Extension ConnEXTion

December 2013 (print-friendly version)

Morphing into Engagement: The Changing Extension Model

Guest post from the University Outreach & Engagement Blog by David Landkamer, Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension Specialist

"Let us have colleges as might rightfully claim the authority to scatter broadcast that knowledge which will prove useful in building up a great nation — great in its resources of wealth and power, but greatest of all in the aggregate of its intelligence and virtue." – Representative Justin Smith Morrill, pleading for passage of the Morrill Act of 1862

When Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862 and the subsequent Hatch Act of 1887, the foundation of the Land-Grant College System which would transform our nation into an agricultural, industrial, and social powerhouse, was in place.

In 1914, passage of the Smith-Lever Act created the outreach mission of the Land-Grant vision by establishing the Cooperative Extension System to bring science-based knowledge from the universities to everyone: the farmers, small business owners, and consumers in rural areas and communities throughout the nation. The Land Grant System had a three-pronged approach; often described as a three-legged stool, a balanced platform held up by the three legs of education, research, and extension. Together, the three legs provided a basis for innovation and educational stability in a growing and changing democratic society.

During most of the 19th century, the work of the Extension Service was often characterized as 'technology transfer', whereby the university faculty (researchers, teachers, and extension) who possessed new, advanced technical knowledge generated by research, translated and transferred it to the general public. This paradigm, like most other educational models at that time, grew out of functional social theory, the predominant social theory used to explain the roles of societal institutions. From the perspective of functional theory, the role of the university system was to create and spread knowledge to those who could implement it so that society would function efficiently, for the benefit of the greater good.

However, some objected to the functional theory approach as being a demeaning, top-down, ivory tower, teacher-centered model that was not well suited to many non-formal extension settings. For others, critical theory suggested a more participatory model that empowers the program participants toward self development and choice. Another perspective is offered by interpretive social theory, which focuses on how each individual makes meaning and understanding from personal experience and cognition. These alternative perspectives added to the original Extension pedagogy. The result is that Extension has moved more toward community-based processes and programs, and more individually motivated free-choice learning approaches. Thus, Extension has evolved from a technical expert-recipient model toward a more inclusive, interactive and relational partnership paradigm that focuses increasingly on mutual respect and benefits between stakeholders and the university. This evolved direction is reflected in the title of the entire non-formal education wing of the university: the Division of University Outreach and Engagement.

As I see it, contemporary Extension professionals do three key things to accomplish their program goals; extension, outreach, and engagement.

From my own perspective as an Oregon State faculty member working in the field:

Extension is an outgrowth of the original, functional model, and is itself comprised of three distinct elements; technology transfer, teaching/information brokering, and strategic planning and evaluation.

Technology transfer is still an important component of Extension, moving new technical information from researchers to the private sector where it can be applied. This is now a relatively small component of what Extension does overall, but it continues to be important in some highly technical and rapidly advancing disciplines. Teaching and information brokering remains an important Extension function, although this, too, is diminished in our modern information-rich internet age. This element has transformed from a role of translating and delivering information to one of filtering and interpreting information in a balanced and objective, science-based form.

The third critical element of Extension that has emerged in recent decades is strategic program planning and evaluation, implemented increasingly to accentuate both relevance and impact in an environment of increasing accountability and competition. This adds value to Extension programming by magnifying the purposes, accelerating the results, and facilitating the ongoing improvement of our efforts.

Outreach is increasing the availability and accessibility of Extension products and services by responding to stakeholder preferences on their terms. Traditional outreach activities included the use of advisory groups and a wide assortment of communication methods to broadly distribute and deliver information. Now outreach is augmented through expanded, more flexible and innovative delivery systems such as Ecampus, Oregon Open Campus, and internet vehicles such as webpages, social media, blogs, webinars, twitter platforms, and eXtension communities of practice. These approaches increasingly bring products and services to stakeholders in ways that best suit them.

Finally, engagement is the connecting of two or more individuals or entities in an interactive relationship where all of involved parties contribute to the solution of shared challenges. Relationships characterized by mutual trust, both individual and institutional, are vital to effective engagement efforts and ongoing Extension and outreach success. Engagement is the crucial relational linkage that facilitates the articulation of ideas and the collaboration needed to effectively address complex social problems.

While extension, outreach, and engagement components have always been present in Extension education programs, recent years have witnessed a marked shift toward inclusive, learner-centered approaches that rely more and more on engagement as a central tenet of building effective and lasting educational models in the communities that Extension serves.

This shift toward engagement will likely continue in the years ahead, as Land (Sea, Sun and Space) Grant institutions strive to maintain and increase the relevance and impacts of their educational programming.

