Community Development Society

News and Information

2018 CDS Elections

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!

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President's Update - Flying the plane together

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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!

Recent leadership resignations left some temporary gaps. Following our current guiding documents, the bylaws enacted in 2004, and confirmed by our committees and board, I assumed to the presidency and will continue through my elected term ending July 2019. It is my honor to continue to serve CDS. I promise to bring to my presidency the same effort and commitment to our organization that has guided me thus far. I will work to improve our governance, organization development, and meaningful member engagement. I strive to listen to our members and work in the interest of our organization. Please feel free to reach out to me directly (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (239) 4654-6976) if you have any thoughts or concerns or see a role you can play to help us achieve these goals.

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.

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Life or Death! Why Community Engagement is So Important

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.

Referenced work:

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.

Waldenger, Robert. (2015) What Makes a Good Life; Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness. Ted Talk.

*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.

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CDS Scholarship Deadlines Extended to May 29 at Noon!

Great news!  The deadline for CDS scholarships in 2018 has been extended to May 29, 2018 at 12:00pm CDT, with up to $8,000 in travel and support funds available.  Please go to to apply today, and pass the word along to interested faculty, practitioners, and students!


We hope you will take advantage of this exciting opportunity, and encourage others to do the same.  Please direct questions to Michael Fortunato at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jane Leonard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We look forward to seeing you in Detroit!


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Call for Papers for Edited Research Volume - Community Supported Enterprises

By Norm Walzer

Stagnant economies and population declines combined with an aging population including retiring business owners has seriously affected the ability of many rural areas to retain access to vital enterprises such as grocery stores, restaurants, and social services that affect social capital and the quality of life. In response, community leaders have organized groups of residents to pool their funds and invest in businesses they consider adding to essential to quality of life. These enterprises become self-supporting with residents donating time and efforts into related management activities. Community Supported Enterprises (CSEs) have a social purpose and add to social capital but operate with a business model intended to be self-sustaining without continued financial contributions by local investors.

            While some successful CSEs have been documented and studied already (, more information about their motivations, purposes, and keys to success in both rural and urban neighborhoods is needed to systematically analyze their full potential. Especially important is to understand their applicability in other domestic and international locations. Key is to understand types of investors, desired outcomes, organizational structures, and successful management practices under different environments and social systems.

            To obtain a more complete picture of how CSEs developed, operate, and were effective in helping improve the potential of communities, Norman Walzer is organizing an edited research volume on these issues. Contributions should include analyses of important factors, rather than only describe case studies with limited ability to determine ways to generalize or apply successful experiences in other areas. The main topics of interest include (but not limited):

            a. conditions in which CSEs were organized;

            b. organization patterns, e.g. nonprofits, cooperatives, for profits;

            c. groups that have been involved in these enterprises;

            d. state and local assistance or direction for CSE efforts;

            e. reasons for successes and best practices; and

            f. implications for use of CSEs in other places.

            The chapters (not more than 30 double-space pages inclusive) will be refereed prior to acceptance. Authors interested in contributing chapters to this research volume should send an abstract (not more than 500 words) preferably before July 1, 2018 to:

                        Norman Walzer

                        Senior Research Scholar

                        NIU Center for Governmental Studies

                        148 N. Third Street

                        DeKalb, IL 60115


                       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CDS Vanguard Editor Position

Interested in networking with our CDS members and community development practitioners? Looking for a while to strengthen your professional portfolio and apply your creativity through marketing and communications?


Consider applying for the CDS Vanguard Editor position!


The CDS Vanguard is a monthly publication distributed to CDS members and nonmembers, including updates from the Board of Directors, organizational announcements, external resources for educators and practitioners, potential funding sources, and more! In this 10-hour/month position, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with CDS leadership and the CDS Communications Committee, exercise your creativity in marketing and communication strategies, and enhance our presence among community development practitioners worldwide!


Questions? Please see the CDS Vanguard Editor position, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CDS Secretary, for more information.

