The mission of the North American Rural Futures Institute – NARFI – is to provide a virtual clearinghouse for trends and events in social, technological, educational, economic, and political arenas that are combining to create change in rural life across North America. As a cooperative organization of efforts between Montana State University-Northern and the area it serves, NARFI is a comprehensive vision for creating a unique niche for a small rural university in an increasingly competitive academic market, and an engine for catalyzing the working and civic lives of rural people across the country.
Our vision is to provide each community member with the opportunities they need to grow and to prosper and continually improve on their personal and group futures, as well as provide the security for them to do so. Information technology and media will enable the creation of opportunity and security through the processes of transformational learning and community building. Our objectives within this goal are to create the capacity for information exchange within our region parallel to those in more urban areas, to increase the visibility of the needs and possibilities of this region, to explore alternative sources of funding as seed capital to begin re-growth and renewed potential in this isolated area of the country, and to establish interrelationships with individuals within our community and beyond, creating increased potential energy for transformation.
3. Anticipated Activities:
To realize our goal of interconnecting the working and living places of our community with digital infrastructure, the design of the NARFI project is threefold:
a. To establish an active research and teaching institute on the campus of Montana State University-Northern, one of the most rurally located universities in the United States. This institution would strive to weave a rural futures strand within the existing programs on its campus, focusing up on ways that each discipline can contribute to developing the capacities for transformation in rural life in America. In addition, each discipline would engage in consultation with the four tribal colleges along Montana’s Hi-Line to develop collaborative opportunities that support an improved quality of rural life on our Indian Reservations.
b. To effectively create in the small city of Havre, MT, the home of Montana State University-Northern, a working “laboratory” or living example of the kinds of activities that can occur in rural places in the 21st century. The networking, collaboration, continuous learning and community leadership will be developed and modeled within this small city and region of northcentral Montana
c. A web page connecting rural people to each other, to economic opportunities, quality of life issues and learning innovations in rural North America.Located at http://narfi.org
4. Partner Organizations:
a. Communities of The Future (COTF) – Raleigh, North Carolina
b. The Global 21st Century Rural Network Project
c. SohoDojo – small business enterprise network – Raleigh, North Carolina
d. Bear Paw Economic Development - Havre, Montana
e. Havre Area Chamber of Commerce
f. The City of Havre and Hill County Commissioner’s Office
g. Triangle Telephone Cooperative - Havre, Montana
h. Human Resource Development Council – Havre, Montana
i. Havre Public Schools – Havre, Montana
j. The New Democracy Center – Blacksburg, Virginia
k. The Center for the Common Good – High Point University, North Carolina
l. The National Center for Ecological Learning – University of South Carolina
m. The Center for Future Studies – part of The Virtual International University
n. The Center for Open Source Collaboration Technologies – Raleigh, North Carolina
o. The Center for Transformational Learning – Grand Rapids, Michigan
5. Organizational Structure:
Because learning is thought to be paramount to the success of rural transformation to align with 21st Century ideas and processes, NARFI’s university activities will be primarily coordinated through the College of Education at Montana State University — Northern. The NARFI university coordinator will report to the Dean of the College of Education. An advisory committee consisting of representatives from all four colleges within the university, student governance, and local community civic and business organizations will regularly meet to provide input and direction for NARFI activities. Remote partners will communicate via email and video conferencing to the university coordinator and represented at regular meetings.
6. NARFI—MSU -Northern mission articulation:
Teacher preparation, mechanical and engineering technologies, business and computer information systems, nursing, and arts and sciences programs – virtually all of the professional preparatory emphases on campus will benefit from the ready identification of emerging technologies and application to rural-specific situations. NARFI will create the potential to enhance and multiply the power of the entire Montana State University – Northern mission: application of new ideas, excellence in teaching, service to the region, and the creation of a culturally rich and intellectually stimulating environment. NARFI will strengthen and enrich the university’s partnerships with communities, education, business, and industry throughout the region.
7. First Year and continuing finances:
A $500,000 federal appropriation has been unanimously supported by members of the Hill County and Havre Area business, government, and education community — including Montana State University-Northern. Verbal support by Senator Max Baucus and Senator Conrad Burns appears forthcoming before the Appropriations Committee before Congress. This will consist of the initial seed money to begin the North American Rural Futures Institute for the first year. Continued finances are anticipated through a variety of grant funded resources, including a grant proposal being written for an Environmental Scanning project for rural Montana by the National Science Foundation and a Community Learning Center proposal through the federal Department of Education. It is anticipated that NARFI will receive between 30 to 40 percent of future finances from grants and sponsored research, and the rest from products and services generated through it’s activities, such as the publication of books, presentation at conferences, creation of teaching materials, and collaborative business projects with rural businesses and industry.
