D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership

Vicky Eiben

Research Fellow 2012-13 AND 2017-18

Vicky Eiben
Associate Professor, School of Education
Department Chair for Undergraduate Education

Dr. Eiben has been an educator for over 35 years, with 29 years in K-12 and 9 years in higher education. She earned two undergraduate degrees, one from Wartburg College in Biology and Outdoor Education and a second degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, a master’s degree from Antioch University, and an Ed.D. from Fielding Graduate University. She has studied and traveled extensively in Mexico and Central America and has been involved with service projects related to sea turtle conservation and literacy, most recently in Nicaragua. Dr. Eiben is a faculty member in the School of Education and teaches a variety of courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is the department chair for the undergraduate program in the School of Education and has been instrumental in the development of several new programs and initiatives. Dr. Eiben was a founding board member of Driftless Folk School in Viroqua, Wisconsin and also serves on the board of the Folk Education Association of America. She is involved in a variety of research and writing projects. Her dissertation in 2008 was on the Success and Sustainability of Visionary Grassroots Education Initiatives in Rural Areas. Grant funded research in 2012 and subsequent presentations and writing were titled Radical Hope: How a Whole System Approach to Education Is Catalyzing Change in a High Poverty, Rural Community in Maine. Ongoing research and writing focus on place-based education in rural communities, the development and role of folk schools in rural communities, and the preparation of teachers for rural schools. 

Dr. Eiben’s fellowship research examines the relationship between rural schools and rural communities and the preparation of teachers to work in those communities. This case study and survey research examines the strengths and needs of rural schools in the United States and what is needed for new teachers to be successful in rural schools and to continue to work in rural schools. This research will inform the continued development of the program and courses in the Viterbo School of Education and the preparation of teachers to serve rural schools. Because this research will include case study sites in rural communities throughout the United States, it will also inform preservice teacher education in colleges and universities around the country.


  • Eiben, V. (2016, Spring). Fan Hitch is Key to Success at North House Folk School. Folk Education Association of America. Online publication.
  • Eiben, V. (2015, Spring). A Brief History of Folk Schools. Folk Education Association of America. Online publication.
  • Eiben, V. (2010, Dec.) Up from the Earth: A Study of Grassroots Schools. YIHS Magazine


  • Eiben, V., & Murphy, D. (2018, August). Finding Grundtvig in North America. Lands of the Living: An International Symposium of NFS Gruntvig, London, England.
  • Eiben, V., Murphy, D., & Waterman-Hoey, S. (2017, November). U.S. Folk Schools and Rural Community Transformation. American Association of Adult and Continuing Education Conference, Memphis, TN.
  • Eiben, V. & Hughes, S. (2016, November). Teaching Millennials in the Active Learning Classroom. Faculty Celebration of Teaching and Learning. Viterbo University.
  • Eiben, V. (2016, April). Radical Hope: A Whole System Educational Approach in Rural Maine. American Educational Research Association.
  • Eiben, V. & Hughes, S. (2014, October). Making the Gray Matter: Brain Compatible Teaching and Learning in the Higher Education Classroom. International Society of Teaching and Learning Conference, Quebec City, Quebec.
  • Eiben, V. (2014, January). History of Folk Schools in North America. National Schools for Life Conference, Viroqua, WI.
  • Eiben, V. (2011, July). NFS Grundtvig and the Folk School Vision. Driftless Folk School, Viroqua, Wis., July 2011.
  • Eiben, V. (2010, April). Success and Sustainability of Visionary Grassroots Education Initiatives in Rural Areas. American Educational Research Association Annual Conference.
  • Eiben, V. (2009, January). Grassroots Education Initiatives in Rural Areas. Poster Session, College of Human and Organizational Development, Fielding University.
  • Eiben, V., Germaine-Watts, J., & Tiner, K.A. (2008, November). Urban and Rural Intersections Creating Culturally Appropriate and Place-Based Learning Communities. Fielding Graduate University Board of Trustees.
  • Eiben, V., Furth, A., McKrimmen, K., Spicer, C. (2007, October). Folk Schools and Radical Social Change. Conference on Education, Leadership, and Activism for a Life Sustaining Civilization, Lesley University.