CDS Blog

Jun 08

Greetings CDS Friends –

Last year we made some exciting changes to the CDS Auction.  We’re pleased to announce that this years auction will build upon these changes and will include more ways for our members and friends to be involved.  The auction will be held at the end of the Annual Conference in Dubuque this July.  We encourage you to consider supporting the auction in some way and ask you to share these opportunities with your colleagues. 

Here are a few highlights for this year’s auction:

What’s New?

  • We’re continuing the online component.  Select auction items will be placed on the CDS blog early in July and will be made available for remote bidding through the conclusion of the silent and live auction.  You’ll receive information about this by email. 
  • You’ll be able to participate, even if you can’t join us in Dubuque this year.  We welcome donations of auction items and encourage you to participate in the online auction.  You’ll be paired with a proxy who will monitor and place bids on the items that you select. 
  • We’ll ship winning items to remote bidders following the conference.  Great news!  The CDS auction committee is glad to ship auction items to the high remote bidders following the conference. 
  • Donate unique auction items that exemplify your local culture. Be creative!  Select items that reflect your community and the local culture such as handmade crafts, artisan works, clothing, music, literature, and foods.  Simply complete and return an auction item donation form and photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Be sure to send these by early June 27 if you’d like your donation to be included in the auction. Don’t fret if you can’t make this timeline – you’re still welcome to bring your items onsite.
  • Support the online auction and share it with your colleagues who won’t be in attendance this year. Complete and return a brief bidder registration form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wed., July 17.  You’ll be paired with a proxy and will connect by phone prior to (and during) the live auction at the conclusion of the awards banquet.
  • Start a bidding war!  All funds raised through the auction support the CDS Endowment and make it possible to provide scholarships and other kinds of grants to support the professional development of CDS members.

How Can You Help?

Top Three Reasons to Participate in the CDS Auction

  1. It helps grow the CDS endowment and create a legacy
  2. I’m *a little* competitive
  3. I’m a fashionista.  Must.  Have.  Snail.  Tie.

Your donation of a locally made product and participation in the CDS auction is a great way to make a lasting contribution to the CDS Endowment and support the continued professional growth of our members.  The CDS Auction Sub-Committee thanks you for your support!


CDS Auction Sub-Committee

Last modified on Friday, 20 June 2014 17:39
Apr 18

Sorry board
Spring has sprung and it seems as though everyone has a lot on their plate at the moment. These competing needs (along with some technical difficulties) has made it difficult to publish this month's Vanguard on its regularly scheduled date of the 15th. We know you count on keeping up to date through the monthly publication of the Community Development Society's Vanguard. I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and hope that you still find the content as useful and engaging as usual. 

Last modified on Saturday, 10 May 2014 10:14
Apr 17

By Bo Beaulieu

Let me begin this month’s column by urging our members to complete their online ballot for this year’s slate of officers and board members.  The deadline is May 1st. You will need your unique log-in information that was provided in the email sent to you by CDS Secretary Abbie Gaffey on February 17, 2014.  Please cast your vote today so your voice can be heard.

Another item I would like to bring to your attention is the request by the Community Change Resource Bank for your help in identifying and submitting key resources that can further enhance the value of this web-based site. Over the next few weeks, graduate students from South Dakota State University will be working with the Community Change Resource Bank organizing team to collect as many sources of data as possible in hopes that the online clearinghouse of community change practices, research, and resources will be ready for unveiling at the CDS conference in Dubuque, IA this coming July. 

The project, launched by members of the Community Change Network, has tapped the expertise and active involvement of a number of CDS members.  What I am pleased to note is that the countless hours of work they have devoted to this effort has resulted in the creation of an online network called RuralXChange.

I want to express my thanks to many of our key CDS leaders who have dedicated their time and expertise to the development of “The Resource Bank,” including past presidents Mary Emery, Connie Loden and Jane Leonard, CDS member Milan Wall, as well as Karen Fasimpaur who is guiding the creation of the RuralXChange and Community Change Resource Bank.  

