Research/2016/

Social Media Plans for Small Businesses & Local Non-Profits

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016 Summary Many rural Nebraska small businesses and non-profit organizations do not have the expertise or resources to implement social media plans, which can limit their organizational reach. This project will implement a service learning component to …

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

Many rural Nebraska small businesses and non-profit organizations do not have the expertise or resources to implement social media plans, which can limit their organizational reach. This project will implement a service learning component to an existing course, where students work with organizations to develop and implement social media plans, in partnership with the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County.

 

Impacts

During the two-year project timeline, 60 small businesses and non-profit organizations from the Kearney area were assisted by over 700 UNK students who worked in teams to develop social media plans for the organizations. The service learning project was incorporated into a capstone course offered through the Computer Science and Information Technology department at UNK. A positive impact from this project is that the service learning component of students working with organizations and small businesses is well established into the course and sustainable in ongoing years.

Post assessment results show that of the 60 organizations and small businesses in the project, two requested to re-do their social media plan and all the others expressed satisfaction with their plans. While final surveys are still being collected, results will be published in the near future once results are analyzed.

The research goals of this project were to study the impact of the interventions in increasing implementation and sustained use rates of social media plans developed through service learning. A long-term study continues to evaluate the sustainable impacts of this project.

 

Project Team

  • Sherri Harms (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Computer Science and Information Technology Darren Robinson, Economic Development Council of Buffalo County

Partners

  • Buffalo County Economic Development Council
  • 60 Kearney-area small businesses and non-profit organizations

Publications

Website: UNK Social Media Plan Assistance https://socialmedia.csit.unk.edu/index.php

 

Media Coverage

Class schools firms on social media | Kearney Hub, March 2017

 

Contact: Sherri Harms, harmssk@unk.edu

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Art at Cedar Point

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016 Summary Art at Cedar Point is a transdisciplinary program which blends art and science through undergraduate field courses and artist residencies at Cedar Point Biological Station in western Nebraska. This innovative project will allow students to …

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

Art at Cedar Point is a transdisciplinary program which blends art and science through undergraduate field courses and artist residencies at Cedar Point Biological Station in western Nebraska. This innovative project will allow students to experience the unique ecosystems and communities of rural western Nebraska and showcase the potential for artists working in rural areas by developing the only Artist in Residence program in the region. Get more details >

Impacts

The original project of Art at Cedar Point has developed into a multifaceted and cross disciplinary art experience through programing for art students, children, professional artists and rural communities in Western Nebraska.  This unique collaboration between the UNL School of Art, Art History & Design, the UNL Biological Sciences Cedar Point Biological Research Station, and the Ogallala Public Schools is strong and will be sustained beyond the scope of our Rural Futures Teaching and Engagement grant. We have been fortunate through the grant period of 2 years in developing these relationships for creating new visual art and creative writing by artists at all levels, from throughout the region, held among the science researchers and students at CPBS, which gives evidence of shared interests in nature and place, creative interpretation and problem solving, current ecological issues, and experiential learning.

Hannah Demma, program coordinator, continues to develop the web materials for the program on the UNL website and on social media; she actively recruited students for the summer 2018 academic class with classroom visits, PowerPoint presentations, and personal communications; she coordinated and promoted the Artist in Residence program and established the scheduling and communication with 11 artists and writers for summer 2018; she was on site at CPBS in June 2018 to launch the Art Adventure Summer camp for area children, and to coordinate with the student teachers. She works directly with Professor Kunc, and CPBS Director Jon Garbisch to coordinate the student and AiR information, the summer camp, and for schedule planning. Demma continued to build local networks while on site in 2018, to discover how Art at Cedar Point can be responsive and valuable to the community, as well as sustainable over the long term.

