Our team

Our team leverages our unique experiences and diverse backgrounds to understand heart of communities and inspire engagement in those communities.

Richard Knopf, Executive Director

Richard Knopf

Ph.D. Natural Resources and Environment, The University of Michigan
M.A. Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Michigan
B.S. Forestry, The University of Michigan


I serve as Director of ASU’s Partnership for Community Development and Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University. I am a Professor of Community Resources and Development at ASU. My expertise rests in advancing community quality of life by building innovative inter-generational partnerships among businesses, government, non-profit and community service organizations. I have a passion for providing meaningful pathways for civic engagement. My research, including authorship of over 140 publications, focuses primarily on community quality of life.


  • Community Quality of Life
  • Community Development
  • Civic Engagement


Chiamei Hsia, Research Associate

Chiamei Hsia

Ph.D. Candidate, Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.L.A. Landscape Architecture, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York
B.B.A. Tourism, College of Management, Providence University, Taiwan 


Born in Taiwan, I inherited Chinese cultural tradition from my family roots and a western mindset nurtured within the Taiwan education system. I have a diverse background from business management, recreation research, urban planning, landscape design, and community partnership facilitation. Prior to coming to ASU, I worked intensively with community members in Taiwan and been interested in the relationship between civic engagement and community development. My current study focuses on community arts research and analyzes how community-based art practice contributes to community collective identity formation and community capacity building.   


  • Community Partnership Building
  • Community-based Art Practice Facilitation
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Landscape Design and Urban Planning

(Charles) Bjorn Peterson, Senior Research Associate

Bjorn Peterson

Ph.D. Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.A. Transformational Leadership, Seattle University
B.S. Liberal Studies: Communication and Group Identity, Oregon State University: Cascades


I was born in St. Paul, MN and grew up largely in Southeastern Minnesota. My wife, Elise, and I came to Arizona after 7 years in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to being the Executive Director of two nonprofits, I have spent more than 10 years working in consultation with social entrepreneurial and nonprofit organizations to develop mission and vision, create systems to reflect organizational values, and increase intercultural competency. My passion is to walk with communities as we embrace curiosity, diversity, and culture for the sake of co-creating the common good.   


  • Intercultural Competency and Training
  • Inclusive/Asset-Based Process Creation
  • Mission/Vision Development
  • Transformational Leadership

Eric Steffey, Senior Research Associate

Eric Steffey

Ph.D. Candidate Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.S. Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies, Michigan State University
B.S. Park, Recreation, and Tourism (Natural Resources), Michigan State University


Originally from Michigan I have a diverse background in engineering, design, and construction to recreation, resource management, and partnership facilitation.  I am a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and most recently have been employed by the Florida Park Service where my position afforded me the opportunity to focus on natural resource management and to work with many communities and multi-governmental partnerships including the nurturing of local grass roots efforts. My interests are in community resilience and fostering community connections to and stewardship of local cultural and natural resources.


  • Resource Management
  • Multi-Level Partnership Facilitation
  • Community Engagement, Education, and Interpretation

Craig Talmage, Senior Research Associate

Craig Talmage

Ph.D. Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Minnesota State University, Mankato
B.S. Family Studies and Human Development; University of Arizona


I am originally from Arizona,, specifically Tucson and the suburbs of Phoenix. I work as a community development researcher and practitioner. I have over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector for over ten years. I seek to better understand the psychological social capital of subgroups in communities.


  • Quantitative Assessment and Evaluation
  • Organizational Development
  • Group-Process Facilitation
  • Community Satisfaction and Engagement

Rodney Machokoto, Research Associate

Rodney Machokoto

Ph.D. Student Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.A.C. Accounting Concentration in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), North Carolina State University
B.S. Accounting, Methodist University


My interest in community work goes back to my high school years at Kutama College (Zimbabwe) and at the United World College (UWC) of the Atlantic (Wales, United Kingdom). During that time, Daphine (now my wife) and I launched a grassroots initiative to help address the sanitation and general health challenges that Zimbabwe, my home country, was experiencing. In addition to holding professional experience as a business consultant and auditor, I am a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and hold a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). My interest is to work with communities, community organizations, and social enterprises to develop robust strategic leadership and accountability.


  • Accounting, Auditing, and Business Consulting
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Household-Level Food Production

Kevin Wilson, Research Associate

Kevin Wilson

Ph.D. Student Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University
M.S. Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, Western Illinois University
B.S. Sport Management, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs


I hold a wonder for likenesses and disparities between transportable communities and embedded communities. My experience is rooted in student development in higher education and experiential education. I have also worked as a research associate with the United States Olympic Committee. I am interested in the value of art to community wellbeing, as well as co-creation and manifestation of novel ideas for practical use.


  • Value of Leisure for Decision-Making and Meaning-Making
  • Festivity and Community Wellbeing
  • Interpretation of Community Dynamics
  • Facilitation of Worthwhile Community Partnerships