Research/Research & Engagement/

Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013     Summary The viability of rural communities in Nebraska depends upon economic growth. Economic development is a policy objective of local governments. Business recruitment has been the primary strategy for most government officials and economic …

Research & Engagement, 2013


 

 

Summary

The viability of rural communities in Nebraska depends upon economic growth. Economic development is a policy objective of local governments. Business recruitment has been the primary strategy for most government officials and economic development professionals since at least the 1950s. This study looks at an alternative strategy that has been successful for some communities.

The Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development research project was designed to determine if an alternative form of economic development could be successful. The alternative form would continue to recognize the importance of primary employment but it would suggest that branch plants are not the only path to primary employment. It would also assert that secondary businesses are important to the health and quality of life of a community. In an Internet age, communities will come to rely on attractive secondary businesses to keep a community together by contributing to its quality of life.

Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development (EBED) is a study of 16 Nebraska communities. Six micropolitan communities (10,000 to 50,000 population) were studied and 10 smaller communities. These communities are distributed across Nebraska so that they represent similar communities in Nebraska and in other high plains states. The study sought to determine the differences in success of communities in encouraging employer small businesses in both primary and secondary industries. Employer small businesses were defined in the study to be businesses with at least five but fewer than 50 employees.
 

Impacts

Seven communities were found to have statistically significant success in encouraging the growth of employer small businesses. These included three micropolitan communities (Columbus, Kearney and North Platte) and four small communities (Hartington, Holdrege, Imperial and O’Neill). It is widely believed that location near Interstate 80 is necessary for economic development success but Columbus, Hartington, Imperial and O’Neill are not near Interstate 80.

All 16 of the communities studied were found to have similar taxation levels, utility costs, professional resources, bank branches, labor costs and real estate costs. The available resources and costs of doing business, then, could not explain variance in the success of encouraging employer small businesses.

Those communities that did not have a robust and growing base of employer small businesses were found to have lost the dynamic of local land use speculators and local economic growth-dependent ownership. Many communities have the problem of absentee ownership as a result of inheritance of commercial buildings. These owners are necessarily not as involved in promoting the growth of the community. Successful communities have occupancy rules that require periodic reinvestment in the physical infrastructure or that encourage new developments that move the commercial core of the community.

Communities with at least one bank headquartered in the local market did better than other communities. It is presumed that this is because commercial lending is important to employer small businesses. Commercial lending is not a central concern of most banks. Commercial borrowers at multi-state banks are competing for funding with other businesses over a wide geography.

Communities that used LB 840 specifically to support employer small business development did better in encouraging those kinds of businesses than did communities that used LB 840 funds for business recruitment.

Owners of employer small businesses were most likely to have developed their interest in business ownership as a career choice because of the influence of a parent or mentor. Many of the most successful and stable small business employers were in the second generation of ownership. The second generation owners may be but are not always within a family. Some businesses were passed down to employees or persons looking to invest in a small enterprise. Communities need to facilitate business transition.

Based on the findings of this research, the U.S. Small Business Administration provided funding of $58,416 to conduct an on-site business consultation project in Lexington, Nebraska. The on-site project occurred in October 2016. It involved nine businesses in Lexington. A report and strategic plan was provided to each participating business. A final report was provided to the Dawson Economic Development Corporation, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lexington.
 

Project Team

  • Robert Bernier (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business Administration
  • Roni Reiter-Palmon (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Psychology
  • Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business Administration
  • Brian Mennecke (Co-PI), Iowa State University, Management Information Systems
  • Anthony Townsend (Co-PI), Iowa State University, Management Information Systems
  • Don Macke (Co-PI), Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Sarah McMillan (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

 

Partners

  • Alexis Winder, Main Street Beatrice
  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Marilyn Schlake, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Travis Haggard, Ogallala Economic Development
 

  • Sharon Hueftle, South Central Economic Development District
  • Rose Jasperson, Nebraska Enterprise Fund
  • Glenna Phelps Aurich, Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce
  • Rex Nelson, McCook Economic Development Corporation
  • Michael Burge, Valentine/Cherry County Economic Development Board

Publications

  • Bernier, R.E. (2015). “Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Nebraska.” Policy Briefs, Nebraska Legislative Planning Committee 2015 Report, December 2015.
  • Bernier, R.E., McMillan, S., Pleggenkuhle-Miles, E., Mennecke, B., Townsend, A., Macke, D., and Bhatt, P. Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development: A report to the Rural Futures Institute. February, 2015.
  • Bernier, Robert, “Small business and entrepreneurship in Nebraska” (2015).White Papers. 9.
  • Bernier, R. E. (2014). “Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development, A Conceptual Framework.’ Proceedings, United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, September 2014.