UNL Professor of Art Santiago Cal taught ARTP 383, June 4-15, an upper-level studio art course: Making Your Mark: The Figure in Nature, from Prehistory to Today. Ten undergraduate students attended an intensive, two-week field course and explored artistic depictions of the figure in and on nature, as well as human impact onto nature. The students used a variety of processes, including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and performance, to create works of art that investigated the subject in context to nature and place. Professor Cal engaged and coordinated field trips, critiques, slide presentations, group and individual discussions. Students participants were from a variety of majors: art, biochemistry, Spanish, philosophy, special education, journalism. Student enrollment was greatly enhanced also by the Baxa scholarship opportunity through CPBS. All students are eligible for this funding, through application, and 5 of the students did receive funding, covering their room & board costs.

 

Project Team

  • Karen Kunc (PI), Hixon-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Partners

  • Ogallala Public School District
  • Nebraska Game and Parks
  • Lake McConaughy Visitor/Water Interpretive Center
  • Nebraska Art Teachers Association
  • Petrified Wood Art Museum in Ogallala, Neb.

Publications

  • ‘Art notes: Take your time viewing pieces in celebration of Slow Art Day’, by Andrea Kszystyniak / World-Herald staff writer for Omaha.com, Apr 9, 2015 http://bit.ly/2iBHrkE
  • ‘International Slow Art Day is April 11’, University of Nebraska School of Fine and Performing Arts website, http://bit.ly/2j2RKxb
  • Workday by Moe Beitiks for Rapid Pulse blog. http://rapidpulse.org/workday

 

Presentations

  • Virginia Tech University, Visiting Artist Lecture
    Art at Cedar Point
    2017 | Blacksburg, VA
  • Eureka! 2016 Nebraska Extension Conference
    Art at Cedar Point
    March 15-16, 2016 | Lincoln, NE
  • Joslyn Museum of Art, Artist Talk
    Art at Cedar Point
    2015 | Omaha, NE
  • Midwest Society for Photo Education Conference
    On Fruited Plains, Panel Discussion
    October 1-4, 2015 | Louisville, KY

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Karen Kunc, kkunc1@unl.edu

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HealthVoiceVision

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016      Summary HealthVoiceVision is a combined Photovoice (PV) and survey research project that links community voices/images with rigorous social science research methods to provide more insight into the health of rural communities. This project …

Research & Engagement, 2016


 

 

Summary

HealthVoiceVision is a combined Photovoice (PV) and survey research project that links community voices/images with rigorous social science research methods to provide more insight into the health of rural communities. This project addresses an important gap in our understanding of local health ways by providing data at sub-county, community specific levels. The creation of a cost-effective and accurate means for uncovering health inequalities in rapidly changing, ethnically diverse small communities in the Midwest will lead the way to more accurate health interventions within these communities.

Impact

The HealthVoiceVision transdisciplinary team combined participatory research with traditional random spatial sampling surveys to better understand minority health disparities in rural communities. The research results from over 325 household surveys will translate into interventions, tools and data that communities can use to understand and address minority health disparities. Data from this study is in the early stage of analysis and additional findings from the study will be shared soon.

Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads is an interactive exhibit that fosters a transformative environment for scholarship using art/research to engage instructors and students in dialogue. The display was previewed this fall in Lexington at the Dawson County Historical Society Museum. The display now may be viewed during the Spring 2018 semester on the third floor of the Nebraska History Museum.

Over 1,000 volunteer hours have been contributed to the project and over 115 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students have been involved.

The April 12, 2018, episode of Catch Up With Chuck featured project participant Gladys Godinez from Lexington, Neb.

The November 16, 2017, episode of Catch Up With Chuck featured the PI of this project, Kirk Dombrowksi.

Project Team

  • Kirk Dombrowski (PI), Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Kim Matthews (Co-PI), BOSR/Minority Health Disparities Initiative, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Virginia Chaidez (Co-PI), Nutrition & Health Sciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Angela Palmer Wackerly (Co-PI), Department of Communications, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Jordan Soliz (Co-PI), Department of Communications, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Jolene Smyth (Co-PI), Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Lisa Pytlik Zillig (Co-PI), Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Erin Poor (Co-PI), Sheldon Art Museum, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

 

