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“Together, let us be creative in our thinking, collaborative in our work, resolute in our strategy and bold in our storytelling.”
Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D.
RFI Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist
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We Believe

People have the capacity to shape their own futures.

Communities are not just localities, but also networked groups of individuals working together toward a common goal and shared purpose.

Leaders are known by their vision, ideas, energy, passion and engagement in collective action.

Entrepreneurs are individuals and communities that combine strategic foresight and grit to take action to reach their desired futures.

Diverse and inclusive leadership is needed to propel communities forward.

Our complex future requires mutual respect and collaboration between rural and urban regions and communities.

Our Mission

 

 

Rural Futures with Dr. Connie

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pulse of Rural



Articles & Releases

Thank You To Our Partners | University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Business & Technology

November 16, 2018
  During this month of Thanksgiving, we take some extra time to share our gratitude for all of our partners — individuals and communities of place and practice. Thank you for all you do to bring forward the research and …

With Gratitude

 

During this month of Thanksgiving, we take some extra time to share our gratitude for all of our partners — individuals and communities of place and practice. Thank you for all you do to bring forward the research and hands-on work for thriving rural communities of the future.

 

The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska understands that to truly make a statewide, regional, national and international impact for current and future residents of rural communities, we must partner with the boldest, action-oriented thought leaders and achievers around the world.

 

Meet Our Partners »

 


 

Today we especially thank the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) College of Business & Technology.

 

Providing high-impact, hands-on, experiential learning in and out of the classroom, UNK’s College of Business & Technology faculty and staff have been incredible partners through research and teaching.

 

Bree Dority, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Economics, served as an RFI Faculty Fellow from 2017-2018.

 

Sherri Harms, Department Chair and Professor, served as principal investigator for the “Social Media Plans for Small Businesses & Local Non-Profits” teaching and engagement project funded by RFI in 2016.

During the two-year project timeline, 60 small businesses and non-profit organizations from the Kearney area were assisted by more than 700 UNK students who worked in teams to develop social media plans for the organizations. The service learning project was incorporated into a capstone course offered through the Computer Science and Information Technology department at UNK. A positive impact from this project is that the service learning component of students working with organizations and small businesses is well established into the course and sustainable in ongoing years.

 

A project team, including RFI’s outreach project coordinator, Shawn Kaskie, who also served as Director of the UNK Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development, developed the RFI-funded research project, “Rural Sourcing,” which started in 2013. 

The concept of “rural sourcing” relates to existing and start-up companies strategically locating operations in rural areas to reduce labor costs and increase employee reliability. This project built on a successful “cross-sourcing” model to recruit University of Nebraska alumni back to rural Nebraska in targeted professional service occupations.

This project was a well-suited pilot as partners were unaware of the best methods for implementation or what some results might reveal. Several major lessons were learned through the process, including:

  • Need to engage more partner companies as employers before any promotional campaigns to alumni were implemented.
  • Initial promotional campaign should still be a personalized postcard as the target audience of working professionals receive many forms of electronic correspondence each day.
  • Collaboration with other secondary education institutions serving rural populations may also expand the reach and potential of this concept.

 

Thank you, University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Business and Technology, for being an innovator and educator for the state of Nebraska and on behalf of rural communities throughout the country!

 

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Thank You To Our Partners | Microsoft Technology & Corporate Responsibility

November 14, 2018
  During this month of Thanksgiving, we take some extra time to share our gratitude for all of our partners — individuals and communities of place and practice. Thank you for all you do to bring forward the research and …

With Gratitude

 

During this month of Thanksgiving, we take some extra time to share our gratitude for all of our partners — individuals and communities of place and practice. Thank you for all you do to bring forward the research and hands-on work for thriving rural communities of the future.

 

The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska understands that to truly make a statewide, regional, national and international impact for current and future residents of rural communities, we must partner with the boldest, action-oriented thought leaders and achievers around the world.

 

Meet Our Partners »

 


 

Today we especially thank Microsoft Technology & Corporate Responsibility under the leadership of Shelley McKinley.

 

With a purpose to empower every person on the planet, Microsoft has placed special emphasis on rural broadband through its Airband Initiative.

RFI was pleased to host Shelley McKinley, General Manager of Technology & Corporate Responsibility in March 2018, for two days of future-focused, collaborative discussions with leaders from across Nebraska as well as students, faculty and administration of the University of Nebraska.

Visit Proceedings »

 

 

Shelley also appeared on Episode 2 of the Rural Futures podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie.”

