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Leadership Development and Family Policy

Human Development & Family Sciences

Thank you for visiting the Leadership Development program website of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES), Family & Consumer Sciences. This website contains resources, curriculum, and information for OCES Staff, Extension personnel from other states, and all those with the goal of enhancing leadership and community development where they live.

Please explore our website, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.


Our mission is to help Oklahoma’s communities to grow in a beneficial way through developing leaders and engaging people in making community decisions.

Resident leaders are essential to creating communities that meet the needs of the people who live there. Extension programs are enhancing leadership development opportunities. In these programs, participants learn leadership skills, how to develop community leadership programs, and how to become active in their communities through working on community projects. Extension programs partner with various community groups to foster leadership development and citizen activism.

One strategy we believe in for helping communities to identify goals and take action is public deliberation. Public deliberation is a means by which citizens make tough choices about basic purposes and directions for their communities and their country – it is a way of reasoning and talking. Public deliberation helps participants explore policy options, weigh other people's views, consider the costs and consequences of various alternatives, and provide meaningful input into decisions on family and community issues.

What is a Community?

Our definition of a community includes a wide variety of groups – from a small member-run organization, to a neighborhood or small town, to entire regions of the country. All communities can benefit from leaders who serve their members in a constructive and ethical way. Everyone has something to contribute to a community.

What is a Leader?

A leader energizes, inspires, and mobilizes others to achieve a goal. Leaders are not born knowing how to lead, and they do not need a formal title. Leaders are simply good at getting people going and getting things done. Good leaders do this in a fair and positive way that benefits those involved. Part of our mission is to educate people, encourage effective leadership skills, and help people mobilize their communities to achieve positive change.