Around The South
November 2010 Vol. 6, No. 11
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

Pender presents research on the RD impacts of the Delta Regional Authority

John Pender, an economist with the Economic Research Service, USDA, visited the Mississippi State University campus on November 3, 2010 and took part in a seminar hosted by the SRDC. Pender's presentation focused on the "Impacts of Regional Approaches to Rural Development Initial Evidence on the Delta Regional Authority." Based on an article that he co-authored with his ERS colleague Rick Reeder, Pender discussed an exploratory effort they undertook to assess the impacts of Delta Regional Authority (DRA) on counties that are located in its region. The DRA is federal partnership program that targets 252 counties across eight states, with many defined as economically distressed are a result of low income, high poverty and low levels of employment. The most common investments undertaken by the DRA are for water and sewer, industrial parks, education and training, medical, and business development. The report suggests that one of DRA's programs garnering significant positive impacts has been in the medical arena, including its efforts to secure visas for foreign doctors to work in some of the highest poverty areas in the country. Pender noted that DRA funds have helped provide communities with the matching funds needed to secure important grants, thus facilitating the more effective leveraging of resources. His visit to the SRDC was part of multiple stops he was making to learn more about Mississippi and the Delta region.

Level 3 Foundations of Practice training set to launch in January

Community Sustainability is a common term these days, but understanding what it means and helping communities tackle sustainability issues can sometimes be difficult. Aimed to poise Extension educators to respond to community needs, the latest round of Foundations of Practice training will offer the necessary skills and knowledge to be the positive force communities need. Successful community sustainability initiatives rely on understanding systems thinking, sustainability models, and the needs and conditions in your town, county, state or region. Tapping into a long legacy of one of the country's most respected organizations, this training, brought to you by the Cooperative Extension Service, provides the background, resources and strategies to support your work in communities. Learn more at http://srdc.msstate.edu/fop.

SRDC Advisory Committee and Board of Directors hold annual meetings at MSU

On November 9-11, the SRDC's Technical and Operational Advisory Committee and Board of Directors gathered at Mississippi State University for the first time. These groups advise the SRDC staff in the development of priority goals and strategies for the Center. Seeking suggestions and support from the directors and administrators of the various state Extension and research units in the region, from land-grant faculty, and from rural development stakeholders, they guide the Center's work. Having the meetings at MSU allowed the members to visit with SRDC staff and tour facilities. Meeting discussions included regional development, e-commerce, communication strategies, civic engagement, and other current and future programming of the SRDC and its sister regional rural development centers.

Extension team wins state award for Turning the Tide on Poverty work

A team of Mississippi State University Extension Agents were awarded the Mississippi State University Extension Service Customer Outreach Award based on their partnership with the SRDC's Turning the Tide on Poverty project. For demonstrating the "best of the best" that the MSU Extension Service has to offer, the team tackled on the challenges of initiating an innovative approach to community problem-solving in two sites. As part of the multi-state pilot effort, the team worked with both local community members as well as partners in other states to help mold a new model for community-based initiatives. Team members were Susan Cosgrove, Harvin Hudson, Karen Benson, Patty Swearington, Mike Reed, and Margaret White. View photos of the team as well as the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative display from the conference at the SRDC Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/srdcphotos/ or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Rural-Development-Center/59310894978.

Cosgrove wins Excellence in Extension Award at MSU ES annual conference

A Mississippi Extension area agent, Susan Cosgrove, was recently recognized for her dedication and service to the Extension Service including her participation in SRDC's Turning the Tide on Poverty. As part of the year long pilot process launched in fall 2009, Cosgrove has helped recruit and orient a team of community partners, trained a large cadre of volunteer facilitators, guided the community study circles and action forum processes, and aided community-led action teams in prioritizing and organizing for action. Her commitment to the community guided her successful efforts not only in the Tide project but in her other duties as well. For this she won the Excellence in Extension Award at the MSU ES annual conference.

