A Future Vision for Extension

Dave King, Associate Provost, Outreach and Engagement
Dave King, Associate Provost, Outreach and Engagement
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Here’s a working list that I use to try to describe a future vision of Extension in Oregon. How are we doing in your mind?

Critical Issues

  • Expanding reach into new audiences.
    Doesn’t mean we have to do a lot new things. Means we need to make sure what we are doing is available and adapted for new more urban (in some cases) audiences.
  • Responsiveness
    Extension must be more responsive to needs and timeliness. In the past Extension has been about science-based objectivity. Now our society values timeliness and access more. However, if we solve address the timeliness and access issues, science-based objectivity will return to a primarily value. 

Vision

  • Nimble and Responsive
    On-going needs assessment is directly linked to program availability and adaptation. We are nimble enough to effectively respond to evolving needs of society within the areas of content expertise. The knowledgebase of the University is recognized for its value and impact on bettering the lives of many and diverse groups of people.
  • Expanded Use of Technology
    Through expanded use of learning and information technology, Extension will build learning relationships with the new audiences that are successful because of what we know from years of face-to-face interaction. That is our competitive advantage in the constantly evolving information and education marketplace.
  • Engagement Model more than Outreach
    Extension will focus on developing reciprocal relationships within communities of practice and interest. The Extension model is perfectly set to provide a foundation for learners to learn from learners. Interactive online and face-to-face learning environments will be established were the flow of information and new ideas in multidirectional. (The eOrganic Community of Practice—which is centered at OSU—is a good example. About than half of the people in the community are faculty from around the country, the rest are producers, distributors, and retailers, who also “publish” ideas and interact with the group as a whole.)
  • Front Door
    Extension is viewed as the “front door” to the OSU campus across the state. Extension centers around the state provide local access to any and all interactions with the University—from admissions to hosting courses to proctoring examinations, but beyond that they are perceived as the locally focused access point for the University knowledge base. 
  • Improvement in Opinion Leader Recognition
    Extension has learned to court and develop working relationships with a variety of opinion leaders who represent the diversity of the state. This will mean an expansion of the opinion understanding of Extension in the Metro and urban areas that augments and matches the recognition in rural areas.