The ACSRC is a joint-initiative of the Augustana Campus and Faculty of ALES, and has a core operating budget and staff supported by both of these faculties. Project funds are derived from research and other grants, contribution agreements and contracts with agencies such as the Tri-Council, provincial government and similar bodies.
The vision of the ACSRC is of resilient rural communities across Canada linked closely to the discovery, dissemination, and application of new knowledge at the University of Alberta through teaching and learning, research and creative activity, community involvement, and partnerships. Such resilient rural communities will hinge on informed citizens actively participating in community governance and development in order to support and sustain the people, livelihoods, regional and local capital, economic development and long-term social viability of rural communities as a key element of the Canadian economy, the natural environment and as home to many Canadians.
The mission of the ACSRC is to link the research, outreach and educational capacity of the University of Alberta with students, researchers, rural communities, rural community organizations and policy makers at multiple levels across the province, nationally, and internationally in order to support the improved sustainability of rural communities and populations.
The ACSRC recognizes the contributions and capacity of individual citizens, private, public, community and other non-governmental organizations, faculty, staff and students of post-secondary institutions in Alberta, in collectively advancing the development and sustainability of rural communities.
Methodological and theoretical rigour and pluralism:
The ACSRC encourages both theoretical and methodological pluralism, and the critical reflection upon the suitability and implications of the theories and methods used.
The ACSRC is committed to supporting the ability of rural communities via research, outreach and knowledge transfer, to not only govern themselves, but to participate in a meaningful and efficacious manner at and with all levels of government and administration.
The ACSRC seeks to adopt best practices in all of its activities in order to ensure fair and open operations, and to comply with the appropriate FOIPOP legislation, etc.
The ACSRC recognizes that the sustainability of rural communities in Canada varies from region to region, from community to community, and that factors such as culture, geography, natural environment, socio-economic context and political history can all lead to varying outcomes. The ACSRC, therefore, recognizes that the knowledge, experience and expertise present within communities has equal value and standing to that generated within an institution (university or college) setting.
While keeping to all other values listed here, the ACSRC supports the application of systematically gained knowledge to guide the decisions, policies and programs of (1) the Centre; (2) rural communities; (3) regional, provincial and national policy-makers.
The ACSRC has established 5 goals which, through their accomplishment, will move the Centre toward achieving its mission in a fashion consistent with its vision and values. Each goal is supported by key objectives (bulleted) which, in turn, will guide the day-to-day operations of the Centre:
Stimulate, support and conduct research on the multiple elements of rural community sustainability.
Stimulate and support innovative education in rural community development, sustainability and policy.
Generate greater interaction and collaboration with rural community stakeholders.
- Knowledge synthesis, translation and exchange (KSTE)
Stimulate, support and conduct KSTE to support evidence-informed decision-making and governance at multiple levels, from the local to the international.
- Sustainable operations
The Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities has four challenges:
- to provide research leadership, profile and coordination to the University’s commitment to rural engagement;
- to foster research of relevance to rural communities, including interdisciplinary and inter-Faculty collaborative research, that may be regional, national, or international in scope;
- to think respectfully and reciprocally with, not just for, rural communities, and to facilitate knowledge transfer;
- to develop collaborative relationships with other university-based rural centres in Canada and elsewhere in the world.