Partners

  • Josie Rodriguez, DHHS – Office of Health Disparities & Health Equity
  • Jeremy Eschliman, Two Rivers Public Health Department
  • Rural Futures Institute
  • The Lexington Community
  • The Nebraska History Museum
  • UNL Extension
  • Dawson County Historical Society Museum
  • Humanities Nebraska
  • Minority Health Disparities Initiative
  • Office of Health Disparities & Health Equity, DHHS
  • Two Rivers Public Health Department
  • Lexington Regional Health Center

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • Dawson County Historical Society Museum Exhibition
    Looking Past Skin
    Spring Semester, 2018 | Lincoln, NE
  • Catch Up With Chuck
    Minorities in Rural
    November 16, 2017 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska State Capitol Exhibit
    Ripple Effect Mapping
    November, 2017 | Lincoln, NE
  • Dawson County Historical Society Museum Exhibition
    Looking Past Skin
    Oct 14 – Nov 15, 2017 | Lexington, NE

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kirk Dombrowski, kdombrowski2@unl.edu

 

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Community Engagement Education Model

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016 Summary Many semester-long, service-learning projects realize immediate impact on community partners and service-learning students, yet this has not translated into long-term community impact. It is felt the short time frame of the fifteen-week semester coupled with …

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

Many semester-long, service-learning projects realize immediate impact on community partners and service-learning students, yet this has not translated into long-term community impact. It is felt the short time frame of the fifteen-week semester coupled with the partner’s limited capacity and infrastructure to act on recommendations diminishes long-term impact. This two-year process will evaluate the ability to strengthen partnerships and develop capacity for the region’s residents by going beyond the semester time frame and including an expanded team that includes Nebraska Extension and community and professional experts and also extends the project time frame over multiple years with participation of multiple studios of students.

 

Impacts

PROJECT ONE: Regional Cultural Heritage Tourism, Discovering the Potential

Summary Process, Partners, Products and Outcomes for June 2016 – December 2018

This process began as an exploratory University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduate landscape architecture studio. The study sought to understand the ways to increase economic development through a more regional approach to cultural heritage tourism. The study area was established based on a series of user profiles and their interest in traveling a distance of two hours and spending up to three days experiencing a myriad of local resources including museums, public parks, golfing, restaurants, and so on.

A team of nine students collected information in the study area and discovered the wealth of interesting cultural, historic, and environmental resources. At a community meeting and based on this inventory, a group of community participants suggested that the project researchers explore a National Heritage Area. The students spent three weeks understanding the requirements associated with becoming a National Heritage Area (NHA). Through public-private partnerships, NHA entities support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects.

PROJECT TWO: Valentine, Places in Making

Summary of Process, Partners, Products and Outcomes for July 2017 – October 2018

The partnership and initial Rural Community Prosperity Initiative research led to the submittal and award ($10,000 funding with 22,460 local matching). A proposal and budget were submitted for the National Endowment for the Arts Center for Rural Design to conduct a two-day workshop on October 9-10, 2018 for visioning Main Street, Valentine, NE. Working with People for Public Spaces (PPS), the project researchers will be engaging nationally renowned retail, urban design, and transportation experts to assist in conducting a community-based design charrette resulting in redesign and construction of Main Street in 2021. The students developed initial design proposals to be undertaken by Valentine and its citizens for a series of projects that support economic development and demographic renewal, including:  Main Street revitalization, City Park, Third Street Corridor Enhancement, Pedestrian Trail Network, Highway 20 East Corridor and Gateway, and Green Street Housing Development.

PROJECT THREE: Nebraska City Riverfront Development

Summary of Process and Partners, February – December 2018

A year into the Community Prosperity Initiative this research project established relationships with a cohort of six rural communities to explore the conditions that enable for a more prosperous future by: (1) understanding the economic opportunities that contribute to the creation of businesses, jobs and careers; (2) understanding the types and extent of placemaking to restore or build on community assets that support a high quality of life; and (3) understand how to attract and keep people to achieve demographic renewal.  Nebraska City, Nebraska was one of the communities that had been working to gain understanding of both economic and the demographic renewal opportunities.  Early in 2018 the Nebraska Community Foundation held a two-day workshop to discover and prioritize community initiatives. One project that received strong community support was the riverfront and trail network. With an NU Extension Educator actively coaching a well-formed and engaged community-wide committee, the logical next step was for the CEEM project to partner with Nebraska City and look at the potential of the riverfront.