Additional Reading

Staff Achievements and Awards

Journal of Extension (JOE)

Congratulations to our OSU Extension colleagues who have articles published in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of Extension (JOE):

To learn more about publishing in JOE, see the JOE Submission Guidelines and Help for JOE Authors.

O&E State of Division Address, January 21st - Save the Date!

Join colleagues on January 21, 10am-12pm at the annual gathering of faculty and staff from the Division of Outreach and Engagement to kick off 2014! Scott Reed, Deb Maddy and Dave King will share highlights from the past year and their vision for 2014, and invite Q&A and discussion following their address.

January 21, 10am-12pm: The event will be held in Kidder 202 and broadcast live stream online with Q&A chat.

The address and conversation will be recorded and posted on the Outreach and Engagement website.

Oregon Open Campus Welcomes New Coordinators

This has been a year of change for Open Campus! Outreach and Engagement is excited to welcome five new coordinators to the Oregon Open Campus team. We are excited about the unique qualities of each coordinator and look forward to the innovations they will create.

  • Emily Henry joined the team in May after receiving her PhD in fisheries and wildlife. In addition to disciplinary research on aquatic ecosystems, Emily also has a wealth of experience in education (teaching and disciplinary-based education research) and outreach. In Tillamook, Emily has been working on a variety of programming, including college readiness programming for middle and high school students and programs for youth and adult entrepreneurs.
  • In Prineville, Alicia Winchester Jantz recently joined the team with the Crook County Open Campus. Before Moving to Oregon in 2009, Alicia taught special education in California. She enjoys volunteering in her community. Her passion for Oregon Open Campus comes from being able to work hand-in-hand with community partners, and helping to facilitate ongoing engagement with OSU and the community.
  • Meggan McLarrin has been a part of the SWOCC community for the past eight years before joining the Oregon State University Team in Coos and Curry Counties. Currently, Meggan is completing her master's degree in mental health counseling from Walden University. She enjoys working for OSU because she can share her experiences and knowledge about being a rural student, and is able to be involved in the development of her southern coast communities. In addition to her work and academic pursuits, Meggan is a wife and mother of two children.
  • Most recently, Ann Harris joined our team as the coordinator for Hood River and Wasco Counties. Ann has her master’s degree in social work from UC Berkeley and, for the past eight years, has been with Columbia Gorge Community College as the Career Counselor and Academic Adviser. Ann and her family have been in the Gorge for over 20 years, and she brings a long list of connections and passion for both counties.
  • Keely Moxley wears many hats in Klamath Falls, one of her new projects is being the Open Campus Coordinator focusing on students pursuing a four-year agriculture science degree through OSU’s Ecampus. Keely received her master’s degree in animal science from Oregon State University. Just three months ago, Keely and her husband, Nick, welcomed their new baby girl, Brenna.
Citizen Evaluation of Teaching Forms Now Available in Spanish

Do you have Spanish-speaking participants in your classes or workshops? We now have the Citizen Evaluation of Teaching (CET) participant forms available in Spanish!

Email Kim Tarrant if you would like a supply of this version of the CET forms.

Klamath County Extension Office Moves to KBREC

The Klamath County Extension Office, which has been located at 3328 Vandenberg Road since 1972, has moved to the Klamath Basin Research and Experiment Center (KBREC) site at 6923 Washburn Way. This relocation allows all faculty and staff from KBREC to be located at one site. 

More information on the consolidation of the two Klamath County Extension locations is available in a recent article published by the Klamath Falls' Herald and News.

eXtension Learning Opportunities in January 2014 and Beyond

Many online events are planned for early 2014 and are listed at eXtension Learn for your own learning or for you to share with your audiences, and more may be added! By participating in an event you can extend your knowledge and keep more up-to-date on conversations in your areas of expertise and interest.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the events listed at Learn as they fit your interests. As part of Extension, you may sign in with your eXtension ID to get notifications and attend. Use each session’s unique URL to share links to online events in your area of expertise so that others can learn with you. Encourage your customers to also sign in with their Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail account to follow, and plan to attend. Additional sessions may be added at any time, so check back to see what’s new, or add your web-based sessions.

Popular November/December Topics

Watch the recordings and add your thoughts to these sessions from November and December:

Select January Topics

Controlling Internal Parasites in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks on January 9, 2014. Keeping happy chickens means keeping them healthy. Internal parasites can be a problem when chickens are allowed to roam. Dr. Donna Carver from North Carolina State University will discuss controlling internal parasites in backyard flocks.

