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Reaping the Benefits of Impactful Work



November is the month that our neighbors and friends engaged in row crop agriculture are usually finishing their harvest. In a similar fashion, our communities are collectively reaping the benefits of the impactful work that Purdue Extension’s Community Development Program has sown throughout the year. As Community Development Extension Professionals, this is the time of year when we reflect on what we are thankful for both personally and professionally.

As you will read in this month’s newsletter, our team has a lot to be thankful for and reflect on this year. We have welcomed new team members (Dr. Zuzana Bednarikova, Research and Extension Associate), Cora Carter (Bartholomew Co.) and Jose ‘Lupe’ Valtierra (Lake Co.), we have said farewell to others (Kris Medic (Bartholomew Co.) and Monet Kees (Marion Co.), and we have entered into new positions or transitioned (Kara Salazar as Assistant Program Leader; myself as Program Leader, Bo Beaulieu as Extension Faculty). Looking forward, we will likely be expanding our footprint in the state and have some exciting new programming and applied research in the pipeline.

We are particularly thankful for the partnerships that our Purdue Extension Community Development Program has been able to cultivate and maintain over the years. While this is not an exhaustive list, it is meant to highlight our state and national level partners that play such a pivotal role in our ability to impact the lives of Indiana residents and beyond. These partnerships include:

State and Federal Partners:

  • Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)
  • Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA)
  • Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN)
  • Ball State University
  • Indiana Philanthropy Alliance
  • Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC)

Sister Land Grant Universities:

  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Illinois
  • Ohio State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Washington State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Fort Valley State University
  • University of Florida

Equally important are our local-level partnerships. These partnerships are critical as they enhance our capacity to foster community vitality across the state. These partnerships include community foundations, local economic development organizations, local government officials, local school districts, Chambers of Commerce, health coalitions, State Farm, Extension Boards and Purdue Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (PCARET) members.

We are very thankful for our partnerships within Purdue. The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) has been a key collaborator since its founding in 2005. Within Extension, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with and across our sister program areas: Health and Human Sciences (HHS), Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), and 4H Youth Development (4H). Recently, we have expanded deepened our relationship with Purdue’s Masters of Public Health Program, Nutrition Education Program and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and we have a burgeoning partnership with Purdue Agriculture’s International Program in Agriculture and Office of Multicultural Programs. Lastly, we are thankful for our long-standing home in the Department of Agricultural Economics. The department played a pivotal role in our origin story over fifty years ago and continues to provide research and Extension resources that are an important piece of achieving our mission to “strengthen the capacity of local leaders, residents and organizations to build strong, vibrant communities by using research-based resources to guide their decisions.”


Michael D. Wilcox, Jr., PhD

Assistant Director and Program Leader for Community Development / Purdue Extension
Community and Regional Economics Specialist / Dept. of Agricultural Economics / Purdue University
Senior Associate / Purdue Center for Regional Development


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