Symposium photo

Gains and Losses from School Consolidation in the Great Plains

April 5-6, 2013 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney

Schools are pillars of identity and vitality in communities across the Great Plains. But, as populations dwindle in rural towns, many schools are under pressure to consolidate. The 2013 Symposium examined rural education, the gains and losses from school consolidation, and how we can support rural schools.

Special issue of GPR

A special issue of Great Plains Research features papers presented at the symposium and a photo essay by Chuck Guildner.


Paul Theobald, Dean, School of Education, Buena Vista University
Stephen Swidler, Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Education, UNL
Marty Strange, Sustainable Food System, Green Mountain College
Dave Heineman, Nebraska Governor
Charles Bicak, Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, UNK
Gary Green, Community and Environmental Sociology, Wisconsin-Madison
Ronnie Green, Vice Chancellor, IANR, UNL
Greg Adams, Speaker, Nebraska Legislature
John Hill, Executive Director, National Rural Education Association
Roger Breed, Nebraska State Education Commissioner
Andrea Walton Miller, Simmons Law, Scottsbluff, Oglala Lakota Tribe
Virginia Moon, Superintendent, Omaha Public Schools
B.J. Reed, Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, UNO
John Reinhardt, Dean, College of Dentistry, UNMC
Eric Thompson, Director, Bureau of Business Research, UNL
Bree Dority, Economics, UNK
J.B. Milliken, President, University of Nebraska
NebraskaMATH project

For a complete list, download the printable program on the right.

Symposium media coverage


Symposium to focus on rural education and school consolidation, Grand Island Independent, 3/17/13

Which dies first, a rural community or its school?, Kearney Hub, 3/21/13

Rural schools, consolidation topics of symposium, Kearney Hub, 3/25/13

UNK to host symposium on rural education, Lincoln Journal Star, 3/26/13

UNK to host symposium on rural education, Omaha World Herald, 3/26/13

Heineman proclaims week of April 1 Rural Education Week, Daily Nebraskan, 4/2/13


Experts Talk Pros and Cons of School Consolidation, 10/11 News, 4/5/13

Weighing in on rural school consolidation, KHAS-TV 5, 4/6/13

Rural school consolidation theme of symposium, Kearney Hub, Scottsbluff Star Herald, 4/8/13

Rural help must come disguised in urban attire, Kearney Hub, 4/11/13

World-Herald editorial: NU’s connections extend statewide, Omaha World Herald, 4/15/13

World-Herald editorial: Debate goes on for Plains states, Omaha World Herlad, 3/3/14

Symposium photos