Strengthening Communities and Organizations

The CAFE Community and Leadership Development Department promotes inclusive, broad-based community development. The compilation of educational workshops, programs, and publications on this site are intended for Agents and other stakeholders for use to improve the structure, function, and processes of groups and organizations. Our faculty provide tools and services to foster courageous conversations, build successful teams, nurture coalitions, encourage participatory planning, address conflict, and move groups and communities to action. For more organizational and community information and resources, contact the following Extension Faculty:

Dr Nicole Breazeale, Strategic and action planning, storytelling, and community development.

Dr. Daniel Kahl, Strategic and action planning, organizational and community development.

Dr. Kristina Hains, Organizational planning, leadership development

Dr. Ron Hustedde, Organizational conflict resolution, community development.

Dr. Darryl Strode, Technology and organizational and community communications.

Dr. Julie N. Zimmerman, Community data and analysis

Tools for Agent Professional Development

Effective Communication
Asking Powerful Questions (Recorded Webinar)
Dr Nicole Breazeale, Presenter.
How do the questions we ask impact the way we lead? And how can we develop a culture of learning and inquiry that strengthens teams and brings out the best in everyone? In this (recorded) webinar, Agents learn how (and why!) to change the questions that we ask. The webinar also covers some strategies for strengthening one’s questioning muscle and utilizing the power of questioning in our work and lives.

Team Building
Strengthening Teamwork Across Kentucky Cooperative Extension (Video Presentation)
Dr. Nicole Breazeale and Nancy Calix, Presenters
In an era of rapid change and uncertainty, what can leaders do to bring staff together and foster deeper trust and collaboration? This presentation provides strategies and techniques for building inclusive and high-functioning teams.

Planning and Visioning
2021 Four-Year Plan of Work (Recorded Webinar)
Dr. Kenneth Jones and Pam Sigler, Authors
This webinar provides training for Extension Agents on how to develop a four-year plan of work that incorporates stakeholder input. While specifically developed for Agents, it is also useful for those who are interested in participatory planning processes, logic models, and so forth.

Community Coaching, Insights into an emerging practice
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Mary Emery & Patricia Holmes, Authors
This journal article reflects current practice and learning from a national gathering of community coaches at the Community Development Society annual conference.

Resources and Tools for Facilitating Organizational and Community Change

Convenors Guide to Hosting a Forum
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Author.
A guide to organizing and planning a public forum is written to assist Cooperative Extension agents in pulling together a public forum. This guide provides a step-by-step process for organizing and hosting a public forum.

Community Issue Gatherings; A Tool for Resolving Conflict
Dr. Ron Hustedde & Betty King, Authors.
Published through the CD Practice series, this document offers a thorough process guide to bringing groups together to address community issues.

Mapping Local Networks to Reach Stakeholders and Mobilize Action
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Author.
Stakeholder mapping is a process of aligning projects or ideas with the people that will be most impacted by it. This 7-step tool allows an Extension Agent to identify stakeholders and act on connections and resources for change.

Moving from Listening to Action
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Author.
A publication to assist Cooperative Extension agents in facilitating a process to identify needs or issues, prioritize, and organize action follow-up. Useful for identifying needed action steps and moving forward, this guide can be applied to any type of Extension group or community action team.

Force Field Analysis: Incorporating Critical Thinking in Goal Setting
Dr. Ron Hustedde & M. Score, Authors.
Published through the CDPractice Series, this document provides facilitator guidance to goal setting processes to aid in decision making.

Leading Healthy Community Connections
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Author.
A curriculum for engaging groups in discovering community health disparities and a process to organize to address them. Based on a common book reading and action response. Great for community improvement groups or Extension clubs.

Storytelling Methods for Community and Organizational Change

Strengthening Group Cohesion

Story Circles: A Method for Strengthening Group Cohesion and Promoting Deep Listening and Shared Understanding

Dr. Nicole Breazeale and Heather Hyden, Authors
Story circles are a highly structured process of group story sharing that originated in the field of cultural community development. This set of resources provides Agents with background on the method, steps for facilitating a story circle (in-person and virtually), and situations when they might be particularly valuable. The 15-minute video can be used to introduce the process and lay out ground rules for a new group. 

Instructional Video

Assessing Community Impact

Ripple Effect Mapping: A Fun, Participatory, Story-Based Method for Evaluating a Major Community-Based Initiative or Network
Dr. Nicole Breazeale, Heather Hyden, and Dr. Annette Heisdorffer, Authors
Ripple Effect Mapping (REM) is a story-based methods for program evaluation that is used by Extension systems around the country. In Kentucky, Nicole Breazeale has conducted REM sessions with county 4-H leaders, Master Gardener groups, economic development networks, and a team of community engagement specialists. In addition to facilitation support, Nicole provides train-the-trainer professional development for leaders who have participated in her sessions and want to expand the use of REM in their community. This recorded Agent in-service introduces the method and can be used alongside the Extension publication.

Recorded Webinar

Leading through Public Narrative

Leadership Storytelling Program
Dr. Nicole Breazeale, Contact
Trained by Marshall Ganz at Harvard, Nicole Breazeale will soon introduce a leadership storytelling program through Kentucky Cooperative Extension. Coaching in this method helps public leaders to tell their own personal story in a way that illustrates shared values and mobilizes people to push through fear and apathy and act on improving their community.

Contact Information

Dr. Wes Harrison, Ph.D.
Department Chair

500 W.P. Garrigus Building Lexington, KY 40546-0215

(859) 562-2788