A Long History of Working Together: Dr. Michelle Eley and Dr. Susan Jakes Share Cross-University Collaborations
Dr. Michelle Eley and Dr. Susan Jakes joined NCACES to share their history of collaboration. Dr. Eley is a Community and Economic Development Specialist at N.C. A&T State University. Dr. Jakes is the Associate State Program Lead for Community and Rural Development at NC State University. They began working together in 2005 and have not looked back since. Since then, they have worked on a variety of community development projects to build capacity of rural and urban communities across North Carolina. Some project highlights include: developing statewide community development indicators, hosting the first statewide Extension training in community development, working on regional and state-level projects together, hosting a national Extension community development conference, and holding trainings around racial equity.
Drs. Eley and Jakes shared that working together helped them to have a greater impact. Each admitted to having limited capacity at their own institutions and they could accomplish more when they pooled their resources and expertise. A high level of trust, shared interests, and making sure both parties benefited from collaboration have been important elements of working together over the years. Additionally, both value helping and serving the people of North Carolina above all else in their work.