Research/Teaching & Engagement/

Engaging Nebraska, Impacting Communities, Transforming Students

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary Faculty from various departments in the College of Architecture will develop transformational curricula with civic engagement at their core by establishing a robust service learning program embedded in the specific courses. The courses will establish …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

Faculty from various departments in the College of Architecture will develop transformational curricula with civic engagement at their core by establishing a robust service learning program embedded in the specific courses. The courses will establish educational programs for students, promote leadership through engagement, foster and promote inclusive environments, and advance responsible design in rural communities.

Impacts

Twelve existing courses were transformed and new courses and programs developed to engage students in service learning projects across the state of Nebraska. These courses have been sustainable beyond the project and continue to be offered to UNL students.

Over 52,000 volunteer hours have been logged in projects with 19 communities/neighborhoods, 51 non-University organizations, and 22 University organizations.

As a direct result of these service learning courses, over $124,000 in additional funding to further service learning projects was realized.

Project Team

  • Jeff Day (PI) University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Landscape Architecture
  • Lindsey Bahe, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Interior Design
  • Bret Betner, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Landscape Architecture
  • Tim Hemseth, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Architecture
  • Peter Hind, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Architecture
  • Sharon Kuska, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Architecture
  • David Karle, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Architecture
  • Sarah Thomas Karle, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Landscape Architecture
  • Yunwoo Nam, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Community & Regional Planning
  • Zhenghong Tang, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Community & Regional Planning

 

Partners

Communities/Neighborhoods

  • Lincoln
  • Red Cloud
  • Nebraska City
  • Council Bluffs, IA
  • Pilger
  • Arlington
  • Waterloo
  • North Loup
  • Omaha
  • David City
  • Elkhorn
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Elk Point, SD
  • Orleans
  • South Sioux City
  • Saddle Hills Neighborhood, Omaha
  • TV Tower Neighborhood, Omaha
  • Benson Neighborhood, Omaha
  • Eden Neighborhood, Lincoln

Groups/Organizations

  • Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation
  • Council Bluffs Water Works
  • Main Street Council Bluffs
  • EcoStores Nebraska
  • Green Arena, PBA
  • Lincoln Berean Church
  • Lincoln Community Crops
  • Lincoln Public Schools
  • Malone Center- honors & Strengthens African American Community in Lincoln
  • People’s City Mission
  • Trago Park
  • City of Omaha Storm water Program
  • Clean Solutions for Omaha (CSO) Program at the City of Omaha, Nebraska Forest Service
  • Gold Coast Neighborhood Historic Home
  • MAPA
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • St. Vincent de Paul Store
  • Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center
  • Center for Great Plains
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Neighborhood Works- Lincoln
  • Nebraska Energy Office
  • Nebraska Game and Parks
  • Urban Development Department of the City of Lincoln
  • Willa Cather Foundation
  • 2013 “A Missouri River Vision” Stakeholder Group
  • 9/11 National Day of Service
  • Arbor Day Foundation
  • Back to the River
  • Cheney Lawn Care
  • Corp of Engineers
  • David City Recycling Center
  • Dundee Community Garden
  • F.O.E. Eagles Club
  • Fletcher Acres
  • Indian Hills Elementary School
  • Institute for Sustainable Communities
  • Iowa West Foundation
  • Knights of Columbus
  • National Parks Service Lewis and Clark Headquarters
  • National Parks Service Mid-West Regional Office
  • National Safety Council
  • Noah’s Assistance Dogs
  • Norris Institute
  • NPS Homestead National Monument
  • Olsson Associates
  • Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District
  • Salvation Army
  • School Neighborhood advisory committee
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument

University Organizations

  • African Student Association
  • Alpha Rho Chi DeFloat
  • Campus Sustainability Summit
  • Food Day- Sustain UNL
  • Go Green for Big Red
  • Green UNL
  • HSS Energy Battle
  • Phi Kappa Psi
  • Prairie Pines
  • Stream Cleanup- Sustain UNL
  • Students Today Leaders Tomorrow
  • University Lutheran Chapel
  • UNL Stormwater Management Team
  • UNL Bike Valet
  • UNL Engineering Ambassadors Network
  • UNL Environmental Sustainability Committee
  • UNL Nebraska Brownies
  • UNL Outdoor Adventures Center
  • UNL Recycling
  • UNL Sustainability Coordinator’s Recycling Campaign
  • UNL Unplugged
  • UNL’s The Big Event

Publications

 

Presentations

  • Nebraska Extension Eureka Conference
    Nebraska as a Classroom: Students Engaged in Community, With Community
    April, 2016 | Lincoln, NE
  • 2015 ESRI User Conference
    Collaboration to Enhance Sustainable Community with Mobile GIS
    July 20-24, 2015 | San Diego, CA
  • UNL Research Fair, 2015
    Lincoln Community Assessment Project
    April 14-15, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska Extension Eureka Conference
    Engaging Nebraska, Impacting Communities and Transforming Students
    April, 2015 | Omaha, NE
  • MEEA Annual Meeting
    Nebraska as a Classroom: Students Engaged in Community, With Community
    April, 2015 | Kansas City, MO
  • Nebraska Annual Planning Conference
    Using Volunteered Geographic Information: An Alternative Solution for overcoming the Chasm between Stormwater Management and Community Participation
    March 19-21, 2014 | Kearney, NE
  • Water for Food Conference
    Using Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) System to Promote National Grassroots Engagement in Stormwater Management
    May 5-8, 2013 | Lincoln, NE

