Prepared by Daniela Mattos
My name is Daniela Mattos and I currently serve as a CDS Board member. I am also a Professor of Practice and Director of the Rural Economic and Community Vitality Program at the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I received my PhD in Community Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and my master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Sao Paulo, Piracicaba. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Sao Paulo.
I was born and raised in a small farming community in the southeast part of Brazil. Growing up there gave me the opportunity to experience and value all the nuances of rural life. As a child I enjoyed the freedom, slow-pace, and safety provided by my community. But then came the “progress”! I witnessed the fast transformation of farms primarily dedicated to growing several products for local and regional consumption (rice, beans, corn, coffee, cattle, etc.) to highly specialized, mechanized, and competitive commodity farming, and more recently their turn to the intensive production of sugarcane to feed the large ethanol and sugar plants surrounding my hometown. Being part of this change launched my interest in rural communities and the economic/social challenges and opportunities they face as a consequence of “progress”. Since 2006, my work has focused on developing better strategies to revitalize rural communities and economies and declining cities and towns through more effective decision-making approaches and fostering strategies for improving citizen participation to address local issues.
In 2014, I was hired by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to teach courses related to Community Economic Development and develop an online certificate in Rural Economic and Community Vitality (pending final approval). I also teach in the Great Plains IDEA- Community Development Masters’ Program. In general my courses provide students with a firm grounding in the reality of the local/regional economy necessary for successful programs in community economic development and for designing effective local and regional policy and programming in economic development.
I joined CDS because I believe it is the best way for me to get involved with the things that I am passionate about and meet other people with the same passion. I enjoy meeting and learning from experts in the field and CDS provides different ways to access and interact with fellow members from all walks of life and places. I am excited to work with all members of CDS to honor the past work of our members and prepare for future challenges and opportunities in the field of community development.
Hello Community Developpers! It's fall in North America and there seems to be an eagerness to push forward toward the hardiness of fall, shedding the carefree days of summer. Your board was fortunate enough to have some amazing fall weather at our annual retreat at the site of our 50th Annual International Conference at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The local host committee, represented by Mary Leuci and Anita Dunning, were fabulous hosts, even coordinating a potluck with local CDS members and friends - what a treat! We thank them for their hospitality and are very excited about our 2019 conference!
Program Chair, our Vice President of Programs, Jane Leonard, also spent time with the local host committee preparing for the conference. Thank you for your work ad leadership on this Jane! She noted that the proposal process is under preparation and will launch soon - stay tuned for that!
The board also mapped out priority areas and topics related to policy and governance for the meetings. Priority areas for October include staff contracts, the Taylor and Francis contract, and freeing up operational funding for CDS operations. November's focus areas are the FY2019 budget and voting on bylaw changes resulting from the board retreat workshop.
The board also voted to formally approve Lisa Gilchrist as the Vanguard Editor and Kurt Mantonya to the board of directors to fill one of the two vacant seats. Lisa will also serve on the board of directors in an ex-officio capacity as outlined by our Policies and Operations Guidelines (POG). Welcome!
There remains one additional vacant seat on the CDS board of directors. At the retreat, the board voted to leave the remaining seat open until the elections in spring 2019.
Thank you to the board for their focused work during the retreat!
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.
Early in my career I spent time living and working in Taiwan, having initially studied international relations and eventually working as a teacher to gain cultural experience. One Chinese saying has stuck with me this whole time - "crossing the river by feeling the stones." This was the phrase used to describe relations between Taiwan and mainland China. The meaning is that no one really knows the future or how to plan for it, but that one needs to continue reaching out and adapting in order to make progress. This is where I feel we are together as a society. We are jubilantly celebrating our 50th year, but the landscape of our field and the composition of our organization has undergone dramatic shifts that make a path forward murky.
Another way we will be "crossing the river by feeling the stones" is to engage with our members through some online "townhall-style" discussions. To plan these, I am asking those of you interested in this to give us some guidance through this brief questionnaire. We will share more information on these as we plan them out - stay tuned!
Thanks again for all that you do and for being committed to our organization. I know we can cross this river together!
