Lori Garkovich

portrait of dr. lori garkovich
Award Year

The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Lori Garkovich as the 2008 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award. Garkovich currently serves as a professor of Community and Leadership Development at the University of Kentucky.

To recognize Garkovich only as a professor would limit the full impact she makes not only in the communities she serves but also to the field of community development. As a professor, she has taught 14 different courses, published two books, chaired 11 PhD and 18 MA committees and served on 62 others and advised 54 undergraduates just last spring. At the same time, she directed 15 visioning exercises, delivered 48 Extension presentations, 30 Extension workshops, managed 43 facilitated discussions since 2001, and garnered nearly $1.5 million in research grants.

Clearly Garkovich excels in all these areas. Dr. Paul Warner, Assistant Director for Program and Staff Development, explains that “Lori Garkovich epitomizes the university faculty role as it was intended to be. Not fragmented into research, instruction, and public service, but rather with all three functions integrated within the person.”

While 76 strategic planning exercises in the last eight years would be enough to keep any single Extension specialist fully employed, Garkovich has also developed and delivered Extension programming in ethics, public conflict, asset- based development, public policy and issues, sociodemographic trends, and land use and planning, according to Steve Isaacs, Assistant Director, Community and Economic Development and Agricultural Economics professor.

Garkovich has also helped develop 15 county or city Visioning Reports. The visioning process takes place in multi-session settings over several months with Extension agent and citizen engagement in the process and implementation. Garkovich’s approach during this process is the key to her success. Owen County Extension agents Kim Strohmeier and Judith Hetterman said, “She’s got an approach that lays the challenges out there pretty directly, but she also gives some good advice on how to address these challenges.”

Representatives from the Harrison County Extension office further said, “She did not assume a leader role, but a supportive role. She helped citizens identify specific needs and develop a long-range plan.” They also noted that every citizen that has come in contact with Garkovich feels most comfortable with her and the services she provides. She is able to engage even the most uninformed and uninvolved citizen.

Serving citizens, students, and Extension alike, Garkovich holds membership and leadership roles in the Rural Sociological Society, the Southern Rural Sociological Association, the Community Development Society, the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, and the Technical and Operational Advisory Committee of the Southern Rural Development Center. Maintaining connections to her home community, she has been an active and visible member of several commissions and committees in Woodford County and has been a member of the Woodford Coalition since 1989 and its chair from 1993-2000.

For her commitment to the community, students, research, Extension, it is most fitting that Dr. Lori Garkovich be honored by the Southern Rural Development Center as the 2008 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award.

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