Awards

  • ASLA Central States Conference, Student Honor Award
    Flood Resiliency: A Green Infrastructure Vision for Council Bluffs
    April 11, 2014 | Omaha, NE
  • ASLA Central States Conference, Student Honor Award
    Eden Park Master Plan, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
    April 11, 2014 | Omaha, NE

 

Additional Funding

  • Architecture faculty have received funding from:
  • Woods Charitable Fund — $75,000
  • Back to the River — $30,000
  • Nebraska Game and Parks — $5,000
  • Community of Nebraska City — $3,500
  • NPS, Scotts Bluff Monument — $4,500
  • NPS, Lewis and Clark Headquarters — $2,000
  • Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation — $4,000

Contact: Jeff Day, jday@unl.edu

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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

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Juvenile Reentry to Nebraska’s Rural Communities

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary The Juvenile Reentry Project is a service learning project that matches student mentors to youth who typically do not get matched via traditional mentoring programs. It is often difficult to match these youth because they …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Juvenile Reentry Project is a service learning project that matches student mentors to youth who typically do not get matched via traditional mentoring programs. It is often difficult to match these youth because they reside in a rural area of the state and they are considered higher risk. We recruited University of Nebraska (UNL and UNK) students who have an interest in the juvenile justice field. We then matched students to youth who were returning to a rural community and had been committed to the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) in Geneva (females) or Kearney (males). Students worked with the facility for a few months, and then continued to work with youth post release, often helping their mentees obtain jobs or attend drug treatment or school.

Impacts

Between January 2013 and June 2015, a total of 98 young people were matched to a University student mentor. Roughly half of these youth (44) were from Lancaster County and were served under a federal grant; the remaining youth (54) were returning to a rural location. For the majority of this report, we focus on the rural matches.

Very few mentoring programs in the state of Nebraska, or nationwide, serve this high risk population. Through the Juvenile Reentry Project we learned that reentry youth benefit from and enjoy having a college-aged mentor. Student mentors also benefit tremendously, with many of them reporting they “learned things about juvenile justice that they could never get from a textbook.” There are also exponential benefits to the state of Nebraska, as the program develops a professional, experienced workforce and reduces recidivism rates among juveniles. Additionally, our program has received national attention. In January 2015, we were invited to participate in a nationwide mentoring study being conducted by Portland State University. We will continue to participate in this collaborative research.

Additional funding from the Sherwood Foundation allowed this project to continue beyond the two-year grant period.

 

Project Team

  • Anne Hobbs (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Julia Campbell (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Criminology
  • Gregory Hoff, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Information Science & Technology

 

Partners

  • Deborah O’Donnell Neary, Midlands Mentoring Partnership
  • Jenna Strawhun, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Research Graduate Assistant
  • Johanna Peterson, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Juvenile Services
  • Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, Kearney
  • Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, Geneva
  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference
    Evidence-based Nebraska!
    May 6-8, 2015 | Kearney, NE
  • Nebraska Community Aid and Juvenile Justice Conference
    Evidence-based Nebraska!
    October, 2014 | Lincoln, NE
  • Heartland Campus Compact Conference
    Service Learning in Criminal Justice: Focus on Juvenile Reentry
    October 2-3, 2014 | Lincoln, NE
  • Midlands Mentoring Partnership Annual Youth Development Summit
    Mentoring Youth Reentering Our Communities
    March, 2014 | Omaha, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Anne Hobbs, ahobbs@unomaha.edu

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The Rural Public Health Undergraduate Student Research Project

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary The goal of the Rural Public Health Undergraduate Student Research Projects was to introduce undergraduate students to public health through a transdisciplinary research project under supervision of a faculty member with the hope of ultimately …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The goal of the Rural Public Health Undergraduate Student Research Projects was to introduce undergraduate students to public health through a transdisciplinary research project under supervision of a faculty member with the hope of ultimately increasing the number of public health professionals serving rural Nebraska. The research projects addressed identified rural public health priorities and needs in partnership with a community-based organization. The projects integrate teaching and professional services, in addition to reflective activities structured to link the service experience with the learning of the student. In addition, the representation of undergraduate students provides a forum for expression of rural youth voices.

Impacts

This project represented a great opportunity for collaboration between UNMC, UNK, the Nebraska State College system, and diverse community-based organizations that has led to strengthened relationships on all fronts. For instance, the Wayne State College survey on barriers and opportunities for addressing behavioral health issues in rural Nebraska has led to further opportunities for graduate students to incorporate findings from this study into their capstone project which can inform policymakers on this topic.

The CHANCE Initiative, a partnership between Peru State College and Nemaha County Elementary schools was funded through a planning grant form ServeNebraska in the amount of $17,880.49 to expand its efforts into neighboring Otoe County.

Project Team

  • Patrik Johansson (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Sonja Russell, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Jill Mack, Chadron State College, Physical and Life Sciences
  • Kyle Ryan, Peru State College, Health, Physical Education & Recreation
  • Peggy Abels, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Health Science Programs
  • David Peitz, Wayne State College, Physical Sciences and Mathematics

 

Partners

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Chadron State College
  • Peru State College
  • Wayne State College
  • Nemaha County Elementary Schools
  • The Center for Rural Affairs
  • Nelson Physical Activities Center
  • Two Rivers Public Health Department

 

Publications

  • Johansson, P., Blankenau, J., Tutsch, S., Brueggman, G., Afrank, C., and Lyden, E. Barriers and Solutions to Providing Access to Mental Health Services in Rural Nebraska: Perspectives from Non-prescribing Mental Health Providers. Submitted to National Rural Health Association’s Journal of Rural Health. (In progress.)

