Texas counties face challenges emanating from budget constraints, an aging infrastructure, and a growing and diverse population. Intertwined with these issues are opportunities presented by advances in technology and recent economic prosperity. Texas county government is becoming an ever increasingly complex world. Yet, these conditions also provide county government a chance to be innovative as they seek solutions.
To help stimulate those ideas, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, in partnership with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s V.G. Young Institute of County Government, developed the County Improvement Project, a fellowship program meant to encourage thoughtful answers to counties’ shared challenges.
The County Judges & Commissioners Association of Texas serves to promote the interests of county government through continuing education and active participation in government affairs. The association represents the 1,270 active members of the 254 county commissioners courts.
For nearly 50 years, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s V.G. Young Institute of County Government has worked to meet the educational needs of county officials and the public by anticipating, identifying and addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by Texas county government.
Project Details and Desired Outcomes
Provide original research on issues facing counties, with the expectation that policy-makers for the improvement of county operations may use resulting studies. Interest areas include, but are not limited to:
- Technical Issues
- Urban/Rural Issues
- Economic Development
- Intergovernmental Relations
A $20,000 award will be made to the V.G. Young Institute Fellow. Half of the award will be given when the fellow is publicly named. The remainder will be awarded upon submission of the final written report.
Anyone interested in providing a thoughtful and researched solution to a challenge or opportunity facing counties.
For additional information, contact Peter J. McGuill at the Institute
by phone, 979-845-4572, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are generally open in the fall of each year.
Final reports are presented at the State Association conference typically held in October of each year.
2016 County Improvement Project
The 2016 County Improvement Project was awarded to Justin Buskmiller at Texas A&M University for his proposal “Zero-Intrusive Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance Using High-Speed Ultrasonic Tomography.” The findings will be presented October, 2017 during the annual State Judges and Commissioners Association Conference held in Corpus Christi.
2015 County Improvement Project Final Report
Dr. Mike Yawn, Sam Houston State University, was named the 2015 County Improvement Fellow for his proposal “Social Media and Smart Communities – A County Perspective”.
2014 County Improvement Project Final Report
The 2014 Fellowship was awarded Dr. Morgan Russell, Assistant Professor Texas A&M University, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Range Specialist, who presented her findings on “Texas Fire Exchange – An Approach to Integrated fire Education” at the 93rd Annual County and Judges Commissioners Association of Texas Conference.