Basic Vaccinology: Why Vaccines Work or Don't Work on January 13, 2014. Vaccines are a vital part of maintaining the health and well-being of a dairy herd, but have you ever wondered about what makes them work? Dr. Dan Grooms will cover some of the basics of vaccinology, including basic immunology and how vaccines work.

Using Technology to Enhance Your 4-H Experience on January 14, 2014. Between Facebook and Twitter and other social media and websites and blogs and smartphones and more, it can be very challenging to keep up with the latest technology trends. But technology can also be a great tool to support communication and learning between 4-H volunteers and participants.

Workplace Revolution: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Learn at Work on January 21, 2014. In this virtual conference, Jane Hart will present the results of her Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 compiled from the votes of over 500 learning professionals (from education and workplace learning) worldwide. What does this tell us about the way we now learn?

Go to Learn to see more sessions...

January 2014

  • January 2 – Meeting of the Small and Backyard Flocks of CoP
  • January 7 – Institutional Team Web Conference, January 2014
  • January 8 – Citizen Science Observation Networks
  • January 9 – Controlling Internal Parasites in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks
  • January 13 – Basic Vaccinology: Why Vaccines Work or Don't Work
  • January 14 – Buying a Car
  • January 14 – 4-H Program Logic Model for Military Connected Youth
  • January 14 – Using Technology to Enhance Your 4-H Experience
  • January 15 – Spotted Winged Drosophila and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • January 16 – NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative and Organic Dairy Farms
  • January 21 – Using Twitter, Games, and Videos in Personal Finance
  • January 21 – Workplace Learning Revolution: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Learn at Work
  • January 23 – 9 Important Communication Skills for Deescalating the Cycle of Abuse & Violence
  • January 28 – Question Wranglers' Meetup, January 2014
  • January 29 – Moodle Meet-Up, January 2014

February 2014

  • February 3 – Exploring the Science of 4-H Projects
  • February 4 – Institutional Team Web Conference, February 2014
  • February 7 – All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: If Flowers are Restaurants to Bees, Then What are Bees to Flowers?
  • February 10 – Electronic Distractions & Child Neglect
  • February 12 – Dealing with Late Blight
  • February 17 – Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks

March/April 2014

  • March 4 – Institutional Team Web Conference, March 2014
  • March 7 – All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Straight Talk About Termites
  • March 19 – Conventional and Organic Weed Control in Sweet Corn, Pumpkin and Winter Squash
  • April 1 – Institutional Team Web Conference, April 2014
  • April 2 – Fertigation: Scheduling and Water Quality Considerations
  • April 4 – All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Get TickSmart: 10 Things to Know, 5 Things to Do

Questions or Comments?

Contact Beth Raney. If you have web-based events for which you would like more participation, please add them at eXtension Learn for others to join in!

Register for the Next Session of Oregon Master Naturalist Online

Time is running out to register for the next session of Oregon Master Naturalist Online. The winter course launches January 20, 2014.

You can take the course in one of two ways:

  • Option 1 requires you to complete 40 hours of instructor-led online coursework and one Ecoregion Specialization course (additional fee for specialization), before conducting 40 hours of volunteering. Once complete, you’ll be a certified Oregon Master Naturalist.
    (Cost for Option 1 online course: $225.00)
  • Option 2 requires you to complete the same 40 hours of instructor-led online coursework as participants of Option 1. You will not become a certified Oregon Master Naturalist after taking this course, but if you eventually want to become certified, you can apply the coursework towards certification.
    (Cost for Option 2 online course: $325.00)

Space is limited, so register today!

If you have any questions, please contact Jason O'Brien, Oregon Master Naturalist Program Coordinator.

Joys, Sorrows, and Well-Wishes


  • Sea Grant watershed and invasive species education coordinator Tania Siemens lost her father suddenly on November 4th, 2013.
  • Betty Morrison, longtime 4-H agent for Multnomah and Washington Counties, passed away suddenly from cancer on December 10th, 2013. Condolences may be sent to her husband Dean Morrison at 12250 SW 33rd, Portland, OR 97219.
  • Gail Miles, recently retired Polk County Master Gardener program coordinator, died on December 14th, 2013. Recitation of the rosary will be held at 10:30am and mass at 11:00am on Saturday, December 21st at St. Phillip Catholic Church in Dallas.   


Is something happening in your office that you’d like to share?

Perhaps a birth of a son or daughter or grandchild? Recognitions received? Has someone in your office experienced the loss of a loved one? We would like to hear from you!

Although we are spread across the miles, it’s important that we stay connected. Please help us in achieving this goal!