 

Presentations

  • Nebraska Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
    Rickettsia Rickettsii Prevalence in Dermacentor Variabilis in Dawson County, Nebraska
    April 17, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
    Comparison of Infectious Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, and Anaplasma Species of Bacteria in American Dog Ticks from Upland and Lowland Areas of Dawson County, Nebraska
    April 17, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
    Prevalence of Disease Causing Bacteria in Dermacenter Variabilis Ticks in Buffalo County, Nebraska
    April 17, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Missouri Valley Branch of the American Society of Microbiology Annual Meeting
    Rickettsia Rickettsii Prevalence in Dermacentor Variabilis in Dawson County, Nebraska
    March 26-28, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Missouri Valley Branch of the American Society of Microbiology Annual Meeting
    Risk-Assessment for Tick-borne Diseases in Buffalo County, Nebraska
    March 26-28, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
    Risk-Assessment for Tick-borne Diseases in Buffalo County, Nebraska
    April 11, 2014 | Lincoln, NE

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

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Ecotourism & Agritourism Development in Nebraska

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary The long-term goal of this project is to increase knowledge that enables Nebraska’s rural landowners and communities to increase economic and community capacity by developing successful ecotourism ventures that enhance environmental sustainability. Innovative entrepreneurial tourism …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The long-term goal of this project is to increase knowledge that enables Nebraska’s rural landowners and communities to increase economic and community capacity by developing successful ecotourism ventures that enhance environmental sustainability. Innovative entrepreneurial tourism ventures will contribute to the economic, social and environmental viability of rural areas and provide economic opportunities for young people.

The short term goals of this project are to teach UNL students principles of ecotourism, tourism marketing, visitor services and entrepreneurship and empower them to assist rural Nebraska communities in developing successful ecotourism plans and businesses.

Impacts

A new service learning course at UNL, “Ecotourism & Entrepreneurship Development in Nebraska” was developed to teach students principles of ecotourism, tourism marketing, visitor services and entrepreneurship.

Project Team

  • Lisa Pennisi (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, School of Natural Resources
  • Nicole Wall (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, School of Natural Resources
  • Michelle Kang (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication
  • Tom Field, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program

Partners

  • Twyla Witt, Nebraska Tourism Commission
  • Caleb Pollard, Valley County Economic Development, Ord Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Rick Edwards, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Center for Great Plains Studies
  • Janell Anderson Ehrke, GROW Nebraska
    Community of Ashland

Publications

  • Pennisi, L., Wall, N., Field, T., Kang, M. (April, 2015). Ashland, Small Town, Big Opportunities: A case study of tourism assets and opportunities.

Presentations

  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Ecotourism and Agrotourism Development in Nebraska
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE

 

Contact: Lisa Pennisi, lpennisi2@unl.edu

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Students Engaged in Economic Development of Rural Areas

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary This project engaged undergraduate students directly with rural community economic development activities. Undergraduate students from rural communities returned to their hometowns and interviewed local stakeholders with the goal of identifying viable economic opportunities in those …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

This project engaged undergraduate students directly with rural community economic development activities. Undergraduate students from rural communities returned to their hometowns and interviewed local stakeholders with the goal of identifying viable economic opportunities in those communities that could benefit from a seed grant. All of the proposals developed were ranked and the top two projects each year were awarded seed grants to implement the project. This community engagement project demonstrated to the undergraduate students their ability to develop plans that benefitted their local communities and an ability to make a difference.

Impacts

The undergraduate students involved were empowered through the service learning process. Students gained a deeper appreciation for their own communities as they learned about the people and capacities of their communities.

Two seed grants were awarded each year to the top two proposals. In total, four seed grants of $2500 each were awarded to four winning community projects.

Project Team

  • Kaye Sorensen (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Mathematics
  • Marc Albrecht (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Biology

Presentations

  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Students Engaged in Economic Development in Rural Areas
    November 3-5, 2013 | Lincoln, NE

Media Coverage

UNK students award Rural Futures Institute grants to new businesses | UNK Newsroom
Professors pay it forward to business owners | Kearney Hub
2 UNK profs share grant bounty with rural small businesses | Omaha World Herald

 

Contact: Kaye Sorensen, sorensenkm@unk.edu

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Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers Through a Virtual Mentorship Network

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The state of Nebraska is facing a critical shortage of mental health providers. In 2011, 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties were federally-designated behavioral health professional shortage areas. Immediate intervention is required to address the shortage …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The state of Nebraska is facing a critical shortage of mental health providers. In 2011, 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties were federally-designated behavioral health professional shortage areas. Immediate intervention is required to address the shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas. Therefore, the objective of this project was to engage and connect students and members of their communities with mentor relationships. A virtual mentorship community of rural students and professionals throughout Nebraska was developed. The program recruited dynamic behavioral health professionals from rural underserved areas throughout the state to partner with interested students at the high school or undergraduate level. Students partnered with mentors from two different mental health professions; psychiatry and psychology.

The long term outcomes of this project include the placement of behavioral health professionals in rural communities, and connecting them to a culture of mentorship. In short, families and rural primary care providers would be able to connect to a local psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or therapist so that they would not need to leave the community for care.

