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OSU Extension promotes civic engagement across the state

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A metal cog with the word "Engagement" on it.


Civic engagement is an important component of all communities – big and small – across Oklahoma, but how does one get started? 


Oklahoma State University Extension can help. Mike Stout, Oklahoma State University Extension specialist and George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Family and Community Policy, works with communities to address public issues. 


“Our mission is to strengthen families and communities across the state through community-driven programs that address public issues,” Stout said. “It’s critical to meet the needs of community residents and civic engagement helps meet that goal.”


This is where OSU Extension programming fills a need. Extension programs enhance opportunities that involve all stakeholders in self-governance and participants can develop:

  • Civic skills that enable individuals to engage in informed decision-making, collaborate with others and contribute to the betterment of their communities and society.
  • Tailored approaches for civic engagement around public issues.
  • Tools, skills and resources for community-driven approaches to identifying and prioritizing issues.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with other individuals, organizations and decision-makers to address local issues.

“For more than a century, OSU Extension has partnered with community groups to foster the development of citizens who are not only informed but engaged in improving their communities,” he said. “We are here to help communities adopt participatory approaches to solving local issues.”


There’s a saying that goes like this: It takes a village. There are no truer words. Building strong communities takes everyone pulling together to get things done and make things happen. For goals to be set and acted upon, community members unite in public deliberation.


Stout said this provides a platform for citizens to discuss, weigh different perspectives, evaluate the implications of different options and contribute to decisions of concern to the families who call the community home.


He teaches various workshops designed to help local citizens develop the skills needed to be difference-makers. Workshop topics include:

  • Tailored approaches to using dialogue, deliberation and action planning to address public issues.
  • Using community-based participatory research to identify, prioritize and address public issue
  • Capacity-building for community-based organizations.
  • Mission, vision and values statement workshops
  • Logic models for organizations, programs and grant proposals.
  • Program evaluation.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Building effective community partnerships.
  • Using data to inform decision making.

For more information about these workshops, contact Stout at (918) 594-8311 or

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