While it has been my honor and my pleasure to serve as the Vanguard Editor for the past five years, the time has come to pass the torch to a new bearer. I am happy to announce that through inquiry, proposals, and interviews, the CDS Communications Committee in partnership with the CDS Secretary, Caitlin Bletscher, have reccomended Lisa Gilchrist, Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services, to be the next Vanguard Editor. Lisa has some exciting ideas about how to improve Vanguard to ensure it continues to serve our members as the primary communications piece for our society. She and I have been working together over the past couple of months on this transition and she will take over as solo editor October 2018. Congratulations and welcome Lisa!
More about Lisa
Lisa Gilchrist has been Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services since May 2016. Her team’s community development efforts center on preventing and reducing poverty, ending family violence, supporting positive mental health, and enhancing inclusion and diversity with a focus on volunteers, seniors, and youth. Stony Plain is located in Alberta, Canada just west of the provincial capital of Edmonton. Previously, Lisa spent fourteen years in leadership with the federal government at Service Canada to deliver employment programs for youth, people with disabilities, unemployed workers, and in community engagement with the temporary foreign worker program.
Lisa completed a Bachelor of Arts at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania State University. She has been a member of the Community Development Society since 2015.
Lisa has two stepsons in their early twenties who are slowly moving into careers with the military and as a welder/ranch hand. Lisa and her husband John share their rural home with three Labrador Retrievers, three barn cats, and two horses.
Impacts of Literacy and Reading
As summer winds down, I find myself reflecting on the adventures I’ve shared with my family this year — visiting Detroit, camping in Northern Michigan, and all the memories we made together. Spending time with my children and parents also brought back summer memories from years past. One summer, when I was a teenager, my parents took us whitewater rafting. It sounded so exciting and I was certain that we were going to have the adventure of a lifetime, and I suppose we did, except, not the way I anticipated. Rather than facing the rapid together and triumphantly making it through the course as I envisioned, we crumbled. I accidentally knocked my dad out of the boat, we argued, my brother became disengaged, and at one point we weren’t going anywhere because each of us were paddling in opposite directions. We did eventually make it to the end, together and in one piece, but it took us putting aside our squabbles to communicate and collaborate.
As your pilot, I’ve worked with our staff and leadership to land the CDS plane to get us through an enriching and engaging Detroit conference. Now, I’m feeling like we are in a boat on a river, all paddling in different directions. Through this coming year, a year of celebration of our 50 years as an organization, I pledge to continue to work together with our leadership and staff to ensure that we are all paddling in the same direction.
As your President, I will focus on communications and engagement to continue to enrich our organization and to look for places to engage for sustainability through our 50th and beyond. We have been through a lot of changes over the past few years, leaving many of our members looking for more information. I’m hoping to provide that information through a series of short, videos and blogs. Additionally, we will be hosting some townhall-style dialogues for members to answer questions and provide a place for your input on happenings in our organization. Stay tuned for more info!
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.
The Pursuit of the Future of Community Development
Please check out the latest issue of the Community Development Practice journal, Issue 22, located here!
Does the future happen or do we bring it about? As Community Development Society’s 50th Anniversary approaches, we as community development professionals must address how we bring about better futures for our communities. In today’s communities, there remain great opportunities to be discovered and great opportunities to be created by community development professionals. We must pursue the future, not wait for it to come to us.
This twenty-second issue of Community Development Practice provides approaches, insights, and tools that can help us bring about better futures for our communities. It is easy for us to be divided, to turn on each other, and to hoard resources. The articles in this issue challenge us to come together and invite others into our community development work. As a community of community development professionals, we need to come together and invite others into our work. Diversity, inclusion, innovation, and entrepreneurialism are needed as we, together, pursue the future of community development.
I hope you enjoy this issue, and please consider submitting your future work to Community Development Practice. I wish you all a productive and community-filled summer.
~Community Development Practice Editor
Our annual time of gathering nears. It is the time that we take to learn, share, and become enriched with like-minded collegaues and friends in community development. We honor the outstanding in our field. We discuss our work and listen to that of others. We also come together to think and consider the future of our field and organization, engaging in the critical dialogue necessary to make each other better. I cannot wait to see you.
