Research/Leadership Development/

Rural Community Serviceship Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary The Rural Community Serviceship project is a mash-up between service-learning and a professional internship. Through the Serviceship program, college students have the opportunity to serve as an intern for a community as opposed to a …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Rural Community Serviceship project is a mash-up between service-learning and a professional internship. Through the Serviceship program, college students have the opportunity to serve as an intern for a community as opposed to a company. Students are sent out in groups of two to rural Nebraska communities to help local community leaders execute a locally identified project. Students are also expected to participate in community service activities outside of their Serviceship project.

This program provides an interdisciplinary, partnership delivery system that focuses on issues identified by the community coupled with the infusion of innovative, entrepreneurial student teams tasked with building workable solutions in concert with university faculty and specialists alongside community leaders and mentors. The combination of discipline, community engagement and leadership training/experience creates human capacity and opens the door for active recruitment of new graduates and young professionals into the fabric of a rural community.

Impacts

Since 2013 when the Rural Serviceship began, 40 University of Nebraska students have been placed in communities across Nebraska to complete 21 projects. In 2018, the project has ramped up and 27 students will be placed in rural communities working on 14 projects.

Project Team

  • Thomas Field (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Lindsay Hastings (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • Reshell Ray (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Student Involvement

 

Partners

  • Linda Major, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Office of Student Involvement
  • Linda Moody, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Center for Civic Engagement
  • Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR)
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Kurt Mantonya, Heartland Center for Leadership Development

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    Sept. 22, 2016 | West Point, NE
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    October 14, 2014 | Scottsbluff, NE
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE
  • Heartland Campus Compact Conference
    Rural Futures Serviceship and Internship Project
    October 2-3, 2014 | Lincoln, NE

Media Coverage


Contact: Thomas Field, tfield2@unl.edu

Read More

Rural Community Engagement & Leadership Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014      Summary The goal of this project was to develop a course where undergraduate students would engage in facilitating a service learning project in rural communities within 60 miles of Lincoln. A partnership between …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


 

 

Summary

The goal of this project was to develop a course where undergraduate students would engage in facilitating a service learning project in rural communities within 60 miles of Lincoln. A partnership between Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Civic Nebraska (formerly Nebraskans for Civic Reform) was created to support the project.

Undergraduate students engaged with rural middle and high school students to identify issues in the students’ community, leading to the creation of a service learning project to address those pre-identified issues. This project built the leadership capacity of rural middle and high school students and increased their ability to positively impact their respective communities while also filling a community need.

Impacts

One of the major outcomes of this project was the impact ALEC 496 had on Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication (ALEC) academic programs.  The creation and refinement ALEC 496 led to formally adopting the course, now titled ALEC 422-Facilitation & Program Planning, in several academic programs. The process for approving a course starts with the faculty in ALEC, then the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  At these levels, the course received significant support and was ultimately recommended for approval. The course was approved by the university in April of 2016. The support and approval provide evidence that this course is meeting a need for students at UNL. The course is now a requirement for the Agricultural Education – Leadership Option major, and is included as an option for students in both the Leadership & Communication and the Leadership & Entrepreneurship minors.

During the two-year project, 21 undergraduate students worked with 142 middle and high school students in 12 classrooms to identify issues in the students’ community, leading to creation of service learning projects that addressed those pre-identified issues.

Several promising opportunities have been identified for future work. First, a second RFI award was earned for Research & Engagement. The purpose of this collaborative research study is to develop a psychometrically sound measure of youth leadership (including its developmental aspect) and examine its relationship to community outcomes, such as retention, civic engagement, entrepreneurial activity, and community attachment.

Additionally, this project led to the expansion of the Rural Community Action Project (RCAP), and a continued commitment from all the partners to find a path to ensure the RCAP program is sustainable.

 

Project Team

  • L.J. McElravy (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication
  • Gina Matkin (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication

 

Partners

  • Civic Nebraska (formerly Nebraskans for Civic Reform)
  • Conestoga Jr/Sr High School
  • Johnson-Brock Middle School
  • Johnson County Central High School
  • Nebraska City High School
  • Norris High School
  • Raymond Central School
  • Weeping Water Middle School

 

Publications

  • Hastings, L. J., McElravy, L.J., Sunderman, H., & Bartak, J., (2017, October). Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity. International Leadership Association Global Conference, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Road Safety – Syracuse, May 4, 2016

 

Presentations

  • International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity
    October, 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    RCAP: Rural Community Action Project
    September 27, 2016 | North Platte, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Serving Tecumseh: Restroom Renovations
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Giving Brock a Voice
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Celebrating Brock: A Town Forgotten
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Rural Civic Action Program: Nebraska City
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE

 

Media Coverage

Civic Nebraska Blog
IANR Growing Nebraska Magazine, news article, page 30, 2015

 

Contact: L.J. McElravy, lj.mcelravy@unl.edu

Read More

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

Read More

Building Capacity for Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating the Family Health and Wellness Coalition’s Community Health Improvement Plan

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017    Summary Social, environmental and behavioral determinants of health account for 60 percent of a person’s health status. Consequently, community development can influence health and a healthy community has a significant economic impact. High rates …