 

Presentations

  • United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    January 24, 2015 | Tampa, FL
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    October 14, 2014| Scottsbluff, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    September 30, 2014| Nebraska City, NE

Contact: Robert Bernier, rbernier@unomaha.edu

Read More

Marketing Hometown America

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013    Impacts Numerous community-specific successes (check out examples on the program page >>>) Expansion across the region—Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota International attention >>> Research within this project has demonstrated that confidence, capacity-building …

Research & Engagement, 2013


 

Impacts

Research within this project has demonstrated that confidence, capacity-building and behavior can be increased in community-based leadership through a series of study-circle-based community-wide conversations facilitated by trained coaches. More details on the program webpage >>>

History

Marketing Hometown America (MHA) is an educational program focused on recruiting and retaining new residents. It engages communities through small groups, called study circles, to get more residents involved and more voices heard. Designed as a tool to create dialogue that moves toward action, it can be the spark to help a rural community look at itself and the recruitment and retention of new residents in a new way.

The RFI-funded project originally started in 2013 in three states: Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The project has continued beyond the 2015 grant time frame, and in 2016 the Minnesota Extension was interested in offering the program in their state, so a train-the-trainer program was established to allow those participating to become full partners in program development, implementation and evaluation. In October of 2017, Iowa State Extension requested the same training.

Project Team

  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel (PI), Nebraska Extension
  • Randy Cantrell (co-PI), Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska
  • David Olson (co-PI), South Dakota State University Extension
  • Kathy Tweeten (co-PI), North Dakota State University Extension
  • Kenny Sherin, South Dakota State University Extension

Publications

Awards

  • “Innovative Program Winner” (Marketing Hometown America)
    National Community Development Society
    2014
  • “Excellence in Teamwork Award” (Marketing Hometown America)
    National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals
    2014

Presentations

  • North Atlantic Forum
    Rural New Resident Recruitment: A Critical First Step Toward Sustainability
    September, 2017 | Bo, Norway
  • North Central Region Center for Rural Development Webinar
    Marketing Hometown America
    December 1, 2016 | Placemaking Webinar Series
  • Heartland Center for Leadership Development National Conference
    Rural New Resident Recruitment: Marketing Hometown America
    October, 2016 | Jackson Hole, WY
  • International Rural Sociological Conference
    Ripple Effect Mapping
    August, 2016 | Toronto, Canada
  • National Association of Development Organizations
    A New Twist on Rural New Resident Recruitment: Marketing Hometown America
    August, 2015 | Denver, CO
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Did it make a difference? Ripple effect mapping & Marketing Hometown America
    May 17-20, 2015 | Little Rock, AR
  • Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Attraction and Retention: Marketing Hometown America
    April 19-20, 2015 | McCook, NE
  • Nebraska Association of County Extension Boards
    Marketing Hometown America
    January, 2015| Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Sociological Society Annual Conference
    Marketing Hometown America: An asset-based community development approach to rural new resident recruitment
    Summer, 2014 | New Orleans, LA
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Marketing Hometown America
    June 22-25, 2014 | Grand Rapids, MI
  • International Association for Community Development Conference
    Marketing Hometown America
    June, 2014 | Glasgow, Scotland

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, cburkhartkriesel1@unl.edu

Read More

Communities Creating Their Own Innovation & Entrepreneurship

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Summary The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) is a holistic facilitative process with the goals of attracting and retaining working age population and creating entrepreneurial environments that lead to community vitality. The ECAP project will engage …

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) is a holistic facilitative process with the goals of attracting and retaining working age population and creating entrepreneurial environments that lead to community vitality. The ECAP project will engage community members to provide feedback and identify benchmarks which can be used to measure the changes occurring in their community. The ultimate long-term goal of this project is to help rural communities build capacity for long-term sustainable change through the implementation of entrepreneurial strategies related to the eight characteristics of entrepreneurial communities. The eight characteristics are:

  • Community Vision
  • Culture of Change
  • Leadership
  • Sense of Place
  • Infrastructure
  • Digitally Connected
  • Education/Workforce IQ
  • Entrepreneurial Support Systems

 

Impacts

The ECAP process brought together leaders and community members. Over 300 people participated in conversations to determine seven communities’ futures. Additionally, over 2200 people provided input through the discovery tool process. In each of the communities efforts/projects were identified to become more entrepreneurial. By engaging in ECAP, communities position themselves for success.

Communities identified efforts/projects to become more entrepreneurial. Examples include:

  • Development of 308 Networking that brings young adults together to network and connect to the community.
  • Community-wide web portal launched that brings together 8 governmental and community organizations to increase communication by sharing information, calendars and events.
  • Seed funding identified to create an economic development corporation.
  • Community-wide vision created.
  • Youth identified county-wide sand volleyball league for all ages to encourage unity.

Good organization is important to the success of the ECAP process. Keys to success that were identified by the communities include:

  • Forming a Steering Team
  • Using an Outside Facilitator
  • Getting People to the Conversations
  • Creating and Sharing a Vision
  • Keeping People Engaged
  • Documenting the Process
  • Maintaining the Momentum
  • Celebrating Success

Bringing together diverse community leaders through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process builds capacity in eight vital areas of community development. Starting with the ECAP Discovery Tool, community members engaged in conversation, identified priorities and created action plans. ECAP was successful at engaging communities in conversation that in turn led to community ownership. The overall process was strengthened through continual community feedback.