Impacts

Leaders in Nebraska are seeking solutions to critical shortages in the behavioral health workforce. The shortage is particularly acute in rural areas where there is a limited supply of practicing mental health providers to serve as role models for youth as they explore career paths. The development of a virtual mentoring network (VMN) may bridge geographic gaps and connect interested high school and college students with behavioral health practitioners to increase the number of applicants to graduate programs from underserved areas. The VMN program was rated to be helpful in both years of the project, but significantly more helpful in year two when college students were provided with tailored and career-specific information. These results suggest that separating high school and college mentoring cohorts due to different career counseling needs and allowing students to specify which licensed behavioral health professional they engage can increase the student satisfaction with an online mentoring program.  This pilot can serve as a model for other states that have significant workforce shortages in rural and urban underserved areas, as well as a model for additional behavioral health careers in which shortages are observed.

This mentorship program in the college-aged, small-group format will continue in the future. Efforts will be made to establish a sustainable program through which professionals in the behavioral health fields are able to provide career-specific guidance to mentees interested in the behavioral health career pathways. Dynamic professionals or advanced students will be recruited to serve as mentors to college students. Additionally, future work will include applying the successful VMN approach to additional behavioral health careers, such as social work, marriage and family counseling, and substance abuse counseling.

The videos created as a part of VMN are a permanent product and will be used to distribute basic career information to high school students through a variety of outlets, described above. Additionally, further outlets for the videos created for high school students will be sought, and distribution will continue as additional outlets are identified.

Project Team

  • Howard Liu (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Heidi Keeler (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Ann Kraft, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Kay Glidden, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska

Partners

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Munroe Meyer Institute at UNMC
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Psychiatry Residency Program, Creighton University
  • Wayne State College
  • Doane University
  • Grand Island High School
  • Kearney Senior High School
  • Lexington High School

Publications

Videos

Presentation

  • National Council for Behavioral Health Conference
    Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers
    April 20-22, 2015 | Orlando, FL

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Howard Liu, hyliu@unmc.edu

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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

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The Great Question Challenge

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary Rural communities in the Great Plains are subject to many of the same challenges confronting urban communities on a global scale. These communities are uniquely positioned to identify global issues in their local area and …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

Rural communities in the Great Plains are subject to many of the same challenges confronting urban communities on a global scale. These communities are uniquely positioned to identify global issues in their local area and generate ideas to solve these problems by utilizing one of our greatest resources –our youth. The Great Question Challenge is designed to empower high school students to create local solutions for a global issue.

Each year, the Great Question Challenge planning team will identify a global issue that affects rural people and places. For 2014, the Great Question Challenge revolved around food insecurity. About 15% of all U.S. households are food insecure, and in Nebraska, nearly 100,000 children are unsure of when they will eat next. This challenge will mobilize students to identify how to alleviate hunger and increase nutrition in their hometowns.

Impacts

High school students across Nebraska, with an emphasis on 4-H and FFA members, were recruited. Students formed teams of 3-6 individuals and proposed a solution to implement in their local community for The Great Question Challenge. Teams competed at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair and the top 11 teams were awarded $500 each to implement their ideas in their local communities.

Project Team

  • Shane Potter (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska 4-H
  • Tom Field (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Mathew Habrock, Dupont Pioneer
  • Jordyn Lechtenberg, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Graduate Student

Partners

  • Ainsworth
  • Blair
  • Clarkson
  • Curtis
  • Exeter
  • Nelson
  • Newman Grove
  • Northbend
  • Red Cloud
  • Rushville
  • Sidney

Media Coverage

Two new contests at 2012 State Fair provide real world experience | UNL Newsroom

 

Contact: Thomas Field, tfield2@unl.edu

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Community Gardens & Farmers Market for Curtis, Neb.

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The goal of this project was to enhance a service learning course at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) by developing a weekly farmers market and providing community garden plots for community residents. The …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The goal of this project was to enhance a service learning course at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) by developing a weekly farmers market and providing community garden plots for community residents.

The project focused on achieving the following objectives:

  • Foster and develop rural community engagement skills of NCTA students pursing education in horticulture.
  • Enhance the entrepreneurial and marketing skills of NCTA students enrolled in the Farmers Market course.
  • Strengthen the relationship between NCTA and Curtis community citizens.
  • Facilitate and enhance vegetable crop production and marketing education/experience for Frontier County 4-H members.
  • Provide a model for rural communities to establish a community garden that fosters growth in citizen relationships and engages their youth through partnerships with county 4-H chapters.

Impacts

This project facilitated the development of a community garden and farmers market on NCTA’s campus. Major objectives were to strengthen relations between NCTA and Curtis citizens, develop community engagement skills of NCTA students, and facilitate gardening and marketing skills for 4-H members. One significant success was engaging citizens of Curtis through the community gardens. Several citizens that utilized the gardens had no other garden space opportunity. Complementary workshops on food preservation and garden planning/design were also well received by community citizens. The project facilitated student internship assistance with the community garden during the summer and provided community engagement experiences. The farmers market was held during the fall semester, thus several students gained valuable experiences regarding community engagement and entrepreneurship.

Frontier County 4-H members also benefited from the project by gaining valuable vegetable production experiences in the community garden. Once developed, this service learning course became sustainable and continues to be offered.

Project Team

  • Brad Ramsdale (PI), Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Agronomy-Horticulture Department
  • Tee Bush (Co-PI), Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Horticulture Department
  • Barbara Scharf, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension, Frontier County

Partners

  • Curtis Rotary
  • Nebraska 4-H
  • Nebraska Extension

Media Coverage

NCTA awarded grant for community garden | McCook Gazette

 

Contact: Brad Ramsdale, bramsdale2@unl.edu

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Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The primary aim of this project was to develop a new, online public health course for undergraduates enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. The proposed course would focus on three themes aligned with RFI’s mission: community-based …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The primary aim of this project was to develop a new, online public health course for undergraduates enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. The proposed course would focus on three themes aligned with RFI’s mission: community-based participatory research (CBPR), civic engagement (CE), and service learning (SL). Framed through the lens of public health, the ultimate goals of the curriculum are to provide a foundation of knowledge and action that supports the learning and capacity building in the three domains of a cohort of rural undergraduate students who have made a commitment to practice as health professionals in rural Nebraska. The curriculum also seeks to facilitate the learning of the students in how to become effective leaders, advocates, and change agents for their rural communities to achieve paths to their desired futures.

