Meet our CDS Board Members
Caitlin Bletscher, CDS Secretary
Caitlin Bletscher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. She teaches courses in communication and leadership, global issues, systems thinking, global citizenship, and community leadership. Prior to her time in academia, she spent several years working with internationally displaced and migrant populations in the domestic and international fields among nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and university outreach.
Caitlin was first introduced to the Community Development Society through a colleague at the University of Florida, who shared his expertise and passion for international extension, civic engagement, and post-disaster community development. During her PhD program, she was the recipient of a student CDS scholarship to present her research on the role of Cooperative Extension among the integration of refugee resettlement in Dubuque, Iowa. Since Dubuque, Caitlin has attended each CDS Annual Conference and continues her involvement and dedication to the Society by serving as the Secretary of the Board of Directors.
She believes that community development is built from a complex foundation of social capital – the networks, bonds, bridges, and links within a community provide educators, researchers, and practitioners with a map of how to best navigate its systems, relationships, and assets. For her, the most important part of community development is accompaniment and empowerment, conversations about equity, and the necessity of ensuring that everyone has a voice and seat at the table.