Project Team

  • Charlotte Narjes (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Phyllis Schoenholz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Nancy Eberle (Co-PI), (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Diane Vigna (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education & Human Sciences
  • Dennis Kahl, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • David Ulferts, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Rebecca Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Carroll Welte, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jessica Jones, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Christina Bartels, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Mary Emery, South Dakota State University, Sociology and Rural Studies
  • Gary Hamer, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development
  • Roger Meeks, USDA Rural Development
  • Rick Nelsen, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Keith Ellis, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Tim O’Brien, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Odee Ingersoll, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Exploring Community Readiness to Build Capacity
    June 11-14, 2017 | Big Sky, Montana
  • Michigan Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    October 5-6, 2016 | Port Huron, MI
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Creating Resilient Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    June 26-29, 2016 | Burlington, VT
  • Nebraska Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    April 19-20, 2016 | McCook, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Creating Hope and Inspiring Vision in Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    September 30, 2014 | Nebraska City, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 14, 2014 | Scottsbluff, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Charlotte Narjes, cnarjes1@unl.edu

Read More

Healthy Food, Healthy Choice

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Summary This project used quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand current food environment, as well as food knowledge and preferences of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in south central South Dakota. It introduced short- and long-term strategies …

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

This project used quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand current food environment, as well as food knowledge and preferences of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in south central South Dakota. It introduced short- and long-term strategies to increase local residents’ acceptance of and willingness to buy healthy foods. These strategies included working with Rosebud residents to design and test a labeling system to encourage the consumption of healthy food items, and focus groups to understand barriers to healthier eating.

Impacts

We learned that tailoring healthy food interventions to the local community can improve the effectiveness. Behavior change requires that people are motivated to eat healthy diets. While healthy eating policies have for years relied on providing objective information to consumers— think of nutrition facts labels and fast food calorie count policies—evidence suggests that this information is used more frequently by those who are already healthy. However, materials that market healthy foods or prompt people to actively consider health when choosing food, rather than simply providing information about the nutritional value of food, seem to be more effective.

While there is significant literature examining healthy food labeling and promotion internationally, the materials and messages that have been found to be effective in large-scale, international studies may not be effective in underrepresented—but high priority—populations, such as rural and minority communities. The approach is particularly well suited for implementation in rural or minority communities for a variety of reasons, including because it is likely easier to obtain meaningful, community-level involvement in these types of communities, and more residents are likely to be exposed to healthy food promotional materials designed in a community with at most a few food retail outlets (grocery, convenience stores).

The solid data provided from this project allowed successful application for a federal grant to further investigate the effects of locally tailored labels on food choice. Collaborators on the grant—especially Rosebud residents working generally in the food access and sovereignty realm—have stated they feel that receiving the RFI Research and Engagement Award provided them with more credibility than they previously had in seeking additional external funding, which has allowed them to obtain a number of other small grants to further work on the community garden, farmers market, and other efforts predominantly on the community engagement side of the project.

 

Project Team

  • Christopher Gustafson (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Illene Pevec (co-PI), University of Colorado at Boulder, Child, Youth and Environments Center
  • Suzanne Stluka (co-PI), South Dakota State University, Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • Barbara Dills, Grant Writing, Research and Management Consultant

 

Partners

  • Wizipan Little Elk, Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO)
  • Nora Antoine, Sinte Gleska University, Business Department

 

Publications

  • Gustafson, C.R. and M. Perlinger. 2017. “Nudging appropriately: incorporating identity and norms to improve healthy food interventions for high-risk populations,” in Reducing Health Disparities: Research updates from the field (vol. 2), K. Dombrowski and J. Soliz, eds. Syron Design Academic Publishing.
  • Gustafson. C.R. 2017. Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Labeling: Comparing the Relative Effects of Social Norms, Identity, and Generic Healthy Food Labels in a Choice Experiment. Under review at American Journal of Health Economics.
  • Gustafson, Christopher R. Point-of-purchase efforts to increase healthy food choice.
    Cornhusker Economics. October 25, 2016.
  • Perlinger, M. 2016. Impact of Healthy Food Labels on Consumer Choice and Valuation. Master’s Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Presentations

  • UNL Food Science and Technology Department Seminar
    Promoting Healthy Food Choice: Evidence from Behavioral Economics
    January 23, 2017 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Healthy Food, Healthy Choice
    September 28, 2016 | Chadron, NE
  • Duke-UNC USDA BECR Center PI Meeting
    Testing Locally Designed Labels and Social Norm-based Incentives on Food Choice in a Native American Community
    August 18, 2017 | Washington, DC
  • Agricultural and Economics Association Annual Conference
    Impact of Culturally Relevant Healthy Food Labels on Food Choice on the Rosebud Reservation
    August 1, 2016 | Boston, MA
  • University of Nebraska Eureka! Conference
    Healthy Food Promotion and Choice
    March 16, 2016 | Lincoln, NE