Impacts

In addition to addressing the dearth of undergraduate student coursework on rural Nebraska campuses in the domains of community-based participatory research (CBPR), civic engagement (CE), and service learning (SL), additional on-line modules on leadership, worksite wellness, and public health were also included. The course was taught online by the Faculty PI, Dr. Kyle Ryan, at Peru State College. The course was shifted from a service learning focus due to the online nature of the course and associated complexity and challenges with identifying service learning sites for students taking the course outside of Nebraska.

Project personnel approached Chadron State College, Wayne State College and the University of Nebraska at Kearney to ascertain adoption at the respective campuses. Each has expressed interest and efforts are ongoing to implement the course offerings at these additional rural campuses.

Project Team

  • Kyle Ryan (PI), Peru State College, Exercise Science School of Education
  • Patrik Johansson (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Brandon Grimm, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Analisa McMillan, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

 

Partners

  • Peru State College
  • Johnson-Brock Elementary School
  • Calvert Elementary School
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Rural Health Education Network

 

Publications

  • Grotrian-Ryan, S., & Ryan, K. (2017). The importance of mentoring with grit and the growth mindset. Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning Conference Proceedings.
  • Ryan, K., & Grotrian-Ryan, S. (2016). Fostering grit and the growth mindset through high-impact practices. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 28(2), 50-51.
  • Grotrian-Ryan, S., & Ryan, K. (2016). Exploring the Link between Mentoring Functions and Transformative Education. Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning Conference Proceedings.

 

Presentations

  • Nebraska State College Student Leadership Conference
    Seeking Out Leadership Opportunities at the Undergraduate Level
    Fall, 2016 | Peru, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health
    September 22, 2016 | West Point, NE
  • Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association Conference
    Fostering Grit and the Growth Mindset through High-impact Practices
    October 5-8, 2016 | Reno, NV
  • Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning
    Exploring the Link between Mentoring Functions and Transformative Education
    2016 | Newport Beach, CA

 

Awards

  • Nebraska Campus Compact: “Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award” for excellence in community-based teaching and scholarship for this course, 2015

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kyle Ryan, kryan@peru.edu

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Justice by Geography: Issues that Inequitably Impact Rural Youth

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The purpose of this service learning project is to educate students on the unique juvenile justice and legislative issues facing rural communities across Nebraska, culminating with a two month placement with a rural juvenile justice …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The purpose of this service learning project is to educate students on the unique juvenile justice and legislative issues facing rural communities across Nebraska, culminating with a two month placement with a rural juvenile justice professional or agency. Students will work closely with the partnering individual/agency to gain hands-on experience in the field, as well as an invaluable “real world” perspective.

Participating students will learn the juvenile justice and legislative processes and examine juvenile justice issues that impact rural Nebraska. In addition, this experience will provide students an opportunity to develop a network of contacts across the state in a variety of fields related to juvenile justice and the legislative process. Such a network may assist students in securing professional positions in rural areas.

Impacts

The Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha partnered with UNL Law & Psychology to teach Justice by Geography, a course that pairs student interns with rural juvenile justice agencies. Students learn about program evaluation and have the opportunity to do program evaluation work with their agency. The course culminates in a student presentation.

During the two-year project, 17 students were placed in rural communities to work with small rural agencies to evaluate their programs. Initially the preference was to enroll 10-15 students each semester, however, project personnel struggled to recruit and enroll students willing to do their internship in a rural community. However, upon further reflection, a larger class may not have provided as rich of a learning environment for the students. With smaller cohorts, each group got a very specific juvenile justice experience.

The Juvenile Justice Institute continues to offer the Justice by Geography project and recruit undergraduate students to intern with rural areas.

Project Team

  • Anne Hobbs (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Monica Miles-Steffens, Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association
  • Sommer Fousek, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Juvenile Justice Institute

Partners

  • Liz Neeley, Nebraska State Bar Association
  • Elaine Menzel, Nebraska Association of County Officials
  • Corey Steel, Nebraska Juvenile Services Division
  • Cindy Gans, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
  • Darrell Fisher, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
  • Amy Hoffman, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

 

Publication

Presentations

  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference
    Evaluation of Rural Justice Programs
    May 18-20, 2016 | Kearney, NE
  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference
    Truancy, Absenteeism and Related Student Discipline Issues
    May 18-20, 2016 | Kearney, NE

 

Contact: Anne Hobbs, ahobbs@unomaha.edu

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The Nebraska Hayseed Project

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The Nebraska Hayseed project was a creative transdisciplinary civic engagement and community research effort bringing the Lied Center for Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The Nebraska Hayseed project was a creative transdisciplinary civic engagement and community research effort bringing the Lied Center for Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln together. The goal of this unique collaboration that united art and agriculture was the fact that both arts and agriculture are inherently process based and essential to the quality of life in rural Nebraska.

Impacts

An undergraduate course was developed and co-taught by faculty from Journalism and IANR and built around oral history collection. Undergraduate students conducted oral history interviews in rural communities which engaged statewide conversations about agriculture through the arts. The collected stories were used to create an original theatrical screenplay that toured the state. This project celebrated our state’s rural communities through performing arts, a collection of oral histories and an exploration of Nebraska farm life.