Project Team

  • Kim Wilson (PI), Professor & Director, Landscape Architecture Program, College of Architecture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Partners

  • Nebraska Extension
  • Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Willa Cather Foundation
  • City of Red Cloud
  • City of Valentine
  • City of Nebraska City
  • Red Cloud Chamber of Commerce
  • Red Cloud Heritage Tourism
  • National Parks System
  • Center for Great Plains Studies
  • Orphan Train, Concordia, KS
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau
  • Valentine Economic Development
  • Valentine Chamber of Commerce
  • People for Public Space (PPS) and National Endowment for the Arts
  • Nebraska City Community Prosperity TART Committee

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • Plains Safaris: A Conference on Tourism and Conservation in the Great Plains
    National Heritage Area Initiative: Bringing Value to and Building an Appreciation for the Stories of the Great Plains
    April 18-20, 2018 | Kearney, NE
  • Plains Safaris: A Conference on Tourism and Conservation in the Great Plains
    The O Pioneers! National Heritage Area
    April 18-20, 2018 | Kearney, NE
  • Nebraska Extension: Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities
    Enhancing Quality of Life Through Placemaking
    April 4-5, 2018 | Hastings, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kim Wilson, kwilson4@unl.edu

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YouRhealth: Youth are Rural Health Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016 Summary YouRhealth is a new, innovative and bold initiative that creates a learning community that includes civic engagement by transforming Lexington High School’s (LHS) freshman health course into a rigorous visual literacy/critical thinking/community engagement environment. This …

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

YouRhealth is a new, innovative and bold initiative that creates a learning community that includes civic engagement by transforming Lexington High School’s (LHS) freshman health course into a rigorous visual literacy/critical thinking/community engagement environment. This project will implement the YouRhealth program that teaches freshman high school students to be community health educators by developing and presenting multimedia public health campaigns to their family and friends, as well as provide NU students civic engagement opportunities in a predominately minority community.

Impacts

Funding the YouRhealth program allowed the diverse Lexington High School (LHS) student body with the tools to engage their community’s public health challenges through innovative and bold transdisciplinary curriculum and collaborations. Simultaneously, NU students were able to support the Lexington community while garnering factual information about the diverse populations in Nebraska.

During the first year, project staff and faculty hosted a visual literacy and engagement summer institute seminar to discuss and design the YouRhealth curriculum, adjusting it to the core standards of Lexington Public Schools. Once the curriculum was finalized and approved, a pilot YouRhealth program was implemented for a required high school freshman health course of 16 students. At the end of the curriculum, students were given the opportunity to showcase their results at a community health fair. Art education student teachers from the University of Nebraska at Kearney taught the students about visual literacy and the principles of creating good public health campaigns, and students from the UNMC Nursing program conducted an initial evaluation to assess whether the pilot was successful.

In its second year, more than 100 students participated in the YouRhealth program. Students’ final health campaigns targeted a variety of issues, ranging from human trafficking to medical interpretation.

 

Project Team

  • Kim Matthews (PI), Minority Health Disparities Initiative, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Tom Coviello (Co-PI), Lexington High School
  • Erin Poor (Co-PI), Sheldon Art Museum

Partners

  • Christy Kosmicki, Art & Art History, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Sharon Baker, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Maria Reyes, Lexington Regional Health Center
  • Josie Rodriguez, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health
  • Disparities & Health Equity

 

Contact: Kim Matthews, kmatthews2@unl.edu

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Enhancing Nebraska’s Ecotourism Industry

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary This project intends to fill important gaps that exist in knowledge, assistance, and training about ecotourism. It will identify expectations and standards of successful international ecotourism and disseminate them through active engagement with actual and …

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

This project intends to fill important gaps that exist in knowledge, assistance, and training about ecotourism. It will identify expectations and standards of successful international ecotourism and disseminate them through active engagement with actual and potential Nebraska entrepreneurs and providers.

