2022-Fall Newsletter


NACDEP Newsletter                                                                                      Fall Edition

Click Here to view this email in your browser

NACDEP Fall 2022 Newsletter

NACDEP members: Greetings and welcome to the Fall edition of the 2022 NACDEP newsletter.  I have just completed my 11th year as your editor, and I am really proud of the work that I have been able to accomplish along with the Communications Committee and all the great Presidents we have had, plus so many of you who have contributed submissions over the years.

As we approach the midyear point between conferences, I keep thinking back to all the great presentations and posters I saw in Indy.  It is not too early to be thinking about what you might wish to submit for the conference in Coeur d’Alene.  As you think about that, also be thinking of things you wish to share in the newsletter.

Speaking of the newsletter, this one has some important news, not the least of which is that the Wednesday Webinars are back.  We have a nice letter from our President – a number of good things you will want to read.  And remember, always feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss any aspect of the newsletter.  Happy Reading.


Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Associate Professor
Ohio State University Extension
NACDEP Newsletter Editor



President's Column

Submitted by Rebekka Dudensing, NACDEP President

Contributing to Extension Scholarship

I love fall. This time of year, I want to curl up with a hot tea and a good book. In the office, it’s time to come in from summer activities and focus on program evaluation and writing fact sheets and journal submissions. Fall feels more scholarly.

Scholarship is an important part of our work as Extension professionals. We translate research from around the world to practical applied programming for Extension clientele in our communities. We study what works locally and in what contexts interventions are most effective. We apply that new knowledge in future work and evaluate again. In some cases, we elevate local issues and ideas to broader audiences through publications and by broadening our research lens. Scholarship is a process of learning and sharing.

It seems like we were just celebrating being back together for the first time in two years at our 2022 conference in Indianapolis, but we are already looking forward to our 2023 conference inCoeur d'Alene. As you’ll read in this newsletter, it’s time to submit conference presentation and poster ideas for the April conference. The awards portal will soon be open as well. Please consider submitting your work for the conference and recognizing your work or the work of your colleagues through one or more award nominations.

As a member of NACDEP, each of you is also a member of the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP). JCEP has two professional development opportunities this winter and spring: Extension Leadership Conference (ELC) and Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD)Conference. I serve on JCEP’s scholarly activity committee, and we’ve been discussing the how to recognize Extension scholarship—looking beyond journal articles to recognize scholarship in multiple forms that reflect the breadth of extension programming.

Most of us know the Journal of Extension publishes articles expanding the “scholarship of university outreach and engagement.” The Community Development Society (CDS) welcomes manuscripts to Community Development and Local Development & Society, including submissions by nonmembers. The Extension Community Development Library houses extension fact sheets and curricula from around the U.S. Of course, each of these outlets is not just a place to publish, but a place to engage in the scholarship of the planning phases of our programs, exploring published ideas and best practices relevant to your work.

Grab a cup of tea, and happy reading. Then write—fact sheets, articles, conference submissions, and award nominations.

Rebekka Dudensing, NACDEP President, 2022-23


Urban Extension On-Line Course: Leadership in the City

Submitted by Ramona Madhosingh-Hector
University of Florida Extension


Wednesday Webinars are Back

Submitted by Nicole D. Breazeale
University of Kentucky

The NACDEP Member Services committee is excited to announce that we are bringing back the Wednesday Webinars.  We will host two webinars in the Fall (October and November), two in the Spring (February and March) and two in the Summer (June and July). Each webinar will be an interactive presentation made by NACDEP members, with an opportunity to foster continuous fellowship and learning throughout the year. 

The next Wednesday Webinar will be on November 9th from 12-1 Eastern Time

Russ Garner, of the Southern Rural Development Center, will present on: 

"An Assessment: Using the Community Capitals Framework in Understanding Community Needs in Agriculture and Food Systems."


In 2021, at the request of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the four Regional Rural Development Centers were charged with developing a national Listening Session Initiative with the goal of appraising stakeholder priorities related to the community, economic, and workforce development of rural communities in the U.S.

