Department Helps Kentuckians Turn Change into Progress
When the Department
of Community and Leadership Development was created in July of
last year, it marked a strengthened emphasis on individuals, families,
and communities that are abundantly evident throughout the commonwealth.
Its aim is to help Kentuckians take change and turn it into progress.
new department is comprised of bits and pieces of other
departments and units. Rural sociologists, whose appointments
had been straddling both the College of Agriculture and the College
of Arts and Sciences, became fully associated with the College
of Agriculture. (The rural sociology faculty still participate
in the doctoral program associated with the Department of Sociology.)
The agricultural education teaching faculty, housed for the past
10 years in the Department of Agricultural Economics, became part
of the new department. The agricultural communications teaching
faculty also joined the new department, as did two faculty members
responsible for development and evaluation of the Extension program.
new 18-faculty member department is not just a reconfiguration
of faculty members from disparate places. Rather, this new department's
faculty bring to bear the collective talents of faculty members
who can help Kentuckians in their quest for progress," said
Gary Hansen, chair of the new department.
talents were amazingly easy to organize into a new department,
as every faculty member saw the advantages of the new structure.
The faculty of the new department and college leaders agreed remarkably
on the need for such a department and worked diligently to accomplish
the act of creating the Department of Community and Leadership
Development began prior to the appointment of Lee Todd as president
of the University of Kentucky, it nonetheless supports to a "T"
his vision of the University of Kentucky becoming a resource for
President Todd often speaks of committing the University to a
higher purpose, chiseling away at what he calls the Kentucky Uglies
low literacy, poor health, and low incomes and the
constellation of factors that give rise to them.
seemingly long-standing-but-still-unresolved issues coupled with
the complex changes imposed upon Kentucky during the last decade,
this new department has its work cut out for it.
is resolute as well as optimistic.
though the effects of these old issues and recent social, demographic,
and economic changes are quite profound in about every sphere
of Kentucky life, we shouldn't believe they must determine our
fixed destiny. We can do something about them if we have the skills
and desire to do so. We need to remember that change happens to
all of us all the time, but progress happens only when we take
change and turn it into what we want," Hansen said.
Kentucky needs skilled leaders with the ability to assess their
communities' situations and to make them better places to live.
This department can address those needs with a variety of its
programs, Hansen said. Programs now in place offer communities
ways to deal with the legacies of the past and the challenges
of the future.
visioning program led by Lori Garkovich, Ron Hustedde, and Julie
Zimmerman is helping communities assess what's happening to them
and what they can do to make their community a better place.
I go out to a community, the fact that I've been invited means
that community leaders see a need to think through their destiny
and have a desire to make plans to shape it," Garkovich said.
What happens during the visioning workshop is little short of
amazing. Just look what happened in Carter County, when local
citizens "visioned" their community of the future.
In early 2000,
the community leaders met for a day-long session with Garkovich.
By the end of the day, the leaders had a laundry list of what
they believed they needed to do to make the county a better place
met again 15 months later to share a progress report. The accomplishments
included expanding emergency care for citizens, mapping water
line expansion for five water districts, and developing a long-range
plan for road resurfacing.
It's a mouthful of a program name, but it opens a world of opportunities
for its graduates. The major is called the B.S. degree
in agricultural education, communications, and public service
and leadership. Students enrolled in the major
and currently there are 125 students pursuing the degree
can concentrate on one of the three options.
agricultural education option, housed for many years
in the College of Education and then in the Department of Agricultural
Economics, trains students to become vocational and technical
high school teachers. Many of the students, however, use the
training to pursue non-school teaching careers, such as those
in agribusiness and farming. Currently 50 undergraduate students
are enrolled in the agricultural education program, and another
50 graduate students are working toward an M.S. degree.
agricultural communications option currently has 55
undergraduate students enrolled. Graduates of the program enter
careers in agricultural writing, public relations, and marketing,
although many students also find the course work helpful in
graduate and professional school.
- The 20-plus
students majoring in the public service and leadership
option are being prepared for careers in government
and non-profit organizations, although, as with the other two
options, students often use their degree to pursue other careers.
We are energized by the possibilities for research, teaching,
and outreach and by the new working relationships we are creating
that will give us the opportunity to help all Kentuckians.
While community development is a broad focus of the new department's
work, its research in other areas promises huge dividends.
members are partnering with a number of other groups in Kentucky,
including the Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment, the Martin
School of Public Policy and Administration, the Kentucky Association
of County Officials, the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children,
and the Appalachian Center, among others.
research program investigates the intersection between agriculture
and biotechnology, especially how people think about the use of
biotechnology for food and medicine.
have differing sentiments about biotechnology based on whether
the science is used for food or medicine, Tanaka's social science
research helps scientists in agriculture and medicine understand
the public's reaction to their research and findings.
the future of biotechnology especially as new genetically
engineered products move from the laboratory bench to the marketplace
will be determined by whether people accept the premises
of the research. If they are squeamish, for example, about genetically
modified animals but not plants, researchers may decide to develop
pharmaceuticals around the plant model," she said.
research about how welfare reform is affecting Kentucky families
provides vital knowledge to the state's leaders as they seek to
implement policies that enhance the lives of those affected by
welfare reform. And colleague Roz Harris' work on the impact of
poverty on children and youth has been instrumental to policy
makers in enacting programs to help meet the food needs of young
people whose families are below the poverty threshold.
sound hokey, but it's true nonetheless. This department is an
exciting place to be right now. We are energized by the possibilities
for research, teaching, and outreach and by the new working relationships
we are creating that will give us the opportunity to help all
Kentuckians, their families, and their communities progress in
the years ahead," Hansen said.