In 2007, the OSU Extension Service and Educational Outreach, which includes Ecampus, PACE and EESC, joined forces and created the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. Provost Sabah Randhawa wanted to know what new initiatives are taking place as a result of the reorganization. After compiling a survey of 36 county Extension offices, Vice Provost Scott Reed reports on new initiatives in April’s First Monday Video. Hint: Extension offices are proctoring online exams, have established new community partnerships and programs, and are directing thousands of inquiring parents and students to OSU resources, filling the pipeline for new OSU Beavers. There’s more, too, but you’ll have to watch the video
Tell Scott what Extension innovations you see in the “Leave a Reply” section below. He looks forward to reading your comments.
The Division of Outreach and Engagement is playing the pivotal role in offering a free online permaculture design course. The development of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a joint effort of Open Oregon State, Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), Ecampus and Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC). Very exciting!
So exciting, in fact, that more than 6,000 people already have registered for the four-week course (myself included). You are invited to register, as are your friends, family and community. Help spread the word. Registration is open now through May 1, and the course is May 2 through May 30.
Intro to Permaculture, is a public education project that will enable students worldwide to learn about and design sustainable landscapes and ecosystems in a highly interactive way. The course is designed to benefit everyone regardless of learning style, time commitments, or available technology. Expect to spend between two to four hours each week on coursework.
The course isn’t teaching specific techniques as much as a system and process of design.
Andrew Millison, instructor for OSU Department of Horticulture, is teaching the course. He’s been involved in permaculture practice, design and education for 20 years. He’s also founder of Permaculture Design International (PDI), a full service design and build firm specializing in custom ecosystem development.
What is Permaculture?
The PDI website says: “Permaculture is the art and science of designing [human] systems in harmony with Nature.” Said another way, courtesy of Permanent Culture Now, permaculture “is a design system that intentionally creates a harmonious integration of the natural landscape and people as a means of providing food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. It is also the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience that is found in natural ecosystems.”
The beauty of permaculture is that its principals can be applied to everything from home gardens to communities.
And the beauty of this course is that the learning experience will include video, images, animation, text, resource lists, links, and interactive activities. When students complete all of the interactive assignments and content quizzes, they will receive a ‘digital badge’ which verifies their participation.
“I’ve seen exponential growth in permaculture in recent years because it directly addresses many of the issues that are on people’s minds, such as climate change, food security and the alleviation of poverty,” Millison said. “Permaculture offers solutions to these issues, and this course gives people a way to make a positive impact.”
Who should take this course?
The course is for the novice and the professional alike, with no prior experience necessary (the class assumes no prior knowledge). For the person new to design and land stewardship, the course will provide a foundation from which to build upon with subsequent training, and introduce a new perspective that can be applied in many careers and facets of life.
For the gardener, farmer, nurseryman, architect, landscaper, land manager, developer, engineer, aid worker, planner or activist, the course provides a grounding in the permaculture process that can be applied to current endeavors.
Four health factors contribute to how long we live and how well we live according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Health outcomes are a snapshot of today’s community health. Health factors are a view to the future health of our communities.
HEALTH OUTCOMES: Length of Life, Quality of Life
HEALTH FACTORS: Health Behaviors,Clinical Care,Social & Economic Factors, Physical Environment
“The County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is making people sick or healthy. The Roadmaps shows what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play,” states the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps website.
The Division of University Outreach and Engagement (Division) is positively impacting the future well-being of those living in Oregon by directly impacting its health factors.
Healthy People. Healthy Planet. Healthy Economy.
For seven years, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, has been an important tool for counties striving to build a culture of health. It’s a tool to benchmark community efforts and also to identify how investments in healthy living factors—or lack thereof—are changing health outcomes. Health factors and gaps are tracked annually for almost every county in the U.S.
The work being done by the Division makes a dramatic difference in the lives of Oregonians, from today’s youth to tomorrow entrepreneurs and farmers. A presence in every county in Oregon and responsiveness to local concerns magnify the Division’s impact.
Let’s take a closer look.
