Uncommon Communities

Uncommon Communities

making our own future - Session X: Wrap-Up & Planning

April 28, 2017 · 12:00 PM – Apr 29, 2017 · 2:00 PM

Uncommon Communities is a community and economic development program that marries the wisdom and methodology of celebrated community development expert Dr. Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community development at the University of Mississippi, with the award-winning Breakthrough Solutions partnership, under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. This comprehensive program will produce a group of community leaders who are equipped to assess, plan, visualize and mobilize citizenry to work together in the areas of economic development, education and workforce development, and quality of life and place—the critical elements of thriving communities—with an aim to help them become vibrant and sustainable in the 21st century global knowledge economy. Presenters for Uncommon Communities include practitioners, faculty and community leaders and are from Arkansas as well as Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina and Georgia.

Our pilot program focuses on five counties in the vicinity of the Institute: Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell. All of these counties are largely rural and have poverty rates between 17% and 23%; lost 1,249 jobs between 2007 and 2013; and have unemployment rates that are 109% of the state average. The Uncommon Communities model is designed to be scalable and replicable, and we intend to continue it statewide after a successful two-year pilot.

In addition to the statewide and national expertise provided in our carefully crafted series of bi-monthly development and training sessions at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute beginning on August 28, 2015, participants will have access to a broad network of resource people provided by the Institute and Breakthrough Solutions Partners. These resource partners will be available to help participants realize their on-the-ground goals between the sessions on the mountain.

Keynotes: Session X - On-Going Work & Planning for the Future 

Keynote addresses during Uncommon Communities are open to the public. While admission is free, advanced registration is required. Session X's keynote is Dr. Vaughn Grisham. Its title is

Putting the UC Puzzle Together and Seeing the WHOLE Picture: Two years of learning and work...Where do we go from here?". Lunch will be available for purchase for the April 28 keynote for $15.

Please note:  The remainder of the session—before and after the keynotes—is not open to the public and only available to a select group of participants.

Friday, April 28 • Noon - 2 p.m.



For more information, contact Program Officer Cary Tyson at 501-215-7181 or