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Morse to plan programs to help communities mature through collaboration


BLACKSBURG, Va., June 23, 2006 – President of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Suzanne W. Morse of Charlottesville, Va., has been named a fellow of Virginia Tech’s Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA).

As president of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, a community change consultant, and workshop leader, Morse leads a team that provides solutions to some of the toughest societal issues for cities, towns, and regions across America.

Morse's work as an author, speaker, and advocate for the importance of civic partnerships and citizen leadership to strong democratic communities is widely recognized. Her latest book, Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future (Jossey-Bass, 2004), uses a common sense framework and tested examples of successful civic initiatives to argue for a strategic approach to long-term community change.

“The COTA Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to bring best practices and tested solutions from communities across the nation to Roanoke and the region,” said Morse. “The seminars and leadership training we will be offering will build on the talents and resources already in place to invent a very bright future.”

“We will be providing nationally recognized leadership programs and cutting edge community and economic development seminars through the COTA Fellowship program. The opportunity to join forces with the many resources of Virginia Tech in this effort is a great honor,” Morse added.

“Morse’s 25 years of experience with hundreds of successful community ventures offers exciting possibilities for COTA to develop leadership programs,” said Outreach Program development director Jeri L. Childers. “These training opportunities can help all our communities realize more success and prepare more leaders to invent a very bright future for Roanoke and all the communities in the region.”

Morse’s first program at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center under the auspices of COTA, An Economic, Cultural Investment Summit: Engaging Diverse Communities, was held June 22. Under Morse’s direction, the “Smart Communities Institute” will begin the first of its three sessions with Smart Communities: Exemplars of Success on Oct. 2-3. Smart Communities: Strengths and Assets will follow on January 22-23 and Smart Communities: Strategies to Thrive will conclude the series on March 19-20, 2007.

LeadershipPlenty,® scheduled for Nov. 6-8, 2006, is a nationally recognized civic leadership development program designed to equip individuals with problem-solving skills such as building partnerships, managing conflict, and identifying community assets essential for all communities that want positive change. Through the LeadershipPlenty® Institute at the Hotel Roanoke, attendees will benefit from a ‘train-the trainer’ model.

COTA plans to offer these courses twice a year for the next three years for a diverse mix of participants from public, private, and nonprofit sectors interested in helping their communities thrive.

Virginia Tech’s Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement plays an important role in developing educational conferences and programs centered at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center that match university expertise to outside audiences. Tech established COTA in 1994 to foster economic development and continuing education initiatives with a special emphasis on connecting university research to the needs of Virginia's industrial, commercial, governmental, academic, and professional organizations through conferences, workshops, and seminars.