 

Media Coverage

Contact: Christopher Gustafson, cgustafson6@unl.edu

Read More

Bridging the Skills Gap

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014   Summary Bridging the Skills Gap was a research-based, data-driven pilot project that identified community-based workforce development strategies aimed at assisting rural communities to be more strategic and competitive in their workforce planning initiatives. The research …

Research & Engagement, 2014


 

Summary

Bridging the Skills Gap was a research-based, data-driven pilot project that identified community-based workforce development strategies aimed at assisting rural communities to be more strategic and competitive in their workforce planning initiatives. The research pilot area consisted of six counties in northeast Nebraska and four counties in central South Dakota — in many ways, a microcosm of small town America. Agriculture, manufacturing and health care are mainstays of the local economy throughout these communities.

Impacts

While rural communities in the Great Plains, Midwest and across the US cannot alter the course of the global economy, they can take action to be more strategic and competitive in addressing local skills gaps and ramping up labor supply. This RFI-funded project focused on several pathways and strategies communities can adopt to enhance labor market outcomes and also considered the important role the US Land-Grand Extension System can play in getting the conversation started along with enhancing local capacity for change.

A labor market assessment model was used to address skills gaps in rural communities to improve local workforces and enhance long-term economic growth. This model provides local decision makers with tools needed to address local workforce needs that leads to increased confidence and capacity building.

Project summary, overview, details and findings >>

 

Project Team

  • Carolyn Hatch (PI), Michigan State University, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Kenneth Sherin (Co-PI), South Dakota State University, Extension
  • Allan Vyhnalek (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Carroll Welte (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

 

Partners

  • North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Michigan State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • Purdue University

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    NCRCRD informal workforce development extension workgroup collaboration discussion
    June 11-14, 2017 | Big Sky, MT
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Bridging the Skills Gap
    September 28, 2016 | Chadron, NE
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    Bridging the Skills Gap: Extension framework/community pathway
    June 2016 | Burlington, VT
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    Bridging the skills gap: Workforce development in the Great Plains
    May 17-20, 2015 | Little Rock, AR

 

Contact: Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, cburkhartkriesel1@unl.edu

Read More

Nebraska Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Summary This project was designed to connect health care providers to improve strategies for management of complex chronic diseases. Using a community-based participatory research approach, the providers, with the help of University of Nebraska Medical Center …

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

This project was designed to connect health care providers to improve strategies for management of complex chronic diseases. Using a community-based participatory research approach, the providers, with the help of University of Nebraska Medical Center faculty, were brought together to finalize a project focusing on obesity, which is associated with many disease states including diabetes, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, liver disease, chronic pain, cancer and more. This project was designed to assess the incidence of overweight and obese patients in rural and urban primary care clinics. In addition, the goal was to identify barriers to the treatment of obesity in rural primary care clinics.

Impacts

Eight primary care clinics in the Practice-based Research Network (PBRN) participated in this study. A total of 2033 patients were identified as eligible for the survey with 1723 completing the survey in its entirety.

This project helped lay the groundwork for future efforts to combat obesity in rural Nebraska. The support of the clinic physicians and staff was instrumental in a very high response rate from patients. We were able to assess attitudes toward obesity and identify barriers to weight loss, successful strategies, levels of activation and willingness to make changes. It appears that patients in Nebraska are motivated to make changes. Making these changes will be no small task. Many barriers to successful weight loss interventions exist including, but not limited to, patient perceptions, access to resources, time, cost and patient comorbidities.

Beyond the actual findings of the project, this funding was critically important in facilitating the development of a practice-based research network in rural and urban Nebraska. This network has laid the groundwork to help provide the infrastructure for future projects throughout Nebraska.

Project Team

  • Christopher J. Kratochvil, M.D., (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Clinical Research
  • Michael Sitorius, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Paul Paulman, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Audrey Paulman, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Janenne Geske, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Ted Mikuls, MD, MSPH, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Ed Vandenberg, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Fausto Loberiza, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Gary Cochran, PharmD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Pharmacy
  • Jane Meza, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Terry Huang, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Lani Zimmerman, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Mary Cramer, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • John Reinhardt, DDS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry
  • Jennifer Larsen, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Research
  • Mike Huckabee, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Allied Health
  • Patrik Johansson,PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Kim McFarland, DDS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry

