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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Community > Leadership and civic engagement > Civic engagement

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Engaging Minnesotans in community decisions

community members involved in leadership and civic engagement programs and activities

"We must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together and work together."

—Franklin D. Roosevelt

Leaders and community members must act responsibly — and together — to create thriving communities.

Extension's civic engagement programs are informed by research and help communities engage residents as they solve problems and strengthen communities. Our goal is to help leaders, groups and community members participate in productive dialogue and grow social connections within communities.

Engagement strategies

Bringing together experience, information and diverse perspectives in a respectful process allows communities to reach decisions that are more thoughtful, broadly supported and ultimately sustainable.

Review our community resource tip sheets for topics such as:

Public involvement strategy
Meeting planning and facilitation
Group decisions

Plan meetings and committees that work

When meetings are respectful and productive, communities can better solve problems and make decisions. Extension offers consultation, training and resources to help leaders facilitate meetings.

Learn how Extension can help you plan meetings

Build trust in communities

What holds your community together? The bonds between individuals, the bridges that bring different groups together and the links that connect valuable organizational resources are all types of social capital.

Extension helps communities understand their social capital, assess its strengths and weaknesses and identify local strategies to strengthen community trust and networks.

Learn about social capital and building trust

Program impact

Extension studies the effectiveness of its civic engagement education programs every year.

Review program outcomes

126% increase in group decision-making skills based on participant post-program assessments

Ways to get started

Review our topics and offerings

We help communities better engage residents using public participation strategies.

Consult with an educator

Bring civic engagement education to your community or group.

Find an Extension educator in your area

Our approach to civic engagement

Drawn from best practices and research, Extension's model of civic engagement guides leaders and community members in solving public issues or problems.

We offer workshop training and long-term cohorts to help communities plan for successful public engagement.

View Extension's civic engagement model (PDF)

Community resources

Engaging with the public

Best practices to help guide you when and how to engage the public in making decisions. View tip sheets

Don't overlook second homeowners

An Extension study of second homeowners show they may play a larger role than expected in the future of their new communities.

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