Three UNK Faculty Join Inaugural Class Of Rural Futures Institute Fellows

Three faculty researchers from UNK are in the inaugural class of Rural Futures Institute Fellows assembled to think strategically about opportunities in rural business, health care, education, technology and more.

Todd Bartee, Bree Dority and Peter Longo are among 15 faculty from University of Nebraska and other institutions selected to the group, which also includes 10 community practitioners from across Nebraska.

Peter Longo
Peter Longo
Todd Bartee
Bree Dority

Bartee is professor of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences at UNK, Dority is associate professor of economics, and Longo is professor of political science and interim dean of College of Natural and Social Sciences.

“I believe the Rural Futures Institute is a critical element of the University of Nebraska system,” Bartee said. “It is one of the only organizations that focuses on the process of community engagement and working together. This fellows program is a real opportunity for gown and town to interact. The university comes to life through RFI because we can work with communities to make a real impact – to share and to learn.”

Through their work, RFI Fellows will connect with partners from across the NU system, scholars from other academic institutions and experts in the public and private sectors to strengthen their capacity for research and application. They will foster student experiences in concert with communities, strengthening the community-by-community presence of RFI throughout Nebraska, the Great Plains and the world.

“Rural communities and their leaders face a complex, interwoven universe of factors that cannot be neatly split apart for observation and lone actions,” said RFI Executive Director Chuck Schroeder. “RFI Fellows already understand this and have been working diligently throughout their careers to create solutions and opportunities for rural people and places.

“By bringing various disciplines of researchers together with community leaders in this purposeful way, we not only intend to help rural residents thrive, but to also give rural America a significant and consistent voice, and position it as vital to the future of our country.”

The Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska (NU) leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the NU system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Rural Futures Institute encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address rural issues and opportunities. It works collaboratively with education, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.