About the Civil Dialogue Team


In September, 2016, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) approved the establishment of a Rapid Response Team on Civil Discourse on Race Relations.  Concerns around racial tensions resulting in civil unrest evidenced by riots, arrests, and shootings underscored the need for this important emphasis.  Also, this was the first piloting of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) model, a process also approved by ECOP and designed to take a prompt look at Cooperative Extension Services’ (CES) capacity to address an emerging issue.  This website chronicles some of the findings and resources identified or developed through this initial effort.  The RRT hopes this effort helps to strengthen the CES system’s ability to respond rapidly to emerging issues and also encourage capacity building specific to the timely concerns of promoting civil discourse in our nation.

The RRT gratefully acknowledges contributions from over 150 Extension professionals nationally to help launch this initial work.

Rapid Response Team Report to Extension Committee on Operations and Policy:


Team Members:

ECOP Program Committee (ECOP PC)


Other National and Extension Representation:


Non Land Grant Representation:


Extension Specialists:

  • Laura Downey, Mississippi State University, Program and Staff Development, researcher on Turning the Tide on Poverty special issue of the Community Development Society Journal, downey@msstate.edu
  • Michelle Eley, North Carolina A&T University, Community Development Specialist, work on structural racism. mleley@ncat.edu
  • Paul Lachapelle, Montana State University, Community Development specialist, civic engagement.
  • Richard Pirog, Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University, Work on structural racism in foods. rspirog@anr.msu.edu
  • Timothy Shaffer, Kansas State University, civil discourse and democracy. tjshaffer@ksu.edu