December 4, 2015, 4:00 p.m. CDT


Contact Jason Hogue, Peru State College Marketing and Communications, 402.872.2429



Lincoln, Nebraska- Dr. Kyle Ryan has been recognized by the University of Nebraska Medical Center as an “E-Learning Innovator in Education” for his role in the creation of the online course, Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health: Service Learning, Community-based Participatory Research, Leadership, and Civic Engagement. Ryan is an assistant professor in Peru State College’s School of Education.

The Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health course was developed and created in partnership with Ryan; the Director of the Rural Health Education Network, Dr. Patrik Johansson; and the Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, Dr. Brandon Grimm. The course is funded through a Teaching and Engagement grant from the Rural Futures Institute.

The course was designed to create an online public health curriculum for undergraduate students enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. Particular attention was paid to maintaining the requirement that students complete a total of 20 hours of service learning.

According to Ryan, “The unique structure of this course was that, since it was offered online, it guaranteed that students enrolled at Peru State College gave back to the community in which they reside. Since we had over 20 students enrolled in the course and living everywhere from Birmingham, Alabama to Stockton, California, Peru State College students offered over 400 hours of service across the country.”

Johansson created modules for community-based participatory research that offered instruction on the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership Process that included videotaped interviews with local Directors of Public Health Departments.

Grimm created modules for leadership that included video-taped interviews with U.S. Representative for Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District Adrian Smith, State Senator Sara Howard, Director of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln Dr. Bob Rauner, and Director of Southeast District Health Department Kevin Cluskey.

While the course was created by Ryan, Johansson and Grimm, it was Ryan who was responsible for the implementation of the course and who assumed responsibility for grading of the course.

According to 2015 Peru State College graduate, and current UNMC College of Public Health student Chessa Quenzer, “Sociology 395 is an extraordinary course. Truly, by far, the most thought-provoking, engaging, and challenging course I've taken.”

“I say this, in part, because learning from top professionals and professors in public health gives students many collective viewpoints to engage upon.

Quenzer continues, “My favorite part of the course, which is not offered in most online courses, was the service-learning project. I was able to gain acute and fundamental skills through a public health sector.”

“This hands-on application was further challenged by applying learned skills of civic engagement, personal growth, academic engagement, and leadership in reflection papers. Through the service learning process, I was able to challenge and optimize my critical thinking skills on a level that hadn't been ignited yet in my Peru State College career.”

Ryan was also recognized with the 2015 Excellence in Community Based Teaching and Scholarship award from the Nebraska Campus Compact and the Peru State College 2014 Teacher Excellence Award.


Dr. Kyle Ryan accepts the E-Learning Innovator in Education award from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Kyle Ryan accepts the E-Learning Innovator in Education award from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

For more information, visit or call 1-800-742-4412.


About Peru State College: Peru State’s “Campus of a Thousand Oaks,” an arboretum, is nestled in historic southeast Nebraska. The state’s first college, Peru State offers a unique mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management. It is a college of choice fostering excellence and student achievement through engagement in a culture that promotes inquiry, discovery and innovation.