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Michael Chandler

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 26 - April 2, 1998

Michael Chandler, professor and Extension specialist in the department of agricultural and applied economics, is the recipient of this year's University Public Service Excellence Award.
Chandler's career at Virginia Tech has involved an impressive array of public-service activities since 1980 when he joined the university. As a community development specialist, Chandler is responsible for the design, delivery, and evaluation of off-campus Extension and continuing-education programs focusing on land-use planning, economic development, and generalized public management.
"Helping local government leaders-elected and appointed officials alike-acquire the skills, knowledge, and expertise to perform their duties in a responsible, efficient, and equitable manner requires skill, tenacity, dedication, and competence," said department head Les Myers. "It's not surprising that Michael's educational initiatives have had a positive impact on more than 2,700 local government officials across the commonwealth."
Formal off-campus education courses developed by Chandler include the Virginia Certified Planning Commissioners' Program and the Virginia Certified Boards of Zoning Appeals Program. Both programs involve approximately 30 hours of classroom instruction, extensive home study, and field work, and both were unique to Virginia and the nation when Chandler launched them in 1985 and 1988 respectively. State and national honors have been bestowed upon both programs, and each has spawned a series of graduate seminars. The programs have served as models for similar initiatives in other states.
"Individuals who participate in these programs report that the training they receive has helped them make a positive difference in their community," Chandler said. "This gives me a great sense of accomplishment."
Chandler's work also extends to elected officials with the creation of the Virginia Mayor's Institute and the Virginia County Board Chairmen's Institute. In addition, he has conducted nearly 500 workshops on variety of topics such as zoning, growth management, community sustainability, community goal setting, and strategic planning to localities across the state since 1985.
Chandler has held offices in several state and national professional organizations. He has published more than 40 articles in selected journals, magazines, and association publications and has presented more than 100 professional papers and/or workshops at regional, state, and national conferences.
"I am very honored and humbled by this award," Chandler said. "It's always nice to have work that is recognized, and I'm most appreciative of the nomination and subsequent citation by the university."