By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN More than 70 letters have been sent to people recognized as community leaders in the Dassel and Cokato area last week as part of the preliminary process of a leadership study through the University of Minnesota.
Kevin Dahlman, Cokato, works with the University of Minnesota in its agriculture and education departments and has studied under Dr. Roland Peterson, professor with the university.
Each spring, Peterson takes his class to small-town communities to study what makes good leaders in a small town.
In the past, his students have studied Sanborn, Olivia, and Plainview.
This year, Dahlman suggested the professor’s class study the DC community.
“I’m excited about it to have their perspective drawn out from the study, and for free,” Dahlman said.
Forty willing participants will be contacted in early April by one of the 24 students in the class to set up an interview with three of the students.
From the interviews, the students will try to determine these areas:
• what makes good leaders in a small community;
• how do rural communities thrive and operate;
• how do people view their community; and
• how can rural communities survive in today’s environments.
The objective of the study is to ultimately train students on what it takes to be a leader in a small community if they were to graduate and be relocated to one, Dahlman explained, adding that small towns operate differently than metro and suburban cities.
“They don’t want future graduates to be blind-sided,” Dahlman noted, adding that it will be interesting to see what the findings are, compared to the other cities studied.
The students’ findings will be compiled and submitted to the Enterprise Dispatch for a follow-up report.