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

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:


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!