Oregon State University has been a leader in developing and supporting the field of Rural Studies in this country. Professor Emery Castle created the National Rural Studies Committee in 1987 with the support of the W. K. Kellogg foundation and chaired the Committee for ten years. NRSC stimulated the field of rural studies at American Universities and sought to focus the attention of academics at the nation’s leading universities on rural land, people and places.  This effort led to the creation of OSU’s multi-disciplinary Rural Studies Program in 2001. The Rural Studies Program was the nation’s first university-based program to support a broadly multi-disciplinary teaching, research and Extension program focused on rural people and places.

The Rural Studies Program is administered through the Applied Economics (AEC) department and the current director, Mallory Rahe, as well as past director Bruce Weber, are faculty members in the AEC department.  RSP draws on faculty participation from five colleges, College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Ocean, Atmospheric and Earth Sciences, and College of Forestry, as well as OSU’s Outreach and Engagement. Programmatic efforts collaborate with other institutions within Oregon most notably Portland State University and University of Oregon and others regionally and nationally.