The mission of the Community Development Institute (CDI) is to support the research, information, and development needs of Northern BC's rural and small town communities as they adjust to change in the new economy.
The CDI is a resource centre to which communities and decision-makers can turn in their search for timely and relevant information. It is also a conduit through which information from outside the region is shared with communities. In addition, the Institute is ideally positioned to coordinate broader regional research to understand and energize community development. The CDI has become known and respected as a neutral facilitator.
The CDI’s approach to community, economic, and regional development mobilizes and supports community action and transformation. Planning and action go hand-in-hand. We move people from saying “this is what needs to be done” to “let’s get it done”.
Community Development Institute Team
Marleen Morris is the Co-Director at the Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Northern British Columbia. Since its inception in 2003, the CDI has worked with a broad mandate in community, economic, and regional development. As Co-Director, Marleen’s role is to develop and grow the CDIto ensure that it can continue to help build strong and resilient non-metropolitan communities and regions in BC.
Marleen brings to the CDI over 20 years experience in executive and senior management positions in the health, housing, and education sectors. She has also been appointed to several senior governance positions. Organizations she has been involved with include BC Housing, the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board (Vancouver Coastal Health), BC Winter Games, Vancouver City Planning Commission, United Way of the Lower Mainland, and the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. Marleen currently serves as Board President of St. James Community Services Society, one of the largest community service organizations in the province.
She also brings 10 years experience as President of Marleen Morris & Associates, where she worked in communities across BC helping organizations in the public, business, and non-profit sectors develop strategies for revitalization and change. Her experience in strategic and operational planning, board governance, community-based research, and facilitation add to the CDI’s capacity.
Marleen holds an MSc (Management) from HEC (France) and Oxford University (England) and a BA (International Relations) from UBC. Marleen’s research interests lie primarily in the area of multi-sectoral collaboration and change. A particular focus of her research is community and regional development. In 2008/09 she conducted a study of regional development agencies in the England, which became a paper in the CDI Publication Series in 2010.
Marleen comes from a pioneer ranching family and was raised in a small town in southeastern Alberta.
Greg Halseth is a Professor in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, where he is also the Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies and the Co-Director of UNBC’s Community Development Institute. His research examines regional development processes, rural and small town community development, and community strategies for coping with social and economic change, all with a focus upon northern B.C.’s resource-based towns.
At the Community Development Institute his work has included a wide range of community-based studies in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal places, the creation of a community transition toolkit, a large number of services studies looking at the needs of youth and seniors, housing research, a number of economic and community development studies, research on the voluntary sector and community capacity issues, and the Northern BC Economic Development Vision and Strategy Project. Currently, Greg is part of a Canada-wide research study on long-distance labour commuting, which examines the impact on individuals, families, and community organizations of having a family member working for long periods outside the community.
Greg has served on the governing council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Advisory Committee on Rural Issues for the Federal Secretary of State for Rural Development, the Community Advisory Committee for the BC Ministry of Forests Mountain Pine Beetle Task Force, and other advisory committees.
Greg’s books include “Building Community in an Instant Town” and “Building for Success” which talk about rural and small town community development and community economic development, as well as an edited volume on the “Next Rural Economies” which includes contributions from 12 OECD countries. His most recent book is “Investing in Place: Economic Renewal in Northern British Columbia” which is published by UBC press.
Redesign Rupert Team
Krystin St Jean
Krystin St Jean joined the Community Development Institute (CDI) as a Senior Facilitator in July 2016 and is the lead of the Redesign Rupert project team.
Before joining the CDI, Krystin was the Economic Development Officer for the Village of Burns Lake where she oversaw the establishment and operations of the Economic Development department and was tasked with creating a strategic direction for the community with an Economic Development Plan. Krystin worked to identify opportunities for the community and develop tangible goals and objectives to help the community begin to take action. Previously, Krystin was an intern through the Northern Development Initiative Trust Local Government Management program and also has previously worked in both the private and non-profit sectors.
Originally from Burns Lake, BC, Krystin holds degrees from UNBC in Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management and Northern and Rural Community Planning. Through her work in Burns Lake, Krystin developed an interest in communities in transition, the economic impact of non-profit organizations in rural communities and public administration. In her down time, Krystin spends as much time outdoors either hiking with her dog or fishing on the rivers of Northern BC with her partner.