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CDS Update from the Board of Directors

Dear CDS Members,

Early this spring, two Board of Directors positions unexpectedly became open due to the resignations of both Dr. Bryan Hains (former President) and Dr. Craig Talmage (former Vice President of Operations). We thank them for their service.

Following policy and procedure, Dr. Cindy Banyai, former Vice President of Programs, is now serving as President. We thank Dr. Banyai for her willingness to immediately take on this new role.

We want to reassure the members that the Board is continuing to meet regularly and its committees are functioning as usual, and the conference is on track to be a success this July in Detroit.  As we find ourselves amidst this transition, we embrace what the season of springs brings to us -- rebirth, regeneration and renewal -- and in this spirit -- we explore new possibilities together.

We look forward to seeing you in Detroit! We see this conference as a collaborative opportunity to welcome your ideas, share insights and collectively move forward on a new path seeped in tradition and rich with new potential. We also have much to plan in celebration of our society's upcoming 50th year anniversary! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We welcome your input.


CDS Board of Directors

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Leadership Transition

Dr. Hains and Dr. Talmage have resigned their positions on the executive committee, effective immediately, in order to fulfill other professional obligations.

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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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WCDC2018: World Community Development Conference

Community Development Towards 2030: Our Analysis, Our Actions

Join the IACD's 65th anniversary conference celebrating community development from around the world! 

The World Community Development Conference (WCDC) 2018 will be held at Maynooth University, in partnership with the IACD and Community Work Ireland, in Kildare, Ireland on June 24-27. This conference will provide a unique opportunity for practitioners, participants, academics, policy makers, funders, and other stakeholders to share perspectives on current contexts and challenges for community work.

With over 200 workshop speakers, join our community development colleagues, practitioners, and educators from around the globe in a collaborative discussion on participation, power, and progress! Register now to join the conversation about the future of community development!

Don't miss this wonderful gathering of community development experts from around the world! For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the IACD website.

Come join the global conversation of community development!

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Community Development Data Viz - February 2018

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Get involved with #CommDev18!



Every year, the CDS annual international conference is our time to come together as colleagues to learn and share. The 2018 CDS Annual International Conference in Detroit is no exception and there lots of great things on the horizon! However, we want to make sure that our members’ voices are heard and that this conference really hits the mark. With that in mind, we are extending an invitation for members to join the Conference Planning Committee. Committee members will meet by phone once a month leading up to the conference and will review current plans, make suggestions to tailor the conference program to needs and expectations of the members, as well as to provide support as needed. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

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CDS Team Looks to Develop Stronger Partnerships with Foundations

The Community Change Network is a team of committed community development professionals pursuing the study and documentation of sustained community change. With the support of CDS Institutional Capacity grant funding, and working with the CDS Fellows project in 2017-18, the Community Change Network (CCN) is spearheading an initiative to convene Foundations that share a mission for community well-being.

This initiative recognizes that the Community Development Society, CCN and foundations each bring diverse perspectives and resources, and all share the common goal of supporting effective, inclusive, sustainable community change. The CCN recognizes the potential benefits of more collaborative work and is taking action to explore the potential of formalizing and strengthening the relationship between the interest groups. CCN leaders are hoping to reach out to representatives from several foundation including Thrivent, Blandin, Bush, Northwest Area, Annie E. Casey, Ford, Ford Family, Kellogg, Mott, Kauffman, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, USDA Rural Development and the Minnesota Initiative Funds. The group is planning to host a meeting in the spring of 2018 to hear what foundations are interested in for future funding opportunities, what they would like to know more about to support rural programming, and what measurement or impact data they are seeking for funding decision-making.

CNN project leaders Milan Wall, Sharon Gulick, Connie Loden, and Mary Emery are seeking feedback from CDS members on the CDS Connect discussion page ( including what questions you would like to have asked - share what foundations you would like to hear from - and what are your ideas on how CDS can form more effective partnerships with Foundations that support community health, development, and well-being.