Research, using field sites in Namibia, will focus on international best practices and expectations; other research will explore legal liability; sustainability; regional branding; and enterprise business planning. Engagement will utilize the recently-created Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition to reach out to existing and potential ecotourism providers, organize two ecotourism workshops, several “green lodging workshops, and a major conference at UNK in 2018 called “Ecotourism in the Great Plains.”

This project will help Nebraska’s emerging industry grow into world leaders in private-lands ecotourism; we will see new businesses and jobs created, greater conservation of wildlife and habitat on private lands, and increases in the jobs, incomes, and quality of life of participating landowners and rural communities.

Impacts

This project has been a major factor in The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska becoming known nationally as a source in Great Plains ecotourism. Because of this project, the Center has been interviewed for publications outside the Great Plains (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Progressive Farmer, Johns Hopkins University).

Over the course of this project, two ecotourism workshops were held in Chadron and Red Cloud. These workshops shared best practices and highlighted the benefits of ecotourism to the region.

The ecotourism booklets featuring the ecotourism posters and their essays will be one of the prizes for the 2018 Nebraska Passport program, reaching around 2,000 people.

As with many conferences, the lasting impact tends to be connections made. Whether it’s drawing connections between nature, conservation, rural life, and the economy in people’s minds (one of our goals) or creating connections between people through the networking at the conference. We met many people who are the ‘boots on the ground’ in these communities. It’s these people who will make the difference for nature tourism, rural life, and conservation in the future. We’ll keep the conversation with these folks going into the future through our website, social media, and monthly newsletter. We’ll continue to solicit feedback, to plug into new trends, and to talk about why the Great Plains deserves to visited, conserved, and enriched.

Project Team

  • Richard Edwards (PI), Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Larkin Powell (Co-PI), Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Katie Nieland (Co-PI), Assistant Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Sarah Sortum (Co-PI), Rancher, Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch Management Team
  • Anthony Schutz (Co-PI), Associate Professor, College of Law, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Partners

  • Charles Bicak, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Academic/Student Affairs
  • Nils Odendaal, Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia
  • Richard Yoder, University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business
  • Viktoria Keding, Namib Desert Environmental Trust, Namibia
  • Peter Longo, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Natural & Social Sciences
  • Larry Swanson, University of Montana, O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

 

Contact: Richard Edwards, redwards@unl.edu

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Rural Prosperity Research Project

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016     Summary The purpose of this project is to build the capacity of a cohort of rural communities to effectively create conditions for a more prosperous future by: Increasing economic opportunities that contribute to the …

Research & Engagement, 2016

 


 

Summary

The purpose of this project is to build the capacity of a cohort of rural communities to effectively create conditions for a more prosperous future by:

  • Increasing economic opportunities that contribute to the creation of businesses, jobs and careers;
  • Building up community assets that support a high quality of life; and
  • Attracting and keeping people to achieve demographic renewal.

This project applies a systems approach designed to achieve systemic change. The community engagement framework focuses on the “three essentials” of demographic renewal, increasing economic opportunity and improving quality of life place making. The research team focuses on the three outcome areas of the project (demographic renewal, economic opportunity and place making) and works to study the impacts of three tracks of research:

  • Indicators of systemic change (both long-term and short-term),
  • Coaching capabilities, and
  • Champions and engagement.

 

Impacts

Baseline Community Profiles are created for each community/region that participates in this project. The profiles are intended to stimulate deeper conversations around longer-term demographic and economic opportunities.

Work is now under way to explore how to integrate activities central to this work within the overall programmatic activities of Nebraska Extension’s Community Vitality Initiative programming. The Prosperity Communities team is exploring how to integrate other Extension projects – Marketing Hometown America, Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP), and Community Readiness programs.