To gain a better understanding of stakeholder needs the team utilized the Community Capitals Framework. This presentation will explore the methodology and results of that effort, with a focus on the topic area of agriculture and food.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92915223617?pwd=MHBXazhaQ0NlaXdkdmtybVJxVE5tdz09

Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions regarding the Wednesday Webinar series to Nicole Breazeale ([email protected]) or Nicole Walker ([email protected])


Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) Community of Practice - Inaugural Meeting
Oct. 28

Submitted by:  Carrie Backman, Nicole Breazeale, Scott Chazdon, Mary Emery, Debra Hansen, and Lorie Higgins

Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) is a highly interactive, engaging, and community-based approach that results in evaluation data about program impacts, powerful stories, and re-energized participants.  REM combines appreciative inquiry and mind mapping to capture impacts.  It was developed to evaluate intensive community development efforts but has been adapted and used for a wide range of programs. 

We were inspired to launch this Community of Practice because REM is a relatively new and emerging tool. Many who have adopted REM still have questions about implementing it and processes and applications are still evolving.  We believe a network of practitioners will help us all learn and share best practices for utilizing REM.

For those who are deeply interested in REM, have experimented with the method, or are practitioners, consider joining our multi-disciplinary online REM Community of Practice to ask questions, workshop specific challenges, hone your skills, and collaborate as we support future generations of REM practitioners and scholars.  

If you want to know more about REM, check out the practitioner’s field guide.  This Community of Practice will not teach REM; however, we are happy to work with people on setting up or linking to future REM trainings. 

The REM Community of Practice will officially launch on October 28, 2022 at 11am Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1pm Central and 2 Eastern time.  If you are interested in participating in this inaugural meeting, please register at this link.

We hope you will join us!


University of Minnesota's Business Succession & Transition Programming - 2  Courses Available

Submitted by Michael Darger, UMN Extension Center for Community Vitality, [email protected], 612-625-6246.

University of Minnesota Extension has done research and programming on business succession and transition (BST) for the last several years. Now, BST efforts are taking place in a few directions:  research, needs assessment and courses for businesses and economic developers.

We are gearing up to do research with business owners, and their employees, on their awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and actions with respect to business succession planning. I believe that business transfers to employee ownership represents a greater opportunity for local economies than is currently manifested in the U.S. Thus, it is a research and program development opportunity.

Last year we created a Minnesota BST ecosystem group of state agencies, nonprofits and universities that are engaged or at least interested in the topic. We seek to learn about our individual efforts on BST and to assess what is needed to enable the retention of local businesses as the owners retire or need to exit for other reasons.

Finally, we have two BST-related courses that are available; one is for economic and community development folks (including NACDEP members) and the other is for business owners.  The course that’s available for economic development and business support professionals, our Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) course, is this November 1-2, 2022 on the UMN St. Paul campus. It will cover both BRE and BST since they are related topics.

The other course for business owners is described here. Since it’s online, it may be of interest to a business in your community.

Nationally, about half of businesses that employ people are owned by 55+ year old owners. Are these people going to turn the keys over to new owners, or lock the door and walk away? Whether their exit is three years or three decades away, every business owner needs an exit strategy. Baby Boomers may be the most imminent generation, however the “five D’s” — death, disaster, disability, divorce, and disagreement — can knock any business owner off course. To help retain retiring businesses, University of Minnesota Extension created a new five-week online course, offered in partnership with Vision One High Performance Group. The course facilitates businesses to plan for the transition of ownership and leadership of their enterprise. The 5-week course guides the owner and their team through a business succession planning process. When it's time to hand over the keys, the current and future leaders of the business will be ready. Three sections of the course will be offered in 2023: https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/your-business-ready-succession . Business owners and business teams from outside Minnesota are welcome to register for the course.

I’m happy to discuss any of these topics.


Building Community Connections Through Storytelling: What Does Peace Mean to You?

