Dr. Janet S. Ayres

Professor & Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural Economics
West Lafayette, Indiana
United States

Focus Areas

Economic Security
Community Development
Rural Development
Conflict Resolution
Leadership Development


Janet Ayres has been fascinated and concerned with the changes in rural communities since she was a teenager on a dairy farm in Carroll County, Indiana. The controversial public issues she witnessed in her community inspired her to devote her career at Purdue University to developing educational materials, services and programs that build the capacity of citizens to affect the future of their communities. Her research, extension and teaching activities focus on the areas of leadership development, community development and public policy. Janet was a leader and collaborator in developing several state-wide programs including the Indiana Ag Leadership Program and "Take Charge", a program which has been adopted in several other states. Janet has worked in over 200 rural communities in Indiana and has published over 90 publications on leadership, rural development and public policy. After being appointed Extension Assistant Director and Program Leader for Leadership & Community Development in 1996, she initiated and provided leadership to the Purdue Extension Land Use Team. She also provided program leadership and staff development to the county Extension Educators who work in this area. She resigned this administrative position in 2001 to re-focus her work on community leadership development. Currently, she is developing the Purdue Extension Leadership Development Team and completing the publication of 24 core competencies in community leadership. She is also developing a new course in leadership development to be offered the 2002 Spring Semester to Ag Econ seniors. Janet has a great interest in international work. She has traveled to over 50 countries on study tours and has conducted leadership and rural development programs in Poland, Hungary, and Russia. Janet has received many awards including the Sharvelle Distinguished Extension Specialist Award, the Extension/Public Service Award from the Rural Sociological Society, the Fredrick L. Hovde Award for Service to Rural Iindiana, and a fellow in the Kellogg National Leadership Program. Through this program, she studied leadership in emerging democracies as countries were making a transition in the early 1990's. Janet has served in over 80 leadership positions in state, regional and national organizations including the lndiana Rural Development Council, Indiana Institute of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Indiana Economic Development Council, and the Community Development Society. Janet is a certified planner. Prior to coming to Purdue in 1977, she worked as a planner in private consulting firms in Saratoga Springs, New York and Indianapolis. She loves being a part of Purdue and working to make the Land Grant mission of the university a meaningful reality.