University of Kentucky College of Agriculture


Who we are and
what we do !


Our Mission

We in the Department of Community & Leadership Development vigorously pursue our mission to strengthen the capacities of individuals, organizations, and communities to act on their shared visions and challenges.

Whether you share this mission, want to work with us, or simply want to learn more, we invite you to both explore this web site and contact us for additional information. See the exciting things going on in our classes, explore how and why we conduct research, and learn about the ways we engage communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and around the world.

We take our location in Lexington, the heart of Kentucky’s renowned Bluegrass Region, as an important resource for the Department. Working with local community professionals and organizations, we provide students both opportunities for practical, real-world experiences while taking their classes and career opportunities after graduation.

Our faculty has strong disciplinary training in such fields as communication, education, and sociology and takes pride in their disciplinary homes. When it comes to our overall focus, however, we are moving beyond the disciplinary approaches of the past. Believing it best represents contemporary approaches to 21st century reality, we are more about the processes of functioning effectively in community and fostering ethical leadership.

CLD is a dynamic department representing the cutting edge in scholarship in five overlapping emphasis areas.

Community and organizational development focuses on community processes, the role of community organizations and institutions, and how communities are affected by such societal factors as location, inequality, and demographic patterns.

Community communication focuses on the intersection of communication and community both in physical and virtual contexts with special emphasis on the role communication plays in community change, development, and integration.

Agricultural education provides the knowledge and skills necessary for careers as either high school teachers or community-based educators and advocates for agriculture.

Community-based education focuses on youth and adult development and learning within a community context. It is education created as a result of community involvement and is designed to match community interests.

Leadership development builds the knowledge and skills required to function as effective community leaders and change agents and focuses on both the practice of leadership and the context in which it occurs.

We strive to realize the "land-grant values" of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment in each of these areas. Simply stated, we value, encourage, and foster:

• learning           -  enhancing access to educational opportunities for all;
• discovery         -  expanding knowledge through research; and
• engagement     -  collaborating with diverse institutions, communities,
                                 and people to improve lives.



Our History

Formed in the then College of Agriculture in 2002, the Department of Community & Leadership Development brought faculty from rural sociology, agricultural education, agricultural communication, and program and staff development together in one unit. In terms of University structure, the "rural sociology" component or College of Agriculture "side" of the Department of Sociology formed the administrative foundation for the new department and the academic appointments of all of the faculty members were transferred to it. While our department is still relatively young, our programs have long histories. 

Rural sociology faculty at the University of Kentucky have also been recipients of nearly every award given by the Rural Sociological Society. Eleven awardees of the Society’s highest honor have ties to the University of Kentucky including Howard Beers who was among the first persons to be named Distinguished Rural Sociologist. In 1987, Lorraine Garkovich was the first person to receive the Society’s award for Excellence in Instruction. Some recent recognitions and awards include Ronald J. Hustedde for his work in extension (2007), Keiko Tanaka for instruction (2010), Julie N. Zimmerman as the Society’s Historian (2012)and C. Milton Coughenour as Distinguished Rural Sociologist (2012). 

Agricultural education remained in the College of Education for decades where, in 1980, Charles Byers served as the Director of Graduate and Undergraduate studies in the Department of Agricultural Education. In 1994 the program moved to the College of Agriculture where the program's faculty were housed in the Department of Agricultural Economics. This arrangement lasted until 2002 and the formation of CLD.

Two other programs with more recent histories predated CLD and were incorporated into it. Both agricultural communications and public service and leadership started informally as individualized undergraduate majors. Randy Weckman, who was later joined by Deborah Witham, initiated the agricultural communications effort in the 1970s and Lorraine Garkovich, a rural sociologist, spearheaded the public service and leadership one in the late 1980s.

Forming a new department out of our constituent pieces has meant changes for each and some firsts not only for the department but in the history of the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. For example, both our undergraduate and graduate degree programs have been reorganized to better integrate and utilize the resources of the entire department; the agricultural communications program has been refocused on community communication to highlight the fundamental role of communication in both community and leadership development; resources have been redirected away from rural sociology extension and research to support the department’s new instruction programs; and programs which were previously instruction-based (community communication and agricultural education) now contain active and successful research components. 

There have also been firsts for the College of Agriculture. In partnership with 4-H Youth Development, the CLD Department hired Kentucky’s first extension faculty to focus on youth development – Kenneth R. Jones (who is now Director of Program and Staff Development). While at different times leadership development was a component of rural sociology extension, CLD hired Kristina Ricketts, Kentucky's first extension faculty member with a specific focus on leadership. CLD also hired Seungahn Nah, the first faculty member in the new area of community communication.

For the CLD department, we continue to have our own share of “firsts.” For instance, Patricia Hyjer Dyk is the first faculty member in the new department to receive a Fulbright; the first book written by a department faculty member (and nominated for a national award) was co-authored by Julie N. Zimmerman; and a student in our agricultural education undergraduate program became the first Kentucky woman to become a national officer in FFA (Future Farmers of America).

Since its creation in 2002 and the appointment of Extension Professor Gary Hansen as its first chair, CLD has continued to evolve, develop, and honor the land-grant values of learning, discovery, and engagement. Our goal throughout has been to offer programs that make just as much, if not more, of a difference in the 21st century as our land-grant predecessors did in the last century.



We are located on floors 3, 5, and 7 of the W. P. Garrigus Bldg. on the University of Kentucky campus at 325 Cooper Dr. (Corner of Nicholasville Road and Cooper Drive) in Lexington KY. Reception and information is in 510.



Contact Us

By Mail: Department of Community & Leadership
500 Garrigus Bldg.
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0215

By phone: 859-257-7587

By fax: 859-257-1164

For specific information on our undergraduate degree programs, contact:

Dr. Stacy Vincent, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Career and Technical Education (Agricultural Education), 859-257-7588,

Kris Ricketts, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Community and Leadership Development,

For specific information on our graduate degree program, contact:

Dr. Rosalind Harris, Director of Graduate Studies, 859-257-3471,

For specific information on one of our emphasis areas, contact:

Community and Organizational Development, Dr. Lorraine Garkovich, 858-257-7581,

Community Communication, Dr. Seungahn Nah, 859-257-1509,

Agricultural Education, Dr. Rebekah Epps, 859-257-3275,

Community-based Education, Dr. Bryan Hains, 859-257-7588,

Leadership Development, Dr. Kristina Ricketts, 859-257-3767,

For general information on the Department, contact:

Dr. Gary Hansen, Chair, 859-257-7586,

Ms. Ruth Durham, Administrative Assistant, 859-257-7587,


 Community & Leadership Developmenttt University of Kentucky 500 Garrigus Building Lexington, KY 40546-0215 Phone: (859) 257-7587 Fax: (859) 257-1164
Questions/Comments to Bruce Gage, Webmaster An Equal Opportunity University, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture Copyright


Our Mission

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