Submitted by Brian Raison
Ohio State University Extension

While some community development practitioners have begun to explore and even embrace storytelling as a means of bringing communities together for connection and impact, many of us are still exploring how to do it. A few years back, I personally asked myself: Where should I start? Which engagement method is best? Would I be any good at using storytelling in my CD work?

This past spring, a NACDEP friend and colleague, Rachel Welborn at the Southern Rural Development Center shared a new book by the award-winning photographer and writer John Noltner entitled Portraits of Peace. In it, he uses a simple question, “What does peace mean to you?” to open dialogue and make connections with a diverse array of real people across the United States.

Noltner’s idea was to see if he could use storytelling and photography to “rediscover what connects us as…human beings” (p. IX, Author’s Note). His experiment netted stories of racial turmoil, political unrest, same-sex marriage, gun rights, religious freedom, gender equality, as well as stories of love and hope and community. (These were chronicled in his first two books, and many are available on his web site:  https://apomm.net/.)

These same topics often appear in our own community development work.

Noltner’s third book, Portraits of Peace, provides a narrative that discusses how we might navigate the many conflicts people are feeling, and find a better path forward. In it, he describes a community capitals framework (Flora and Flora, 2013) that parallels our community development work. This approach (personal conversations) may be a key tool that could help create positive solutions to some of the deep problems people are facing today.

“When we put a human face to the issues of the day, it becomes more difficult to dismiss, discard, or demonize.” – John Noltner

Our community development work often speaks of discovering and bolstering the potential that exists when we increase the deployment of human, cultural, social, natural, and political capitals on today’s problems. Storytelling provides a way to get at deep meeting and connection that numbers or statistics may miss. The idea of finding the stories to build community is the brilliance of this book. 

A CD challenge:

Might we, as community development professionals, use storytelling to begin some of our work? Could it help us better connect, come alongside, join energies, and co-create solutions to positively impact our communities? Could telling and listening open opportunities that we might otherwise miss? Might this approach help as our work increasingly intersects issues of racial equality, marginalized populations, income or economic distress, food insecurity, education and health disparities, and more? Imagine the opportunities.

As you consider using storytelling in your work, please consider Noltner’s simple question: What does peace mean to you?

Note: John Noltner will be keynoting The Ohio State University Extension Annual Conference in December 2022, sharing these ideas with all four of Extension’s program areas. He has spoken at a number of other Extension and university events. Also, watch for a full book review (Raison & Welborn) of Noltner’s Portraits of Peace in the next issue of the Journal of the Community Development Society:  https://cdsociety.org/publications/#publications-journals


NACDEP Award Winners 2022

Submitted by Tamara Ogle

Join us in congratulating our 2022 NACDEP Award Winners!  We will feature a few of our national winners in each newsletter.  This is another opportunity to share some of the excellent community development work of our NACDEP members.

And while you are learning more about our fabulous award winners, remember that this could be you next year.  The 2023 awards descriptions are available on the NACDEP website, and the awards portal will open in early December


Redlining in Michigan: History and Legacy of Racist Housing Policies
Dr. Craig Carpenter, 2022 Educational Materials Award Winner

Dr. Craig Carpenter developed an extensive website and resource titled “Redlining in Michigan: The History and Legacy of Racist Housing Policies.” The website provides a detailed but concise history of Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) redline-mapping for every redlined Michigan city (eleven total). Then Dr. Carpenter’s website overlays the historical HOLC “redlining” map on present-day demographic data to show the persistence and continued relevance of these racist policies on present-day segregation, in addition to summarizing the current research on the long-term effects of these policies. The website is now used in Michigan State University (MSU) Extension housing programs; after this historical information and qualitative data, Extension specialists present specific housing policies that pursue racial equity, as well as case studies of communities currently engaged in the work. As with the website, this program highlights the clear visual connection between historical racist policies and the legacy of those policies in their community. These programs, developed and led by MSU Extension’s housing team, continue to be well-received by community partners.

