A strong sustainable network that is the leading source of trusted rural development research and learning.
To create a model of rural community development through collaboration in research and learning.
The Alberta Rural Development Network will use the combined expertise of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to support rural development in Alberta and help rural communities grow through learning.
"The Alberta Rural Development Network will use the combined expertise of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to support rural development in Alberta and help rural communities grow through learning."
The mandate recognizes that the members of the Network are in the business of learning — at every level and in every part of the province. It also recognizes that learning is a vital component of the future of rural communities, whether that’s through expanding access to a range of learning opportunities in rural Alberta, expanding the capacity of communities, applying research and best practices, or building economic development opportunities. While a range of activities are possible using the combined expertise of the Network, the primary objectives are to:
- Provide a resource to rural communities: providing training and human resource expertise to help communities develop capacity, identify community needs, and follow through on opportunities to build stronger futures in rural Alberta.
- Expand access to training and education in rural communities: bringing more opportunities to rural communities and taking full advantage of SuperNet and the combined capacity of post-secondary institutions and rural communities.
- Provide a proactive source for up-to-date information, knowledge and models of best practice in rural development: allowing communities to learn from experiences in other locations and to access not only information but also people, expertise and ideas.
- Provide strategic research on economic, cultural, environmental and social issues affecting the well-being of people in rural communities: using partnerships among institutions and with communities and other partners to facilitate collaborative research, share results and findings, and develop products and processes.
The Network operates on a virtual basis allowing communities to access the full range of expertise and capacity from all of the members of the Network, not just the institution closest to their community.
Members of the Network have agreed to commit time, people, and resources to the Network to make it work. They also have agreed to work together, to engage the full capacity of the Network whenever rural communities are looking for assistance, and to build on the current relationships each member of the Network has with rural communities across the province.
To establish the Alberta Rural Development Network, the initial institutions involved a Memorandum of Understanding signed by all public post-secondary institutions in the province.
Key steps have been taken: a not-for-profit organization has been registered with Alberta’s Societies Act; a business plan has been developed; a board has been created; key personnel, including an Executive Director, have been hired; office space has been secured; a logo has been created; a website is being developed; and several working groups are being formed. The Network will work in collaboration with the Government of Alberta and will continue its efforts to support the Rural Development Strategy.
Members of the Network are pleased that much of the groundwork is nearly complete, so that “the real work” can begin, including the development of clear and effective ways for communities to connect to the Network, and creating tangible initiatives in rural communities across the province.
This project gratefully acknowledges funding from Rural Alberta Development Fund.