Let’s create our desired futures — Happy New Year from the Rural Futures Institute


Dear fellow advocates of a thriving rural future:

From all of us here at the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, we wish you a joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Entering a new year is often a time for reflection and goal setting, and we hope that as you consider the next 365 days, you do so with the intention of creating purpose and clarity for yourself, your family and your community.

Strategizing for the exponential changes of the future — especially those beyond the next 365 days — is difficult, but also exhilarating.

Strategic Foresight


As proponents of rural communities, our team sees extraordinary opportunities at the intersections of leadership, technology and rural-urban collaboration. And we aren’t alone.

Letter From Our Director


Through our podcast, Rural Futures with Dr. Connie, we have convened important conversations spanning economic development, health care access, broadband and more with thought-leaders and achievers, futurists and researchers, rural community mavericks and innovators.

Podcast White Paper


And we continue to be inspired and energized by the passion of the University of Nebraska students we are honored to work with and the community mentors they have the opportunity to interact with. Take a few minutes to listen to and read the students’ take on the future of rural areas.

Midlands Voices: Midwesterners and misconceptions
Clayton Keller
Omaha World Herald
November 1, 2018

Local View: We can reverse rural population drain
Trenton Buhr
Lincoln Journal Star
October 31, 2018

Bold Voices podcast segments
iTunes, Stitcher
Season 2


We also pay close attention to the national rural narrative and, while much of it discusses the many challenges rural areas face, there have been many demonstrations of progress and optimism.


Thank You To Our Partners

We spent the month of thanksgiving thanking our partners, but our gratitude never ceases. Thank you to all who have supported the work of the Rural Futures Institute, but more importantly the vision and goals of rural communities throughout Nebraska and beyond.

Our Partners


Our Plans for 2019

In February 2019, we will announce an evolved framework of RFI Student Serviceship to serve communities of place and practice in rural Nebraska, throughout the U.S., and with partners of purpose and practice at the University of Nebraska and beyond. We look forward to sharing those details and hosting serviceship experiences in 2019!



In May 2019, thanks to a collaborative team of University of Nebraska researchers, we will launch the first phase of the Nebraska Thriving Index, which will include an interactive online tool that will provide economic developers, local elected officials and community leaders with economic and quality of life indicators to identify thriving and lagging regions so strategic, future-focused investments can be made.

Nebraska Thriving Index


Be a Bold Voice for Rural

We hope you will interact with us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn to share with us your plans, hopes and desires for a thriving rural future. You are also welcome to participate in our podcast by listening, reviewing, nominating a guest and sponsoring!



The Rural Futures Institute Team