The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) of the MSU College of Agricultural and Natural Resources provided feedback on the project. The resource has now been integrated into the Multicultural Self Awareness Workshop, a “cornerstone” multi-day workshop required for all new MSU Extension employees, which sets an organizational framework for recognizing, understanding, and appreciating differences. The work was also cited and used in developing the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s first Statewide Housing Plan.


Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Governments

2022 NACDEP Educational Materials Team Award Winner
Wayne R. Beyea, Harmony Gmazel, Brad Neumann, Mary Reilly, Charles Gould, and Sarah Mills

Developed by experts within Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and the MSU School of Planning, Design, and Construction, plus faculty of the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, the “Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Michigan Local Governments” was released to help Michigan communities meet the challenge of becoming solar-ready. Further review of the guide was completed by content experts from local units of government, legal counsel, energy-related non-profits, utility experts, and members of academia, in addition to partial support provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Michigan Office of Climate and Energy.

By offering best practice guidance for addressing solar energy systems within planning policies and zoning regulations, the guide is tailored to Michigan local governments but is also useful to homeowners, landowners, and solar energy developers. This resource offers a strategic path forward in meeting the renewable energy needs of the future, keeping land in beneficial agricultural use, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and protecting the interests of residents and communities.


Fiscally Ready Communities

2022 NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Team Award WinnerEric Walcott, John Amrhein, Tyler Augst, Roxanne Foster, Eric Cline, and Kayla Rosen

The Fiscally Ready Communities program was created to assist communities in establishing, measuring, and maintaining policies and practices to increase operational and financial effectiveness and safeguards. This partnership between MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Treasury helps local governments work towards fiscal health by sharing best practices in fiscal sustainability.

Since 2019, over 2000 local government staff and elected or appointed officials have participated in the Fiscally Ready Communities program. These participants include leaders from local governments, large and small, throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Because of this program, local governments in Michigan are reviewing and revising financial policies and tying budget decisions more closely to strategic plans.

The program now includes four webinars:

  • Financial Best Practices
  • Budgeting for Fiscal Sustainability
  • Capital Asset Management and Planning
  • Managing Internal Controls

Participants in the webinars also receive the Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices guide, which includes example policies to help communities looking at revising policies and procedures.


Love Will Keep Us Together

Michael Wilcox, Purdue
Former NACDEP President

Many years ago, I found myself in the crosshairs of my supervisor. It is a long, funny, and touching story about falling in love, learning to adapt to a new culture, and accepting that distance actually just might make the heart grow fonder.

All of this was lost on my supervisor, as he found out that my partner and I were breaking one of the fundamental rules related to our positions. And he found out only because my partner wrote a letter that was read on a variety show that was transmitted globally on BBC World Service. In that letter, she asked that the radio presenter play “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille. Why? “Because my boyfriend hates that song.”

Too funny!

While my dislike for the song may still hold true, the song’s title resonates with me on a much deeper level today. Here’s why….

Purdue Extension’s Community Development Signature Program, Navigating Difference, presents a wide range of concepts related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. One of the concepts presented early in the program is the Diversity Wheel. Pioneered by Marilyn Loden and Judy Rosener in 1990 and adapted many times since (including for the workplace by Gardenswartz and Rowe – the version used in Navigating Difference), the model generally incorporates individual elements such as personality and internal attributes (age, race, gender, etc.), external attributes (religion, socioeconomic status, education, etc.) and organizational attributes (work-related) while taking into account the era or global environment within which all of the other elements operate.

These dimensions of diversity frame who you are and how others perceive you. These dimensions can affect a myriad of outcomes during the course of your life, both directly and indirectly. They may also affect how you personally influence outcomes for others.

During Navigating Difference, we explore a continuum included in Chappelle and Bigman’s book “Diversity in Action” (1998), which introduces the concepts of preference, bias, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. This model describes the different levels of the continuum (with preference on one end and oppression on the other) and how one level may eventually lead to another.

As members of a community, we all have preferences. Often, our preferences are mundane, “I prefer basketball over football” is one potential example. And generally, our individual preferences can be aggregated across our community, potentially leading to some commonalities that could be construed as a prevailing culture, perhaps in a rural Midwest community with many residents that enjoy American roots music.

