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Rural Institute Mission and Vision

Since 1978, The University of Montana Rural Institute: A Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, has provided education, research and services to improve the quality of life of people living with intellectual/developmental and other disabilities. While we pay particular attention to the needs of those who live in rural communities, our efforts promote independence, productivity, integration and community inclusion in rural and urban communities in Montana, the U.S. and beyond.

Over the years, The University of Montana Rural Institute: A Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities has been known by a variety of abbreviated names. The Rural Institute is the “shorthand” most often used by staff, partners and consumers. From time to time, various taglines are added to the abbreviated name as a way to emphasize various aspects of the Rural Institute’s mission: “inclusive communities,” “we are about people,” “disability & inclusion” are just a few examples.


We engage in research, provide education and interdisciplinary training, and develop model services that improve the skills, abilities, quality of life and satisfaction of people with disabilities in rural communities, their families and those who support and partner with them.

We practice: (a) respectful partnership, (b) informed leadership and (c) evidence-based agenda-setting.


Individuals with disabilities and their families, especially those living in Montana and other rural/frontier communities, experience an improved and satisfying quality of life.

What is AUCD?

"AUCD is a network of people, with and without disabilities, who are passionate about growing the next generation of leaders and driving positive change for people with disabilities and their families. In this video, learn about the nationwide network of AUCD centers and programs, and the many ways they work to improve our communities. Join us as we work together to advance the well-being of all people with disabilities and their families."