 

Project Team

  • Chuck Hibberd (PI), Dean, Extension, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), Community Vitality Extension Educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • L.J. McElravy (Co-PI), Youth Civic Leadership, Agricultural Leadership & Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Partners

  • Randy Cantrell (RFI Fellow), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Rural Futures Institute
  • Lindsay Hastings, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • Kim Wilson (RFI Fellow), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Landscape Architecture Program
  • David Drozd, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Don Macke (RFI Fellow), Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Deborah Markley, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Milan Wall (RFI Fellow), Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Jeff Yost (RFI Fellow), Nebraska Community Foundation
  • Janet Topolsky, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
  • Travis Green, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
  • Kristin Feierabend, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

 

Contact: Chuck Hibberd, hibberd@unl.edu

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Raising Awareness of Health Professionals Education Among Rural Nebraska Latino Youth

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary Health professions shortages represent a challenge to the sustainability of rural communities. While there are insufficient rural health professionals in general, Latinos are virtually absent from this workforce. This study will develop strategies to raise …

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

Health professions shortages represent a challenge to the sustainability of rural communities. While there are insufficient rural health professionals in general, Latinos are virtually absent from this workforce. This study will develop strategies to raise awareness of health professions education among rural Nebraska Latino high school and college students, resulting in increased numbers of Latino youth who pursue health professions.

Impacts

To better understand and address the underrepresentation of Latinos in health profession programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Rural Health Education Network (RHEN) conducted three focus group studies in the spring of 2017, consisting of 27 Latino youths between the ages of 14 and 29. The study sought to understand what factors might explain the absence of Latinos in health profession programs in Nebraska and identify ways in which UNMC might adapt its recruitment strategy to address this underrepresentation.

The key challenges identified relate to academic preparation, economic hardship, and the cost of pursuing higher education. Participants who were the first in their family to pursue a college or university education had limited knowledge of resources and opportunities. Furthermore, participants expressed that Latino youth are often expected to contribute to their family’s household income, limiting their ability to participate in extracurricular activities.

UNMC can address these challenges by developing bi-lingual, culturally and linguistically appropriate recruitment materials and compile a database of existing services offered through UNMC, such as mentoring, tutoring, and student interest groups. Latino health professions students who are already enrolled at UNMC can be engaged in outreach and recruitment efforts, including reaching out to high schools and undergraduate institutions with high concentrations of Latino students and inviting Latino youth and their families to visit the campus.

 

Project Team

  • Patrik Johansson (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health & Rural Health Education Network
  • Judy Ritta (Co-PI) Nebraska Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
  • Daniel Schober, Informed Community Health LLC, Chicago, Illinois

Partners

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
  • Central Community College
  • Doane College
  • Nebraska Department of Education Division of Multicultural Education/Diversity
  • Grand Island Latino Leadership Group
  • Grand Island Senior High
  • St. Francis Hospital
  • Department of Health and Human Services

 

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

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Understanding Hispanics & Sense of Community

November 17, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016 Summary This mixed methods research study will be conducted within two Nebraska counties to better understand the assets and the challenges associated with being Hispanic/Latino in rural Nebraska. This project addresses community concerns that were identified …

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

This mixed methods research study will be conducted within two Nebraska counties to better understand the assets and the challenges associated with being Hispanic/Latino in rural Nebraska. This project addresses community concerns that were identified during the 2015 East Central District comprehensive community health needs assessment. Six focus groups (three in each county) and a survey of at least 100 Hispanic/Latino individuals from each community will be conducted. A bilingual community report will be developed with community partners that includes actionable recommendations.

Impacts

This was the first study to describe sense of community, neighboring behaviors, participation in community life, discrimination, and life satisfaction among Hispanic immigrants in Nebraska. Six focus groups (three in each community) were conducted during March 2017 and involved 56 participants. The quantitative portion of the study included 206 participants, half from Schuyler and half from Columbus.

