RFI-Funded Research & Teaching

Transdisciplinary team of University of Nebraska at Kearney faculty, recipients of 2017 RFI Competitive Awards, teaching & engagement. Through this project faculty are working closely with undergraduate students and the community of McCook, Neb., to offer youth wellness camps.
Deepak Keshwani, Petra Wahlqvist, Mary Kay Quinlan and Becky Key Boesen of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2014 RFI Competitive Awards recipients for "The Nebraska Hayseed Project"
Howard Liu of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2014 RFI Competitive Awards recipient for "Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers Through a Virtual Mentorship Network"

View Funded Projects

 

The Rural Futures Institute funds research and teaching projects that connect students, faculty, communities and partners in pursuit of new opportunities and the development of innovative solutions to challenges facing rural people and places.

Funded projects create an environment in which deep and meaningful collaborative partnerships are the norm. They demonstrate collaboration across campuses, departments and disciplines, as well as with external stakeholders such as other non-University campuses, communities, state and local government, trade associations, civic groups and the philanthropic community.

 


 

Projects are designed to provide seed funding in the areas of:

Teaching & Engagement

Foster the development of teaching and engagement work that establishes a tradition of student learning through civic engagement, service learning or undergraduate and graduate community-based research projects.

Successful teaching & engagement proposals develop a structure that forms partnerships between students, faculty and community agencies or programs. They also encourage college student involvement in providing services to help meet the community’s needs, integrate meaningful student service experiences into curriculum and build curriculum-based reflection activities to enhance student learning.

Research & Engagement

Lay the foundation for larger funding requests beyond the University of Nebraska. Successful research & engagement proposals explicitly address transdisciplinary and collaborative considerations both internal and external to NU. Transdisciplinary work “utilizes a broad range of views and expertise, including community-based knowledge, to address contemporary rural issues.”


 

50 Projects With 408 Partners






 


 

Funded Projects

Engaging Nebraska, Impacting Communities, Transforming Students

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Results Developed transformational curricula with civic engagement at its core by establishing a robust service learning program embedded in the College of Architecture curricula. Transformed twelve existing courses and developed new courses and programs that engaged …
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Rural Community Serviceship Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013     Results This project resulted in RFI Student Serviceship! Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and Nebraska Human Resources Institute heavily recruit student participants interested in entrepreneurship and leadership development. Students are placed in rural communities in …
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Juvenile Re-entry to Nebraska’s Rural Communities

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Results Matched college student mentors from rural towns with youth committed to the Youth Rehabilitation Centers in Kearney, Neb., and Geneva, Neb. Student mentors worked with youth on educational, employment and social skills and other goals. …
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The Rural Public Health Undergraduate Student Research Project

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013     Results Supported faculty-led undergraduate student public health research projects at Nebraska’s three state colleges in Chadron, Peru, and Wayne, as well as the University of Nebraska Kearney, as a means for introducing undergraduate students …
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Ecotourism & Agritourism Development in Nebraska

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Results Taught ecotourism with a strong service learning and community engagement component. Students applied ecotourism principles and developed entrepreneurial, community planning, capacity building and tourism marketing skills while engaging stakeholders in rural communities. Contributors Lisa Pennisi …
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Students Engaged in Economic Development of Rural Areas

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Results Engaged University of Nebraska at Kearney students in the creation and assembly of rural economic development ideas – both their own and those of members in their rural communities. The most promising ideas were presented …
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Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013     Results Piloted an entrepreneurship incubator tested predictive model with communities to identify actions communities can take to increase entrepreneurship Contributors Robert Bernier (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business Administration Roni Reiter-Palmon …
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Marketing Hometown America

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013     Results Researched whether confidence, capacity building and behavior toward marketing their community can be increased through a series of study circle based community-wide conversations. More details > Contributors Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel (PI), Nebraska Extension Randy …
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Communities Creating Their Own Innovation & Entrepreneurship

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Results Attracted and retained working age populations and created entrepreneurial environments that led to community vitality through Entrepreneurial Community Activation Process (ECAP). This project tested the model on eight communities. Contributors Charlotte Narjes (PI), Nebraska Extension …
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Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers Through a Virtual Mentorship Network

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Results Connected rural students and members of their communities with behavioral health professionals through a virtual network. Students and behavioral health mentors discussed behavioral health topics of interest. Students benefited from the mentor-mentee relationship and learned …
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Rural Community Engagement & Leadership Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Results Undergraduate students engaged with rural 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 …
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The Great Question Challenge

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Results Mobilized rural youth to take an issue of global importance, identify the affects it has on their rural community, and implement a solution. In 2014, the Great Question theme revolved around food insecurity. Student teams …
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Community Gardens & Farmer’s Market for Curtis, Neb.

