Mission of OSU’s Statewide Public Service Programs

Oregon State University Statewide Public Service Programs improve the lives of Oregonians through discovery, outreach, and learning focused on critical issues of importance to communities throughout the state and the world.

The OSU Extension Service connects Oregonians to research-based knowledge for economic development, healthy and productive life choices, and sustainable ecosystems. Community-based Extension education programs include agriculture, forestry, coastal resources, economic development, family health, and well-known community enrichment programs such as Master Gardeners and 4-H for youth. In addition to faculty specialists working throughout the state, OSU Extension oversees a corps of 14,000 trained Extension volunteers who represent the equivalent of 800 full-time employees in service to Oregon.

The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station is Oregon’s principal research engine related to food, agriculture, and natural resources. Reflecting diverse issues involved in environmental quality, life sciences, and rural economics, AES engages more than 400 scientists in five OSU colleges, on campus and at branch stations across the state. With partners in industries, agencies, and communities across Oregon and worldwide, the strengths of many disciplines are put to work to solve problems of productivity and profitability, environmental quality, and human health.

The Forest Research Laboratory is a dynamic source of knowledge about the science and management of forests, the connections of people to forests, and the use of renewable materials to benefit businesses, communities, and quality of life in Oregon. In conjunction with OSU’s College of Forestry, FRL scientists work with cooperators throughout Oregon to address challenges and opportunities for one of Oregon’s primary sustainable resources—forests and the communities and industries that depend upon them.

Alignment with OSU’s Mission

The Statewide Programs 1) identify emerging issues, 2) discover new research-based solutions, and 3) apply new discoveries through engaged learning. As an integrated part of Oregon State University, they promote the University’s mission of economic, social, cultural, and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation, and the world:

Advance the science of sustainable earth ecosystems

OSU’s Statewide Programs work at the intersection of human and natural systems. Working closely in local communities, OSU’s statewide faculty are able to respond quickly and effectively to emerging environmental concerns.

Partnering with research colleagues and policy experts, OSU’s statewide faculty examine how climate and ecosystem change impacts natural and human systems. They assess strategies to conserve clean water, air, soil, and biological diversity. And they test new technologies to improve food security and safety, renewable energy production, and economic vitality based on sustainable natural resources.

Improve human health and wellness

OSU Extension’s Family and Community Health program delivers research-based learning programs to many of Oregon’s most under-served communities. Partnering with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Extension faculty provide health and nutrition education in schools, prisons, local food banks, and non-English-speaking communities.

Agricultural Experiment Station research is developing effective measures to clean up the nation’s worst Superfund sites, including the Portland Harbor where past industrial pollution threatens the health and well-being of people in Oregon’s largest metropolitan area. Both research and Extension faculty focus on prevention strategies to promote healthy living across the life span, reducing health threats such as childhood obesity, and examine the creation of new vaccines and pharmaceutical treatments for infectious diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, aging, immune function, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Promote economic growth and social progress

Oregon and the nation have urgent need for a skilled, educated, creative workforce and the underlying research capacity necessary for regional and national competitiveness. OSU's Statewide Programs work closely with industry to identify needs and create new opportunities for Oregon businesses.

Recent research in nanotechnology, wood product innovation, bio-based energy, and breeding new crop varieties have strengthened economic growth and social progress. And Statewide Programs aren’t limited to statewide partnerships. With a national network of experiment stations and Cooperative Extension offices, OSU faculty are actively involved in technology transfer, connecting Oregonians with the best ideas in the nation and the world.

Commitment to diversity

Throughout the state, communities are struggling—especially rural populations whose welfare is at risk.  Programs such as 4-H youth development, family and community health, and natural resource Extension reach underserved communities across the state with access to learning, workforce training, and leadership opportunities. Educational programs reach people where they live and work, in culturally appropriate settings and often in languages other than English. In that way, the Statewide Programs expand OSU’s commitment to diversity, integrity, respect, social responsibility, and accountability.


Statewide programs solve problems and improve lives: here’s how it works »