Moving from Awareness to Action
Using the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps model, how long and how well we live are impacted by four major health factors (80% of which are not related to healthcare): Health behaviors (30%), Clinical Care (20%), Social & Economic Factors (40%), and Physical Environment (10%). Programs and services offered through the Division of University Outreach and Engagement—Extension Service, Ecampus, and PACE—directly improve the factors and measurements that move the gauge on better living.
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program offers an action model similar to our outreach and engagement work. The online action model provides guidance to move from awareness to community action; identifies effective, research-based policies and programs; and a coaching resource is available to advance a culture of health (Raquel Bournhonesque is the community coach located in Oregon and serving the Northwest).
Here are a few examples of how Division efforts correspond directly to the action model advocated by The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program (quotes are from the program website):
“Better educated individuals live longer, healthier lives than those with less education, and their children are more likely to thrive.” OSU Open Campus, Ecampus and PACE support this area of individual and community health.
“Lifelong health habits, such as good nutrition, physical fitness and stress management, are developed in childhood.” 4-H tackles this head-on.
“A county’s health greatly affects its economic competitiveness. Achieving lower health care costs, fewer sick days, and increased productivity are all critical to economic growth.” SNAP-Ed and Family Community Health are devoted to healthy living education.
“The Community Development sector…shares a common focus on improving low- and moderate-income communities.” Extension helps agriculture, marine fisheries and other industries improve productivity, safety, and profitability with research-based and community supported initiatives.
“State and local government officials can…identify the barriers to good health in their communities, and mobilize community leaders to take action – investing in programs and policy changes that help residents lead healthier lives.” OSU Extension works hand-in-hand with county commissioners and other community leaders to identify needs and develop programs to meet those needs. State and county funding ensures Extension is integral to state and county efforts to nurture healthy communities.
“Clean air and safe water are prerequisites for health.” Poor water quality sickens people, threatens wildlife, and diminishes recreational opportunities. Needless to say, OSU Extension is at the forefront of supporting healthy, sustainable environments.
And that’s just the tip of the Division’s programs and actions.
“The Rankings data are only as valuable as the action it inspires and the lives it improves,” said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, co-director of the County Health Rankings. “…targeting resources to the people and places in greatest need is essential to building a Culture of Health. The Rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to expand opportunity for all to be healthy.” And the Division is at the heart of addressing the root causes of health risk factors in Oregon’s 36 counties.
Editor’s Note: Sam Angima shared with me his Scholarship of Engagement Summary, written January 25, 2016, and agreed to let me post it in its entirety on the O&E blog. As Communications and Marketing Manager for University Outreach and Engagement, I am immersing myself in community engagement information to gain a comprehensive understanding of what it is, the role it plays at OSU and other land-grant universities, and how OSU delivers on its outreach and engagement promise.
Sam’s summary clarified my understanding. Because engaged scholarship is integral to the work of the Division and the university, it is worth sharing with you. Thank you, Sam! [The emphasis is mine.]
Ann Marie Murphy, Communications & Marketing Manager, University Outreach and Engagement
Scholarship of Engagement Summary
Scholarship is all about creating, synthesizing, and apply knowledge to address community issues. Scholarship of engagement (also known as engaged scholarship) is as rigorous as traditional academic work, but it cuts across the categories of academic scholarship and outreach in a reciprocal, collaborative relationship with the public or a specific interest group or community. The scholarship of engagement incorporates reciprocal practices of civic engagement into the production of knowledge. Through instruction, discovery, and outreach, educators communicate and work with communities. This approach encourages public participation in the production of scholarship and creates scholarship that addresses public issues.
Here are different ways of looking at scholarship of engagement:
It broadens access to information. The scholarship of engagement is a challenge to mainstream academic scholarship, which tends to favor specialization of academic knowledge into discrete disciplines, each of which produces highly complex and technical knowledge that is not effectively communicated to the public. Service learning and experiential learning are two well-known practices that incorporate civic involvement in teaching because they emphasize scholarship rather than just learning. These two practices as well as outreach and Extension work incorporate community involvement.