Partners

  • David Palm, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Rural Health
  • Gerald Lucky, MD, Butler County Hospital, David City, NE
  • Brian Finley, MD, Lifecare Family Medicine, Bellevue, NE
  • Jason Hesser, MD, Crete Area Medical Center, Crete, NE
  • Kate Hesser, MD, Crete Area Medical Center, Crete, NE
  • Milo Anderson, MD, Prairie Fields Medical Center, Fremont, NE
  • Jason Bespalec, MD, Fillmore County Medical Center, Geneva, NE
  • Chris Vanderneck, MD, Henderson Health Care Services, Henderson, NE
  • Scott Ehresman, MD, Family Medicine Specialties, Holdrege, NE
  • Barbara Gutschall, MD, Avera Saint Anthony’s Hospital, O’Neil, NE
  • Kimberly Mickels, MD, Internal Medicine Associates, Grand Island, NE
  • Iassac Berg, ND, Internal Medicine Associates, Grand Island, NE
  • Robert Messbarger, MD, Kearney Clinic, Kearney, NE
  • Rich Fruehling, MD, Family Practice of Grand Island, NE
  • Zach Meyer, MD, Family Practice of Grand Island, NE

Publications

  • Parecki, R. Schwab, MD, K. Schmid, PhD, D. Meyer, L. Zimmerman, PhD, RN, C. J. Kratochvil, M.D., and J. L. Larsen, MD. (2016). Obesity and Patient Activation in Primary Care Clinics.
  • Nebraska Primary Care Practice Based Research Network: Milo Anderson, MD; Jason Bespalec, MD; Brian Finley, MD; Toby Free, MD; Jason Hesser, MD; Kate Hesser, MD; Douglas Inciarte, MD; Gerald Luckey, MD; Ted Mikuls, MD; Jason Patera, MD; Audrey Paulman, MD; Paul Paulman, MD; Mike Sitorius, MD. (2) Hibbard, Judith H et al. “Development and Testing of a Short Form of the Patient Activation Measure.” Health Services Research 40.6 Pt 1 (2005): 1918–1930. PMC. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Presentations

  • Endocrine Society’s 98th Annual Meeting and Expo
    Perspectives on Obesity and Patient Activation in Rural Compared to Metropolitan Primary Care Clinics
    April 1-4, 2016 | Boston, MA
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Nebraska’s Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network Project
    September 30, 2014 | Nebraska City, NE

 

Contact: Christopher Kratochvil, ckratoch@unmc.edu

Read More

Developing A Model for “Quality of Life”

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015 Summary This project is designed to: Examine the factors that are relevant in determining “quality of life” (QOL) among ethnic minority populations in rural communities; and To develop educational tools that will help community responders in …

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

This project is designed to:

  • Examine the factors that are relevant in determining “quality of life” (QOL) among ethnic minority populations in rural communities; and
  • To develop educational tools that will help community responders in integrating findings into their work to better respond to the needs of rural minorities.

The study involves focus groups and surveys of rural ethnic minorities, as well as interviews of key informants in five regions across Nebraska. The ultimate long-term goal of the project is to understand and improve the well being of minorities in rural Nebraska, consequently increasing the likelihood of their retention and their active contribution to the economic, social, health, and overall vitality of rural communities.

 

Impacts

Qualitative research data generated from focus groups and key informant interviews was analyzed to determine thematic patterns and to help guide the quantitative data plans. After initial data analysis of archival data (e.g., census, CDC data) was completed, publications and other information for dissemination (e.g., GIS maps, fact sheets) were created that have been used in presentations to depict various aspects of diversity and inequity. This includes such aspects as geographical spread with regard to income, mapping of number/percentage of ethnic minorities by county, and others. Some of these maps have already been used by various entities within Extension (e.g., in a grant application).

Knowledge generated from and analyzed in this project were utilized in the successful application for additional funding from USDA to continue research related to youth retention in rural communities, including quality of life factors.

 

Project team

  • Maria Rosario T. de Guzman (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Rodrigo Cantarero (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Community and Regional Planning
  • Jill Goedeken (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jackie Guzman (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Soo-Young Hong (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Lee Sherry (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Yan Ruth Xia (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Child, Youth & Family Studies

 

Partners

  • Randy Cantrell, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Gustavo Carlo, University of Missouri, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Miguel Carranza, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Sociology
  • David Drozd, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Platte Valley Literacy Association
  • Asian Cultural and Community Center
  • RMC Research and Central Regional Educational Laboratory at Marzano Research
  • Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services

 

Publications

  • Taylor, S., Garcia, A., de Guzman, M., Cantarero, R., et al, “Exploring Conceptions of ‘Quality of Life’ in Rural Ethnic Minorities”, Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference, (2018).

