No Rear View Mirrors
People talk about the "New Normal" and how the past won’t return. I see that in many of my travels and conversations. To thrive in today’s environment, one must take advantage of current circumstances. The University’s outreach and engagement role is designed to react to contemporary issues and to form the necessary partnerships to address them, not to try to recapture what once was. So what’s new? We have done that well for more than 100 years. Going forward depends upon how we build upon our historic strengths—community based, objective, and centered on knowledge.
After many conversations with members of Congress and Oregon State legislators, I’m convinced that opportunities to rebuild the OSU Extension Service are entirely possible. Our comparative advantage will be most convincing if we focus on the return on investment to Extension. What are the returns? Knowledge gained, behaviors changed, more healthy and prosperous lives, vital communities, and sustained landscape productivity and profitability are among the meaningful measures.
Going forward, we have developed three priority investment packages. Each builds upon our statewide foundation and addresses critical issues. The first seeks to support jobs and the economy through expanded work with natural resources and the workforce—important parts of a post-recession economy. The second addresses food systems and many dimensions of food safety and security. The third expands our path breaking work dubbed Oregon Open Campus that knits together educational systems to support local and state goals.
Of course, the challenge is to earn the necessary resources to implement our priorities. In times of federal budget sequestration and limited state revenues, all of our voices are needed to illustrate Extension’s possibilities. Please take the opportunities to learn about and advance our collective future.
Check out the investment packages at the following links:
- Building Bridges to Prosperity: Enhancing Oregon’s Extension Delivery (PDF)
- Food Systems (PDF)
- Oregon Open Campus (PDF)
Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement
Director, OSU Extension Service