Community Outreach

Two children on a bird farmThinking respectfully and reciprocally with, not just for, rural communities is a main objective of the Centre. The Centre is also intended to enhance the university's commitment to rural engagement.

Through dialogue and collaboration, the Centre is working toward an outreach program that will provide direction and stimulate innovation in the development of rural communities.

University of Alberta and the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN)

The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) is a partnership of 21 post-secondary institutions in Alberta (including the U of A), working together to support and enhance rural development. These institutions have combined their expertise, ideas and resources to sustain Alberta's rural way of life.

The value of this network is that it draws on the strengths of diverse organizations, gathers and conducts extensive research, and perhaps most important, has deep connections in all regions of the province.

ARDN is committed to ensuring rural communities are a place to grow, a place to seek new opportunities, and a place to build futures. To create connections throughout rural Alberta, ARDN focuses on three key areas - research and information, access to education, and networking and collaboration.

ARDN engages rural communities and its post-secondary members in high quality, collaborative, accessible rural development research. The Network fosters and promotes opportunities for partnership and where applicable, provides financial support and consultation for rural research projects.

Adult education and training are key to strengthening communities. ARDN members contribute educational leadership in their communities. ARDN identifies gaps in rural education and training, and works with its members to ensure that rural needs are addressed.

To foster networking and collaboration, ARDN collects and shares research and beneficial practices with Alberta's rural communities, and provides opportunities for online and in-person discussion and networking. The Network helps its post-secondary members establish or strengthen long-term collaborative relationships with individuals and organizations in rural Alberta.

ARDN was established in 2006 when all of Alberta's publicly-funded, publicly-governed post-secondary institutions signed a memorandum of understanding. Governed by a Board of Directors, ARDN became fully operational in 2009 when it received funding for three years from Rural Alberta's Development Fund. These funds enabled ARDN to hire staff, establish an office in Sherwood Park, and begin a three year project to help strengthen rural communities.

For more information, visit