Research & Extension

Research & Extension

Dr. Balschweid in Rawanda classroom 2016
The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication works closely with Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Agricultural Research Division to bring expertise from social science disciplines to enhancing the lives of Nebraskans everywhere. ALEC faculty and staff seek to provide leadership in developing teachers, leaders, and communicators for the next generation. Faculty do this specifically in the following areas:

Formal Research Projects

Five year approved projects:

Social media and the role of cultural competence in development of students' communication competencies about ag and natural resources issues -  Dr. Gina Matkin 

Goals/Objectives:

  • Investigate the determinants of small family farmers' entrepreneurial characteristics of ESE and EA toward agri-tourism business that lead them to participate in value-added, agritourism businesses.
  • Determine the influence of small family farm owners' or operators' entrepreneurial characteristics, business contextual factors, interpersonal factors, and personal factors on their participation in agri-tourism entrepreneurial activities.
  • Explore the constraints and facilitators of agri-tourism businesses that are perceived by small family farmers.
Sustaining Small Family Farms in Rural Areas Through Agri-tourism: Determinants of Entrepreneurial Characteristics of Small Family Farms -  Dr. Myunghwa Kang

Goals/Objectives:

  • Determine the specific issues that are most relevant for students and the field in ANRE.
  • Determine the relationship between students' levels of cultural competence (using the Intercultural Development Inventory) and their abilities to conceptualize and communicate perspectives (using content analysis from online content).
  • Develop and implement curriculum around relevant ANRE issues that is delivered and assessed using social and digital media technologies.
  • Assess changes in student cultural competence (quantitative) and abilities to conceptualize and communicate perspectives (qualitative).
  • Utilize findings from both quantitative and qualitative aspects of this project to develop an assessment for cultural competence that focuses on issues and experiences relevant to ANRE.
  • Utilize findings from the qualitative aspect of this project to develop a protocol for assessing student "voice" and abilities to articulate issues from multiple perspectives.

Formal Extension Activities

Research Areas of Expertise in ALEC
FacultyTitleExpertise in ALEC
Mark Balschweid ALEC Department Head/Professor

  • Curriculum development
  • International program development
  • Extension program planning
  • Teacher development

Lloyd Bell Professor

  • Teaching methodology
  • Program planning
  • Distance learning
  • Curriculum development

Nathan Conner Assistant Professor

  • Teaching methodology
  • Science literacy
  • Globalization of school based agricultural education
  • Teacher preparation

Michael Farrell Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Advanced documentary development
  • Executive producer
Michael Forsberg Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Time-lapse photography
  • Conservation photography
Mary Garbacz Assistant Professor of Practice Communication of complex science with clarity, accuracy and objectivity to meet the needs of specific audiences
Lindsay Hastings Clifton Professor in Mentoring Research and Director, Nebraska Human Resources Institute (NHRI)

  • Strengths-based leadership development (youth and adults)
  • Development and delivery of leadership mentoring programs
  • Assessment and evaluation of generativity in leadership contexts
  • Implementation, assessment and evaluation of youth engagement in community development

Jamie Loizzo Assistant Professor
  • Mobile and multimedia communication and journalism
  • Radio and television production
  • Informal/non-formal science communication and education
  • Learning design and technology with specific interests in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Internet-based and arts-based qualitative research methods
Myunghwa (Michelle) Kang Assistant Professor
  • Hospitality and tourism marketing
  • Use of information technology and social media for marketing
  • Destination marketing and promotion
  • Tourism development and entrepreneurship
Eric Knoll Assistant Professor of Practice Skilled and technical sciences in teacher education
Matt Kreifels Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Teaching and learning
  • Beginning teacher induction
Gina Matkin Associate Professor
  • Cultural competence assessment and development
  • Leadership theory and leader/leadership development
  • Graduate student education and development
  • Training and course development
L.J. McElravy Assistant Professor
  • Youth leadership and civic engagement/service-learning
  • Leadership assessment and measurement
  • Positive psychology and leadership development
  • Team-based problem solving fostering creativity and innovation
Roger Terry Professor
  • Distance learning
  • Extension/community development
  • Technology leadership and planning
  • Training and course development
Photo of Dr. Nathan Conner at Extension Workshop in Malawi East Africa
Dr. Nathan Conner - Extension Workshop in Malawi East Africa