Enhancing Rural Capacity Community of Practice
Helping rural communities identify, pursue, and achieve their development goals
About this Community
Enhancing Rural Capacity (ERC) is a team of Extension professionals from across the United States who conduct research, develop educational resources, and facilitate the community development process to build and strengthen the capacity of people in rural communities and regions to identify, pursue, and achieve their shared goals. Community capacity is commonly defined as the knowledge, skills, attitude, and resources collectively possessed and used by community members to improve or maintain community well-being.
Our members build capacity by conducting research and sharing science-based information through:
1) Training workshops and educational materials focused on:
- the mechanics of community development (e.g., creating a vision, assessing opportunities and challenges, defining goals, evaluation, facilitation, conflict resolution, etc.); and
- development topics of interest to rural communities (e.g., economic development, education, health care, energy, agriculture, sustainability, etc.)
2) The facilitation of community development initiatives – meaning Extension professionals guide community members through a tailored community development process designed to achieve specific development outcomes (e.g., a new economic development plan and implementation process, a new park, new local food markets, community energy resources, etc.)
We’ve created this Community of Practice (CoP), with the goal of combining our individual strengths to maximize the resources available to one another and, ultimately, the communities we serve – those seeking to support their development goals through evidence-based information and processes.
Our Current Focus Areas
- Assessment and Evaluation – Lorie Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Debra Hansen (email@example.com)
- Community Development Processes – Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Ellen Rowe (email@example.com)
- Decision Making and Group Management – Jane Haskell (Jane.firstname.lastname@example.org) & Mary Peabody (Mary.Peabody@uvm.edu)
- Leadership Development – Ellen Rowe (email@example.com)
- Youth Engagement – Will Andresen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are simultaneously developing plans of work and implementing programming in each of these areas, including those on this site. If you would like to be a part of the committee working in these respective areas, please contact the team leader(s). If you would like to provide leadership for a new programming area, please contact anyone of us to join the CoP leadership team and we will get you started.