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CDS - You Are Appreciated

This month’s Presidential update will be short and sweet - yet will carry an important message. I personally want to thank every Community Development Society member for their continued commitment to our organization. Your professional dedication, diverse perspectives and general friendliness have made CDS an amazing organization and one that I am proud to be a part of. You continually strive to enhance not only our profession but our individual professional and personal lives as well. Many of you work tirelessly behind the scenes to make CDS run like a well-oiled machine, and you do so humbly and with little recognition. Please know that this does not go unnoticed, I personally want to take a moment to recognize your past, present and future efforts and let you know that you are truly appreciated. As always, please let me know if there is anything the leadership team can do to make you feel as appreciated as you truly are.

With humble thanks,


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CDS Seeks Proposals from Certified Public Accountant Firms for Audit and Tax Services

The Community Development Society (CDS) is soliciting proposals from Certified Public Accountant firms to provide audit and tax services for our fiscal year ending December 31, 2017, with the option to renew for each of the following two odd numbered fiscal years (2019 and 2021). This request for proposal contains background information on CDS and specific information that must be included in the proposals submitted. The proposals must be submitted via email by no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, March 16th, 2018, directly to our business office at the following email address:

Community Development Society
Attn: Justin Fallon Dollard, Managing Director
Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The RFP announcement with proposal requirements information is available here:



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CDS Seeks Proposals from Certified Public Accountant Firms for Monthly and Year End Services

The Community Development Society (CDS) is soliciting proposals from Certified Public Account firms to provide monthly and year-end accounting services for fiscal year 2018, with the option to renew for two succeeding years. This request for proposal contains background information on CDS and specific information that must be included in the proposals submitted. The proposals must be submitted via email by no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, March 16th, 2018, directly to our business office at the following email address:

Community Development Society
Attn: Justin Fallon Dollard, Managing Director

Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The RFP announcement with proposal requirements is available here:


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Community Development Data Viz - February 2018

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Building Membership Capacity and Agency Within CDS - Leadership Flexibility Within an Evolving Field

It is very heartening to be part of an energetic and vibrant society – soon to be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Our society is filled with amazing individuals who are passionate about their profession and its future. This passion is what attracted me to the society when I first joined. The Community Development Society’s resiliency, especially in an ever-changing culture, is credited to the visionary efforts of its prior leadership and engaged membership. It is in honor of these leaders and membership efforts that we evaluate the current and future needs of our professional colleagues.

Recently, our officers and board of directors critically examined the CDS leadership structure in concert with the current and future needs of its membership. This was an insightful process, as our society strives to engage multigenerational members from diverse disciplinary and cultural backgrounds. It raised the recurrent question, “How does CDS best serve its current and future membership?” The answer lies in our Principles of Good Practice:

  • Promote active and representative participation toward enabling all community members to meaningfully influence the decisions that affect their lives.
  • Engage community members in learning about and understanding community issues, and the economic, social, environmental, political, psychological, and other impacts associated with alternative courses of action.
  • Incorporate the diverse interests and cultures of the community in the community development process; and disengage from support of any effort that is likely to adversely affect the disadvantaged members of a community.
  • Work actively to enhance the leadership capacity of community members, leaders, and groups within the community.
  • Be open to using the full range of action strategies to work toward the long-term sustainability and well-being of the community.

We began by examining our foundational bylaws. During this process, we found that there could be revisions made to mainstream the CDS leadership structure which would, “Incorporate the diverse interests and cultures of the community in the community development process.” The first included adding the office of Past President. In June, 2016, the board of directors voted to add an office of Past President, yet the offices roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined. We now propose a more defined role for the new office.