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014     Results This project expanded upon an existing farmer’s market course at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA). It included a community garden being developed to enhance student service-learning by making the garden available …
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Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014     Results Created an online public health curriculum and course work for undergraduate students enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. It was offered as an option to those students who were interested in the health profession …
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Justice by Geography: Issues that Inequitably Impact Rural Youth

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Results Educated University students interested in the juvenile justice field on the unique juvenile justice and legislative issues facing rural communities. Students were placed with a rural juvenile justice professional or agency for two months to …
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The Nebraska Hayseed Project

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014     Results Celebrated our state’s rural communities through performing arts, a collection of oral histories and an exploration of Nebraska farm life. Undergraduate students conducted oral history interviews in rural communities which engaged statewide conversations …
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Healthy Food, Healthy Choice

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014     Results Improved the health of Rosebud Sioux Tribe residents by changing food consumption patterns. This project used quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the current food environment, as well as food knowledge and preferences. …
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Bridging the Skills Gap

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Results Implemented a labor market assessment model to address skills gaps in rural communities to improve local workforces and enhance long-term economic growth. Project partners worked with ten counties in Nebraska and South Dakota and community …
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Nebraska Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Results Connected health care providers to improve strategies for management of complex chronic diseases and implemented tools that improved transitions of care from hospitals into the outpatient setting. Using a community-based participatory research approach, these providers, …
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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 …
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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 …
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Rural Community Career Development

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015     Summary Will use established curriculum that was previously piloted and will replicate it in additional communities. The project will familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts to help their rural communities maintain or rebuild their …
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Volunteer Program Assessment: Bridging Rural & Urban Concerns of Non-Profit Organizations

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015     Summary Will 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 …
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Developing A Model for “Quality of Life”

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015     Summary Designed to: a) examine the factors that are relevant in determining “quality of life” (QOL) among ethnic minority populations in rural communities; and b) to develop educational tools that will help community responders …
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Translating Evidence-based, Family-based Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program for Adoption by Rural Communities

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015     Summary Enhance rural access to a locally successful, evidence-based, family-based, pediatric obesity treatment program–Building Healthy Families. Program translation will utilize distance learning technologies to allow rural community members in Greater Nebraska, where currently available …
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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 …
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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 …
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HealthVoiceVision

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2016     The November 16, 2017, episode of Catch Up With Chuck featured this project! Summary YouRhealth is a new innovative and bold initiative that creates a learning community that includes civic engagement by transforming Lexington …
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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 …
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Identifying the Interrelationships Between Social Determinants, Self-identity, & Public Health in Minority Rural Communities

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary The HealthVoiceVision transdisciplinary team will combine participatory research with traditional random spatial sampling survey to better understand minority health disparities in rural communities. The research results will translate into interventions, tools and data that communities …
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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. …
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Rural Prosperity Research Project

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary This project will build the capacity of a cohort of rural communities to effectively create conditions for a more prosperous future by: Increasing economic opportunities through business creation Building up community assets that support a …
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Raising Awareness of Health Professionals Education Among Rural Nebraska Latino Youth

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary Health professions shortages represent a challenge to the sustainability of rural communities. While there are insufficient rural health professionals in general, Latinos are virtually absent from this workforce. This study will develop strategies to raise …
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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 …
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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. …
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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 …
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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 underlying …
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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 but critical as well. Rural areas can and …
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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 rate …
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Rural Sourcing

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Results 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 …
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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 …
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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 is …
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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. Contributors Athena Ramos, University of …
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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 of chronic, …
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Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology

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

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2015     Summary 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 …
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Catalyzing the Role of Micropolitan America in the Future of Rural America

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014     Results 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 …
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Using Crowdsourcing for Leadership Development in Rural Communities

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013     Results Designed and implemented a virtual crowdlearning case-based leadership development program for rural Nebraska civic and business leaders. Case-based programs used realistic and engaging scenarios to help develop skills in leadership, creative thinking and …
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Printable Versions: 2013 Awards | 2014 Awards | 2015 Awards | 2016 Awards | 2017 Awards