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The mission statement say "Economic Development" The moral act, hatch act, and smith leaver act talk about "Community Development." There is a difference. Economic development does not include all of community development while Community development does include all economic development. Mr. Richard Merck Eddy County Extension Agent in the 1960's organized and developed Head start in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Loving. This is not economic development but it is community development. Communities are grappling with a host of perplexing issues today, be it the quality public education, school consolidation, urban/rural linkages, fracking/natural gas extraction, health care access, adult/child poverty, economic restructuring, out migration of youth/young adults, race relations, or drug crime/violence. These represent "wicked issues" because they are complicated and no clear consensus exists on how best to address these difficult matters. Given that Extension is highly respected for its objectivity and neutrality, it makes sense that Extension CD could be an important mediator in helping communities embrace democratic dialogue, deliberation, and action on these issues. Not only can well-trained Extension CD educators facilitate the process, they can identify some of the key options (drawn from the research literature) and consequences that local residents should consider as they seek to take action on one or more of these wicked issues. A broader and more robust vision is one of "engagement," in which local knowledge is incorporated into the educational equation and in which participatory research and other alternative methods of research and learning are emphasized. In this conceptualization, the scientific expert is someone who learns as much as anyone. Indeed, many of the early pioneers of the land-grant university saw its real contribution, especially Extension or engagement, as that of supporting and sustaining democratic principles and values that are at the heart of our national heritage, culture, and future (Peters, 2013; Cordes & Petemrs, 2014). CD educators are well positioned and skilled to provide leadership for achieving this more expansive view of the power of the land-grant university. Maybe we should say Community and Economic Development.
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