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Community Community and our People Fall 2013 FROM THE CHAIR, Dr. Jane Kolodinsky This issue of the Compass focuses on the COMMUNITY in Community Development and Applied Economics. From working across majors and disciplines within our CDAE department and with colleagues and disciplines across campus, to partnering with the greater Burlington community and beyond, CDAE faculty, staff and students experience all types of community. As you read this issue please note of some major takeaways. First, CDAE is an "edgy" place---we have been on the forefront of several curves. These include cutting edge research that appeared ahead of its time, including data collected in the Vermonter Poll. We are a leader on campus in service learning that links students with community partners. And, we forge partnerships with other organizations in Vermont where the collaboration results in raising all boats, such as our Consumer Assistance Program linkage with the Vermont Attorney General. Second, our students are ready for the job market and hit the ground running. As you read this issue notice the jobs that our students have landed---and the advice they give to current students. Third, take note of our people. Whether new or retiring faculty or staff, people who work in CDAE are committed to practicing the same life-long learning that we hope to instill in our students. This keeps us edgy. I am honored and proud to be a part of a department that has had consistent growth in student numbers, research productivity and community partnerships over the past 12 years.....and has graduated students who have landed great jobs that are helping to make difference. Center For Rural Studies Takes the Pulse of Vermonters By Zari Sadri Communications Intern The Center for Rural Studies is a non-profit, fee for service research center based in Morrill Hall. It is here that the Vermonter Poll has been conducted since 1990. Director Emeritus, Fred Schmidt started the poll, and is now under the leadership of Center Director, Jane Kolodinsky. The telephone survey conducted with the help of students and University staff randomly samples residents, and is said to take the “pulse” of Vermonters. The purpose of the survey is to make state-wide data and information available to members of the University community and beyond. “The original intent was to enable smaller organizations and researchers to have access to affordable, state-wide data,” said Mike Moser, a researcher in the Center for Rural Studies who has been working with the poll for over ten years. “It helps them to get a handle on the issues that inform policy.” The poll, conducted in February each year, shows trends amongst CRS’s Mike Moser discusses survey strategies with Plant Vermonters. One of the earliest Vermonter Polls in 1993 indicated that only and Soil Science M.S. graduate student, Lindsey Ruhl. 43% of Vermonters had a computer in their home. In 1995, a Vermonter Ruhl is also a student in Jane Kolidinsky’s CDAE 351 Poll question asked respondents “What do you think is the most important Research Methods class. issue facing Vermonters today?” Health Care, Jobs and the Economy, and Taxes, ranking high amongst Vermonters. In 2004, The Vermonter Poll revealed that 81% of micro-businesses (0-5 employees) did not had a website for their business, and less than half of small businesses (5-500 employees) had a website for their company. Times have changed. The method of data collection has not. The Vermonter Poll continues to be a telephone survey. In the age of social media, this is still likely not to change. “Surveys conducted through Facebook and other social media generally lose the random validity as people self select to participate”, says Michael Moser. However, the trend of households opting to get rid of a (continued on page 5) The Community Development and Applied Economics Department of the University of Vermont 802.656.2001

Compass fall 2013

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