We will celebrate during our awards ceremony and honor traditions during our lively auction. We also celebrate our new members and students, as well as our international students and past presidents in a special reception ahead of the conference opening. Things like member and IACD President Paul Lachapelle giving his raffle-won hotel room to a student volunteer, Janna Parke, (who won a random draw among student volunteers) fill us with hopefulness and comradiere as we connect across fields and generations.
Members have been engaged in honest thought and reflection on proposed changes to our bylaws. We will continue this dialogue during our conference, in a special workshop and during out business meeting. I am confident that we will find the best path forward for us through this process.
We have colleagues and leaders that will be joining us and those that will departing us. There are those that wished they could be with us, but cannot - like our dear departed colleage Karen Tinsley from the University of Georgia who itended to shared with us her work on data and community, but lost her life in a truck-bicycle crash earlier this year. Together we will make memories and share those from years past.
Renaissance is upon us. Our annual time together of renewal. I cannot wait to see what we will become.
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 (https://www.comm-dev.org/about/board-of-directors). 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.
We are rocking and rolling preparing for our annual conference coming up in Detroit July 21-25. I am excited to share with you that our night out event will be held at the Detroit Historical Musem, an amazing venue! We also have secured some wonderful musical acts to demonstrate the arts and local talents in our host city, including the very special Daybreaker Rave and Fitness event featuring the Godmother of House Music, DJ Hotwaxx Stacey Hale. Early bird registration ends June 15, so get those registrations in!
Your leadership has also been working on the elections and planning for the transition of new directors and officers. Be sure to join us at the Business Meeting luncheon on Tuesday, July 24 for their installation.
In order to continue to improve our organization, a committee was formed to review our current bylaws. The group is working on a document to share and crafting interactive discussions at the conference to get your input and feedback and proposed changes. We hope you can get involved!
Thanks again to all our wonderful members for the work you do in our communities! I look forward to seeing you in Detroit!
The recent publication of the International Association of Community Development's (IACD) "Towards Shared International Standards for Community Development Practice" (Standards) is a monumental step forward to continue to define and refine community development around the world. Building off the definition of community development that was developed by the members and accepted by the Board of IACD and CDS, the Standards are an important piece, articulating the boundaries of our field. IACD and CDS members were invited to comment on the Standards as they were being developed, so many perspectives are represented. An important next step that CDS can take from here is to build off the Standards to describe jobs and roles that take on responsibility in community development, particularly from the context of CDS being an international organization based in the United States of Amerca. I encourage our membership to participate in discussions such as this through our own CDS Connect and through our partners at IACD.
Definition of 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”.
Here is a link to the Standards.
Attention Current CDS Members!
Please check your email for information about the 2018 CDS Elections! Voting for the 2018 CDS Elections for positions on the CDS Board of Directors closes on Friday, June 8 at 5:00pm (ESD). Your participation and engagement in this voting process is truly valued and appreciated.
Questions about the process or didn't receive your election ballot? - please contact the CDS Secretary for more information.
Thank you for your involvement in making a difference in CDS!
I read recently that flight instructors tell student pilots to “just fly the plane” when problems arise in the sky. They do this to remind the pilot to not become so distracted by problems that they crash the plane. I’m writing this President’s Update as your new pilot working to ensure our CDS plane does not crash. Although we have been through some turbulence, we are back to flying this plane together – our conference is on track, our leadership is strengthening, and our management is streamlining. Your Directors and Officers have re-committed themselves to working for the members, actively designing more and better processes for engagement. Here we go together!
We have launched the registration for our 49th annual international conference in Detroit (#CommDev18) with the help and support of our Conference Planning Committee, Local Host Committee, and dedicated staff and vendors. The conference includes an engaging line up of keynote speakers highlighting community development in Detroit, mobile learning workshops that will take us to see activities around the city, and an array of interactive and informative presentations. Details are being finalized, so keep an eye out for updates!
The Conference Planning Committee, with the support of the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and the past presidents, is taking on the responsibility of stewarding our 2018 conference to success in lieu of appointing a Vice President of Programs. I will also continue to serve as conference chair to coordinate these collaborative efforts.
