David E. Procter, Director
David Procter is Director of CECD and a professor of speech communication. He received his B.S. and M.A. from Kansas State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. Since arriving at K-State in 1987, he has worked in partnership with communities across the state. He has worked on issues of school consolidation, community strategic planning, heritage museum education, facilitation of community dialogue, and strategies for re-populating rural communities. Procter has authored two books on community building - Enacting Political Culture (1991) and The Rhetoric of Community Building (2005) plus numerous essays and book chapters on the subject. Before becoming the Director of CECD, Procter served on the Advisory Board for the Kansas Center for Rural Initiatives.
Chandra Ruthstrom, Program/Project Coordinator
Chandra Ruthstrom is the Program/Project Coordinator for operations at the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Her duties include special event coordination, maintaining and monitoring fiscal operations, serving as the liaison with university departments and Kansas communities and is the center’s grant manager and administrator. Chandra received both the KSU Award of Excellence and Employee of the Year Award for 2018-2019. She enjoys living in the country with her husband Terry and is proud to represent her small hometown as a member of Leonardville PRIDE. Rural by Choice!
Donna Schenck-Hamlin, Program/Project Manager
Donna Schenck-Hamlin is Program/Project Associate for both CECD and the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in literature and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Oregon, with a Master’s degree in Musicology from Kansas State University. Her work in CECD supports partnerships between campus and community groups addressing a wide range of social, economic, and environmental challenges. Within ICDD, Donna convenes public conversations in partnership with civic groups, and develops facilitator training for students, faculty, and community organizers. She conducts research on the self-efficacy of persons engaged in seeking information online, and explores the interplay of deliberation and personal inquiry on complex issues. Her public deliberation work includes housing, water, and food access issues.
Isabelle Busenitz, Program/Project Manager
Isabelle Busenitz is a Program/Project Manager for the Center for Engagement and Community Development. She serves as the technical assistance coordinator for the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative (KHFI). The KHFI aims to increase access to healthy food in underserved, low-resources communities. Isabelle received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Master of Science in Management from Baker University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health Nutrition from Kansas State University. Isabelle brings with her to the position twenty years of experience at Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In her work there with the national Task Force for Volunteer Development, she was instrumental in increasing volunteer readiness for radiation emergencies. Isabelle uses her background in Chemistry and Human Nutrition to fiddle with recipes in the kitchen to maximize their health benefits, while still passing her kids’ taste test. She enjoys spending time outside in nature with her husband and kids at their rural home in Tecumseh, Kansas.
Rial Carver, Program/Project Manager
Rial Carver is a Program/Project Manager with the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Her role focuses on initiatives that promote healthy food access primarily through the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative and Rural Grocery Initiative. Rial earned a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning with a minor in Civic Agriculture and Food Systems from Virginia Tech. Her experience includes working as the Sustainability Coordinator at Virginia Tech Dining Services where she increased local food sourcing, implemented composting initiatives, and initiated a reusable to-go container program. She is currently completing a Master of Regional and Community Planning degree at Kansas State University. Rial and her husband enjoy exploring the great outdoors and community gardening at the Manhattan Community Gardens.
Nancy Daniels, Community Vitality Specialist & CECD Liaison
Nancy is a Community Vitality Specialist for K-State Research and Extension and liaison to CECD. As a Community Vitality Specialist she works with rural communities statewide in appreciating their assets and building on their possibilities. Before coming to Extension, Nancy was a non-profit executive director and the director of community initiatives with United Way of Greater Topeka. Nancy met her husband Don at K-State and has a BBA from Washburn University and MPA from the University of Kansas. She is proud of her family's designation as K-State Family of the Year in 2013. Current projects include First Impressions, a "Secret Shopper" opportunity for two communities of similar size; grant writing workshops to help communities increase their capacity to fund their dreams; and efforts aimed at increasing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in communities.