Nationwide grant supports leadership training program at Penn State ag sciences school


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A $20,000 grant from the Nationwide Insurance Foundation will support a leadership-education program in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership program, known as RULE, is a two-year leadership development initiative administered within the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education.

RULE is open to all adult Pennsylvania residents who want to develop their leadership skills and improve the quality of life in their local communities.


J.D. Dunbar, RULE program manager and senior extension associate said the program focuses on developing proficiencies in four target areas: communication skills, group process, personal leadership and specific community issues.

“One of the issues Nationwide was interested in addressing was crisis communication in leadership,” Dunbar said.

“That’s an area that we believe should be a benchmark in leadership development, so we have begun to incorporate crisis communication into our curriculum. This grant will help us to enhance and better integrate our offerings on this important topic.”

She said the funding will help cover program costs for RULE study institutes.


The three-day institutes explore rural and urban issues and help participants expand their skills and knowledge while learning how to take part in public decision-making more effectively.

Since its inception in 1985, RULE has graduated nearly 600 leaders. Alumni include local, state and federal elected officials, business and community leaders, higher education administrators, agricultural professionals and government agency personnel.

More information about RULE is available at


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