Community Development programs

MU Community Development faculty throughout the state

How does the MU Community Development Program Impact Missouri?

Community Development - University of Missouri



Adding Value to Missouri Communities

Community Deliberation Program: Making Choices Together

Engaging Citizens in the Public Policy Process
Public Deliberation Works

University of Missouri Extension provides communities with collaborative support as they identify and make decisions about high-priority and controversial public issues while increasing local knowledge, communication, leadership and citizen engagement for community empowerment and enhancement. Through public deliberation, people learn more about each other's view point and discover they have things in common – “common ground”. They weigh the pros and cons, trade-offs and consequences of their choices. This leads to a collective effort to address the issue - even though people do not necessarily agree with each other.

During the past year, approximately 60 new facilitators and moderators have been trained in processes that engage people in an unbiased venue to dialogue and assist public policy decision making on the issue at hand. University of Missouri has leveraged at least $89,000 and nearly $2,000 in in-kind.

Biotechnology in Rural Missouri

It has been estimated that the life sciences have the potential to contribute far more than the current $1.6 billion spent annually within the state on research and development to boost the Missouri rural economy. University of Missouri Extension provided training and facilitation for five biotech public deliberative forums, where approximately 100 local and regional leaders discussed how Missouri plans to cope with the life sciences and drafted recommendations to assist in regional and state development of the life sciences for economic development. Findings from these meetings are being used for analysis and development of public policy recommendations by the Missouri Rural Biotechnology Commission.

Health Care for the Uninsured

Effective delivery of health care to those who cannot afford it is a concern for public and private consumers alike. University of Missouri Extension provided training and facilitation on 21 local and regional public deliberative forums involving 350 persons on the topic of health care for the medically uninsured. This was done in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services and the Missouri Area Health Education Centers. The findings will be used to inform state public policy development. 

Racial and Ethnic Tensions and Immigration Issues

Public deliberative forums have also been held in Kansas City, Springfield, Bolivar, and Boonville on racial and ethnic tensions and on immigration issues. The results from these forums have been used to affect the issue of improving engagement of minorities and Hispanics and other immigrants in local communities.

Land Use Policy

A public deliberative forum in Republic engaged 68 residents in an unbiased venue to dialogue and assist public policy decision making on the issue of land use conflicts.  As a result, the Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with Extension, met with the county planning and zoning commission to explore a federal program designed to conserve farmland.  The developer for a 2,000-acre planned development hired a land-use consultant, sought citizen input and significantly changed development plans as a result of feedback.

For more information on public dialogue and the University of Missouri Extension Community Deliberation Program: Making Choices Together Program, visit our website:

Contact:  Sandra Hodge,  (573) 882-4435