Major findings of the study include:

  • Hispanics in rural areas want to feel a sense of community with other community members, and emotional connection was rated the highest of the four components of sense of community.
  • Participants understood “community” to be more than a geographic place. They believed that community meant a feeling of belonging, unity, acceptance, and a willingness to help others.
  • Study participants had actively participated in associations, made financial or in-kind donations, talked with other people about problems or issues, and volunteered for community and charitable organizations.
  • Most participants were satisfied with their lives and found their community to be peaceful, safe, and good for families.
  • Sense of community was significantly positively associated with community participation and life satisfaction both at the bivariate and multivariate levels.
  • Despite perceiving discrimination, Hispanic immigrant residents were satisfied with their lives; rated their health as excellent, good or very good; and felt welcome, comfortable, and safe in their current community.
  • Strong positive associations between life satisfaction, neighboring, and health. Neighborhoods and communities may affect reserve capacity. Environments that promote feeling welcome, safe, and having neighbors who watch out for each other could be a protective factor, strengthening Hispanic immigrants’ sense of resiliency and contributing to overall life satisfaction.

Crucial to the success of the project were relationships that the research team built with key community partners. They include AMWAY (group of local sellers), Chichualco Supermarket, Comité Latino de Schuyler (Latino Committee of Schuyler), El Centro Hispano de Columbus, Heartland Workers Center, La Gloria Restaurant, Latinoamerica Grocery, Pacific Window Tint LLC, Schuyler Public Library, St. Augustine Church, The Columbus Chamber of Commerce, The Platte Valley Literacy Association.

In addition to the significant findings of the research project, another success has been the student learning that has taken place through the two graduate students who have worked on the project. The Principal Investigator mentored the students and together they conceived the research questions, developed the survey instrument and focus group guide, brainstormed potential community partners, strategized on how to complete the project, and analyzed the data.

Activities in which the graduate students were involved during the project with the mentorship of the Principal Investigator included:

  • Conducted a literature review and developed a database of relevant literature.
  • Attended the Rural Futures Regional Summit in West Point in September of 2016.
  • Visited Schuyler and Columbus on several occasions and had meetings with community members and organizations looking to establish community partnerships and gather ideas for data that would be useful to community partners.
  • Developed and submitted an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application.
  • Developed the survey instrument
  • Conducted data collection using bilingual paper-and-pencil surveys
  • Attended some of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s “Engaging Immigrants” committee meetings
  • Created a database in SPSS and entered data from 206 surveys
  • Conducted a quantitative data analysis
  • Worked with communities to develop the focus group questions and guide
  • Revised the interview protocol to include the focus group component
  • Received training on focus group facilitation
  • Conducted three focus groups in Spanish in each community
  • Analyzed and contextualized the qualitative data that was obtained through the focus groups
  • Developed a written report including a bilingual executive summary to share with community partners
  • Attended the UNL Minority Health Disparities Initiative Conference on February of 2017
  • Wrote and submitted abstracts for conference presentations and conducted multiple posters and oral presentations at local and regional events

 

Project Team

  • Athena Ramos (PI), Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Antonia Correa, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Natalia Trinidad, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center

 

Publications

  • Ramos, A.K., Carvajal, B., Leon, M., & Trinidad, N. (2017). Sense of community, participation, and life satisfaction among Hispanic immigrants in rural Nebraska. Kontakt, 19 e284-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.kontakt.2017.09.005

 

Presentations

  • Cambio de Colores Annual Conference
    Life Satisfaction, Neighboring, and Health: Findings from Hispanic Immigrants in Northeast Nebraska
    June 7, 2018 | Kansas City, MO
  • Cambio de Colores Annual Conference
    Understanding Hispanics and Sense of Community in Rural Northeast Nebraska
    June 15, 2017 | St. Louis, MO
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce Meeting
    Preliminary Review: Understanding Hispanics and Sense of Community in Rural Northeast Nebraska
    June 15, 2017 | St. Louis, MO
  • UNMC College of Public Health Student Research Day
    Understanding Hispanics and Sense of Community in Rural Northeast Nebraska
    April 5, 2017 | Omaha, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

 

Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu

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Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology

November 17, 2017
Special Project, 2016 Summary There are long-standing barriers to services in rural communities including insufficient mental health services, cultural differences and stigma that make access to treatment options for mental and behavioral issues a challenge for students in rural areas. …

Special Project, 2016


Summary

There are long-standing barriers to services in rural communities including insufficient mental health services, cultural differences and stigma that make access to treatment options for mental and behavioral issues a challenge for students in rural areas. The long term goal of this project is to significantly reduce mental health disparities for rural children in Nebraska and increase rural schools’ capacity for delivering research-based family-school partnership programs to address mental and behavioral health problems among their students. The immediate goal is to develop and evaluate highly accessible, effective and sustainable solutions for rural schools and families to increase access to mental health supports, address rural students’ mental and behavioral health challenges and bolster academic success.

