I hope the end of summer finds you well. As many of you know, on August 1 the Center for Rural Partnerships began a new era, with Thad Guldbrandsen moving on to become the Vice Provost for Research and Engagement. I’d like to congratulate Thad, and thank him for his leadership of the Center over the past 6 years. He has left the woodpile well-stocked, and all of us at the Center are inspired to continue his legacy of developing and supporting collaborative projects with Plymouth State’s many partners throughout the region.
At any time of transition, it’s important to take stock of past success and chart a course for new areas of achievement. Since its inception in 2005, the Center for Rural Partnerships has become known as a resource for facilitating relationships among community partners, developing workshops and educational opportunities both on-and-off campus, and conducting community-level applied research throughout the region. This is what we do best, and thanks to the vibrancy and hard work of our partners and staff, we will continue to develop and support fruitful partnerships across the fields of history, heritage and culture; health and social welfare; and recreation, tourism, and agriculture. I am excited to continue this work together.
Looking forward, I see a number of opportunities for the Center to expand its service to the region. First, we’ll be developing a strategic plan that will allow us to better listen to the needs of our partners and focus on meeting those needs. Second, in keeping with new campus initiatives for student engagement and service learning, the Center will help create a student-focused “rural laboratory” that will create opportunities for students to engage the region by conducting research, working on real-world projects, and applying coursework. Third, the Center will be expanding our communication efforts to better share and promote the collaborative success of our partners. We’ll be updating our web page, creating some visual materials, and expanding our social media presence. Be sure to visit often!
So, there’s a lot of work to do and a lot to look forward to. In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with a sample of some exciting projects coming to fruition in the coming months:
- Thanks to the support of the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, The Center will be continuing its Coos County Outreach Initiative, which provides technical support, cultural programming, and educational opportunities to businesses, entrepreneurs, and community organizations throughout the North Country.
- With PSU’s College of Business Administration, the Center will be re-introducing the new-and-improved North Country Economic Index, which has been expanded to include new features and in-depth analysis that better serves the region’s policy-makers and economic development stakeholders.
- In partnership with the Institute for New Hampshire Studies and the New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism Development, the Center will be co-hosting a tourism-marketing workshop designed to help motel owners create exciting and profitable travel itineraries.
- Along with the Northern Forest Heritage Park and the Plymouth State Art Department, the Center will be organizing several showings of a documentary film detailing the creation and installation of murals on the Brown Company R+D Building.
And, thanks to you, there will be plenty more. Keep in touch, and I look forward to seeing you soon.