind on your dues it may require getting caught up.

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Once you are in you will find yourself in the recent updates section. This will be a very busy page and include an eclectic mix of discussions. What most members will want to do is find or start discussions around the topics they are most interested in exploring. If you look just under the blue bar at the top of the page you will find menus that will give you several options for sharing and retrieving information. One of these is called “groups” If you select this tab it will give you a list of all various interest group discussions available in CDS. These groups parallel the interest groups that the board has been setting up with member input the past few months. If you signed up to be part of an interest group you will likely have received an invitation to join the discussion. If not, you can still browse the various groups and join the discussions interesting to you. Simply pick the group from the list and select “join” and you’re in! The site will keep track of the groups you’ve joined.  If you look to the menus on the left you will see a tab called my groups.  It will keep track of the groups you have joined.  We also have a short video that our web designer put together that will introduce you to the basics Please try it out and connect with your colleagues on the things you care about the most.

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