Community Development Society

News and Information

Kyle Patrick Williams

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Kyle Patrick (KP) Williams is a Ph.D. candidate in the Attallah College of Educational Studies at Chapman University and is the graduate assistant for Civic Engagement Initiatives in the Department of Student Engagement. Previous professional activities include scholar practitioner roles at the Tulane University Center for Public Service in New Orleans, LA, and the Lingnan University Office of Service-Learning in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. KP is also a two-term national service alum having served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA and VISTA Leader for the Campus Compact projects in South Carolina and Kentucky, respectively. Hailing from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, KP earned a B.S. in Community Communications and Leadership Development and an M.A. in Leadership, Public Policy, and Social Issues from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH.

Meet the Board: KP Williams, Vice President for Operations


The 2018 annual international conference of the Community Development Society in Detroit, Michigan, USA, was an opportunity to celebrate the past 49 years of scholarly and practical advances across the spectrum of community development, the friendships forged and sustained, and the tangible changes made in the many communities of which we are a part. The conference served as both a reflection on the challenges and achievements we have experienced over the years and an opportunity to envision what our continued success will look like over the next 50 years. Kyle Patrick (KP) Williams, who began his term as CDS Vice President for Operations at the end of the conference, is especially excited about the future work of CDS members and the impact it will have on the communities where we build, create, educate, engage, live, serve, work, and worship.

KP joined CDS in 2013 and presented his master's research on poverty in Kentucky at the annual international conference in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. In the time since KP has served as a member of a variety of committees, conference session moderator, reviewer of conference and CD practice proposals, and served on the board of directors (2016-2018). As the Vice President for Operations, KP will work closely with other officers, directors, and CDS members to be a steward of policies and procedures that ensure the continued success of the organization. Some of the initiatives KP will work on over the next year include progress toward the strategic vision and goals of CDS, operational and financial functions of committees, budget planning in consultation with the Treasurer, and chair the site selection committee in preparation of upcoming conferences.

Soon after the 2018 Conference, KP relocated to Ames, Iowa, and joined the Iowa State University Leadership Studies program faculty. KP is currently teaching LAS 151 “Dean’s Leadership Seminar,” LD ST 122 “Leading With Purpose,” and LD ST 322 “Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society.” KP also serves as the advisor for the Leadership Studies Club. KP is also currently a doctoral candidate in the Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies at Chapman University. KP's dissertation research is an arts-based study that uses narrative inquiry and creative nonfiction to story the leadership identity development of millennial gay men. KP’s other research interests include community leadership, inter- and intragenerational leadership, and LGBTQIA+ leadership.

KP earned a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development at the University of Kentucky (2010) and a master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy, and Social Issues (2012) from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH. From 2010-2012, KP served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and Leader with the Campus Compact projects in South Carolina and Kentucky, respectively. After graduate school and national service, KP served as a Visiting Service-Learning Tutor at Lingnan University in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong; Senior Program Coordinator for Academic Community Engagement at Tulane University’s Center for Public Service; Graduate Assistant for Civic Engagement Initiatives at Chapman University; and instructor in the Anteater Leadership Academy at University of California, Irvine.

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Board of Directors Nomination and Election Information - April 13 Deadline

The Community Development Society is seeking nominations to fill three Board of Directors positions. These positions are for a three-year term that will begin at the close of our Annual International Conference to be held July 21-25 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Active participation on the CDS Board of Directors is a way to engage more fully with the work of the organization while enhancing your own personal network of connections within the Community Development field.

Board members devote considerable volunteer time and resources to the position and are expected to join monthly teleconference Board meetings. Members also attend the annual conference and mid-year meeting generally held for two days at the site of the pending annual conference. Board members also take leadership of one subcommittee on topics that range from awards, conference site selection, international CDS, nominations, membership and marketing, finance, and communications/publications. There is no financial support, other than that the Board has budgeted a modest amount to offer partial support in the event that a board member is not able to afford the cost of travel.

