The Hutton Honors College class prioritizes partnerships with rural and underserved communities, providing skills necessary for strategic engagement with real clients. Harnessing skills in inquiry, analysis and critical thinking, the students will assist in developing recommendations for the community through investigation, discussion and collaborative cooperation. They will apply integrative consulting recommendations through in-depth research. These recommendations, developed through learning, will recognize and define how community cultural influences impact consulting.

“We work with our neighbors who need a broad skill range to meet everyday challenges that businesses and organizations may encounter,” said Dayton. “The class is built on relational consulting skills and organizational frameworks that assist in understanding and guiding businesses and organizations in community. In doing this, we enrich the community’s assets and enhance the academic and professional skills of Indiana University’s greatest asset – its students.”

Jessica Potts, executive director of Martin County Alliance for Economic Growth, and Nicole Vasconi, quality of place liaison of IU Center for Rural Engagement, met with Dayton and his class on Aug. 29 to give a presentation on Martin County and asset-based community development. Dayton’s class will host several networking meetings and will present a final report near the end of semester in December.

The full team, community and students will focus on Martin County’s natural resources, including its parks and trails, as well as housing opportunities that would be attractive to visitors and prospective residents. Conducting a deep dive to map assets, community needs and opportunities and the broader context of Martin County, student teams will identify areas for economic and community development as first step in the semester long engagement. Building on the identified areas, five student teams will offer recommendations that align with the selected areas. To ensure sustaining, positive impact, students will be engaged throughout the semester through virtual and in-community dialogue.

Media contact:
Kyla Cox Deckard, IU Center for Rural Engagement
(812) 855-4992 office; (812) 219-9993 cell

About the Martin County Alliance

The Martin County Alliance for Economic Growth is structured as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, funded by both public and private organizations that reflect the diverse assets of Martin County. In addition, we have a Board of Directors who govern and oversee the organization, which include local elected officials, utilities, business, and community leaders.

The IU Center for Rural Engagement improves the lives of Hoosiers through collaborative initiatives that discover and deploy scalable and flexible solutions to common challenges facing rural communities. Working in full-spectrum community innovation through research, community-engaged teaching and student service, the center builds vision, harnesses assets and cultivates sustainable leadership structures within the communities with which it engages to ensure long-term success.