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Leading Communities: Development of a Place-Based Leadership Program

Although community members and community educators frequently complain about the lack of leadership in rural and small communities and are frustrated by their attempts to build local capacity for leadership, the issue of leadership has been largely ignored in the community development research for a number of years. In this webinar, the presenters will report on the results of an NCRCRD sponsored research and outreach project focusing on community based leadership. The proposed development of a research based, core competencies driven curriculum on place-based leadership appropriate for extension educators in North Central communities. They will discuss their findings from the research literature and what was learned from the assessments of current leadership programs. They will talk about core competencies of community leadership and provide a quick overview of the curriculum we are developing. Finally, discuss some of the reasons why we are not seeing many observable community changes relating to leadership programming and some strategies for addressing these shortcomings.

Presented by:

Deborah Tootle: Deborah is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University and a Community Leadership Specialist for Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin–Extension. As a Rural Sociologist, she has been involved in rural community development research and outreach for nearly 25 years. Today, most of her work focuses on community engagement, leadership and building disaster resilient communities.

Jerry Braatz: Jerry Braatz is an Associate Professor of Community Resource Development with UW-Extension. He has worked as a UW-Extension educator for almost 20 years in both rural and urban program outreach. Jerry is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and currently serves as County Director and Community Development Educator with UW-Extension in Waukesha County (population 392,000).

The webinar is free and there is no registration. To participate go to: and log in as a Guest, Enter Room and you are now in the meeting room for the presentation.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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