Research & Engagement, 2017

 


Summary

Social, environmental and behavioral determinants of health account for 60 percent of a person’s health status. Consequently, community development can influence health and a healthy community has a significant economic impact. High rates of chronic, but mostly preventable, diseases are one of the biggest drivers of health care costs and are limiting worker productivity. The Family Health and Wellness Coalition was formed in 2015 with the focus of reducing chronic disease risk among residents of Boone, Colfax, Nance, and Platte counties. This emerging coalition is motivated yet hampered by challenges to participation, resources and other core capabilities such as planning, implementing and evaluating their work. Through this project the coalition will increase its capacity to a) assess, prioritize and plan; b) take targeted action; c) change community conditions and systems through the implementation of evidence-based interventions; and d) achieve widespread change in behavior and risk and protective factors. By the end of the project, partners will have produced a systematic community change process that can be replicated in other rural areas.

Project Team

  • Todd Bartee (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences
  • Jerry Schultz (Co-PI), University of Kansas, Community Health and Development Work Group
  • Jennie Hill (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center

Partners

  • Family Health and Wellness Coalition, Columbus Community Hospital; East Central District
  • Nebraska Health Department

 

Contact: Todd Bartee, barteet2@unk.edu

Read More

Measuring the Impact of Youth Leadership Development

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015 Summary The purpose of this collaborative research study is to develop a psychometrically sound measure of youth leadership (including its developmental aspect) and examine its relationship to community outcomes, such as retention, civic engagement, entrepreneurial activity …

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

The purpose of this collaborative research study is to develop a psychometrically sound measure of youth leadership (including its developmental aspect) and examine its relationship to community outcomes, such as retention, civic engagement, entrepreneurial activity and community attachment.

Youth leadership development, to date, has not been examined for its predictive value in influencing community outcomes. This project requires the transdisciplinary synergy of scholars and practitioners in youth leadership, community development, civic engagement and organizational behavior and will engage youth participants in place-based civic leadership development (Rural Civic Action Program—RCAP) and strengths-based leadership mentoring (Nebraska Human Resources Institute—NHRI).

This program expands the RCAP project – a 2014-2015 RFI Teaching & Engagement project that has been sustained beyond the two-year project and will also be expanded to include UNK undergraduate students, which would allow for middle and high schools within 60 miles of Kearney to be included in the program. This expands the reach of the program to include significantly more communities across the state of Nebraska.

Impacts

The successful replication of the Rural Community Action Project (RCAP) Program from UNL to the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus is evidence the program can be replicated at other institutions. This achieved the engagement goal for the project of creating a collegiate program template for youth civic engagement that can be replicated at other institutions across Nebraska, the Great Plains, and even the world. A manual to facilitate the replication of the RCAP program was created and is available for others to use.

During this project, 105 Undergraduate Fellows at UNL and UNK have engaged with over 450 middle and high school students to complete 36 youth civic engagement projects at multiple school locations. Evidence suggests that the middle and high school students who participated in the RCAP program are more confident in their capacity to engage in community work in the future.

On the research side, data from 836 youth have been collected and are currently being analyzed to help create a psychometrically sound measure of positive youth leadership identity. Through this RFI award, partnerships have formed between researchers and leadership development programmers to improve the capacity to assess youth leadership development.

 

Project Team

  • L.J. McElravy (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication
  • Lindsay Hastings (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication
  • Matthew Mims, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Counseling & School Psychology
  • Fred Luthans, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Business
  • Adam Morfeld, Kelsey Arends, Kent Day, Civic Nebraska
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development

 

Partners

  • Civic Nebraska (formerly Nebraskans for Civic Reform)
  • Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Amherst High School
  • Ashland-Greenwood High School
  • Auburn Public School
  • Crete High School
  • East Butler High School
  • Elm Creek High School
  • Johnson-Brock Middle School
  • Johnson County Central High School
  • Kearney High School
  • Pleasanton High School
  • Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca High School
  • Weeping Water High School
  • Weeping Water Middle School
  • Wilcox-Hildreth High School
  • Wood River Middle School
  • Cardinal Union at Crete High School
  • United Church of Christ in Crete
  • Sack Lumber, Brainard
  • First National Bank, Weeping Water
  • Meeske’s Hardware & Houseware, Weeping Water
  • Tribal Kitchen, Weeping Water
  • Weeping Water city office and mayor

 

Publications

  • Hastings, L. J., McElravy, L.J., Sunderman, H., & Bartak, J., (2017, October). Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity. International Leadership Association Global Conference, Brussels, Belgium.

 

Presentations

  • International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity
    October, 2017 | Brussels, Belgium

 

Awards

  • Strengthening Democracy Award as “outstanding community partner” presented to Dr. L.J. McElravy and the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, received April 30, 2015.

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: L.J. McElravy, lj.mcelravy@unl.edu

Read More

Using Crowdlearning for Leadership Development in Rural Communities

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Summary Developing the next generation of leaders is critical for the success and survival of organizations and communities. Rural communities experience additional challenges due to limited populations and geographic dispersion. In Nebraska, leadership demand is high, …

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

Developing the next generation of leaders is critical for the success and survival of organizations and communities. Rural communities experience additional challenges due to limited populations and geographic dispersion. In Nebraska, leadership demand is high, as one out of six adults hold a leadership role. To address these challenges, our research team created a case-based learning curriculum for developing leadership skills.