I hope you will take the time to submit your ideas and relevant resource links here. If you have questions, please send an email to Jane Leonard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The 2014 annual meeting in Dubuque is fast approaching.  Our local host committee is putting together some exciting mobile learning workshops. Moreover, the program committee has communicated with all who have submitted proposals. If your proposal has been approved for the upcoming meeting, please make sure Dave Lamie knows of your plans to take part in the annual meeting. He’ll need this information in order to finalize the conference program. 


Finally, the CDS Business Office should be releasing the online registration system in the next week or two. So, keep an eye on your email for information on how to register for the 2014 annual conference.  Take care

Last modified on Saturday, 10 May 2014 10:43
Apr 14
Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 14:17
Apr 14

By: Whitney McIntyre Miller

As a leadership studies scholar, I often get to explore the many ways that people utilize and think about leadership.  My passion for community development often influences that way I think about leadership.  While giving a recent lecture on emerging leadership theories, I began thinking about how they would translate to communities and leaders of community organizations.  Below I share my thoughts on these emerging leadership theories and how they may impact communities and community leaders.

Increasingly, emerging leadership theories focus on collectivism, connectedness, and seeing our world as a living system.  Gone are the days of the solo “hero” leader that sweeps into our communities and community organizations and creates great change and growth.  We realize that our world is complex and interconnected, and our communities are becoming equally as diverse and multifaceted.  Therefore these new emerging leadership theories will help community leaders think about the future of their communities and help to move their whole communities toward this future.

In order for us to really utilize some of this new thinking it is important for us to let go of past ideas of community leadership and instead embrace new ways of thinking and leading as they emerge (Scharmer, 2009).  Scharmer (2009) told us in his work Theory U that we are at the precipice of an age of individual and collective transformational change.  What we need to do is tap into our highest potential and actually learn from for the future- a process he calls emergent learning.  This requires “presencing,” or having presence in a situation and sensing what is coming.  For communities, we must turn our senses to the future of our communities by not just looking at current detriments, but thinking about how to make our communities safe and inclusive for everyone.  What will our communities look like in five, ten years?  How do we solve those problems today?  By paying attention to what is happening and leading for the future, not the past, or even the community of today.

Wheatley (2006) worked to connect organizations to the quantum physics notion of chaos theory in order to understand how we are really connected to, with, and operate like the living systems that surround us.  The truth is that despite wanting to be in control, we live in a time of chaos.  While many of us fear chaos, we should really learn to embrace chaos, because not only is it inevitable, it is also valuable to our communities and organizations.  This value comes from the scientific evidence that there is actually order in chaos.  It is this order that, when allowed to foster, shows us patterns and emerging ideas that would not only be beneficial in reducing our levels of self-imposed stress, but could also allow for our communities and organizations to flow in a free and organic manner. 

Chaos theory in organizations provides several lessons for community leaders.  First, we must learn to be flexible and lead within chaos- we must see the big picture while also keeping our feet on the ground.   Heifetz (1994) referred to this as being both on the balcony and the dance floor.  Another lesson from Heifetz (1994) is also valuable for community leaders looking to lead through chaos.  This is the lesson of the safe holding environment.  Leaders need to provide a space that keeps things calm enough for people to maintain composure, while simultaneously allows for enough chaos to stimulate creativity and emerging thought.  If we can provide this space for our communities, then we can provide place for people to self-organize and thrive.

Western (2008) is another emerging leadership theorist that takes lessons from nature.  Western’s (2008) model of Eco-Leadership is one of distributed leadership.  He saw our collective entry into the post-heroic leadership era and understood that we must think about our environment, as well as our interdependent parts and systems in order to be successful.  Building off of Senge’s (2006) now famous systems thinking work, Western (2008) challenged us to see that any leadership task, including community leadership, should be seen through the lens of holism- we are all made up of the sum of our parts and therefore leadership can emerge from anywhere inside an organization or community.  As our communities are becoming more diverse, global, and complex, it is important for us as community leaders to understand that we need to embrace our whole community, see the interactions of the various pieces of our communities, and understand how we interact with other communities and systems in order to build a strong culture that encourages leadership from throughout the community to meet our growing future needs.