The Nebraska Hayseed project was constructed to create a platform where farm families can openly speak about their life experiences. In addition to the book published from this project, the oral history transcripts from the interviews were donated to the Nebraska State Historical Society for permanent archiving.

Project Team

  • Petra Wahlqvist (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts
  • Mary Kay Quinlan (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Deepak Keshwani (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Becky Key Boesen (co-PI, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts

Partners

  • Julie Jacobson, North Platte Concert Association
  • Billy Estes, Midwest Theater, Scottsbluff
  • The Golden Husk
  • Nebraska State Historical Society

 

Publications

  • Boesen, B., Keshwani, D., Quinlan, M. K., and Wahlqvist, P. (2017). “Pioneer Farms: A Century of Change.”

(To request a free copy of the culminating publication “Pioneer Farms: A Century of Change,” which contains excerpts from the oral history interviews, please contact Petra Wahlqvist.)

Contact: Petra Wahlqvist, pwahlqvist2@unl.edu

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Rural Interprofessional UNMC Student Rotations

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015 Summary The proposed bold, creative and transdisciplinary rural rotation, grounded in public health, will allow students to work interprofessionally in teams under the supervision of a public health practitioner. During the three-week rotation students will engage …

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


Summary

The proposed bold, creative and transdisciplinary rural rotation, grounded in public health, will allow students to work interprofessionally in teams under the supervision of a public health practitioner. During the three-week rotation students will engage in team-based, service-learning-based activities that align with the East Central District Health Department Community Health Improvement Plan. By taking part in this rotation, students should become stronger and more effective leaders in advocating for the sustainability of rural Nebraska communities.

 

Impacts

A pre-post design survey was employed to examine student changes in knowledge and attitudes related to their perceived ability as a member of an interprofessional team to: engage diverse health care professionals, communicate as a member of an interprofessional team, choose effective communication tools and techniques, integrate knowledge and experience of other professions, and to manage disagreements. Students indicated the following benefits from participating in the rotation: the ability to engage diverse healthcare professionals and develop strategies to meet specific rural population health needs, and an increased understanding of the need to embrace cultural diversity.

This is a great project that has allowed students from all colleges at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to work in an interprofessional rural setting, focused on public health competencies and interprofessional learning. This program provides invaluable experiences for the students and the PI was successful in securing permanent Program of Excellence funds to permanently continue this interprofessional rotation opportunity.

 

Project Team

  • Patrik Johansson (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Rural Health Education Network
  • Rebecca Rayman (Co-PI), East Central District Health Department

 

Partners

  • UNMC College of Dentistry
  • UNMC College of Medicine
  • UNMC College of Nursing
  • UNMC College of Pharmacy
  • UNMC College of Public Health
  • UNMC College of Allied Health Professions
  • East Central District Health Department
  • Good Neighbor Community Health Center

 

Publication

  • Johansson P., Grimm B., Tibbits M., Maloney S., Siahpush M., Nickol D. (Manuscript under Review) Outcomes from an interprofessional, population health-oriented, practice-based health profession student rotation in rural Nebraska. Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice.

 

Presentation

  • Rural Futures Institute Forum
    Rural Interprofessional UNMC Student Rotations
    September 22, 2016 | West Point, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

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Rural Community Diversity Action

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015 Summary Utilizes a service-learning approach to link University of Nebraska–Lincoln students to rural communities that are experiencing demographic shifts. The project will work in close partnership and collaboration with the Center for Rural Affairs to identify …

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


Summary

Utilizes a service-learning approach to link University of Nebraska–Lincoln students to rural communities that are experiencing demographic shifts. The project will work in close partnership and collaboration with the Center for Rural Affairs to identify and facilitate productive connections with key communities and agencies and assist in working with students as they enter the field. Students will gain a deeper understanding of themselves as leaders and how their beliefs, values, perceptions and assumptions have shaped their understanding of and approach to leadership.

Project Team

  • Gina Matkin (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Educations & Communication

Partners

  • Center for Rural Affairs

 

Contact: Gina Matkin, gmatkin1@unl.edu

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Rural Community Career Development

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015 Summary The original intent of this project was to use an established curriculum that had been piloted in one community and replicate it in additional communities. The goal was to familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts …

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


Summary

The original intent of this project was to use an established curriculum that had been piloted in one community and replicate it in additional communities. The goal was to familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts to help their rural communities maintain or rebuild their economic viability. The end goal was to sustain rural communities, thereby slowing the decline of population. The partnering of students with mentors within the community before leaving for college exposes students to career opportunities and the potential for returning upon completing their education. The curriculum helped students discover a positive outlook on the future and explore the changes they may encounter as an owner or manager in their home community.

 

Impacts

During the first year, the Rural Community Career Development course was taught at Bertrand High School. During this time, the original Principal Investigator on the project resigned from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA), creating a delay in the completion of the second year of the project.

A new NCTA faculty member was recruited to continue the work of the project. The new PI modified the project to focus more directly on entrepreneurship in an attempt to combat a challenge many rural communities face – that of youth departing to attend college and not returning. Project Economic Gardening (PEG) was offered at Maywood High School and then the course culminated by attendance at a day-long Entrepreneurship Camp at NCTA.

