Students learn how art can work hand-in-hand with Oregon communities

The mission of OSU Extension Service essentially is to understand the needs of Oregon communities then develop collaborative partnerships to find ways to solve community challenges with research-based solutions. Historically, much of the outreach has been based in agriculture, but that has been changing. This blog introduces you to Extension Reconsidered.


photoExtension Reconsidered (ExtRe), an Outreach and Engagement initiative introduced at OSU in 2014, addresses community needs via the arts, humanities, design and humanitarian engineering. By working with new and traditional partners, ExtRe explores the ways in which the OSU Extension Service can evolve to best support the people of Oregon.


2015-11-20 10.35.14In fall 2015, the Art 406 course was offered for the first time. The course — a partnership between OSU Extension and the College of Liberal Arts — teaches both arts engagement methods and studio art techniques in a single class. The course is designed as a collaborative arts experience that engages and supports OSU arts students, Tillamook High School students and the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.


2015-11-20 17.53.25The innovative course involved mentoring partnerships between the OSU and Tillamook students and culminated in a joint art exhibit curated by all the students at the Pioneer Museum. Coastal identities experienced as residents of Tillamook and the Oregon Coast emerged as themes in many of the high school students’ art pieces.


In tune with OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative, the OSU students built on a tradition of arts involvement in coastal discussions. They took part in the State of the Coast conference, which brings together communities of people that live, work or study the Oregon coast. Through their participation as artists, resulting work and subsequent inspiration, the OSU students contribute to the evolving understanding of Oregon’s coastal environment.


OSU plans to offer Art 406 again in spring 2016.


2015-11-20 13.32.44To learn more about the innovative approach Extension Reconsidered takes to engage and serve the needs of communities, talk with Charles Robinson. We’ll be hearing more from him as we approach the dates of the maker fair in April. Charles works with the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of Outreach & Engagement, the Graduate School and The CO.


Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question: What are you doing for others? To honor his life, service and sacrifice, take a moment to learn about several ways the 13,000 OSU Extension Service volunteers serve the people of Oregon.


Honey bees are crucial pollinators for blueberries, pears, cherries, apples and some vegetable seeds. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Without pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruit and seeds. Pollinators such as bees, bats, butterflies and birds help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants, and nearly 75% of our corps.1


The almost 500 people that have enrolled in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program understand the importance of bees to our food supply. OSU Extension Service created the program to help people help our struggling bee population. Participants are paired with mentors in cities around the state. They learn to harvest honey, treat for pests and diseases, and help colonies survive the winter.2


Graduates of the beekeeper program serve others: each is required to share their new knowledge, for example with beekeeping clubs and schools.


Speaking of feeding Oregonians, unemployment and the increasing cost of living are forcing more Oregonians to seek food assistance. To help stretch limited budgets, the OSU Extension Service and the Oregon Food Bank launched the Seed to Supper program, a free, five-week gardening course taught in English and Spanish. The course enables novice gardeners to affordably grow some of their own food.


Seed to Supper
Participants in the Seed to Supper classes improve their diets with fresh vegetables. (Photo: Hannah O’Leary)

Extension-trained Master Gardeners teach participants where to find free and reduced-cost soil, compost, seeds, starts, trellis materials, mulch, tools, garden space and OSU Extension gardening publications.2 Master Gardeners also serve the people of Oregon with their knowledge, passion for gardening and a minimum of 70 hours of volunteer service (though many dedicated Master Gardeners volunteer many times the expected hours).


Master Woodland Managers share their knowledge with other landholders. About 70,000 small woodland owners hold title to nearly 5 million acres, or 40 percent, of the state’s private forestland. Each year, they harvest about 11 percent of the state’s annual wood production. But not all of them have a background in forestry or know what to do with their land.


To help small private landowners, the OSU Extension Service created the Master Woodland Manager Program, which educates these owners on topics such as management planning, ecology and forest inventory methods. In return for 80 hours of instruction from professional foresters and forestry instructors, the trainees agree to volunteer a similar number of hours to help other small woodland owners. On average, most Master Woodland Managers have volunteered for almost 10 years. Some have served for more than 20 years!


