• northland college sustainable community development faculty and student

The Northland College Center for Rural Communities applies research based solutions to social and economic challenges, partners with community members to build on local knowledge, and promotes the long-term health and vitality of rural communities in the north woods region.

What we do

Rural areas and small towns in the United States often grapple with social and economic challenges resulting from deindustrialization, environmental regulation, population loss, and a declining tax base. The north woods features communities both thriving and distressed, and provides an opportunity to imagine, research, and implement development that creates more sustainable, resilient economies and communities.

The CRC provides research and consultation services to community organizations, policy makers, tribal governments, and private businesses to support strategic, data-driven community programming and development.

The Center also supports original research that provides timely and relevant data and analysis about the social, cultural, and economic forces shaping the region, and, disseminates findings and models through reports, presentations, and publications. With an organized and systematic approach to community-based inquiry, the CRC is committed to creating opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.

Research Capabilities

The Center research services include study design and methodology in both quantitative and qualitative methods, field work, data collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings and models through reports, presentations, and publication.

We conduct surveys (web-based, mail, telephone), opinion polls, interviews, focus groups, program evaluation and performance measurement, assessments, policy analysis, and consulting in the fields of planning, economic development, and sustainability.

Academic Services

Faculty Opportunities
The Center provides Northland faculty with applied local opportunities for investigation and collaboration, and enhances faculty research project capacity.

Student Opportunities
The Center underscores Northland’s pledge to offer undergraduates an exceptional liberal arts education by offering students experiential learning opportunities in applied research and analysis through research assistantships and internships.

Employment and internships within the CRC provide valuable work experience, enhanced marketable skills, and expanded networks. Northland undergraduates gain a unique and valuable toolkit for post-graduate careers or graduate education.

Contact CRC


Center for Rural Communities
Northland College
1411 Ellis Avenue
Ashland, Wisconsin 54806

CRC Leadership

CRC Research Associates