Community Innovation Lab News!


Lab Consortium Team Secures a USDA/NIFA Higher Education Challenge Grant.

We are excited to announce that CIL members Bryan and Kristina Hains along with CIL Consortium member Dr. Michael Rios secured a United States Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grant for $731,692. Their team consists of experts from the  U.C. Davis Center for Regional Change, University of Detroit Mercy, and Western Illinois University to examine the current status of Community Development Education. This three year project will explore Community Development Education from academic and practitioner perspectives. It will culminate with and an inaugural conference focusing on innovations in Community Development Education and a special issue of Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society.


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Welcome the Community Development Society Fellows Program!

We are excited to announce the 2017-2018 Community Development Society Fellows Program. In June, 2017, the Community Innovation Lab teamed up with the Community Development Society to explore innovative community engagement methods. As such, Dr. Dan Kahl and Dr. Kristina Hains are currently collaborating with five thematic teams. Each team is exploring innovative community engagement methods within their specific social context. The five groups include:

  • Young Professionals & Graduate Students

  • International Communities

  • Urban Communities

  • Communities and Community Change

  • International Quality of Life Within Communities


Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Community Innovation Lab Fellows Graduates!

Community innovators from all over Kentucky committed to the year long Community Innovation Lab Fellows program. As part of the program, fellows worked within their professional and geographic communities while exploring concepts associated with cultural, social, and economic innovation. Throughout their experience, fellows imagined, designed and implemented incremental innovations within their respective communities. Recently, the fellows cohort graduated the program and we are honored to have grown with them on their innovative journey's. We are even more excited to be working with them as graduates of the program.

Photo Credit: Brandon S. Turner

Photo Credit: Brandon S. Turner

Lyricism and Leadership: Hip-Hop and Community Change. Innovations in Undergraduate Education.


Indie hip hop artist Devine Carama, founder of the non-profit Believing in Forever,  along with CIL Director Bryan Hains, taught a one credit summer session course at the University of Kentucky called "Lyricism & Leadership: Hip Hop & Community Change". The final exam of this four week class was for six students from different religious, racial, & economic backgrounds who had never rapped before, to come together and create a hip-hop EP featuring themes relevant to their communities. Proceeds were then donated to a local nonprofit On The Move Art Studio. This course was the first of its kind at the University of Kentucky and set a foundation for providing leadership and voice for diverse communities.  You can download the EP and contribute to the community arts below:

Agents of Change Volume 1

Agents of Change Volume 2: Broken to Recovery


Community Innovation Lab @ U.K. Receives The Inaugural Community Development Society Capacity Building Grant.

Congratulations to CIL members Dr. Dan Kahl and Dr. Kristina Hains for receiving the inaugural CDS Capacity Building Grant. Dan and Kristina will collaborate with Community Development Society members and non-members by creating a cohort fellows program which will examine innovative methods for community engagement among diverse communities of interest. During the one year fellows program, diverse teams will consult, imagine, design, and implement community improvement strategies then write about their results.

John Hill.jpg

Drumming Away Drugs Evolves Into Bonding With Beats.

Congratulations to Lab Fellow John Hill as he continues to hone his innovative idea. John began as our first lab fellow with the concept: Drumming Away Drugs. His innovative concept has evolved into the organization: Bonding with Beats. John has presented his findings at several academic conferences and has consulted with organizations nationally. Additionally, sponsors such as Remo Drum Heads, Vic Firth, and Yamaha Drums have donated and supported Bonding with Beats as they progress in their community initiatives.



Community Innovation Lab Team Seeks to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing with the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Dr. Michael Rios (U.C. Davis), Dr. Kristina Hains (University of Kentucky, Dr. Bryan Hains (University of Kentucky) and Carolyn Abrams (U.C. Davis Center for Regional Change) teamed up to design and implement a 16 month initiative to enhance fair housing initiatives and programs within California's Department of Housing and Community Development.