 

 

Episode 2

 

Through the invitation of Shelley, RFI Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., is presenting as a futurist with a critical rural perspective at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting this week. Conversations are also continuing regarding a collaborative project between RFI, Microsoft, the University of Nebraska and the state of Nebraska.

 

Thank you, Microsoft Technology & Corporate Responsibility for your dedication to inclusion and access for all.

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RFI Interim Executive Director Panelist At Women’s Forum Global Meeting 11/16

November 14, 2018
  Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., Rural Futures Institute Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist, is a panelist during the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, France, Nov. 14-16. Bringing a distinctly female perspective to defining strategies to create the conditions for action, …

 

Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., Rural Futures Institute Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist, is a panelist during the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, France, Nov. 14-16.

Bringing a distinctly female perspective to defining strategies to create the conditions for action, global leaders from society and economy are convening at this year’s meeting to bridge divides and move towards more inclusive progress for all of humanity.

 

During the “Designing Cities and Economies for the Future” panel discussion Nov. 16, Reimers-Hild will contribute her futurist lens and rural perspective to the conversation that will address the expected shift of the majority of the global population to cities by 2050. All plenary sessions will be streamed live on Twitter, and this session’s hashtag will be #futurecities.

Fellow panelists include:

  • Estelle Brachlianoff, COO, Veolia
  • Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice President, International Development Thales International
  • Catherine Guillouard, CEO, RATP

 

Speaker Bios

 

Questions posed to the panelists will include:

  • What is an inclusive vision of cities in the future? How can women’s leadership help achieve this vision?
  • How might design and planning for societal and life changes help meet the needs of, and tap opportunities presented by, young and old alike?
  • How will cities of the future be more human cities? What roles do the private and public sector play in ensuring cities grow to be human?

 

Reimers-Hild will present four key points during the conversation.

 

  1. We need to plan for both underpopulation and overpopulation of physical communities. There is an interconnectedness between urban and rural that we can no longer ignore, and our global ecosystem must support more than people. Women who are economically empowered provide not only their ideas and innovations but also give back to their families and communities. Numerous studies show that positive global transformation occurs when women are empowered.
  2. Access to health, well-being and vitality for all. What does it look like for every person on the planet to have great places to live, clean water, sanitation, transportation, sustainable energy, activity and proper nutrition? How do we provide access to health, well-being and vitality for all people in the future?
  3. Advancements in technology and science are changing expectations and demands of humans. Demographic shifts, psychographics shifts, IoT, AI, robotics, mobile tech, intelligent transportation are all interwoven factors.
  4. Broadband and high speed connectivity will be critical components of future communities both physically and digitally. This requires a systems approach to infrastructure. How many physical structures do we need? Should more of this money be invested into virtual opportunities? New systems can create the flexibility women need to earn income, support their families and prioritize their own well-being. Women possess the creativity, knowledge and desire needed to implement new living systems designed to improve outcomes for children, families, communities and the environment.

For ongoing updates, follow the Women’s Forum across social media!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Sydney Armbruster intersects housing and healthcare on Episode 17 of Rural Futures Podcast

November 14, 2018
    November 14, 2018 — “I really have a passion for helping people,” says Sydney Armbruster, who hopes to be a physician assistant in a rural community one day. The Fall City, Neb., native is a senior disease and …

 

 

November 14, 2018 — “I really have a passion for helping people,” says Sydney Armbruster, who hopes to be a physician assistant in a rural community one day.

The Fall City, Neb., native is a senior disease and human health major at Peru State College. She shares her rural experience in healthcare and housing in the Bold Voices student segment at 13:53 of Episode 17 of the Rural Futures Institute’s weekly podcast launched today with featured guest Christiana McFarland of the National League of Cities.

Expecting to be placed in a rural community after becoming a Rural Futures Institute (RFI) Serviceship student in 2018, Sydney was surprised to learn she would spend her summer in Omaha, Neb., with the Omaha Municipal Land Bank.

The Omaha Municipal Land Bank is a local governmental nonprofit organizations that was established by the Nebraska Legislature to develop housing strategies for regional organizations in rural communities across Nebraska.

“Once I got to Omaha, I learned a whole new world that joined housing and healthcare,” she says. With the Land Bank, she got an inside view of how important housing is to a community and witnessed the critical connections between health and housing.

“It made me grow as a person and will definitely shape how I practice medicine in the future,” she says of her RFI serviceship experience. “It definitely opened my horizons to what the world has to offer and how many people are working for positive change in the world today.”

The RFI podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie,” is available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloudGoogle Play and Spotify.

RFI Student Serviceship details are available at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/serviceship.

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