Special focus included:

  • Developing knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurial spirit
  • Providing experience in developing strategic partnerships
  • Developing strategies and methods for leveraging nexus between innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Engaging the youth to build leadership and fostering philanthropy

Project Team

  • Mary Rittenhouse (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
  • Krystle Friesen (former PI), formerly at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

Partners

  • Karl Shaddock, Nebraska Community Foundation
  • Bertrand Community Foundation
  • Bertrand High School
  • Paxton Schools
  • Maywood High School

 

Contact: Mary Rittenhouse, mrittenhouse2@unl.edu

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Volunteer Program Assessment: Bridging Rural & Urban Concerns of Non-Profit Organizations

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015 Summary This project’s intent was to offer a partially internet-mediated service learning course for undergraduate students from multiple disciplines that will involve students in learning how to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the experiences and satisfaction of …

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


Summary

This project’s intent was to offer a partially internet-mediated service learning course for undergraduate students from multiple disciplines that will involve students in learning how to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the experiences and satisfaction of volunteers working for the Foster Grandparents Program (FGP) in Gering, Neb., and Beatrice, Neb. The Foster Grandparent Program is part of Senior Corps, a network of national service programs that provide older Americans the opportunity to put their life experiences to work for local communities.

The project’s short-term goal was to provide information to allow volunteer coordinators and other staff to make better decisions to improve the experiences of rural volunteers. One of the project’s long-term goals is to help retain volunteers and hence contribute to the economy in rural Nebraska through an improvement of volunteer experiences and retention.

Impacts

A new service learning course for undergraduate students from multiple disciplines was developed that provided the opportunity to learn about volunteerism, nonprofit organizations and consulting in rural Nebraska by assessing the experiences and satisfaction of volunteers working for the Foster Grandparents Program. The course is cross-listed in psychology and management.

Through the course, students are able to:

  1. Understand the nonprofit sector and issues regarding volunteer management
  2. Understand how intergenerational volunteering efforts contribute to local communities
  3. Learn how to use surveys to provide consultation services to clients
  4. Increase knowledge of professional business etiquette and presentation skills

Project Team

  • Joseph Allen (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Community Engagement Center

Partners

  • Sonja Workman, Beatrice Foster Grandparent Program, Blue Valley Community Action, Inc.
  • Mary Parker, Omaha Foster Grandparent Program, Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
  • Cathy Schumacher, Panhandle Foster Grandparent Program, Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska

Publication

  • Trent, S.B., Galvin, D., Hosmat, V., Jantz, D., & Allen, J.A. (2017). Volunteer Program Assessment at UNO Data Analytic Report: Foster Grandparents Program. Gering, NE: Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska.

Presentations

  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: Burnout and Recruitment
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE
  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: The Volunteer Program Assessment Survey Results
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE
  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: Perception of Volunteer Voice
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE
  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: Ongoing Training Ideas
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE
  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: Satisfaction with Volunteer Colleagues
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE
  • Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
    Foster Grandparents Program: Addressing Burnout and Recruitment
    June, 2017 | Gering, NE

 

Contact: Joseph Allen, josephallen@unomaha.edu

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Social Media Plans for Small Businesses & Local Non-Profits

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

 

Project Team

  • Sherri Harms (PI), Computer Science & Information Technology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Partners

  • Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, Nebraska

Media Coverage

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

 

Contact: Sherri Harms, harmssk@unk.edu

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Art at Cedar Point

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Contact: Karen Kunc, kkunc1@unl.edu

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Community Engagement Education Model

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Project Team

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

Partners

  • Nebraska Extension
  • Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Willa Cather Foundation
  • City of Red Cloud
  • Red Cloud Chamber of Commerce

 

Contact: Kim Wilson, kwilson4@unl.edu

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YouRhealth: Youth are Rural Health Program

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Contact: Kim Matthews, kmatthews2@unl.edu

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Health, Exercise, Technology & Aquaponics Day Camps

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary “Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals” is a collaborative project developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

“Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals” is a collaborative project developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The goals of the THETA Day Camps project are to inspire and motivate middle school students to pursue careers in health science. Students will participate in a series of half-day science education camps during which they will learn about various careers that are associated with health science topics through physical activity, nutrition and food growing programs. UNK undergraduate students with career goals in health science will lead the camps, and it is hoped that by leading these camps the UNK students will be better prepared for graduate education in the health sciences.

Project Team

  • Gregory Brown, Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Matthew Bice, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Megan Adkins-Bollwit, Associate Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Angela Hollman, Assistant Professor, Industrial Technology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Sonja Bickford, Lecturer, Industrial Technology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Nate Bickford, Associate Professor, Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Dustin Ranglack, Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Partners

  • Andrew Ambriz, Director, McCook Economic Development Corporation, McCook, Neb.
  • Ronda Graff, Youth Activities Director, Ed Thomas YMCA, McCook, Neb.
  • Denise Garey, Health Educator, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, McCook, Neb.
  • Sarah Wolford, Community Outreach & Wellness Coordinator, McCook Community Hospital, McCook, Neb.

 

Contact: Gregory Brown, brownga@unk.edu

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Obesity Intervention and Service-Learning

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary In an effort to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity, Peru State College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in partnership with rural stakeholders, seek to develop a new service-learning course for undergraduates. …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

In an effort to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity, Peru State College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in partnership with rural stakeholders, seek to develop a new service-learning course for undergraduates. The course will introduce post-secondary students to service-learning and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural areas. It will also seek to engage existing and new partnerships with community-based organizations for students’ service-learning. Finally, contributors hope the course will instill in undergraduate students a sense of civic commitment that they will carry with them following college.

