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

 

From 2013 – 2017 the Rural Futures Institute funded 50 research and teaching projects 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 active through June 2019. Funding was discontinued due to a significant budget reduction of the Rural Futures Institute effective July 2018. If you would like to offer support to this program, please contact us.

 

Projects  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.”

 

Latest Impacts & Achievements

 

50 Projects With 408 Partners






 

Funded Projects

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

Read More

Rural Community Serviceship Program

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

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

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

Impacts

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

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Presentations

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

Media Coverage


Contact: Thomas Field, tfield2@unl.edu

Read More

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

Read More

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 Mental 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
  • Nebraska Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
    Barriers and Solutions to Providing Mental Health Services in Rural Nebraska
    May, 2018 | New Orleans, LA
  • 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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development

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

Research & Engagement, 2013


 

 

Summary

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

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

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

Impacts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

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

Publications

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

 

Presentations

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

Contact: Robert Bernier, rbernier@unomaha.edu

Read More

Marketing Hometown America

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

Research & Engagement, 2013


 

Impacts

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

History

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

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

Project Team

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

Publications

Awards

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

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

 

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

Read More

Communities Creating Their Own Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

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

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

 

Impacts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Charlotte Narjes, cnarjes1@unl.edu

Read More

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

Read More

Rural Community Engagement & Leadership Program

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


 

 

Summary

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

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

Impacts

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

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

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

 

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

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

 

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Healthy Food, Healthy Choice

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

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

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

 

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

Contact: Christopher Gustafson, cgustafson6@unl.edu

Read More

Bridging the Skills Gap

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

Research & Engagement, 2014


 

Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

Project summary, overview, details and findings >>

 

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Presentations

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

 

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

Read More

Nebraska Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network

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

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Publications

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

Presentations

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

 

Contact: Christopher Kratochvil, ckratoch@unmc.edu

Read More

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
  • Wayne State College
  • UNMC College of Public Health
  • UNMC College of Allied Health Professions
  • East Central District Health Department
  • Good Neighbor Community Health Center
  • Nebraska Area Health Education Center

 

Publications

  • 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.
  • Johansson P., Grimm B., Tibbits M., Maloney S., Siahpush M., Nickol D. Outcomes from a rural interprofessional, population health-oriented, practice-based health profession student rotation. Manuscript under preparation for submission to Frontiers in Public Health.

 

Presentation

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

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

Read More

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.

Impacts

Students researched the communities and/or organizations, conducted assessments, and provided hands on support and service. Students benefitted by gaining valuable knowledge, hands on experiences, and facilitation/assessment skills. Communities benefitted from the students’ service, knowledge and collaborations. Both students and communities spoke positively of the experiences.

This project allowed students to become part of a small Nebraska community – to work with organizations, shadow and talk with city officials, and not only learn about, but also assist communities in considering the needs of diverse populations. Through learning the skills of assessing (SWOT and PEST analyses) organizations and communities, as well as seeing up close the challenges and support structures communities have in place, these students gained far more than they could have solely in the classroom.

The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communication is very interested in continuing this class and/or incorporate elements of this experience into other classes the department offers.

 

Project Team

  • Gina Matkin (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Educations & Communication
  • Helen Abdali-Soosan Fagan (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication

Partners

  • Center for Rural Affairs
  • Kathie Starkweather, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Carlos Barcenas, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Cargill/CCC Language Classes, Schuyler
  • Centro Hispanico, Columbus
  • Head Start, Hastings
  • El Comite Latino, Schuyler

 

Contact: Gina Matkin, gmatkin1@unl.edu

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Developing A Model for “Quality of Life”

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

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

This project is designed to:

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

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

 

Impacts

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

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

 

Project team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

  • Taylor, S., Garcia, A., de Guzman, M., Cantarero, R., et al, “Exploring Conceptions of ‘Quality of Life’ in Rural Ethnic Minorities”, Paper presentation at the Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference, Las Vegas, NV (2018).
  • Cantarero, R., de Guzman, M. R. T., Taylor, S., & Hong, S-H. (accepted). (Mis)Communicating with GIS mapping: Choosing units of representation (Part A). Journal of Extension. (In progress).
  • Cantarero, R., de Guzman, M. R. T., Taylor, S., Hong, S-H, & Choi, E. (accepted). (Mis)Communicating with GIS mapping: Data cut offs and other considerations (Part B).  Journal of Extension. (In progress).