Presentations

  • Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference
    Exploring Conceptions of ‘Quality of Life’ in Rural Ethnic Minorities
    February 21-24, 2018 | Las Vegas, NV
  • Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference
    Mapping Quality of Life in Nebraska: Nebraska’s Migration Rates
    February 21-24, 2018 | Las Vegas, NV
  • Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference
    Mapping Quality of Life in Nebraska: Population Distribution by Race, Ethnicity, and Age
    February 21-24, 2018 | Las Vegas, NV

Awards

To extend the work of this project, the PI, in collaboration with two other RFI-funded projects – one focused on youth entrepreneurship (Kim, de Guzman) and another focused on systems-thinking and STEM (Guru, de Guzman et al.), applied for a USDA-AFRI grant that draws elements from the 3 RFI projects. The proposal “Leveraging Community Connections, Local Issues, and Youth High Tech Entrepreneurship Education to Nurture Rural Economic Opportunities” was funded in 2018 in the amount of $493,560. Details >>

 

Contact: Maria Rosario T. de Guzman, mguzman2@unl.edu

Read More

Translating Evidence-based, Family-based Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program for Adoption by Rural Communities

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015 Summary National data have clearly documented a fourfold increase in childhood obesity during the past four decades. Pediatric obesity is associated with a plethora of health risks, yet obesity treatment programs are scarce in Nebraska and …

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

National data have clearly documented a fourfold increase in childhood obesity during the past four decades. Pediatric obesity is associated with a plethora of health risks, yet obesity treatment programs are scarce in Nebraska and generally unavailable in rural America. With US medical health care services changing to population-based health and evidence-based medicine, physicians are searching for tested and proven referral programs to provide health education and weight loss programs for children and adults, which achieve positive health outcomes.

The objective of this proposal is to enhance rural access to our locally successful, evidence-based, family-based, pediatric obesity treatment program, Building Healthy Families. Program translation will utilize distance learning technologies (synchronous and asynchronous) to allow rural community members in Greater Nebraska, where currently available resources and expertise are limited, to participate in the 12-week program.

Impacts

The project was deemed a success because a tremendous amount was learned about video conferencing delivery to rural families in an intensive family-based obesity treatment program. The team was able to evaluate what worked, and what did not work, and developed ideas of how to take next steps to enhance reach and modify delivery. The team was able to collaborate with new investigators from UNMC who have experience and expertise with evaluation of community interventions. The ability to better analyze the data facilitated the development of a proposal for external funding.

The objectives for the pilot study in Broken Bow and McCook included evaluation of passive and active recruitment from pediatricians and public schools in an effort to reach more potential families. The secondary objective compared the traditional Building Healthy Families program to a workbook control that was delivered to the rural communities. It is anticipated that the workbook control will experience weight loss, although not as much. However, the workbook control allows reach into rural communities where resources are not present. We are awaiting completion of the final data to determine the effectiveness of the program delivery to rural communities.

Two additional funding sources of $18,000 and $150,000 have allowed this project to expand. While a proposal to NIH for $3.3 million was not funded initially, the project is addressing reviewer critiques with plans to resubmit the proposal in the fall of 2018.

Project Team

  • Kate Heelan (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology and Sports Sciences
  • Todd Bartee (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology and Sports Sciences
  • Nannette Hogg, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Communications
  • Bryce Abbey, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology and Sports Sciences
  • Matthew Bice, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology and Sports Sciences
  • Allan Jenkins, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Economics
  • Ron Konecny, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Management

Partners

  • Myra Stoney, Southwest Public Health District
  • Jesse Goertz, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Kaiti George, Hy-Vee Dietician
  • Nancy Rogers Foster, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Psychology and Pediatrics
  • Jean Mandernach, Grand Canyon University, Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching

Presentations

  • American College of Sports Medicine National Meeting
    Attenuation of Excessive Weight Gain One Year Post Pediatric Obesity Treatment Initiation
    May 29, 2018 | Minneapolis, MN
  • American College of Sports Medicine National Meeting
    Public Health Impact of a Family-based Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program
    May 29, 2018 | Minneapolis, MN
  • Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference
    A Community Approach to Pediatric Obesity Treatment: Kearney Public Schools and Building Healthy Families
    April 20, 2018 | Lincoln, NE
  • International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference
    Adaptation of a Family-based Behavioral Weight Control Treatment Program for Rural Midwest US Families
    June 7-10, 2017 | Victoria Canada
  • International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference
    Interventions for Community Implementation: Process and Outcomes
    June 7-10, 2017 | Victoria Canada
  • American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting
    Self-Monitoring as a Predictor for Weight Loss in a Family-based Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program
    May, 2017 | Denver, CO
  • Central Nebraska Child Obesity Conference
    Signs of Progress: Kearney Public Schools & Building Healthy Families Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program
    December, 2016 | Hastings, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Forum
    Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program for Adoption in Rural Communities
    September 27, 2016 | North Platte, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kate Heelan, heelanka@unk.edu

Read More

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

 

Contact: Kirk Dombrowski, kdombrowski2@unl.edu

 

Read More

Enhancing Nebraska’s Ecotourism Industry

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary Private-lands nature-based tourism can provide many benefits to stressed rural areas. This project will focus on international best practices in Namibia that can help Nebraska’s emerging ecotourism industry grow into world leaders in private-lands ecotourism. …

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

Private-lands nature-based tourism can provide many benefits to stressed rural areas. This project will focus on international best practices in Namibia that can help Nebraska’s emerging ecotourism industry grow into world leaders in private-lands ecotourism.