Project Team

  • Danae Dinkel (PI), Assistant Professor, Health Physical Education & Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Kyle Ryan (Co-PI), Professor, Kinesiology, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Peru State College
  • Sheri Grotrian-Ryan (Co-PI), Professor, Business, Peru State College

Partners

  • Northside Elementary (Grades K-2), Nebraska City
  • Hayward Elementary (Grades 3-5), Nebraska City
  • Nebraska City Middle School (Grades 6-8), Nebraska City

 

Contact: Danae Dinkel, dmdinkel@unomaha.edu

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Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary This project provides an opportunity for youth to develop system-thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are interconnected. Undergraduate students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering will design and develop …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

This project provides an opportunity for youth to develop system-thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are interconnected. Undergraduate students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering will design and develop aquaponics system kits as well as lesson plan trainings and implement the project in K-12 schools in rural Nebraska. They will use a train-the-trainer model to prepare middle school educators and high school students to implement the plan in their school system. The youth will develop systems thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are highly interconnected in our complex world.

Prototype of the aquaponics setup

Under the guidance of project faculty, the undergraduate student team developed two online modules that utilize multimedia and game strategies to engage middle school and high school students in the program. Online Module 1 is called Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future. Specifically, this module covers: What is Aquaponics, The Aquaponics Biological Processes, Water Quality – covering Temperature & Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrogen & pH, Hardness & Calcium, and System States. It also covers Visualizing Data using graphs and charts while teaching about techniques such as smoothing of plots. Finally, the module covers Energy Flow. Online Module 2 is developed for high school students and is called Building the Aquaponics System. This module explains how to instrument a system for data collection with a single board computer (Raspberry Pi) and connect a liquid temperature sensor, a color sensor, a humidity sensor and a radio controller.

Module 1: Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future
Module 2: Building the Aquaponics System

After designing and developing a prototype aquaponics system kit, the undergraduate students then built 12 systems that will be implemented in K-12 schools in rural Nebraska. They will use a train-the-trainer model to prepare middle school educators and high school students to implement the lesson plan in their school system. The first placement in schools began in January of 2018. Project faculty have developed survey instruments for capturing data collection to help in measuring impact of the project.

Impact

In combination with the RFI project, “Developing A Model for Quality of Life” as well as the RFI project “Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners,” this project has earned a $490k USDA grant for high-tech youth entrepreneurship clinics. Details >>>

Project Team

  • Ashu Guru (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Jennifer Keshwani (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineer
  • Maria Rosario Guzman (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Science, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Jeyamkodan Subbiah (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Food Science and Technology
  • Dhundy Bastola (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biomedical Informatics
  • Hongfeng Yu (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Computer Science

Partners

  • Jeff Cole, Beyond School Bells
  • Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, School of Natural Resources
  • Kenneth Roche, Research Agronomist
  • Deane Nelson, Nebraska City Middle School, Science Teacher

Presentations

  • Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit
    Systems Thinking and Sustainability through Aquaponics
    December 11, 2017 | Lincoln, NE

 

Contact: Ashu Guru, aguru2@unl.edu

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Ending Mental Health Stigma & Promoting Mental Health Among Rural Nebraska College and University Students

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017  Summary The growing shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, alongside the rising number of rural college and university students who experience mental health difficulties, calls for a comprehensive public health approach to addressing …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

The growing shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, alongside the rising number of rural college and university students who experience mental health difficulties, calls for a comprehensive public health approach to addressing underlying causes of mental illness and related stigma. It also calls for a focus on equipping students with resiliency skills that lay the foundation for growing strong and healthy minds. In collaboration with faculty and students at Wayne State College, the team seeks to develop and implement a promising mental health promotion curriculum aimed at addressing stigma and alleviating mental health difficulties among college and university students in Nebraska through civic engagement, health education and advocacy.

Impacts

According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, suicide is the leading cause of death among college and university students in the United States and is the 11th leading cause of death in Nebraska. In 2014, 1 in 6 Nebraska adults reported a diagnosis of depression, and 1 in 12 reported mental illness.

Faced with these staggering statistics, the team at Wayne State College is scheduled to hold four forums funded by RFI and presented by UNMC’s Rural Health Education Network (REHN), in cooperation with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and the college’s student chapter of ActiveMinds. During winter 2017, more than 30 Wayne State College students from 17 different majors developed curriculum content and a discussion guide that will be promoted to mental health student chapters at colleges and universities across the state.

Nearly 60 Wayne State College students and faculty members participated in the first forum, held on Mar. 28, 2018, which was geared to raise awareness and generate discussion around mental health. The next forum is scheduled for fall 2018. These forums will help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, encourage people to seek help and provide meaningful and relevant solutions to address mental health difficulties experienced by college and university students.

Project Team

  • Sonja Franziska Tutsch, Graduate Student, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Rural Health Education Network
  • Howard Liu, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

Partners

  • Monica Snowden, Wayne State College, Sociology

 

Contact: Sonja Tutsch, sonja.tutsch@unmc.edu

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Understanding Hispanics & Sense of Community

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Project Team

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

Partners

  • Antonia Correa, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Natalia Trinidad, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center

 

Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu

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Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities

November 17, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary The team will use appreciative inquiry to interview community leaders about creating welcoming communities and work with partners to develop powerful narratives, provide access to resources and disseminate best practices. Project Team: Athena Ramos, University …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

The team will use appreciative inquiry to interview community leaders about creating welcoming communities and work with partners to develop powerful narratives, provide access to resources and disseminate best practices.

Project Team:

  • Athena Ramos, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Reducing Health Disparities

Partners

  • Yesenia Peck, Nebraska Public Power District
  • Comite Latino de Schuyler
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Engaging Immigrants Committee
  • Heartland Workers’ Center

 

Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu

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