In 1955, OSU Extension organized a Rural Development Committee to establish a Rural Development Extension Program. The goal: to more effectively address needs of 25 economically depressed counties in southeast Ohio. The effort was funded by USDA and by 1957, pilot projects were established in Monroe and Guernsey Counties. In these two counties, the County Extension Agricultural Agent worked with the County Rural Development committee to facilitate the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy over a two-year period.
To see real-life application of “The Adoption Process,” OSU Rural Sociology Professor Dr. Everett Rogers took his class to Monroe County to learn from Howard Phillips, the Rural Development Agent based there. As a member of this class, I was so impressed that I told Dr. Rogers I’d like to pursue a Master’s Degree in Rural Sociology specializing in Community Development. I was so excited that I told him I wanted him to be my advisor. Rogers replied that he would be glad to be my advisor if I would agree to be the “guinea pig” to help him develop a curriculum in Community Development since none yet existed in the Rural Sociology program. Of course, I eagerly agreed!
To read more about Ray Schindler's recollections of the early days of OSU Extension CD, click here.
Raymond Schindler is an Associate Professor Emeritus and an OSU alum.