Community Development Society

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2018 Community Development Society Award Recipients


Congratulations to the 2018 Community Development Society Award Recipients! These awards recognize students, scholars, and practitioners who have made outstanding and innovative contributions to the field of community development and who demonstrate a commitment to the CDS Principles of Good Practice.

Student Recognition Award

The Student Recognition Award is presented to a CDS member who is either an undergraduate or graduate student, in recognition of his or her contribution to community development through a paper, an article, a field project or internship, or other applied research.

John C. Hill of the University of Kentucky brings together his academic training in education, criminal justice, community & leadership development, as well as educational leadership studies to create innovative community development programming. He brings the artistic act of communal drumming into his work with individuals who have been convicted of drug abuse, using drumming as a rehabilitative act that their supports emotional and physical coping mechanisms. He is also applying this area of research on drumming to strengthening Town and Gown relationships through his "Bonding With Beats" initiative. He demonstrates integral use of the Principles of Good practice: his work is anchored in respect for others, self-determination, inclusivity, and agency.

Innovative Program Award

The Innovative Program Award is presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of a superior innovative program (recent or on-going) using the Principles of Good Practice as adopted by the Society. This award recognizes new, creative, and promising programs contributing to community development practice. This year, t two programs were honored.

Since 2015, the West Virginia Recruitable Community Program (RCP) has used a model led by the WVU Extension Service's Community Resources and Economic Development unit that incorporates design and place-making tools to initiate conversations, followed by planning activities that occur over a six-month time frame. Communities are provided with grants of $10,000 from the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to develop programs, seed projects, and pay related expenses to address community health and community development. The model requires a higher level of citizen involvement than previous iterations but has resulted in increased community capacity and projects that are accomplished as a result of community buy-in.

While the RCP specifically focuses on increasing rural communities’ health care provider recruiting potential, the program is unique in its approach to rural recruitment, relying on both traditional healthcare topics and broader community development issues. It provides advice, assessment, and suggestions for enhancing community development and recruitment and retention techniques. It also reinforces recruitment and retention efforts by strengthening community ties to training programs and state agencies and funding resources. Most importantly, the RCP seeks broad and extensive community participation in the process of planning for community improvements to make places more desirable destinations for health care professionals. The result has been impactful efforts that have made communities better places for current residents and for the attraction of medical professionals to rural areas who need them most.

The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center’s BAD Buildings Program in conjunction with WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, has developed toolkits and designed technical support services that have launched a wave of activity. Brownfield, abandoned, and dilapidated (BAD) buildings are a challenge facing literally every community in West Virginia. Since its inception in 2012, the Program has assisted over 25 communities through a combination of public and private funding. Initial successes are transforming “liability to viability” in communities struggling to navigate the state’s economic transition away from coal. Through consistent use of participatory practices, these efforts embody the CDS Principles of Good Practice.

The BAD Buildings Program supports West Virginia communities with limited local capacity. Law Clinic and Program staff work with community members to build awareness of the problem, inform them about the technical and legal issues involved with dealing with BAD buildings, and support them in building a local action team. These coalitions include county and city staff, nonprofit and for-profit development organizations, volunteer boards and commissions, and concerned neighbors and business owners. Inclusion of those directly impacted by BAD buildings is critical for program success. Communities who have created their own inventories and prioritized sites are left not only with inventories that actually meet their self-designated needs and priorities but also the ability to continue to update those inventories and priorities on their own.

Outstanding Program Award

The Outstanding Program Award is presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of completion of superior programming that exemplifies and positively influences community development practice and has demonstrated sustained success. The award recognizes an established program that reflects the Principles of Good Practice throughout the implementation process.

The University of Kentucky Extension Community & Leadership Development Training Series supports the community and economic development skills of the University of Kentucky’s county-level extension agents across Kentucky’s 120 counties. These extension agents, hired because of their expertise in their specialty areas, have not had training in community and economic development practices, and this program’s collaborative team, working in partnership with these agents, is developing relevant, pragmatic tools to help agents engage the public in shared learning processes that support engaged, participatory community development across the state.  

The collaborative team develops a case-based approach that speaks directly to the agents’ needs in both their specialty areas and their individual community’s needs. During the past 12 months, over 200 Extension educators have taken part in program workshops and webinars that address topics such as effective listening; working collaboratively with elected leaders and the media; hosting community conversations, resolving public conflict resolution; asset mapping; and initiating community change. Participants have expressed their appreciation for new skills in these areas—skills that also have increased their ability to help a group achieve consensus and gain closure; their sensitivity to interests, needs, and concerns of individuals from different cultural backgrounds; and their ability to articulate both sides of an issue then offer a process to reframe the conversation.