Finally, we look at the impact of Wilber’s (2001) integral model on community leadership.  Wilber (2001) designed a four quadrant model (shaped as a square with two boxes on top and two on the bottom), which includes the notions of thinking on multiple levels and contexts simultaneously.  The purpose of his model is to demonstrate that there are many facets of leadership occurring at the same time, of which we need to be conscious.  The top left quadrant is that of internal reflections of our leadership practices.  The top right quadrant focuses on our leadership interactions with others.  The bottom left quadrant is where we tend to find our communities- the space where we operate leadership within groups.  Finally, the bottom left quadrant is seen as the global environment within which our leadership occurs. 

Wilber (2001) challenged us to develop each quadrant of our leadership in order to be the best leaders possible.  For community leaders, this means that we must develop our own leadership skills through reflection and self-understanding, practice those skills with each individual with whom we interact, build communities that have strong leadership capacities and reflect the best image of community-self, and nestle that leadership work within the broader context of other communities, cities, regions, states, etc.  This, of course, is no easy task, but perhaps a noble challenge for us to consider as community leaders.  What might our communities looked like if we took the time to reflect on our leadership and embrace of leadership work in terms of self, other, community, and environment?

While each of these leadership theories may seem like a long way from the comfort of how we have been leading communities for years, if not generations, if we step back we can see that, at least in the United States, there has been a growing movement away from the hero leader and toward a need for connectivity.  Perhaps we have decided that we do not enjoy bowling alone (Putnam, 2000) after all.  It is in these cases, where we crave a sense of connectedness and collectivism that we may visit some of these emerging leadership theories and think about how they may help us, as leaders, to be more responsive to community needs and vision now and in the future.


Heifetz, R. (1994). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.


Scharmer, O. (2009).  Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges.  San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.


Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization (Revised edition). New York, NY: Double-Day.


Western, S. (2008). Leadership: A Critical Text. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.


Wilber, K. (2000). A theory of everything: An integral vision for business, politics, science, and spirituality. San Francisco, CA: Shambhala Publishing.

Wheatley, M. (2006). Leadership and the New Science, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 14:16
Mar 13

By: Bo Beaulieu    

In recent days, I have had the opportunity to read emails that have announced job openings for people with community development-related backgrounds and experiences.   Despite the fact that the economy is not yet humming at the level that we would all like, I sense that something positive is happening when it comes to our discipline and profession.  My own Purdue University has just announced the creation of five new Extension regional community development positions.  Similar regional positions have been established, or are slated to be announced in the coming months by other universities.  While I am less familiar with the status of jobs in other key sectors that employ people with CD backgrounds, my gut feeling is that things are on the upswing.  It seems to me that CDS has tremendous opportunity in the coming months to attract a new cadre of people to our professional organization as these new positions get filled by some very talented individuals.

In our most recent CDS Board meeting, information on the status of our membership was discussed.  In short, our numbers are stable.  In fact, we may have witnessed a very slight increase in our membership. But, I can’t help but believe that there are a slew of outstanding individuals working in the community development field who have not joined our Society or whose membership has lapsed.  While CDS is a fiscally strong and vibrant organization, its long term sustainability rests on our ability to attract and retain members.  With the list of new CD-related positions being announced in recent weeks, it’s a good reminder that all of us have the opportunity (and responsibility) to reach out to new and longer-term colleagues.  Take time, if at all possible, to extend an invitation to these individuals to become members of the CDS and hopefully, take an active role as participants and contributors at our annual meetings.  In my view, it’s a win/win situation for them and to our organizations. 

Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 14:21
Mar 13

By John Green

Community Development (CD) is a peer-reviewed journal with the purpose of disseminating the latest scholarly writings on research, education, and practice in this interdisciplinary field. Managed through the Community Development Society and published by Taylor & Francis, the journal encompasses five issues per year.


CD Editor John Green recently teamed up with Taylor & Francis to produce an “Editor’s Choice Collection.” This initiative is intended to advance knowledge in the field of community development by drawing attention to articles across several different themes. These include: 1) methodological and theoretical frameworks; 2) interviewing, observation, and field research; 3) survey research; 4) network analysis; and 5) community indicators and secondary data.


The “Editor’s Choice Collection” is available for free to the public. Please check out the list of articles for your own work, and help the Editorial Office disseminate this information to others who might be interested. Just share the following link.

Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 14:22
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