Master Woodland Managers
Oregon’s forestland owners manage almost 5 million acres. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Since its inception in 1983, nearly 500 landowners have completed the program, volunteered close to 96,000 hours and reported over 130,000 contacts with the public, family forestland owners and various organizations.2


Thank you to the OSU Extension – and its many volunteers – for serving the people of Oregon and providing meaningful ways for volunteers to pursue their areas of interests and passions while also serving the people of Oregon.


Tell us your favorite story of service! Don’t be shy.



2Source: Bridges to Prosperity

Opportunities Exist to Collaborate on Educational Modules

Collaborating with Extension and on-campus faculty to develop learning modules and open textbooks is at the core of Open Oregon State’s activities. Open Oregon State was formed in 2013 to create online educational resources that can be accessed freely by students and teachers in digital media collections around the world. It is part of the Division of University Outreach and Engagement and falls under the umbrella of OSU Extended Campus.

[Note: Open Oregon State is different than OSU Open Campus, which is also part of the Division of Outreach and Engagement.]


Open Oregon State Learning Module

Learning Modules

Open Oregon State enhances learning experiences by incorporating emerging technologies.

“Early on, our multimedia developers and instructional designers created open modules in the agricultural sciences and STEM fields, some with dual-language functionality,” said Dianna Fisher, director of the unit. “Now we’re branching out and doing work with other colleges on campus and we are also working on projects with Oregon Community Colleges. We’re proud of the quality and creativity we bring to making knowledge accessible and learning engaging and effective.”

New Spanish language modules will help women start businesses, and a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is being developed in collaboration with the department of Horticulture and Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), also part of the Division.

To experience the educational possibilities, check out this featured module:

Water Crisis

This module explores water-related issues, current and future work to supply the water necessary for society, and offers an opportunity to hear from OSU experts.


Open Textbooks

Open TextbookResearch shows a direct relationship between textbook costs and student success. Why? Textbooks can cost up to $1,200 a year for a full-time student, sometimes forcing students to choose between paying rent or buying food and buying a textbook.

The university’s open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State. It provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create texts that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

Open Oregon State has made impressive headway in developing free online textbooks. (Online textbooks are also available in low-cost print versions for essentially the cost of printing.) The inaugural textbook, “Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest,” is by Robert S. Yeats, a professor emeritus in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. At least four more open textbooks are scheduled to be published by the end of 2016.

“Online textbooks do more than save students money,” said Dianna. “As new information and science emerges, online textbooks can be updated immediately. Multimedia elements can also be added to enhance the learning experience.”

To learn more about module and open textbook opportunities and requirements, click here. Open Oregon State offers funding of up to $2,000 to foster faculty participation in providing content and working with the development team to design and produce modules and short courses. Proposals are accepted and evaluated for funding once per term.

Funding for the unit comes from grants, the Division of Outreach and Engagement, Oregon State Ecampus and student fees. For more information about existing online educational resources or new opportunities with Open Oregon State, please contact:

Dianna Fisher, Director
Open Oregon State

Dave Hansen photoDavid Hansen accepted the role of Interim Associate Provost of the Division and Associate Director of the OSU Extension Service effective January 1, 2016, on a 0.6 FTE basis. He will retain a 0.4 FTE role as Outreach and Engagement Lead for the Oregon Sea Grant Program.

“This is an opportunity for me to see the Division from a different perspective,” said Dave. “I am looking forward to viewing and interacting with the Division outside of a program perspective. I have worked with Extension’s Regional Administrators as a member of the Program Council, but look forward to expanding my geographic boundaries. The interim position also provides an opportunity for me to interact with more programs within the Division and Extension.”

Dave is veteran of Extension outreach and engagement work. He was an associate professor of soil and environmental quality and Extension Program Leader for the Agriculture and Natural Resources program at the University of Delaware before coming to OSU in 2010.

He is a member of Oregon Sea Grant’s leadership team and oversees a large and diverse outreach and public engagement team, including Sea Grant Extension faculty on the coast and on campus with expertise in a wide range of matters related to Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources, natural and human. In addition, he manages Sea Grant’s small team of professional science communicators who serve the program’s needs for print, web, video and other media to inform and educate the public.