Presentations

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

Awards

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

 

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

Read More

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

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

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

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

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

Impacts

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kate Heelan, heelanka@unk.edu

Read More

Social Media Plans for Small Businesses & Local Non-Profits

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

 

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Publications

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

 

Media Coverage

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

 

Contact: Sherri Harms, harmssk@unk.edu

Read More

Art at Cedar Point

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Publications

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

 

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Karen Kunc, kkunc1@unl.edu

Read More

HealthVoiceVision

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

Research & Engagement, 2016


 

 

Summary

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

Impact

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

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

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

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

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

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kirk Dombrowski, kdombrowski2@unl.edu

 

Read More

Community Engagement Education Model

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

 

Impacts

PROJECT ONE: Regional Cultural Heritage Tourism, Discovering the Potential

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

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

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

PROJECT TWO: Valentine, Places in Making

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

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

PROJECT THREE: Nebraska City Riverfront Development

Summary of Process and Partners, February – December 2018

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kim Wilson, kwilson4@unl.edu

Read More

YouRhealth: Youth are Rural Health Program

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Contact: Kim Matthews, kmatthews2@unl.edu

Read More

Enhancing Nebraska’s Ecotourism Industry

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

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

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

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

Impacts

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

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Contact: Richard Edwards, redwards@unl.edu

Read More

Rural Prosperity Research Project

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

Research & Engagement, 2016

 


 

Summary

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

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

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

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

 

Impacts

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

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

 

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Contact: Chuck Hibberd, hibberd@unl.edu

Read More

Raising Awareness of Health Professionals Education Among Rural Nebraska Latino Youth

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

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Contact: Patrik Johansson, pjohansson@unmc.edu

Read More

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.

 

Impacts

The pilot program for the THETA camps took place in McCook, NE from June 5-July 14, 2017. Two UNK students served as camp leaders and RFI Serviceship interns, and led between six and eight children as camp participants. The camps were held in the 4-H building at the Red Willow County fairgrounds, and were aided by the McCook Economic Development Corporation, the McCook Community Hospital, and Mid Plains Community College. This pilot program effectively identified the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

 

Between January and May of 2018, the research team (Drs. Brown, Adkins, Bice, Hollman, N. Bickford, & S. Bickford) recruited another camp leader, and met with the three students for training and discussion regarding the necessary supplies, educational curricula, and other matters concerning the THETA camps. The summer 2018 THETA camps began on May 28 and were hosted at the McCook YMCA facility. Camp attendance grew to 14 children from McCook and surrounding communities.

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.

Presentations

SHAPE America Central District Conference

Farm to Fresh! A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Health and Physical Activity

January 25-27, 2018 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 

Media coverage

Summer interns no strangers to small towns – McCook Gazette, June 13, 2017 https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2419849.html

Rural Futures Institute, UNK interns arrive for summer – McCook Gazette, June 6, 2017 https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2418062.html

Greg Brown, Todd Bartee receive RFI grants for rural health, wellness projects – UNK press release, July 7, 2017 http://unknews.unk.edu/2017/07/07/greg-brown-todd-bartee-receive-rfi-grants-for-rural-health-wellness-projects/

 

Contact: Gregory Brown, brownga@unk.edu

Read More

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.

Impacts

A service learning course was offered for the first time during the spring semester of 2018. ServeNebraska and Americorp volunteers provided training to the 11 undergraduate students who enrolled in the course. The 11 undergraduates contributed over 1,000 volunteer hours throughout the course of the semester, serving three afterschool programs which engaged 428 elementary and middle school students. The programs involved both physical and educational activities. Through leading the afterschool programs, the undergraduate students achieved a greater understanding of community-based interventions and implementing change with regards to pediatric obesity.

