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Rural Matters

Oct 25, 2021

In Part VI of this landmark series produced in collaboration with and supported by the Ascendium Education Group, Michelle discusses the challenges and opportunities involved in postsecondary partnerships in rural America with three recognized experts in the field: Dr. Sheila Martin, Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Dakota Pawlicki, the Director of Talent Hubs at CivicLab;  and  Dr, Gretchen Schmidt, a Senior Fellow with the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement and a  national leader in higher education transformation. Martin works with university leaders and policy stakeholders to improve university practices related to economic and community engagement. She describes the unique opportunities for building human capital in rural communities and the exciting activities being undertaken by Cooperative Extension at many universities. Pawlicki serves a network of almost 100 local and regional cross-sector partnerships focused on postsecondary attainment and also hosts Lumina Foundation's podcast, Today's Students, Tomorrow's Talent.  He describes why Talent Hubs are an exemplary cross-sector partnerships and CivicLab’s recent launch of a new capacity-building initiative to support rural partnerships. NCII has worked alongside a group of community college leaders in the last year to highlight issues facing rural institutions post-COVID, notes Schmidt, adding how rural colleges, working in collaboration with local communities, can develop and integrate higher education, with financial resources and social services to enable students and residents to thrive and not just survive. This episode and the entire series is sponsored by the Ascendium Education Group. For more information, visit