8. Similar Programs:
Though there are similar elements of the North American Rural Futures Institute in activities and programs around the state, such as the Montana Cooperative Development Center or the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology grants in the Montana University System, there is no comprehensive institute or center devoted to the transformational leadership required of all disciplinary efforts to remake rural communities in the 21st Century.
9. Faculty Expertise:
Anderson, Loretta – Assistant Professor, Nursing
Barber, Roger – Provost/Senior Vice Chancellor; Professor, Business
Boysun, Wane – Instructor, Automotive Technology and Agricultural Mechanics
Brown, Kevin – Assistant Professor, Community Service
Burris, Suzanne – Assistant Professor, Counselor Education
Carlson, Kevin – Associate Professor, Business
Christeck, Robert P. – Professor, Chemistry
Clinton, James – Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Technology
Clouse, Gregory – Associate Professor, Diesel Technology
Currie, Walt – Assistant Professor, Education; Head Football Coach
Danley, William – Associate Professor, Agricultural Technology
Delong, Douglas – Professor, Mathematics
Denning, Robert – Assistant Professor, Physical Education, Athletic Trainer
Edwards, James – Associate Professor, Economics
Erickson, Sandra – Assistant Professor, Business Education
Franson, Jerold – Associate Professor, Automotive Technology
Gilmartin, Brian – Associate Professor, Psychology and Sociology
Goudie, Trish – Chair/Interim Dean, College of Nursing; Assistant Professor, Nursing
Gransberry, Gayle – Assistant Professor, Nursing
Hawkinson, Virgil – Professor, Manufacturing and Metals Technology
Henehan, Maureen – Assistant Professor, Nursing
Hesske, Steve – Assistant Professor, English
Hester, Gregory – Assistant Professor, Water Quality Technology: Environmental
Howland, James – Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems
Johnson, Kevin – Professor, Automotive Technology
Kandelin, John – Assistant Professor, Earth Science
Kegel, Gregory – Professor, Design Drafting and Manufacturing Technology
Klarich, Duane – Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biology
Knarr, Gary – Assistant Professor, History
Kolis, Mickey – Assistant Professor, Education
Lockwood, Stephen – Professor, English
Lockwood, Suzanne – Professor, Nursing
Mackenzie, D. Scott – Associate Professor, Design and Drafting Technology
McCroskey, Mary – Assistant Professor, Education
McGuire, Mary Clair – Insructor, Nursing
Miller, Robert – Professor, Automotive Technology
Munson, Terence – Associate Professor, Business
Nystrom, Conrad – Professor, Metals Technology
O’Neil, Lisa – Instructor, Nursing
Pappas, Mary – Associate Professor, Nursing
Parker, Reno – Professor, Biology
Pontius, Richard – Assistant Professor, Elementary Education
Rawn, Will – Professor, English
Reddoor, Susan – Assistant Professor, Education
Reifschneider, Carol – Assistant Professor, Water Quality Technology:
Reitan, Rodney – Associate Professor, Electronics Engineering Technology
Rundquist, Vaughn – Associate Professor, Biology
Seiffert, Mark – Assistant Professor, Theatre And Speech Communication
Sellers, Darlene – Interim Dean, College of Education; Assistant Professor, Education
Skornogoski, Brenda – Associate Professor, Business
Sluiter, Virginia – Associate Professor, Mathematics
Smeby, Curtis – Assistant Professor, Education
Snider, John – Professor, English
Soiseth, Joel – Associate Professor, Art
Spatkowski, Theodore – Associate Professor, Education; Director of Athletics
Stallkamp, Lloyd – Professor, Electronics Engineering Technology
Starnes, Bobby Ann – Associate Professor, College of Education
Stilger, Lynn – Assistant Professor, Diesel Technology
Stone, Roger – Associate Professor, Computer Technology
Strizich, Lawrence – Associate Professor, Electronics Engineering Technology
Swartz, Jr., William J. – Associate Professor, Mathematics
Thackeray, Darryll – Chair/ Interim Dean, College of Technical Sciences; Associate Professor, Automotive Technology
Thackeray, Jr., William – Professor, English
Trethewey, Janet – Assistant Professor, Education
Tilleman, Suzanne – Director, Montana Cooperative Development Center
Waln, Randy – Professor, Art
Welch, Thomas – Professor, Agricultural Technology
Wiberg, Janice – Professor, Music
Wilke, Lanny – Assistant Professor, Business
Worstell, Cameron – Associate Professor, Metals Technology
a. Prior Internal Campus Review:
The Chancellor of Montana State University – Northern, Dr. Alex Capdeville gave the approval for the research and development of building the capacity for the North American Rural Futures Institute in October, 2000.