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
  • Peru State College
  • ServeNebraska

 

Contact: Danae Dinkel, dmdinkel@unomaha.edu

Read More

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

Read More

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, Department of Sociology

 

Media Coverage

 

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

Read More

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

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

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

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

Impacts

Three communities in Nebraska – Ashland, Nebraska City and Ravenna – were selected to serve as pilot communities for this project. Steering teams were set up in each community to work directly with project personnel. The service learning component of this project involved students from UNO’s Social Media Lab who worked directly in the communities to learn about each community’s current social media presence. Students then prepared reports and identified strategies and tactics to strengthen their competitiveness in the digital economy.

Once the community steering teams each developed a strategy plan to strengthen competitiveness in the digital economy based on the recommendations, each community began working on implementing the strategies. A community survey focused on measuring civic engagement was done at the beginning of the project and will be done again at the completion to determine whether the increased social media tactics increased civic engagement.

Ultimately, the goal is to leverage broadband applications to improve a community’s competitiveness in the digital economy, community readiness to address change and/or action, and increase civic engagement and strengthen social networks, so rural communities can better respond to 21st century issues.

 

Project Team

  • Roberto Gallardo (PI), Purdue University, Center for Regional Management
  • Jeremy Harris Lipschultz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Department of Communication
  • Charlotte Narjes (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Becky Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Jessica Quady, City Administrator, City of Ashland (key community contact)
  • Amy Algood, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce (key community contact)
  • Dena Dennison, Ravenna Economic Development (key community contact)

 

Publications

A Social Media Strategy Plan for Ashland, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gCyNTA1DiPKbF7t6QnlbbLK49iues4DS/view

Nebraska City – Red to the Core https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S8E5RhKZc9oBbo8uiRaCtIm0s5ZRfSb_/view

Ravenna, Nebraska Social Media Audit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xLc93kdkGNLQsOZQWpoOM2WjXMB_TvWn/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Ashland, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BgqB_CjgWGj4viopn34FfcE7_hIbLGG4/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Nebraska City, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1voh_x9T42r95dcxzKifmBdMPgeNGc2X2/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Ravenna, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YMqYMg8i8u-knGkc8_Ze8TVRFqQTtWjP/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Ravenna, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1txH0nQtNbctWmy3HYlDIIZNkjr3nIVK1/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Nebraska City, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hvprkWaMIHURWCuT8LRbTp8C9bpbuYMv/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Ashland, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i5JywQh5aQaTnHShGv-70Aeb6LTHu8i5/view

 

Media Coverage

All three communities had newspaper articles encouraging participation in the trust survey. In addition, communities social media to encourage participation. A sample below:

The Ashland Gazette: Trust Survey deadline extended http://www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com/ashland/news/trust-survey-deadline-extended/article_efd19b2a-d6b8-11e7-9619-6b8f48f253e0.html

The Ashland Gazette: Nov. 14 deadline for survey http://www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com/ashland/news/nov-deadline-for-survey/article_7d47d1c8-c006-11e7-9628-d74e6ca47e42.htm

 

Contact: Roberto Gallardo, robertog@purdue.edu

Read More

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

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

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

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

 

Impacts

84 participants from nine different rural communities are currently enrolled in this study, which has accumulated over 1,000 volunteer hours. The team is currently working on data compilation, analyses, and manuscripts, as well as preparing another grant submission using data from this study.

 

Project Team

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

Partners

  • Martha Strickler, Regional West Physicians Clinic

 

Contact: Trina Aguirre, taguirre@unmc.edu

Read More

Rural Sourcing

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

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

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

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

Impacts

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Shawn Kaskie, kaskiesc@unk.edu

Read More

Understanding Hispanics & Sense of Community

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

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


Summary

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

Impacts

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

Major findings of the study include:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

 

Publications

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

 

Presentations

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

 

Media Coverage

 

 

Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu

Read More

Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

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

Research & Engagement, 2017

Summary

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

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

Impact

The research team has successfully completed the first pilot program in the Sandhills area and implemented a portion of the program in Krakow, Poland in June 2018.

In the Sandhills, one-on-one interviews with local business owners and focus group interview with youth participants were conducted to address the goal of examining the unique needs and contexts of local businesses and rural youth with regard to business ownership, entrepreneurship, and vocational training. The research team is in the process of transcribing, coding, and analyzing the collected data.