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, Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Nils Odendaal, Chief Executive Officer, Namibrand Nature Reserve Namibia
  • Richard Yoder, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Business
  • Viktoria Keding, Director, Namib Desert Environ. Education Trust Namibia
  • Peter Longo (RFI Fellow), Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Editor, Great Plains Research
  • Larry Swanson, Director, OConnor Center for the Rocky Mountain West University of Montana

 

Contact: Richard Edwards, redwards@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

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.

Project Team

  • Patrik Johansson (PI), Rural Health Education Network, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Judy Ritta (Co-PI) Nebraska Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Partners

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

 

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

Read More

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017 Summary Much interest is being placed on the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood as well—but just as critical. Rural areas can …

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

Much interest is being placed on the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood as well—but just as critical. Rural areas can and should benefit from utilizing digital platforms to become more responsive and increase civic engagement. In working with communities in programs such as Marketing Hometown America, communication and engaging members were always identified as issues as well as the question of how to reach and connect with younger members of the community. This project seeks to increase civic engagement in three rural Nebraska communities by developing strategies and tactics for engaging in conversations online, as well as social media training, to assist rural communities in increasing and improving overall engagement.

Project Team

  • Roberto Gallardo (PI), Purdue University
  • Jeremy Harris Lipschultz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Social Media Lab
  • Charlotte Narjes (Co-PI), Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Becky Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Survey Research
  • Jessica Quady, City Administrator, City of Ashland (key community contact)
  • Amy Allgood, Executive Director, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce (key community contact)
  • Dena Dennison, Executive Director, Ravenna Economic Development (key community contact)

 

Contact: Roberto Gallardo, robertog@purdue.edu

Read More

Assessment of and Treatment Applied to Food Addiction to Encourage Self-Management of Obesity

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017  Summary Obesity is a major health issue in the United States and is associated with increased risk of comorbidities and higher medical costs. This is particularly a concern for rural residents, who have a greater …

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

Obesity is a major health issue in the United States and is associated with increased risk of comorbidities and higher medical costs. This is particularly a concern for rural residents, who have a greater rate of obesity than urban residents, but are disadvantaged in obtaining care because of a shortage of health care professionals. To address this, the research team will evaluate the efficacy of using nurse practitioners to deliver interventions to patients referred to an outpatient clinic for treatment of obesity. The primary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of four interventions in obese rural patients with and without food addiction to develop effective, better-targeted interventions to help obese rural residents successfully self-manage their obesity to enable them to live healthier lives and reduce the high cost of treating the comorbidities associated with obesity.

 

Project Team

  • Trina Aguirre (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Rebecca Kreman (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center

Partners

  • Martha Strickler, Regional West Physicians Clinic

 

Contact: Trina Aguirre, taguirre@unmc.edu

Read More

Rural Sourcing

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Summary The concept of “rural sourcing” relates to existing and start-up companies strategically locating operations in rural areas to reduce labor costs and increase employee reliability. This project built on a successful “cross-sourcing” model to recruit …

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The concept of “rural sourcing” relates to existing and start-up companies strategically locating operations in rural areas to reduce labor costs and increase employee reliability. This project built on a successful “cross-sourcing” model to recruit University of Nebraska alumni back to rural Nebraska in targeted professional service occupations. Alumni from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Kearney campuses were sent several emails and one postcard regarding the opportunity. The first phase of this project was guided by existing research exploring the lifestyle expectations and career preferences of alumni who moved back to the western/Panhandle region of Nebraska. Interviews were conducted with several alumni who have moved back to rural Nebraska to understand their process and motivation. Secondary and primary data collected from this research directed the communication campaign content for alumni who opted in to receive information related to current job openings.  Several central Nebraska employers were engaged as partners to describe and promote their professional opportunities with limited success related to filling job vacancies. The project received significant regional and national press coverage and formed several new relationships with employers, two University Alumni Associations, and University outreach staff.

Xpanxion designed the platform for accessing the Alumni Association data, sending related content, and allowing subscribers to opt-in for receiving future messages. Xpanxion assigned marketing, web-site, and software engineering staff to design and host the online platform and manage the testing during the project.

Impacts

The results from this project were less than expected as none of the rural employers filled vacant professional positions as a result of the system. The project investigators planned and implemented an innovative program never attempted at this level of a statewide public-private collaboration. The innovative concept received significant national, regional, and local media resulting in positive awareness for the key organizational collaborators (i.e. Xpanxion, the Nebraska Alumni Association, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the Rural Futures Institute/funder).

This project was well suited as a seed, or pilot, grant funding recipients as partners were unaware of the best methods for implementation or what some results might reveal. Several major lessons were learned through the process, including the need to engage more partner companies as employers before any promotional campaigns to alumni were implemented. The initial promotional campaign should still be a personalized postcard as the target audience of working professionals receive many forms of electronic correspondence each day.  Collaboration with other secondary education institutions serving rural populations may also expand the reach and potential of this concept.  The project served its purpose as a pilot program as it engaged the public and private sector on a meaningful and innovative level and an overall good use of public funds.

