In 2019, The Community Development Education grant committee, associated with the USDA/NIFA Higher Education Challenge Grant, “Building Capacity and Diffusing Innovation in Community Development Education” requested proposals for innovative community development education projects related to one or more of the following topics: 1). Instructional Practices and Pedagogy 2). Evaluation of Educational Methods 3). Community Engagement 4). Communication and outreach.


There was a very competitive pool of applicants. On November 1st, 2019 the (5) winners we’re notified that they won the $4,000 mini-grants.

We are pleased to announce that the following CDE leaders have been selected by the committee to receive awards (in no particular order).

Kelly Hamshaw, University of Vermont
Community Action Toolbox: Inspiring and Equipping First Year Students for Effective Community Engagement

Short Description:
We are proposing a course designed specifically for first-year students that welcomes all majors and seeks to illuminate the range of opportunities for professionals and engaged citizens alike to make positive differences in their local communities.This newly designed course for the Spring 2020 semester features three phases that provide a foundation for service-learning, community-based internships, career development and planning, and civic engagement endeavors. In addition to providing transformative learning experiences, the course will help the department engage new audiences across campus earlier in their academic careers.

Megan Horst, Portland State University
Oregon Urban-Rural Ambassadors Institute

Short Description:
The “ Rural-Urban Ambassadors Institute” class guides students to examine the rural-urban divide, specifically in the context of Oregon. The learning objectives are to: articulate key patterns and forces shaping Oregon urban and rural communities and acquire skills crucial for building collaborative relationships and community building to address public challenges.

The course has been offered twice. While students describe it as a transformative learning experience, refinements are needed. This grant will cover time needed to integrate course improvements and help pay for lodging/food costs, eliminating fees that could pose a barrier for student participation.

Mary Ellen Lynch, Roger Williams University
Building Bridges: A Global Citizenship Education Approach to Community Engagement

Short Description:
Refugees and immigrants are an integral part of communities. According to the American Immigration Council, 142,324 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) make up 13.5% of Rhode Island’s population. The goal of the Building Bridges project is to foster inclusiveness by engaging Rhode Islander’s in cross-cultural interactions with refugees to break down barriers, foster empathy, enhance intercultural communication and build peaceful receiving communities.

Juan Osorio, Pratt Institute
Women’s Leadership in Community Development: New York City’s First Gendered Case Study Repository

Short Description:
The project aims to create a new teaching tool for community development education. Over the next year, we will partner with women leaders from grassroots community development organizations in New York City to:

1. Co-author 10 in-depth case studies to document major achievements, challenges and lessons learned. 

2. Host conference at Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY) in spring 2021 for authors to discuss their work with other practitioners, students and academics -- webcasted to reach a wider audience.

3. Launch online (searchable & expandable) case study repository for class use.

T.D. Thomas, Prairie View A&M University
Co-Creating Community Trust and Community Engagement

Short Description:
In collaboration with the Prairie View A&M University Community Development graduate program and the Houston Super Neighborhood Alliance, we will offer a set of in-depth discussions, data collection, and interactive workshops with the Alief, Piney Point, and Tanglewilde neighborhoods using the Public Participation Spectrum tool and ABCD methodology. We will co-create neighborhood asset maps, and mini-community work plans; assist residents with strategies to move from misinformation and isolation to community trust to community engagement.