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

 

Publications

 

Publications

  • International Council for Small Businesses
    Youth and Young Adults Helping Local SMEs to Expand Their Markets by Solving Live Cases of Their Market Growth Challenges
    June 29, 2018 | Taipei, 
    Taiwan
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Nurturing Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 13, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Developing a Model for Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 12, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Surin Kim, surin@unl.edu

Read More

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. Impact The team began working …

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.

Impact

The team began working with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s Engaging Diversity Committee to identify community leaders in Columbus. Between January and March of 2018, research team members contacted all identified potential participants and evaluated their interest in participating, ensured they met eligibility criteria, and scheduled the interview upon their agreement. 15 key informant interviews took place, with participants representing different sectors in the community, including business, education, healthcare, and social services. Once interviews and data collection were complete, the two graduate students developed a coding scheme and identified eight themes: acculturation strategies, assets of immigrants, collaborations, community development, historical development, opportunities, personal experience of migration and sense of community. Two abstracts have been accepted for poster presentation, and the team is in the process of developing a community fact sheet and report based on the study’s findings. These will be shared at an upcoming meeting with the Engaging Diversity Committee, as well as the study’s participants.

 

Project Team:

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

Presentations

  • Cambio de Colores
    Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities
    June 6-8, 2018 | Kansas City, MO

Media Coverage

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

Read More

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

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

Research & Engagement, 2017

 


Summary

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

 

Impacts

The research team holds weekly video conference meetings with representatives of their partnering organizations (Columbus Community Hospital, East Central District Health Department, and the Center for Community Health and Development at Kansas University), focusing on the planning of future leadership academy workshops.

Coalition meetings and leadership academy workshops take place each month, the first of which was held in January of 2018. Meeting topics have included identifying and discussing potential targets and agents of change, social determinants of health, forming action teams, and strategic planning. In March, Roberta Miksch was hired as the new part-time coordinator of the Coalition, and in June, the Coalition website became available to all its members. A webpage for the public is currently being developed.

 

Project Team

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

Partners

  • Family Health and Wellness Coalition, Columbus Community Hospital; East Central District
  • Community Health and Development Work Group, Kansas University
  • Nebraska Health Department

 

Contact: Todd Bartee, barteet2@unk.edu

Read More

Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology

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

Special Project, 2016


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Publications

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

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

Project trains rural educators, encourages sustainability | UNL Newsroom

 

Contact: Amanda Witte, awitte2@unl.edu

Read More

Measuring the Impact of Youth Leadership Development

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

Research & Engagement, 2015


Summary

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

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

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

Impacts

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

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

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

 

Project Team

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

 

Partners

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

 

Publications

  • Hastings, L. J., McElravy, L.J., Sunderman, H., & Bartak, J., (2017, October). Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity. International Leadership Association Global Conference, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Hastings, L. J., & McElravy, L. J., (2018, October). Scale development for positive youth leadership identity: Developing a factor structure. Paper to be presented at the 20th Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • McElravy, L. J., & Bartak, J., (2018, October). Service learning(squared): Building a foundation of leadership through civic action. Paper to be presented at the 20th Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference, West Palm Beach, FL.

 

Presentations

  • International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity
    October, 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
  • Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Scale development for positive youth leadership identity: Developing a factor structure
    October 24-17, 2018 | West Palm Beach, FL
  • Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Service learning(squared): Building a foundation of leadership through civic action
    October 24-17, 2018 | West Palm Beach, FL

 

Awards

  • Strengthening Democracy Award as “outstanding community partner” presented to Dr. L.J. McElravy and the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, received April 30, 2015.
  • “Outstanding Program Award” for the Rural Civic Action Program – received at the Association of Leadership Educators Conference, July 8-11, 2018 Chicago, IL

 

Media Coverage

 

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

Read More

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

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

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

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

Impacts

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

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

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

Project Team

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

Partners

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

Publication

Presentations

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

Media Coverage

Research grants explore improvements to rural communities | Norfolk Daily News

 

Contact: Eric Thompson, ethompson2@unl.edu

Read More

Using Crowdlearning for Leadership Development in Rural Communities

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

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

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

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

Impacts

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

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

Project Team

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

Publications

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

Presentations

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

 

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

Read More


 

Printable Versions: 2013 Awards | 2014 Awards | 2015 Awards | 2016 Awards | 2017 Awards