Arlen Etling

Arlen 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. He has worked with faculty, students and local residents in the three states and 50+ countries to expand opportunities for international teaching, learning, research and outreach.


His book, Liderazgo Efectivo, was published in 1998 by Editorial Trillas, 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.


A farm boy from Kansas; Arlen studied agricultural education at Kansas State; taught high school social studies in Bolivia; focused on nonformal education and curriculum development at C.I.E. working on the Ecuador Project and the origins of the Indonesia Project (workshops in Ujung Pandang and Amherst). He taught extension education courses at the University of Arizona and coordinated training programs for Cooperative Extension professionals then moved to Northeastern Arizona in a community development specialist position for nine years.  He taught extension education (NFE) methods and program planning courses at Penn State and coordinated 4-H international programs for 10 years.  His first Fulbright programs was at the University of Monterrey, Mexico, in leadership for community development.


At the University of Nebraska, he taught graduate courses in extension education and coordinated 4-H curriculum development. He was promoted to Director of the International Programs Division, College of Agriculture, then Associate Director, NU Office International Affairs.  He completed Senior Fulbright Specialist programs in leadership for university outreach at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, and program development for study abroad exchanges with the University of Zagreb, Croatia.


Arlen Comments: 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 diverse professional challenges, and a willingness to look “outside the box.”  I have been disappointed that I have not been able to access the rich network of human resources at CIE more often.


In June, 2021, Arlen and Lana resettled in New York City to be closer to the grandsons. Daughter, Melissa, has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, lives in New York City, and performs with orchestras in the three-state area. Son, Travis, has Masters degrees in Special Education and Religious Studies. Current priorities are family, transition to a productive retirement, and continuing to rethink a lifestyle of learning and service. [12-21]




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