We also recommend combining the offices of Vice President of Operations and the Office of Vice President of Programs into one Vice President position. The Vice President would oversee operational and maintenance functions of committees, and Board Liaisons. The Vice President would Chair the Program Planning Committee and assist in the facilitation of correlating sub-committees. Furthermore, the Treasurer would chair the Finance Committee and correlating sub-committees and the Secretary would chair the Communications Committee and correlating sub-committees. These changes would enhance officer leadership roles by allowing them to deepen their engagement with membership. Their primary committees could be more dynamic as they develop purposeful sub-committees to address membership needs. This would also allow board members to engage with committees and sub-committees that are of interest to them, rather than potentially chairing a committee of limited interest. These recommendations would, “Promote active and representative participation toward enabling all community members to meaningfully influence the decisions that affect the society.” as well as, “Enhance the leadership capacity of CDS members, leaders, and groups within the society.” The proposed changes are incorporated into the following figure:


Lastly, we propose the deletion of action clusters and broadening the focus of CDS chapters and sections to be both place based and interest based. As we have seen, our membership often coincides regarding community issues, or topics of interest. This amendment allows us to better meet the needs of global membership.

As previously stated, we believe that the recommended changes will greatly enhance societal engagement and membership agency. Our process and efforts are based on our founding principles of good practice and we hope you will provide your thoughts, insights and comments regarding our recommendations. To do so, please view our proposed changes and add any comments/suggestions you have. To view the proposed bylaws please click on the following link:

The board and I truly appreciate your input as we continue our efforts to meet our diverse membership.


Bryan Hains

CDS President

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Issue 21 - Community Development Practice - Available the Week of January 15th

Dear CDS Members and Friends,

The newest issue of Community Development Practice is up on our CDS website:

I hope that you will share the three articles featured in issue broadly with researchers and practitioners alike. Our 22nd issue should be coming out in late Spring of 2018. Consider submitting an article yourself or reach out to me if you have questions. 

Below you will find an excerpt of my introduction to the issue. 

Excerpt from Introduction:

When I read through three articles contained in this twenty-first issue of Community Development Practice, I can see the transformative power of community development across the globe. In our first article, we see the transformative power of community development to improve rural health in West Virginia. In our second article, we see the transformative power of community development to strengthen veterinary extension systems in Zimbabwe. In our third article, we see the transformative power of community development to reduce group and gang violence in London. These incredible stories and tools move our practice of community development forward in this new millennium.

I hope you will find these articles not only useful but also inspiring of your own practice. I also hope you consider submitting articles to Community Development Practice in the near future. Your stories and tools deserve to be shared. Please also consider presenting your stories and tools at future conferences of the Community Development Society. We must unleash the transformative power of community development and not keep it hidden.  

Craig Talmage

Editor, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
300 Pulteney Street, Stern Hall
Geneva, NY 14456 USA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Community Development Practice

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Community Development Educators: Addressing ‘Wicked’ Issues and Systems Thinking

It is not a novel concept that today’s community development practitioners must address some of the most complex, ‘wicked’ problems facing our world. Due to today’s globalization, challenges within our communities are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected. Such ‘wicked’ challenges are not evil in nature, but have been coined to represent their complexity and uniqueness, without clear definition of their problem, solution, or final resolution (Rittel & Webber, 1973).

In order to best prepare tomorrow’s researchers, practitioners, and educators for such problems, our education and development must address the concept of wicked issues through a systemic lens.

I have recently been working with university students to instill similar paradigms that encourage systems thinking when engaging with wicked community development issues. Through this Global Issues course, students are exposed to various activities, exercises, discussions, and resources that allow them to develop such worldviews.

I would love to share a fantastic resource I came across with the CDS community. At the start of this new year, I was introduced to Tom Wujec’s Wicked Problem Solving toolkit, where participants engage in an exercise of diagram creation, problem solving, and critical reflection. Through the simple task of drawing how to make toast, participants begin to shift their perspective in how they first address issues within their community.  If you’re looking for an excellent exercise to introduce systems thinking and wicked issues through an experiential learning exercise, I would highly encourage you to watch Tom Wujec’s TED Talk and present this participatory activity for a group that you currently work with!

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