Impacts

A Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) online training website was created, allowing the project to be available to schools across the state and beyond.

This study collaborated with rural Nebraska schools to help rural teachers and families work together in a collaborative problem-solving process known as Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP).  School specialists from three rural communities in Nebraska were trained to implement the TAPP process and recruited family-teacher dyads surrounding children with behavioral concerns to participate. Specialists implemented TAPP with these dyads, and received coaching via distance technology from the PI throughout the project. Systematic data collection on the acceptability and feasibility of TAPP were collected throughout the project. As well, following completion of the TAPP process, participants completed semi-structured interviews wherein they detailed their impressions of TAPP, and the impact on family-school partnership in their schools.

The TAPP process was tailored to the unique needs of rural Nebraska communities and TAPP training and coaching was adapted for distance technology (Web platforms for training and coaching) delivery. Local school specialists (e.g., school psychologists, school counselors) received the training and worked with a coach as they implemented TAPP in their schools.

The project was executed over two phases, with each objective achieved in collaboration with community partners. Phase 1 involved the establishment of new partnerships between the University and local rural education partners around the state of Nebraska. Phase 2 involved implementing TAPP in the rural partner schools to establish a proof of concept for moving forward.

Project Team

  • Amanda Witte (PI & RFI Fellow), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools
  • Susan Sheridan (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Educational Psychology; National Center for Research on Rural Education; and National Center for Research on Rural Education

Partners

  • Timothy Nelson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Psychology
  • Paul Springer, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Richard Bischoff, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Istiaque Ali, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools
  • Tanya Ihlo, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Educational Psychology
  • Rural schools and educators
  • Nebraska Department of Education

Publications

  • Sheridan, S. M., & Witte, A. L. (2018, January 15). Teachers and Parents as Partners Online Training Portal: Practitioner Training System.
  • Witte, A. L. & Sheridan, S. M. (2018, March). Family-school partnerships: Evidence-based foundations and practice. Featured session presented at the International Conference on Positive Behavior Support, San Diego, CA.
  • Witte, A. L., Sheridan, S. M., White, A. S., Bhatia, S. A., & Strong-Bak, W. (2018, February). Teachers and parents as partners: Translating an intervention for practice. Paper presented at the annual convention of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago, IL.
  • Sheridan, S. M., Holmes, S. R., Witte, A. L., Coutts, M. J., & Dent, A. (2014). CBC in rural schools: Preliminary results of the first four years of a randomized trial (CYFS Working Paper No. 2014-8). Retrieved from the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools website: cyfs.unl.edu
  • Sheridan, S. M., Kunz, G. M., Witte, A., Holmes, S., & Coutts, M. (2014). Rural parents and teachers as partners: Preliminary results of a randomized trial (R2Ed Working Paper No. 2014-4). Retrieved from the National Center for Research on Rural Education: r2ed.unl.edu

Presentations

  • Nebraska Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Leadership Development Institute
    Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology (TAPP)
    June, 2018 | Lincoln, NE
  • International Conference on Positive Behavior Support
    Family-school Partnerships: Evidence-based Foundations and Practice
    March 28-31, 2018 | San Diego, CA
  • National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention
    Teachers and Parents as Partners: Translating an Intervention for Practice
    February 13-16, 2018 | Chicago, IL
  • American Psychological Association Annual Convention
    Teachers and Parents as Partners
    August 3-5, 2017 | Washington, DC
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology: TAPP
    September 27, 2016 | North Platte, NE

Media Coverage

Project trains rural educators, encourages sustainability | UNL Newsroom

 

Contact: Amanda Witte, awitte2@unl.edu

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