Earn a Degree While Working in Rural Community Development

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The Rural Development Leadership Network provides formal and informal educataional opportunities for emerging community leaders in poor rural areas. Our primary goal is to help the participant become better prepared for ongoing work in helping his/her community. Because academic credentials may be important for employment and/or appointment to boards and other positions we have looked for academic programs that evaluate learners to remain actively involved in community work while earning the degree. Too often academic programs have removed learners physically, intellectualy, culturally and morally from their communities and contributed to brain drain in these areas. To the extent possible, we identify academic programs thar are community based and learner centered.

RDLN also offers ongoing workshops and training in a rand of fields related to rural community development. These take place at our Institute, Assemblies, special project gatherings and conference calls and webinars. Writing and entrepreneurship workshops have been priorities. Peer learning and exchange are important to RDLN. Participants learn much from others in different regions, cultures and programatic disciplines. So that RDLN participants can have the experience of studing on a mainstream campus and having access to the resources of such a school, we have coordinated a term with the Rural Development Institute of the University of California, Davis approximately ever other year since 1985.


The Rural Development Leadership Network supports the combined development of rural people and rural communities. People are a community's most important long-term resource. In the RDLN program, participants implement practical projects in their own communities. They may also work toward an RDLN certificate, bachelor's degree or master's degree through related mentored independent study. RDLN is forming a cohort of rural development practitioners to work toward a Ph.D. degree.
Apply immediately for rolling admission.

THE PROGRAM - Certificate, or Degree

During an 18-30 month enrollment, participating leaders from diverse communities take part in three major activities: 1) They develop a community development project (RDLN Field Project) in cooperation with a Sponsoring Organization and other community people; 2) They pursue an independent study program to support the Project and enhance their long-term community development work; 3) They attend a four-and-a-half week RDLN Rural Development Institute with Leaders from various rural regions at the University of California at Davis for intensive study, exchange and networking. Qualified participants may earn an RDLN Certificate, a B.A. degree through Excelsior College (designed especially for people with two years of college who have basic distribution credits), or a master's degree through Antioch University. We are willing to work with B.A. and PhD canidates to make arrangements at other schools.

Each RDLN Leader works with the guidance of a Field Resource Advisor and Study Resource Advisors. Each has a Sponsoring Organization which serves as an umbrella for the Field Project and contributes financially to RDLN. The amount required is $7,500 for RDLN Certificate; $20,000 for master's.

For more information, write or call RDLN, P.O. Box 98, Prince Street Station, New York, NY 10012, (212) 777-9137/fax(212) 477-0367, email: rdln@ruraldevelopment.org Contact: Starry Krueger, President.


RDLN Rural Development Leaders
: Write to RDLN for an application. You will be asked for an autobiographical essay describing your previous work in rural community development, an outline of your proposed RDLN Field Project and study program, a resume and other background material, plus three letters of recommendation. After a preliminary screening of applications, there will be interviews of finalists. Sponsoring Organizations: Write to RDLN for information and agreement form. You will be asked to commit programmatic, financial and logistical support for the RDLN Rural Development Leader you sponsor. (See below.)

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION (RDLN Rural Development Leaders)

1) Proven dedication to community-based rural community development. 2) For those seeking a master's degree, ability to function at a high level with skills of a college graduate; B.A. degree. 3) Commitment to building relationships with other rural people and communities. 4) Willingness to report regularly to RDLN. 5) Ability to work cooperatively and in self-directed, self-motivated way. 6) Presentation of a feasible and valuable RDLN Community Development Project. 7) Sponsorship by an organization which can make the required programmatic and financial contribution to RDLN.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION (Sponsoring Organizations)

1) Programmatic focus on rural community development. 2) Willingness and capacity to sponsor a participating Rural Development Leader's RDLN Field Project and in most cases to provide a qualified Field Resource Advisor for that person and Project and help identify a qualified Study Resource Advisor. 3) Ability, if necessary, to provide logistical support, such as office space, telephone, typewriter, local transportation, benefits. 4) Contribution to RDLN of $7,500 (RDLN Certificate or bachelor's degree) or $20,000 (master's degree) for overhead and academic expenses, plus an additional $15,000 as an educational grant to the participant for the first fifteen months. Note: Salary payments may be substituted for the $15,000 educational grant, which in addition may be waived by the participant. Please feel free to call and discuss arrangements.

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