The governing principles were developed by a working group charged with the authority and responsibility to design the governance structure of the ARDN. ARDN functions according to the following governance principles:
- ARDN is a not-for-profit society, owned by member post-secondary institutions in Alberta.
- ARDN is governed by a Board that is drawn from and represents the interests of its member institutions. In its composition, policies and procedures, the Board reflects a fundamental symmetry between the universities and the colleges and technical institutes.
- ARDN operates as a network. Its purpose is to promote and coordinate research, knowledge transfer, and development of skills and leadership capacity – all directly related to the well-being of rural people and rural communities. ARDN facilitates effective linkages among member institutions and with rural communities. It draws together and give a stronger public profile to the relevant strengths, interests, community connections and institutional mandates that its members contribute to the network. ARDN does not normally undertake its own substantive activity in research or program delivery.
- ARDN operates in a way that is administratively light and consistent with the concept of a network. While the network may establish one or more offices from which to coordinate its work, its primary public presence will be a virtual, web-based one. Any office it establishes will be located outside of metropolitan centres, as anticipated in A Place to Grow: Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy.
- ARDN Board appointed as its lead staff person an Executive Director who is responsible for day-to-day operations and representation of the network to member institutions, rural communities, public media, government and other agencies, boards and commissions.
- ARDN may establish an appropriate advisory body, reflecting the diversity of rural Alberta, to provide general direction and community input.