The focus of this project was to deliver leadership training using open source collaboration technology to provide an accessible, engaging and useful leadership development program, and created opportunities to connect leaders throughout Nebraska. A nine-month, e-training program was developed for emerging leaders in Nebraska. The training program focused on soft skills (e.g., feedback delivery) embedded in case-based scenarios. The participants collaboratively worked on skill building assignments, and the participants showed significant increases in their meeting effectiveness and feedback delivery skills.

Impacts

The need for leadership development opportunities in rural communities is clear. The goal of this project was to address this need by creating a virtual leadership development program for emerging leaders in rural Nebraska using a crowdlearning platform. We recognized how advances in technology make it possible for leaders in rural areas who cannot easily meet to come together in an online setting to share experiences, ask questions and learn from one another. We paired this technology with case-based learning methods to develop both creative problem solving and interactional skills. We created the cases based on actual situations rural Nebraskan leaders have faced. Each case focused on one of the creative problem solving or interactional skills we aimed to develop. Participants engaged in discussion about each case once per month. Similar cases were provided before and after each session to assess changes in skill development.

Overall, participants showed gains in development for each skill except one.  Results and feedback from participants showed greater gains and more enjoyment from the sessions on interactional skills. Most notably, results from pre- and post-assessments showed participants’ leader identity, leader self-efficacy and motivation to lead all significantly increased. Thus, the program was deemed successful, however, we also noted ways in which it could improve. In the future, we would like to make improvements to this program by offering more avenues for discussion (e.g., including asynchronous discussion boards) and by including different skills. We would also like to compare differences in learning in a face-to-face setting compared to a virtual setting. We also believe we would see more significant results from analyses if we had a larger sample of participants. A larger sample would also allow us to analyze results at the group level.

Project Team

  • Roni Reiter-Palmon (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Collaboration Science
  • Gina Scott-Ligon (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Collaboration Science
  • Douglas Derrick (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Collaboration Science
  • Lynn Harland (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Collaboration Science
  • Gert-Jan de Vreede (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Collaboration Science
  • Susan Jensen (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, College of Business & Technology
  • Robert Bernier, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Nebraska Business Development Center

Publications

  • Mitchell, K. S., Harland, L., Reiter-Palmon, R., Ligon, G., Derrick, D., Sands, S., Kocsis, D., & Alothaim, A. (2017, July). Soft skills training can work: A collaborative training program for leadership development. Poster presented at the twelfth annual conference of INGroup, St. Louis, MO.
  • Scheller, E., Royston, R., Reiter-Palmon, R., Sands, S. J., Kocsis, D., Alothaim, A., Ligon, G., Harland, L., Derrick, D. C., de Vreede, G. J., & Jensen, S. (2017, April). Leadership development though virtual teams and case-based discussion. Poster presented at the 32nd annual Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology Meeting, Orlando, FL.
  • Reiter-Palmon, R., Sands, S., Kocsis, D., Alothaim, A., Ligon, G., Harland, L., Derrick, D., de Vreede, G.J., & Jensen S. (2015, Aug.). Self-perception of creativity and creativity training. Paper presented at the 123rd American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Jensen, S., Reiter-Palmon, R., Harland, L., Sands, S., Scott-Ligon, G., Derrick, D., de Vreede, G.J., Alothaim, A., & Kocsis, D. (2015, March). Tough Love…or Killing a Dream? Case study presented at the MBAA Society for Case Research Conference, Chicago, IL.
  • Reiter-Palmon, R. (2015, Oct.). Using crowdsources for leadership development in rural communities. Paper presented at the Rural Futures Institute Conference, Lincoln, NE.
  • Sands, S., Kocsis, D., Reiter-Palmon, R., Alothaim, A., Ligon, G., Derrick, D., Harland, L., Vreede, G.J. de, & Jensen, S. (2013, Nov.). Using case-based learning for leadership development in rural communities. Poster presented at the annual Rural Futures Conference, Lincoln, NE. Poster received honorable mention in poster competition.

Presentations

  • Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research Annual Conference
    Soft Skills Training Can Work: A Collaborative Training Program for Leadership Development
    July 20-22, 2017 | St. Louis, MO
  • 32nd Annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference Leadership Development Through Virtual Teams and Case-based Discussion
    April 27-29, 2017 | Orlando, FL
  • American Psychological Association Annual Convention
    Self-perception of Creativity and Creativity Training
    August 6-9, 2015 | Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • MBAA Society for Case Research Conference
    Tough Love…or Killing a Dream?
    March 25-27, 2015 | Chicago, IL
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Using Crowdsources for Leadership Development in Rural Communities
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Using Case-based Learning for Leadership Development in Rural Communities
    November 3-5, 2013 | Lincoln, NE

 

Contact: Roni Reiter-Palmon, rreiter-palmon@unomaha.edu

Read More