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The Goal

Capacity for Change refers to civic engagement, family, and community policy programming that provides resources for community leaders and policy makers with the goal of enhancing civic engagement and strengthening families and communities. 


Our mission is to strengthen families and communities across Oklahoma through community-driven programs that address public issues. We aim to enhance both individual and organizational capacity to identify, study, and act on community concerns. Utilizing participatory methods like community-based participatory research, dialogue, and deliberation, we facilitate collaborative development and execution of plans to improve quality of life. In partnership with community leaders and stakeholders, we ensure that solutions are not just proposed but are effectively realized.


Civic engagement and strong democratic institutions are essential to creating communities that meet the needs of the people who live there. Extension programs are enhancing opportunities to involve all stakeholders in self-governance. In these programs, participants 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 at large
  • 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 decisionmakers to address issues

Cooperative Extension programs partner with various cross-sector community groups to foster the development of informed and engaged citizens, and to adopt participatory approaches to community problem solving.

Public Deliberation

Public deliberation is a key strategy for communities to set goals and act. It offers citizens a platform to discuss, weigh diverse perspectives, evaluate the implications of different options, and contribute significantly to decisions of concern to families and communities.

What is a Community?

Communities can be defined in many ways. We define a community as a group of individuals united by shared interests or values, actively collaborating to identify and address public issues through collective efforts.


Dr. Stout teaches workshops on such topics as:

  • Tailored approaches to using dialogue, deliberation, and action planning to address public issues
  • Using community-based participatory research to identify, prioritize, and address public issues
  • Capacity-building for community-based organizations
    • Mission and vision statement workshops
    • 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
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