The Board has appointed Jane Leonard to serve as Vice President of Operations. She has accepted the appointment and is currently working with the Executive Committee and Board to ensure we have a conference location for 2020. She brings not only her professional experience as a “prac-ademic” to the role, but the experience of having been part of the CDS leadership in the past. She will no doubt add a bridging dimension to discussions on the advancement of our organization. I really appreciate Jane’s willingness to step up for our organization in a time of need.
Elections for new CDS leadership are coming up shortly. Please be on the lookout for the email containing your ballot information and vote for the candidates that you know can help lead our organization though our 50th year and beyond!
The Board has also been exploring ways to update our guiding documents, including our bylaws and our Policies and Operations Guidelines (POG). Although some work has been done in this respect, the Board wanted to ensure that proper member engagement was part of this updating process, so a committee has been formed to design a process around updating our organizing documents. This will include interactive sessions to gather member input during the 2018 conference, a clear transition plan for any structural changes, and transparency and communication in relation to proposed changes. We look forward to including you in the process of updating and improving the functioning of our organization.
I am appreciative of the work of our new Managing Director, Justin Fallon-Dollard. He jumped right in supporting the conference proposal submissions, registration, and logistics, as well as processing memberships, working with our finances, and looking for ways to streamline and improve our administrative processes. Management transitions are not a simple undertaking and I want to acknowledge the commitment Justin has made to support CDS through all our recent transitions. The Executive Committee and the Board will continue to work with Justin to ensure that all the operations of our organization are running smoothly and improving moving forward.
This has been a challenging time for CDS and for me personally. I look at what has happened recently, and I can hardly believe what we have been through. I do know we learn from mistakes and we become stronger through challenge. The committed remain to drive us forward together. I am proud to be a part of CDS, where we have been and where we are going. It is an honor to serve our members and our field. Although I can’t promise to never make mistakes, I can promise to always work for the best interest of our organization and its members. This is as true today as it’s always been. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve. Let me know how I can better serve – I’m listening.
For those involved in community development, we know that community engagement is the heart of change. We assist groups to organize to respond to shared issues. Engagement is how people connect and act together. Sometimes these interactions can lead to shared agreement, unified investment, and sustained commitment to a solution. Sometimes the interactions can be selfish, dysfunctional, divisive, and lead to distrust and resentment. How the interactions are structured can have significant impact on the outcomes of the situation.
The Socio-ecological model of health (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) recognizes that individual health is affected not only by individual knowledge and actions, but also by the people we are surrounded with, and the habits, norms, culture, and patterns of interaction that support behavior (healthy or unhealthy). These lifestyles are, in turn, affected by the organizational and community policies, systems, and physical environments in which people live.
This isn’t just an observation. The implications are not only that we live in a place with other people. How we live in community also seems to matter. How we connect with others can have very significant implications. It can change our lives. In research on health and happiness, Robert Waldenger (November 2015 Ted Talk) notes a 75-year longevity study indicated that social networks are a key influencing factor contributing to wellbeing. In a positive correlation, more social connection and support relate to increased health and happiness. Susan Pinker (April 2017 Ted Talk) emphasizes that social integration and close relationships are the top factors contributing to living longer.
The wonderful thing about this information from the perspective of a community development practitioner, is that we can facilitate the development of these healthy interactions. In a recent CDS Fellows meeting Mary Emery summarized, “Community is centered around a sense of belonging. Belonging is being part of a structure. We can control structure.”
Designing structure for meaningful engagement is the core of what a community development practitioner does. Whether the focus is on addressing hunger, housing, poverty, business development, or a new community swimming pool, the framework of involvement can invite participation, involve people meaningfully, and support engagement. Is it important? The stakes of meaningful community engagement can impact our health, how long we live, and happiness. I would say that’s pretty important.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American psychologist, 32(7), 513.
Pinker, Susan (2017). The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life. Ted Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_pinker_the_secret_to_living_longer_may_be_your_social_life
Waldenger, Robert. (2015) What Makes a Good Life; Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness. Ted Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness
*Daniel Kahl is an Assistant Professor of community and leadership development at the University of Kentucky and Associate Director of CEDIK. He co-coordinates the 2017 Community Development Society Fellows project with Dr. Kris Hains.