The Rural Development Institute (RDI) is a regional centre of excellence in applied research and information provision focused on strengthening rural communities in the Columbia Basin Boundary region of British Columbia. The RDI is supported through a partnership between Columbia Basin Trust and Selkirk College. The RDI is funded by Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) through an 8-year partnership agreement. Selkirk College supports the operation of the Institute through its infrastructure and specific capabilities, including the Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development (RIC) who serves as the RDI Lead Researcher.
Terri MacDonald is the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development and also leads the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute at Selkirk College. Terri holds a PhD in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia, and M.A. in Policy and Administration from the University of Calgary, and a B.Sc. and B.Ed. from Lakehead University. Dr MacDonald taught high school science in Ontario and British Columbia. More recently, her experience has been in the field of economic development with nearly 15 years of experience working with communities across British Columbia, primarily in the Kootenay region. Terri’s research interests include workforce development, business retention and expansion, regional socio-economic development and evidence-based decision-making, and applied research at community colleges. Her commitment to rural revitalization and strategic decision-making as a fundamental ingredient to planning for positive change is evidenced by an impressive track record of rural research and dissemination.
Sharon Stoddart has had a history of working in Chartered Accountant firms ending that career as an Insolvency Administrator with KPMG in Vancouver. Moving from the Lower Mainland to the interior, she joined the staff of Kootenay School of the Arts as the Marketing Coordinator responsible for school and program marketing, recruitment, events, alumni relations and extension programming. Sharon later spent many years as the Program Marketing Coordinator with Selkirk College’s Communications and Development Department, providing marketing support to over 70 programs within the college. Today, Sharon looks forward to new challenges with CBRDI as the Coordinator of Projects and Communications.
Lauren Rethoret – Researcher: Water; air quality; climate; infrastructure; housing; demographics; research advisory and data provision services. Lauren Rethoret is a full-time researcher with the RDI, working primarily in the environmental and economic pillars. She holds a Master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management (with a specialisation in land use planning) from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography (with a specialisation in globalisation, society and the environment) from Carleton University. Lauren’s research interests include community-based resource management, landscape level planning, public policy in rural areas and sustainable infrastructure management. She has worked and studied in Columbia Basin rural development issues since 2008.
Nadine Raynolds – Researcher: Recreation; heritage; culture; arts; education and learning; civic engagement; safety. Nadine Raynolds is an organiser, facilitator, and educator with nearly 20 years of experience working with environmental and social change organisations, from small community-based groups to national non-profits. Nadine has a BSc in Environmental Science and an MA in Environmental Education and Communication. Nadine serves as a Councillor for the Village of New Denver, where she lives. Nadine’s research focus is to explore the cultural well-being of the Columbia Basin Boundary Region through the State of the Basin initiative, as well as assisting with other RDI projects. She has a passion for good communication and leadership, thinking strategically, and working collaboratively. Nadine is excited about how RDI’s research can contribute to building resilient and flourishing rural communities.
Sarah-Patricia Breen - Project Coordinator and Researcher: water; infrastructure; climate change; economic development; research advisory services. Sarah Breen is a researcher with both the Rural Development Institute and Selkirk’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre. Sarah has a PhD in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Geography from Memorial University, and a BA (Honours) in Geography from Lakehead University. Her work experience includes the public and private sectors, as well as academia. Her research interests include drinking water, energy generation and transmission, and all things rural. Sarah also serves as a president of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation board of directors.
Aside from the RIC, the RDI employs a team of part-time research staff (1.6 full-time equivalents).
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