Outstanding Community Development Educator Award

The Outstanding Community Development Educator Award is presented to a CDS member in recognition of their excellence in teaching and instruction within the field of Community Development. Award recipients exemplify the Principles of Good Practice as adopted by the Society and illustrate them in their educational practice within formal and/or non-formal educational settings.

As an educator, Gary Goreham of North Dakota State University – or “Dr. G,” as his students affectionately call him – employs the magic pedagogical combination: a “fusion of traditional teaching methods in conjunction with experiential learning and intensive field work” paired with mentoring in professional development opportunities and research publication—even with undergraduate students. He embraces the challenge of putting theory into practice, acknowledging that such lenses are valuable tools for gaining insight into a community’s experience.

As an engaged scholar/practitioner, he puts community members at the helm of change efforts, adhering to the principles and practices of participatory democracy in asset-based assessment. Modeling this with students in faculty-led fieldwork, he is literally transforming the next generation of community development practitioners. In his own words, Gary is “out to transform the world”—one student and one community at a time.

Community Development Achievement Award

The Community Development Achievement Award is presented to a CDS member in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to community development. The person may be recognized for teaching, research, practice, programming, administration, or any combination of these roles.

Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu of Purdue University has embodied the Principles of Good Practice throughout his 40+ years of innovative and dedicated leadership in the field of community development. He ensures that a diversity of people and interests are engaged, that the wider public is offered the opportunity to weigh in on proposed actions, and that each community and economic development blueprint is built on a community’s strategic assets.

An accomplished educator, provocative scholar, compassionate and fearless practitioner, Bo has influenced community development from the levels of national policy to the on-the-ground work in individual communities. He has played instrumental roles in such programs as Stronger Economies Together (SET), the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative, Turning the Tide on Poverty, and the Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI). Bo currently leads the Hometown Collaboration Initiative in collaboration with Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Ball State University. After just three years, this program has helped nearly 20 small Indiana communities sustainably develop local leaders, grow small businesses, and enhance public spaces. Through his professional relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense, Bo helped launch the Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program, which has strengthened Indiana’s economy. He also works closely with the White House Rural Council and the Economic Research Service to combat poverty in Indiana.

A leading-edge proponent of big data, Bo leads such extensive collaborative projects by helping his teams quickly identify opportunities, efficiently orchestrate large-scale multidisciplinary initiatives, and create a clear picture for stakeholders how pooling their assets for regional development is the true path to success. Through helping to develop data-driven products, he supports the ability of regional and local economic development groups to make smart decisions about the type of economic development strategies that best the needs and assets of their regions and communities. The success and impact of these programs and data products stem, at root, from Bo’s gifts as an inspiring and generous mentor. For communities as for fellow community developers, Bo helps others learn, test, and strengthen their own skills. Working with him helps everyone practice and improve in a safe, supportive environment with his passion for building conversations and capacities among all people. Above all, he is a voice for change in a world that often insulates itself against such change.

Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award

The Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award is presented to a CDS member in recognition of superior and long-standing service to the field of community development, and, in particular, work for the advancement of the Society.

Connie Loden is a 20 year member of CDS, and has served terms on the board of directors, including as Vice President of operations from 2006-2008, and chair in 2008-2009, as well as serving as a member of the finance, award, and international committees. She has been active in the planning of several CDS and related conferences and has attended almost every CDS conference since she became a member in 1998. Currently, Connie is actively engaged in the CDS Fellows program, working to formalize the relationships between the Community Change Network, private foundations, and the Community Development Society. In this and in all her previous roles, her leadership is representative, inclusive, considerate of broad implications to the community and its membership, and dedicated to justice, fairness, and sustainability.

When she is not actively advocating for CDS, Connie is the Senior Project Manager for New North, a regional economic development NGO in Wisconsin-USA where she specializes in community change, leadership and asset-based economic development; applying her particular passion for rural areas, helping communities change around the world. Connie’s work has been recognized on a state, national and international level, having received numerous awards including the Community Development Society’s Innovative Project Award.

Connie’s vision for CDS is to facilitate additional awareness, partnerships, and collaborations to help expand the capacity of the organization, increase membership and expand the resources and services offered. In the future, CDS will be the “go to place” for Community development expertise and assistance. Each step that Connie has taken; past, present and future are to assist in making that vision a reality.

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