However, preferences can become embedded and lead to a situation where our preferences override the consideration of equally worthy options, thus diminishing our objectivity. This opens the door to bias, where preferences are ranked and mindsets switch from liking one thing (a positive) to actively disliking another (a negative).

Once the switch from positive to negative takes place, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression may follow. We have seen this play out throughout history and all over the world. As you think of examples of this regression, you will note that the perpetrator invoked an element of the Diversity Wheel. In some cases, this element is race. When race is invoked, this leads to discrimination and oppression recast as racism and institutional (systemic) racism.

Like many, I have spent the last few years trying to understand our country’s past, present, and future while relying on different perspectives. In November and December of 2021, I discussed aspects of my own journey. One person that has played a central role is my friend and confidant, Ginger (whom I discussed in the December article).

On May 14, 2022, my world was shattered from afar. Back in my home state, a hate-driven terrorist act.

Ginger was the first to write.

“I’m still reeling from the atrocity in Buffalo.”

I responded,

“We have to wake up, find our empathy, and exercise our compassion. If we don’t? It is going to be a long dark road.”

And, as I described in those articles, I started to read.

John McWhorter, the linguist and New York Times columnist, wrote an article immediately after the atrocity in Buffalo, “‘Racism’ Has Too Many Definitions. We Need Another Term.” I read and re-read it. I then read “The Double Terror of Being Black in America “by Professor Ibram X. Kendi. Two thought leaders coming at this issue from different perspectives.

I shared these articles with Ginger, and she, per usual, brought clarity for me. She responded:

“If McWhorter really is calling out Kendi, I guess I’d say, “Good. Let’s have more of that.” We need to “poke holes” in our well-established paradigms. We need multiple perspectives. There is room for more than one view, especially when we are tackling the ubiquitous parasite we call racism.

I agree with much of what John McWhorter says about our society’s understanding of the nomenclature. We, in the U.S., use the term “racism” to label any negative outcome for people of color, particularly for Black people. If you recall, I wanted to start our exchange with an exploration of many terms related to racism. This is why.

The atrocity in Buffalo is considered to be racism because the shooter is White, and he intentionally targeted Black souls. While there is no denying that the event was racially motivated, we have become somewhat lazy in categorizing it. It’s convenient to call this racism. I would call it racial terrorism. You could call it genocide, too. It would be more plausible to invoke the term “racism” if we were to consider all racially motivated mass shootings in the aggregate.

Let me slow it down.

There are layers, like an onion, to the obstacles and injustices suffered by people of color in the U.S.; we have:

  • the attitudes of individuals (bias to bigotry),
  • the actions of individuals (bigotry to discrimination), and
  • the action or inaction, policies and laws of our institutions like schools, banks, courts, housing, employers, local, state, and federal governments, etc. (protected class discrimination to racism).

As McWhorter suggests, we, as a society are confused, leading many to throw a vast range of scenarios under one umbrella term. He even suggests that using one term to describe the least of our woes as well as the most egregious of tragedies has opened us up to overblown reactions to minor slights.

Where he and I part ways is in appreciation of the terminology already in use. I think the problem is that there has been huge resistance in our White society to learn about racism and bigotry. He thinks there aren’t adequate terms to describe it all. Either way, the result is the same; we are abusing the terms and missing the nuance. As he put it, we wouldn’t draw upon the horror of Buffalo to make a case for, say, police reform or fair housing. Calling racial violence by individuals and systemic racial injustices racism is reductive. It implies that there is one wide-sweeping, unreachable solution to fix it all rather than targeted and appropriate rectifications for each racial issue.”

Ginger’s layered onion example triggered the continuum model in my head. Suppose the regressive continuum model takes one down the dark spiral that leads to horrific outcomes. Might there be a model that reverses the spiral and leads one towards a continuum of progressively positive outcomes?

I started with empathy.

If you read my previous columns, this comes as no surprise. Empathy has starred in at least nine articles.

