NACOGDOCHES, Texas-Stephen F. Austin State University and community leaders will host a cooperative forum April 23 and 24 on the SFA campus.

The seminar is titled "Community Development in a Time of Change: A Discussion about University and Community Cooperation." The public forum is designed to open lines of communication between the university and community leaders in order to effectively work together and make an impact in the lives of East Texans.

University/Community Liaison Dr. Archie McDonald will discuss the role of the university in community development and "the economic and social value of cooperation between a university and its host community."

"More than that, the cultural and human aspects of interaction between the two are symbiotic," McDonald said.

From a business standpoint, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bruce Partain said the event raises awareness of the need for cooperation and the importance of buying locally to stimulate the economy.

"The partnership between SFA and the Nacogdoches community is crucial, and events like this help to increase the collaboration between the two," Partain said.

The discussion begins on Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Media Room, located on the second floor. At this time, a roundtable discussion sponsored by the SFA Department of Sociology will be held regarding rural research in America.

The event continues Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Theatre. Members of the university faculty and staff and community leaders will discuss various topics including tourism, community needs and resources, and the role of the university in community development.

Chay Runnels, a faculty member from SFA's School of Human Sciences, will moderate a session on heritage tourism at 9:30 a.m. The Rev. Kyle Childress of Austin Heights Baptist Church will lead a discussion on community building at 1 p.m., and Partain will moderate a session for local producers at 1:30 p.m. Dr. Darrel McDonald, assistant director of the Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center, will discuss mapping connections in the community at 2 p.m., and Dr. Kathleen Belanger, a faculty member from SFA's School of Social Work, will discuss community needs and resources at 3 p.m.

An optional luncheon will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Friday. The cost is $10 per person and can be paid by cash or check at the door. Reservations are required, and the deadline is Thursday, April 16.

For more information or to R.S.V.P. for the luncheon, call (936) 468-2082 or (936) 468-4405 or reply via email at