Other Items of Interest

Webinar presents Competencies for Extension professionals in the 21st Century

The 21st century is a time of change for Extension organizations; a time when more than ever, success depends on the knowledge and capabilities of employees. In this changing environment, authors in human resource management and specifically Extension organizations recommend competencies as a powerful tool that can provide focus on individual behaviors that contribute the most to organizational success. In response, the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, in Cooperation with the National eXtension system, will launch a series of Webinars on Tuesday, November 16, 1-2 p.m. (EST). Presenters include Graham Cochran, The Ohio State University, Scott Scheer, The Ohio State University, and Amy Harder, University of Florida. Through a presentation and interactive discussion participants will: (1) review key concepts related to competencies and how competencies can be used in selection, orientation, professional development, and other human resources practices; (2) learn about methodologies used and results from recent research in the Cooperative Extension System; and (3) have an opportunity to discuss implications from the research and applications for their Extension work. To join, visit http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ncrcrd.

Future of the South report highlights role of local main streets in the recovery

Southern Growth Policies Board has released its 2010 Report on the Future of the South. The report, The Road to Recovery is Named Main Street, presents the results of Southern Growth's Listening to the South process, which engaged over 2,300 Southerners in talking about community economic recovery. The report also discusses the implications for state policy action and highlights creative initiatives in the region that aim to help communities recover from the recession. Over a dozen of the community forums that organized to provide public input in the formulation of this report were conducted by doctoral students enrolled in a course taught by the SRDC director, Bo Beaulieu. Access the report and the accompanying Webinar at http://www.southerngrowth.com.

RAND releases a paper on potential residential insurance reforms

The hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 brought devastating losses of life and property; they also threw the residential insurance market in the Gulf States into turmoil. Insurance premiums skyrocketed, a number of private insurers retreated from coastal regions, government insurance programs stepped into the breach, and premiums in high-risk areas were subsidized by taxpayers and by policyholders in low-risk areas. To make matters worse, thousands of residents who suffered hurricane damage resorted to the courts to resolve coverage disputes with their insurers. All in all, the residential insurance system did not function well. Policymakers, deeply divided about how to reform the system to deal with these issues, have so far been unable to build consensus on how to proceed. The paper "Residential Insurance on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: A Framework for Evaluating Potential Reforms" informs the current policy debate by diagnosing the problems confronting the residential insurance market and proposing objectives for a well-functioning market. The authors examine impediments limiting the private and public sectors' ability to achieve these objectives and identify a range of policy reforms that merit attention. Read the full paper at http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP284/.

Starting 2011 Sam Houston State University offers online Masters in Sociology

The Department of Sociology at Sam Houston State University now offers an online master's degree program designed to meet the needs of busy professionals. The new program features five areas of specialization: community, health, environment, population studies, and globalization. Because all courses are offered via an online delivery system, students can earn their degree at their own pace. The SHSU Department of Sociology is committed to high quality instruction and research in sociology. Students who enter the graduate program will receive advanced and updated instruction in quantitative and qualitative techniques of sociological research, social statistics, classical and contemporary sociological theory, and major substantive areas in the field. The primary objective of the Department is to provide students with the advanced professional skills to analyze social issues in applied settings. For more information about the department and program, learn more at http://www.shsu.edu/sociology.

Funding Opportunities

SRDC's Grant Connections: Rural Development Funding Opportunities


The SRDC staff compiles Grant Connections primarily for the faculty of land-grant colleges and universities in the South to provide funding information in support of activities in agricultural economics, education, human sciences, rural sociology, youth development and other related disciplines.

Conferences and Trainings

2010 Breakthrough Solutions Conference

"Tomorrow's Communities – Innovative, Global, Local"
December 2, 2010
North Little Rock, Arkansas

Professional Agricultural Workers Conference

Empowering Underserved Farmers and Rural Communities by Changing Legislation, USDA Eligibility Requirements, and Program Delivery
December 5-7, 2010
Tuskegee, Alabama

10th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth

Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities
February 3-5, 2011
Charlotte, North Carolina

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) Tenth Annual Conference

SERA-37 Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with this event.
June 8-10, 2011
Kansas City, Missouri

Job Opportunities

Director of the Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, West Virginia State University

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Director & Instructor, Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, Georgia Southern University

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Extension Associate, Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program, Department of Agricultural Sciences at Texas A&M University-Commerce

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Extension Specialist, Community and Economic Development, West Virginia State University

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Post Doctoral Fellow, Modeling Climate Change Effects on Forested Communities, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University

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Principal Investigator – Sustainable Farms & Families, Kentucky State University

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Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Research Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Research Social Science Analyst, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Teaching Instructor, University of Arkansas

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Submit Announcements

Job announcements and other items of interest may be sent to Alicia Barnes for possible inclusion in future issues.

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