Rural Community Diversity Action

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


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.


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



Contact: Gina Matkin,