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DSU ag department staffer chosen for rural leadership class

Annika Plummer of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies at Dickinson State University will be taking part in a prestigious rural leadership program she hopes will help her help the students of DSU and put their programs on the map. ...

Annika Plummer was selected as one of just 26 entrants into an 18-month rural leadership program, and will be the first DSU employee to participate. (Photo courtesy of Dickinson State University)
Annika Plummer was selected as one of just 26 entrants into an 18-month rural leadership program, and will be the first DSU employee to participate. (Photo courtesy of Dickinson State University)

Annika Plummer of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies at Dickinson State University will be taking part in a prestigious rural leadership program she hopes will help her help the students of DSU and put their programs on the map.

"This would be a great opportunity for us to expand our reach, so more people know about this great program in agriculture we have here at Dickinson State University," said Plummer, an administrative secretary, in a phone interview Thursday.

Plummer is one of only 26 chosen to participate in Rural Leadership North Dakota's eighth class, and is the first member of the DSU staff to participate. Dr. Chip Poland, chair of the department, penned Plummer a letter of recommendation.

"She has tremendous potential, not only for herself but also for the communities that she lives in," Poland said. "She is a strong supporter for DSU and whatever she does I'm certain DSU will benefit."

Poland acknowledged that it'd be tougher to keep Plummer at her current title, but both Poland and Plummer felt that she demonstrated plenty of leadership ability as an assistant already.

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"Being a leader is not somebody who necessarily tells everybody what to do and directs the orchestra ... she has qualities that would make her a servant leader, that focuses on getting things done and sort of the big picture," Poland said. "She works more behind the scenes but certainly has qualities that will make her a good leader, but also valuable to any organization that she's in."

Plummer has a clear goal for what she hopes to get out of participation in this class, which will see her spending a week in the nation's capitol, Washington D.C., as well as a week overseas on an unspecified international trip. She especially looks forward to being able to bring back exposure to the global market to the students in the ag program.

"A lot of our students come from Montana, SD, North Dakota, Wyoming ... and many don't go much further than that," Plummer said. "They don't realize that we're really close to an international connection in many ways. I think ... I can show them that you can do international experiences and learn from other people and go to other places and really be able to connect things back to North Dakota, because we're a global leader in many ways."

She also hopes to network with closer-to-home leaders in agriculture, to be able to connect the department's students with them in the future. She feels passionately that the school's presence in this class will be to the benefit of the students.

"I'm not a faculty member, I'm not a teacher here, but I think that something is missing if the higher education people aren't being a part of this," she added.

The 2017-19 program consists of in-state seminars with experts on topics such as leadership, economic development and agriculture, as well as tours of agricultural and community businesses. Participants will learn leadership skills, including critical thinking, effective communication, self-awareness, strategic planning and managing conflict, among others. They will learn about policy, marketing and civic engagement, as well as learning about the agricultural economy and how to work with the state Legislature.

Plummer is the sole Dickinson resident selected of this year's class. Since the leadership class began in 2003, it has had 144 graduates from 73 communities in 37 counties around the state.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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