We envision a future with hope-filled, evidence-based rural renewal movements growing in every state and nation. The Rural Renewal Initiative will engage and expand an interdisciplinary community of researchers and students devoted to improving rural communities.
Pursuing the Mission
On-site student researchers
Upper-level undergraduates and graduate students will lead community-engaged research in rural communities during the summer. They will be trained on approaches for successful community-based research. Students will study developing natural, human and/or technological capital. This Rural Scholars program will eventually become a key part of a minor and/or certificate in rural renewal.
Supporting interdisciplinary research
Our initial interdisciplinary projects are in Harmon and Tillman Counties, which lead Oklahoma in population losses and persistent poverty. Community partners and researchers from engineering, human sciences, health sciences, business and agriculture will test new approaches for rural youth development and entrepreneurship, health care systems and digital connectivity. A seed grant program will engage new communities, researchers and topics each year.
Celebrating successes in rural renewal
The institute will host an annual Rural Renewal Symposium to expand and empower a network of collaborating faculty, students and community leaders. The symposium will feature the research of the institute’s faculty, rural scholars and others, and a Rural Renewal Prize will honor a global leader in rural renewal research, education or engagement. This event will raise awareness of rural research needs and help develop new collaborations.