ORH News

OSU: Rural Studies Program Quarterly Update, Fall 2009

04/05/10  Rural Oregon

New Faculty Affiliate

Yong Chen joined Oregon State University and the Rural Studies Program in September 2009 after receiving his PhD in agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State University in 2009. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and will have a research, teaching and Extension appointment focused on rural economics. In addition to teaching courses, Chen will conduct research on rural-urban interdependencies and topics that lie at the intersection of resource and rural economics, as well as provide economics expertise to multidisciplinary rural research at OSU.

Oregon County Monitor

To help counties track the progress of economic recovery and the reach of the social safety net, RSP Faculty Affiliate Mindy Crandall and RSP Program Coordinator Rich Sandler have created the Oregon County Monitor. A useful summary of county-level trends since January 2008, the Monitor gathers indicators on jobs and business conditions and the use of social safety net programs providing cash, food and housing assistance.

Fall Term Courses

Students explore the cultural and social effects of capitalism in the contemporary world within the larger question of how economics and society intersect and change over time. Special emphases are put on food and work, but students explore the linkages of global forces and local life in a variety of ways.

This online course investigates the relationships between human communities and their environments from perspectives of Human Ecology and Ecosystem Ecology. The scope of this course will cover anthropogenic and ecological aspects of global natural resource issues with an emphasis on North America. The content includes review and application of basic principles of ecology and social science including community dynamics, resource management, stakeholder identification and value analysis.

This course covers the role of food in human cultures, both past and present. Topics include a discussion of different food procurement styles, social movements affecting food and the political economy of food. Students will look at the symbolic aspects of food as well as its relationship with the environment.

This on-line seminar examines the contemporary economic, social, cultural, political policy issues affecting rural communities in America. Topics include but are not limited to economic development and natural resource management, individual and family well-being, cultural identity and change, and local governance policy issues. Special attention will be paid to rural issues affecting Latino and Native American communities.

GEO 423/523 LAND USE
This course provides students with the skills to develop a conceptual framework for land use study. Additional topics include an analysis of land as a resource, land use trends in the U.S., land use principles, and management issues as related to planning.

Students will examine families in poverty focusing on the causes and consequences of family poverty. The course includes topics such as global economic factors affecting poverty, migration patterns, discrimination, and policies and programs for families.

Students explore the evolution of environmental thought, paradigm shifts, and institutional structures associated with environmental concerns, social movements, and social impacts.


RSP Faculty Affiliates Mark Edwards and Hannah Gosnell both have articles published in the latest issue of Rural Sociology. Edward's article is on the "Paradoxes of Providing Rural Social Services: The Case of Homeless Youth" while Gosnell's is entitled "Writing the New West: A Critical Review."

RSP Faculty Affiliate Kate MacTavish was published in Education.Com on "Creating Inclusive Classrooms and Communities for Rural Poor" in May 2009. 

RSP Faculty Affiliate Roger Hammer was recently published in the Journal of Environmental Management on “Housing growth, forests, and public lands in Northern Wisconsin from 1940 to 2000” and in Society and Natural Resources on “Demographic trends, the wildland-urban interface, and wildfire management.”

RSP Faculty Affiliate Hannah Gosnell and RSP Affiliated graduate student Jesse Abrams were published in GeoJournal on "Amenity migration: diverse conceptualizations of drivers, socioeconomic dimensions, and emerging challenges."

New Rural Studies Program Working Papers include:

RSP Faculty Affiliates in the News

RSP Community Economist Bruce Sorte was featured in recent East Oregonian articles on a local Rural Symposium and on a Study of Small Farms.

RSP Faculty Affiliates Lena Etuk and Mark Edwards were quoted in the same day recently in the Oregonian (Etuk on retiree migration and Edwards on rural hunger).

RSP Faculty Affiliate Roger Hammer was quoted in an Oregonian article on August 16, "Wildfire risks rise along with more homes in Oregon's forests."

Recent Experiential Course

Communities and Natural Resources

RSP Faculty Affiliates Kate MacTavish and John Bliss led their students on the fifth annual offering of COMMUNITIES AND NATURAL RESOURCES, an advanced experiential learning opportunity for graduate students.

This year the class started September 8th on campus in Corvallis. After two days on campus, the students visited Warm Springs Indian Reservation and Wallowa County before returning to Corvallis on September 18th. In Warm Springs, students got to experience reservation life firsthand by living with host families. In Wallowa County, students met with many local residents and spent time on a cattle ranch.

This course often fills up, so be sure to inquire early if you are interested in attending in the Fall of 2010.


RSP Faculty Affiliate Lena Etuk was invited to present at the Oregon Public Performance Measurement Association meeting in Salem in July. She presented “The Oregon Rural Community Vitality Indicator Project: A participatory approach to data system development.”

Lena Etuk also traveled to Italy for the 9th International Society for Quality of Life Studies Conference in Florence in July. There she presented a paper co-authored with RSP Faculty Affiliate Mindy Crandall, “Place-based information to guide place-based action: Rural Community Vitality in Oregon, USA.”

RSP Community Economist Mallory Rahe presented at a Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Analysis Project (PNREAP) data users workshop in Reno, Nevada as part of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) conference in September.

RSP Director Bruce Weber traveled to Lexington, Kentucky on October 1 to make a presentation, “Education, Migration and Local Labor Markets: Pathways out of Rural Poverty?” to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Community Development Applied Research Seminar. The theme of the seminar was “Poverty in Appalachia.”

Other Items of Interest

RSP Faculty Affiliate Hannah Gosnell was recently notified that her USDA Agricultural Prosperity for Small and Medium-sized Farms proposal was funded for 2010-2013 for $500,000. Hannah is the Project Director. Co-Principal Investigators are Lauren Gwin (OSU Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics), Cass Moseley and Max Nielsen-Pincus (UO, Institute for a Sustainable Environment), and James Honey (Sustainable Northwest). The proposal title is "Enhancing the Capacity of Small and Medium-Sized Ranch and Forestry Operations to Prosper From Payment for Ecosystem Services."

The Rural Studies Program is sponsoring a seminar by Emery Castle, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and founder of the RSP, titled "Rural People and Places — Familiar Subject, New View." The seminar will be held on Monday November 16th from 3-5 PM in Room 213 of the OSU Memorial Union. Ethan Seltzer, Professor and Director of the School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, will be offering a response to Castle's presentation.

Look for an announcement soon about a new series of Issue Briefs on the topic of Community Vitality.