Presentation of the NARFI concept and proposed campus activities has been made to the College of Education and the College of Arts and Science. Scheduled presentations to the College of Technology and the College of Nursing faculties have been made for the times prior to the Board of Regents meeting in May, 2001.
NARFI is a cooperative organization of efforts between Montana State University – Northern and the area it serves.
NARFI will focus on trends and events affecting rural Montana and will combine new technologies, traditional ideas, and innovative practices to create alternative pictures of the future for rural America.
NARFI will begin it’s focus on Havre, MT and the immediate surrounding area, expanding in a spiral pattern – systematically ever-widening it’s scope: across the border to Canada, over to Chinook, down to Fort Benton, westward to Chester – eventually to neighboring states and Mexico. NARFI will work with people in these areas to build collaborative partnerships to understand each unique place and it’s people. The work the institute does will be to assist them to look at where they are and what they may or may not do in possibly new ways, connecting to changing patterns of living, new technologies and opportunities to discover personal and community choices that may have previously been unrecognized.
NARFI is about teaching and learning transformational leadership in rural communities.
NARFI will enable Montana State University – Northern to scan for ideas, innovations, and changes in many fields: agriculture, medicine, business, technology, and education – to name a few – and create mechanisms for the university to translate these new elements into a positive future for rural people and rural places. Each college at MSU-Northern can weave these ‘trends and events as they impact rural America’ into their programs – creating a niche for the university unlike any other. Students in the College of Nursing can learn about techniques for nursing in rural areas, such as using telemedicine and the Internet for getting information to and from isolated areas. Students in the College of Education can learn the most effective tools and practices for teaching in rural places, and so on. Every program can focus on the unique factors that living in rural areas of North America bring to each discipline and how technological and social change can and has changed those disciplines. Each program can focus on the forces of change. Each student can study the future and be prepared to live in rural communities of the future.
Montana State University – Northern can be the academic flagship for a rural renaissance on this continent. We only have to have this picture of the future in mind, and to act on it.
The mission of the North American Rural Futures Institute (NARFI) is to provide a virtual clearinghouse for trends and events in social, technological, educational, economic, and political arenas that are combining to create change in rural life across the continent. The design of the NARFI project is threefold: 1) to establish an action research and teaching institute on the campus of Montana State University – Northern, one of the most rurally located universities in the United States. This institute would strive to weave a rural futures strand within the existing programs on its campus—focusing upon ways that each discipline can contribute to developing the capacities for transformation in rural life in America; 2) to effectively create in the town of Havre, MT, the home of Montana State University-Northern a working “laboratory” or living example of the kinds of activities that can occur in rural places in the 21st century. The networking, collaboration, continuous learning, and community leadership will be sought after and modeled within this town in north-central Montana; and 3) a web page connecting rural people to each other, to economic opportunities, and to information about rural innovations everywhere.
Research into future trends and events at Montana State University – Northern will be driven largely by the unique mix of rurally-focused programs existing at that academic institution: automotive, diesel, and agricultural technologies, computer information systems, nursing, education, and business. This knowledge will be transferred to the community of Havre through the community learning center—a natural gathering place for people of all inclinations and backgrounds to connect with the community and discover technologies to serve their needs. A mobile technology outreach program and computer refurbishing center will serve the community and train the students of several of these university programs, while the College of Education will educate future teachers to become the agents of future change in the rural schools of tomorrow. The university institute will also form the foundational support for the World Wide Web presence, establishing a framework by which rural programs and activities may organize around and creatively connect. Combined, the university, community activities, and World Wide Web page can create untold potential and competitive advantage for people in sparsely populated areas.
NARFI is a comprehensive vision for creating a unique niche for a small rural university in an increasingly competitive academic market, an economic and community development project for a small, struggling rural town in northern Montana, and an engine for catalyzing the working and civic lives of rural people across the country.
The North American Rural Futures Institute is the lead project in the Global Rural 21st Century Network Project, a project of the institute for Communities Of The Future.