Rural Community Engagement & Leadership Program

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


 

 

Summary

The ultimate goal of this project was to build leadership capacity within undergraduate students, and at the same time build leadership capacity of rural high school students and increase their ability to positively impact their respective communities. To meet this goal, University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty within Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) partnered with Civic Nebraska to create a senior-level course by which University of Nebraska (NU) undergraduate student “fellows” facilitate a service learning project with middle school and high school youth in rural communities.

Mentored by classroom teachers, NU student fellows engage rural youth to identify issues in the community and create and implement solutions for the identified issues within a one-semester time frame.

“Because, we know that rural communities are pretty flat in terms of their hierarchy—there’s a lot of distributed power—decision making never resides with one person,” said LJ McElravy, project PI. “So what we need from our leaders in communities—what we need undergraduates to experience—is how to bring people together to help them make decisions effectively.”

Through their participation in the course, the fellows:

The middle school and high school students develop:

 

Impact

 

Project Team

 

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

 

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