UCA Center for Community and Economic Development Assistant Director Josh Markham received the New Professional award from the Arkansas Community Development Society on Oct. 22.
The award recognizes those whose community efforts have made an impact, but who have been involved in professional community and economic development for less than five years. In contrast, the Community Development Achievement Award recognizes those with longer periods of professional development.
CCED Director Amy Whitehead nominated Markham because of his “impressive contributions.”
“Josh is a major asset to the university’s outreach and community engagement efforts, and he is known as a leader in community and economic development in the state and the region,” Whitehead said.
Markham started his journey at UCA as a project coordinator for CCED, but has since become the assistant director and instructor for the Master of Science in community and economic development program. CCED is a division of UCA Outreach, Community and Engagement.
“This is part of the university’s commitment to life-long learning and public service,” Whitehead said. “Our premier program is the Community Development Institute, which will celebrate its 30th annual institute in 2016.”
In his five years working for CCED, Markham developed the First Impressions Tour technical assistance service for Arkansas communities, managed the project in Clarksville and Greenwood, Arkansas, developed a Business Retention and Expansion Toolkit and piloted it in the Greenwood community. He has also written to the UCA Magazine and the Arkansas Municipal League’s City and Town publication, delivered development presentations throughout Arkansas, assisted community strategic planning efforts in Paris, Arkansas, provided leadership, logistical and planning support for the Community Development Institute, supported long-term tornado recovery efforts in Faulkner County and secured over $107,000 in sponsorships, grants and contracts for programs.
“This work helps prepare elected officials and community leaders to better create positive change in their communities,” Markham said.
CCED received a three-year grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to fund regional training programs for elected officials and local leaders. This fall, it has hosted programs in Northern Arkansas. In spring 2016, it will host programs in Northwest and Southwest Arkansas.
Markham said the effectiveness of CED may take years to see, but that it has trained hundreds of people through its regional training programs over the past five years.
The Arkansas Community Development Society is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to advance community development and the community development profession.
“ACDS has been a long-standing supporter and partner with CCED,” Whitehead said. “Many of the alumni of UCA’s Community Development Institute are participants of the society.”
Markham said he wants to see UCA become a national leader for community development and solve the riddle for how to get students involved in meaningful developmental projects.
“I would absolutely love to see the story of development in Arkansas change,” Markham said. “Literally, the mindset and images that people think of when they think of Arkansas needs to change. People are really doing great things in our state with limited resources, and UCA is a part of that effort.”
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 4, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via thecabin.net