Etling Arlen

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

(Emily Dickinson)


Arlen Etling retired as professor emeritus from the University of Nebraska in 2011 after 36 years in higher education at NU, Penn State and the University of Arizona. The highlight of his career was three Fulbright Fellowships (University of Monterrey, Mexico, 1995; University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, 2005; University of Zagreb, Croatia, 2010). Arlen has worked with faculty, students and residents in the three states and 50+ countries to expand opportunities for international teaching, learning, research and outreach.


Arlen's last book, Liderazgo Efectivo, was published in 1998 by Editorial Trillas in Mexico City (ISBN 968-24-3450-5). It describes leadership skills that are needed by nonformal educators and community development workers. It builds on Arlen’s 1975 dissertation, Characteristics of Facilitators: The Ecuador Project and Beyond


Lana and Arlen have enjoyed Nebraska where they have stayed close to their extended families. Their son Travis has a Master's degree in special education and a Master's in Theology. Daughter Melissa has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, lives in New York City and performs with orchestras in the three-state area. Grandson Benjamin Eli Kritzer was born August 28, 2016. [12-16]


Earlier Comments from Arlen. I'm a farm boy from Kansas; agricultural education at Kansas State; taught high school social studies in Bolivia; focused on nonformal education and curriculum development at CIE.


Taught extension education courses at the University of Arizona and coordinated training programs for Cooperative Extension then moved to Northeast Arizona in a community development specialist position nine years. Taught extension education (NFE) methods and program planning courses at Penn State and coordinated 4-H international programs for 10 years. Fulbright at University of Monterrey in leadership for community development led to a book Liderazgo Efectivo (see photo). 


Returned to the prairie, University of Nebraska, to teach graduate courses in extension education and coordinate 4-H curriculum development. Promoted to Director of the International Programs Division, College of Agriculture, then Associate Director of University International Affairs.  Completed Senior Fulbright Specialist program in leadership for university outreach at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Now coordinator of international studies including study abroad initiatives for the Agricultural College.


CIE was important to me because it gave me a working definition and diverse case studies in NFE, a theoretical understanding and practical experience in curriculum development, empowerment to be creative even in conservative academic environments, applications for educational evaluation, a refined world view, courage to take on professional challenges, and a willingness to look “outside the box.” CIE has been disappointing to me in that I have not been able to access its rich network of human resources as much as I would have liked, when I really needed them. Current priorities are family, transition to a productive retirement, continuing to rethink a lifestyle of learning and service, and becoming “native to this place”—the prairie. [6-08]



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CIE Graduate