Project Team

  • Shawn Kaskie (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Center for Rural Research and Development
  • Paul Eurek (Co-PI), Xpanxion Technologies LLC
  • Shelley Zaborowski (Co-PI), Nebraska Alumni Association
  • Randy Cantrell, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Odee Ingersoll, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

Partners

  • Dena Beck, Center for Rural Affairs, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
  • Mary Findlay, Nebraska Department of Labor

Presentations

  • Nebraska Extension Eureka! Conference
    Rural Sourcing
    March 17, 2015 | Omaha, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Rural Sourcing
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Shawn Kaskie, kaskiesc@unk.edu

Read More

Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017  Summary The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there …

Research & Engagement, 2017

Summary

The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there is a substantial need for educational programs that promote entrepreneurship and vocational skills for both adults and youth whose retention will be critical for rural futures. Such programs can help local business owners maintain and grow their enterprises and promote career readiness and entrepreneurship for youth. Unfortunately, most programs intended to address these goals are developed in and for larger communities and are not attuned to the unique economic environment and job outlook in smaller communities.

This project intends to analyze the unique needs of rural businesses and youth to implement a highly successful entrepreneurship program within the local context, modify as needed and disseminate via extension professionals and relevant educational entities.

Impact

In combination with the RFI project, “Developing A Model for Quality of Life” as well as the RFI project “Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future,” this project has earned a $490k USDA grant for high-tech youth entrepreneurship clinics. Details >>>

Project Team

  • Surin Kim, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Sciences, Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
  • Maria Rosario de Guzman, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Mindy Anderson-Knott, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium
  • Susan Pearman, Nebraska Extension
  • Jody Dexter, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Don Macke, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Monica Braun, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Lana Zumbrunn, Fuse Coworking Space
  • Dave Rippe, Hastings Economic Development Corporation
  • Matthew Hurt, Hastings Senior High School
  • Tom Field, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Carlos Estrada, Unicornable, LLC
  • Van Tran, Amazon.com, Inc

 

Contact: Surin Kim, surin@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

Catalyzing the Role of Micropolitan America in the Future of Rural America

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Summary Specific objectives of this research were to develop wealth indicators for Nebraska micropolitan areas and utilize those indicators in a community engagement process in four Nebraska micropolitan areas: the Scottsbluff, Columbus, Hastings and Fremont. Wealth …

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

Specific objectives of this research were to develop wealth indicators for Nebraska micropolitan areas and utilize those indicators in a community engagement process in four Nebraska micropolitan areas: the Scottsbluff, Columbus, Hastings and Fremont. Wealth indictors included measures of physical, human, intellectual, financial, social and cultural wealth.

Impacts

This project helped micropolitan areas identify opportunities and formulate research-driven plans for their future success in order to support rural economies. It developed a prototype in Nebraska with national applicability and actionability. As a result of this project, the University of Nebraska leads the nation in articulating the role of micropolitan areas and helping them capitalize on their unique opportunities for regional innovation and rural development.

There were four primary project outcomes related to the calculation of wealth indicators:

  • Nebraska micropolitan areas differ substantially according to measures of physical, human, intellectual, financial, social and cultural wealth
  • Wealth indicators are feasible to integrate into discussions of community strengths and weaknesses as part of community engagement and strategic planning efforts; changes in wealth indicators can be used as benchmarks to measure progress
  • Micropolitan areas have a broad interest in the standard of living and quality of life, in addition to traditional development goals such as job creation; micropolitan communities have an underlying interest in tracking broad measures of wealth
  • Micropolitan areas appear to be large enough to enjoy advantages for and success in industrial and economic production, but not large enough to have similar advantages for consumption and quality of life

Project Team

  • Eric Thompson (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Bureau of Business Research
  • Matthew Fannin (Co-PI), Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
  • Robert Blair (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Jerome Deichert (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Randolph Cantrell (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension & RFI

Partners

  • Kathy Miller, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
  • David Drozd, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Sam Cordes, Purdue University, Rural Policy Research Institute

Publication

Presentations

  • The Engagement Scholarship Consortium Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    October 11-12, 2016 | Omaha, NE
  • The International Community Development Society and the International Association for Community Development Annual Conference
    Micropolitan America: A New Frontier for Rural Research and Engagement
    July 24-27, 2016 | Minneapolis, MN
  • Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    October 11-13, 2015 | Omaha, NE
  • League of Nebraska Municipalities Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    September 24, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska City/County Management Association Annual Conference
    RFI Pilot Project: Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    June 4, 2015 | Alliance, NE

Media Coverage

Research grants explore improvements to rural communities | Norfolk Daily News

 

Contact: Eric Thompson, ethompson2@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