Important note about the 2018 nominations and election process: In January, the Board of Directors released a proposed draft of new bylaws for the Society and sought feedback from the membership. After considering the feedback received, the Board of Directors adopted the new bylaws, which can be accessed here: One significant change as a result of the new bylaws affects the officers of the Society. Under the new bylaws, the Vice President shall be elected to serve a three-year term automatically transitioning to President and then Past-President. In 2017, Dr. Craig Talmage was elected as the Vice President for Operations; under the previous bylaws, this position automatically transitioned to Vice President of Programs and then to President. Upon adopting the new bylaws, the Board of Directors also voted to omit seeking nominations for a Vice President in the 2018 election and to keep Dr. Talmage as the Vice President for 2018-2019 with an automatic transition to President for 2019-2020.

To prepare the ballot, please consider self-nominating for the Board of Directors using this online form: Nominations must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, April 13, 2018. All members in good standing are eligible to serve on the Board; to check the status of your membership, log in to your user account at

After April 13th, we will conduct our general election. On behalf of the current CDS Board of Directors, thank you for your willingness to serve our association and the communities we represent. If you have any questions regarding the nominations and elections process, please contact CDS President Bryan Hains, CDS Secretary Caitlin Bletscher, or Nominations and Leadership Committee member Theresa Gonzales.

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We Need Your Help: Nominations and Leadership Committee

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Are you looking for an opportunity to shape the future of CDS? The Nominations and Leadership Committee is seeking new membership ahead of the upcoming elections for the Society. The current priorities of the committee are as follows:

  1. Recruitment of committee members – adding committee members will be necessary for outreach to potential nominees in the future and building a pipeline of interested members for leadership positions. The ideal composition of the committee will include students, scholars, and practitioners.

  2. Update the POG to reflect procedural changes – in practice, the election process has strayed from what is prescribed in the Society's Policies and Operational Guidelines. Once additional committee members are on board, the committee will review current guidance relevant to the nomination and election of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee Members. Any proposed changes will be submitted to the Executive Committee and full board for final recommendations and eventual approval.

  3. Mentorship – the committee will work with other Directors, Executive Committee members, and related committees to develop plans for critical mentorship opportunities in the Society. Establishing a more formal mentorship program could prove helpful to cultivate the future leaders of the Society and ideally make the slate of future candidates more robust.

If you are interested in serving on the Nominations and Leadership committee, and/or if you have additional questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. directly. Thanks for your consideration of helping with this important work!

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Community Development and Peacekeeping Circles

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a Tier 1 Peacekeeping Circles training, a practice rooted in restorative justice, under the facilitation of Kay Pranis. The training brought together students from Chapman University’s Master’s in Leadership Development and Ph.D. in Education programs who are committed to creating more democratic and socially just schools, organizations, and communities. During the weekend-long training, we learned the history of restorative practices, skills for convening and facilitating circles, and reflected on the ways in which we could incorporate circles in our work moving forward.

Circles, as practiced in Native American cultures of the United States and Canada, can serve a variety of purposes for talking and/or problem solving. In increasing level of complexity, circles can be used for celebration, learning, community building, healing, support, reintegration, decision-making, conflict, and sentencing. Regardless of the reason for convening a circle, there is great potential for establishing, strengthening, and healing the community within the circle with lasting and rippling effects throughout other interconnected and intersecting communities.

The process of circle allows everyone to have a voice, something we as community development practitioners and scholars should all appreciate and strive for. Circles ensure that we are all able to contribute our unique and valuable wisdom and to speak our own truths. The truths and collective wisdom built in circle are meant to move the group forward toward shared goals and more desirable futures – whether this means healing harms done to others or the community, addressing underlying issues in the group or community, or finding consensus on development initiatives.

Based on values identified by the group, circles have great potential to improve the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health of those involved. Throughout the training I reflected on the ways I have inadvertently incorporated some of the practices of peacekeeping circles in my work and ways I can more fully incorporate these practices in the future. How might integrating peacekeeping circles in your schools, organizations, and communities move you forward in achieving more desirable futures? For more information on circles and restorative justice, visit the nonprofit publishing company Living Justice Press.

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