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University of Minnesota Extension

Tobias Spanier



Southwest Minnesota


Phone: 320-235-0726, Ext. 2020
Cell: 507-220-1812
Fax: 320-235-1175

Extension Regional Office, Willmar
Mid Central Research & Outreach Center
1802 18th St NE
Willmar, MN 56201



  • B.A., Political Science & Public Administration, Saint Mary's University, Winona, MN
  • M.A., Education, Towson State University, Baltimore, MD

Special projects

  • Multicultural Integrative Community Leadership Programs, SW Minnesota
  • NELD - National Extension Leadership Development Program
  • Leadership, facilitation and civic engagement consultation

Work experience

Toby's work focuses on leadership and civic engagement in communities, specializing in team building and leadership for multicultural audiences. Toby has been with Extension for more than 12 years and with the Center for Community Vitality since 2007. Toby has spent the last 25 years working to make improvements in communities through educational experiences. His professional educational experiences include association management and work with the United States Peace Corps, non-profit organizations, public schools in Minnesota and Maryland, the Maryknoll Mission Association in South America, and Extension. In Extension, Toby has contributed to the Community Youth Development Program Area and the Center for Community Vitality by providing research, education and strategic advice to individuals, organizations and communities.

Affiliations, honors and community service

  • Awards: Dean's Distinguished Award - Diversity, University of Minnesota Extension (2011)
    State Early Career Award, National Honorary Extension Fraternity ESP (1999)
    Outstanding Diversity Programming, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (2011)
  • Member: Minnesota Association of Extension Professionals (Past President), Minnesota Association of Community Leadership Extension Professionals, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, Community Development Society, International Association of Facilitators, Association of Leadership Educators
  • Certifications and Affiliations: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Intercultural Development Inventory, Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, LeadershipPlenty curriculum (Pew Partnership for Civic Engagement), Study Circles (Everyday Democracy), Technology of Participation - Group Facilitation Methods, Humphrey Institute Policy Fellows (2006-07), North Central Extension Leadership Development Program (1998-99)

Selected publications

  • Allen, R., Chazdon, S., Radke, B., & Spanier, T. (2012). Ready to vision? In N. Walzer & G. Hamm (Eds.), Community visioning programs (pp. 53-73). Florence, KY: Routledge Publishing.
  • Winchester, B., Nash, A., & Spanier, T. (2011). The glass half full: A new view of rural Minnesota. Rural Minnesota Journal6(1), 1-30.
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