However, empathy is not the answer. Research at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that while important, empathy doesn’t directly lead to the positive outcomes we seek. Moreover, the efficacy of empathy is limited because it is a necessary but not sufficient condition. Empathy allows you to feel how another feels, but it is inadequate to make you act. Strauss, et. al. (2016) offer an academic definition that compassion is:

“a cognitive, affective, and behavioral process consisting of the following five elements that refer to both self and other-compassion:

1) Recognizing suffering;

2) Understanding the universality of suffering in human experience;

3) Feeling empathy for the person suffering and connecting with the distress (emotional resonance);

4) Tolerating uncomfortable feelings aroused in response to the suffering person (e.g. distress, anger, fear) so remaining open to and accepting of the person suffering; and

5) Motivation to act/acting to alleviate suffering.”

If we consider empathy the midpoint of the continuum and that compassion leads to action, how do we arrive at empathy, and what is the desired endpoint after acts of compassion?

I am not a clinical psychologist! But, as an Extension professional, I think it starts with self-respect leading to mindfulness.

The American Psychological Association defines self-respect as “a feeling of self-worth and self-esteem, especially a proper regard for one’s values, character, and dignity.” Like preferences, this is an individual quality that can, in some sense, carry over into the community. A foundation of self-respect can lead to mindfulness and vice versa. It can also lead to greater personal well-being. From a community perspective, this personal well-being could translate into community well-being or, as we community development folks call it, quality of life. Furthermore, Bishop, et. al. (2004) define mindfulness as “a process of regulating attention in order to bring a quality of nonelaborative awareness to current experience and a quality of relating to one’s experience within an orientation of curiosity, experiential openness, and acceptance.” This orientation of curiosity, experiential openness, and acceptance should lead to empathy.

For Extension professionals, the challenge is finding ways to promote self-respect, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion in individuals and communities. By thoughtfully considering these outcomes when developing our programming and finding ways to effectively partner with our Extension colleagues so we can support a holistic approach, the Cooperative Extension system will foster quality of life for everyone inclusively and equitably.

If this process starts with self-respect and ultimately leads to compassion, how will we know when we have reached the ultimate goal of this positive continuum?

I think that goal is love.

bell hooks published the book “All About Love” in 2001, the same year as another horrific act of hate and terrorism. In the book, she explores the concept of love and all of its dimensions. She starts with a definition:

“The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet all the most astute theorists of love acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb.”

This struck a chord in me as I remembered my recent study abroad experience. I wrote, “while empathy opens the door to understanding people’s needs, one must consider action-oriented solutions. Or, as Kathleen put it, “you must think of needs as verbs, not nouns.” By doing so, you free yourself from conventional thinking and begin to operate in design thinking mode — an approach to problem-solving that prioritizes needs.”

Thinking of love as a verb activates it for us and sets the stage for acts of genuine love, which bell hooks describes as a “combination of care, commitment, trust, knowledge, responsibility, and respect.” Genuine love requires that we are aware of ourselves AND others.

In a sense, this new, positive continuum begins with self-love. It ends with a loving environment where communities nurture genuine love and promote what author Nathaniel Branden called “living consciously,” which is related to mindfulness. hooks adds, “Loving friendships provide us with a space to experience the joy of community in a relationship where we learn to process all our issues, to cope with differences and conflict while staying connected.” As Extension professionals, we need to work towards this at the community level. This can be extremely difficult as one needs to consider the elements of genuine Love along with the processes of forgiveness and reconciliation undergirded by kindness, communication, and the healing power of service.

I introduced the “Love Will Keep Us Together” mantra in the context of romantic love. It is not my intention to conflate the platonic love of your fellow community members with the love of your partner. Instead, my introduction is a reminder that romantic love is tangible evidence of our capacity to love. This capacity ensures some level of feasibility for us to journey through the positive continuum that ultimately leads to love, versus the negative continuum, which leads to very much the opposite.

M. Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled (1978), “Love is as love does. Love is an act of will – namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

What will you choose?