It enhances research. By working with communities in the research process, engaged scholars can generate research questions, widen the field of potential data sources, and test findings as well as (and sometimes better than) colleagues practicing traditional academic work. Engagement requires not only communication to public audiences, but also collaboration with these communities in the production of knowledge. Instead of seeing the public as passive recipients of expert knowledge, engaged scholarship stresses that the public can contribute to knowledge creation.
It’s integrated. Community engagement is not just charity or volunteer activities that educators do on their own time in addition to their work. Rather, collaboration with the public should constitute scholarly practices. These reciprocal and collaborative elements should be explicitly and consciously cultivated in the scholarship of engagement.
Engagement, especially for Extension educators, is easily recognized in many routine, ongoing practices and programs. The challenge is to be deliberate and intentional about developing a greater sense of rigor and clarity in the production of knowledge through engaged scholarship.
Here are some areas in which Extension educators can exemplify engaged scholarship:
Public scholarship is academic work that incorporates deliberative practices such as forums and town meetings to enhance scholarship and address public problems. Public scholarship generally emphasizes deliberation over participation. An example is an open forum held to address an issue of wide concern to the community, such as regional development, environmental health, or race relations. This approach is used in situations where the public good is not well understood. By aggregating preexisting interests, solutions are generated through collective knowledge and action. Deliberative practices enable participants to gain a greater understanding of the complexity of public problems as they benefit from encounters with fellow citizens, professionals, and scholars. At the same time, public scholarship practices can help scholars generate new research questions, verify hypotheses, and generalize conclusions as knowledge is produced in the course of deliberation.
Participatory research (participatory action research) stresses the active role members of communities can play in the production of knowledge. The emphasis here is on participation rather than deliberation. Participatory research tends to respond to problems of exclusion by reaching out to marginalized or previously excluded groups. An example is where an oppressed group of people or a community identifies a problem, collects information, analyzes, and acts upon the problem to solve it—therefore promoting public transformation. The educator’s role is to be a convener and trusted entity who can oversee the processes while developing scholarship that can be shared with others.
Community partnerships, where partners are engaged as equals, tend to focus on power, resources, and social transformations. Community partnerships do not have to operate through deliberative forums or other direct contact with the public. Instead, scholars typically engage through contact with public agencies, local schools, activist groups, and community organizations. Engaged scholarship developed through this process helps strengthen the community as well as partners’ relationships with Extension and the university.
Public information networks help communities identify resources and assets by providing comprehensive databases of locally available services. Although development of these networks is not as deliberative as other forms of engaged scholarship, the creation, maintenance and use always involves engagement with groups who are not fully aware of available resources. This is often due to a lack of organization or communication. Extension educators realize the importance of accessing and contributing to these networks.
Civic literacy (civic skills) enables communities to make educated and informed decisions. Through teaching, research, and outreach, engaged scholars help enhance community processes by ensuring that their academic disciplines are providing the public with the knowledge necessary for reflective judgements on public issues and problems. This approach deepens engagement with the specific aim of reducing the separation between experts and the lay public. It also emphasizes skills that facilitate participation and democratic decision-making. Civic literacy approaches focus on relatively broad and long-term trends in public knowledge rather than specific, immediate problems.
“Outreach and engagement is that aspect of teaching that enables learning beyond the campus walls, research that makes what we discover useful beyond the academic community, and service that directly benefits the public.” – Ohio State University
Charles Robinson and Liddy Detar join Scott to talk about Dr. Timothy K. Eatman, our keynote presenter at the April 12 Outreach and Engagement Colloquium. The Colloquium celebrates and explores different pathways to community engagement. Click here for event details and to register.
And let Scott know what your favorite day is in March by using the comment section of the blog (his is Employee Appreciation Day).
You won’t want to miss the April 12 Colloquium awards celebration; fast-paced Ignite-style presentations by Nicole Strong (Forestry and Natural Resources Extension), Mark Farley (Hatfield Marine Science Center Cyberlab), Chinweike Eseonu (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering), and Mike Miller and Mark Stiffler (Ecampus Course Development and Training); keynote “Beware Shrinking Imagination”; and poster session.
Help OSU Open Campus to expand the Juntos program to more school districts throughout Oregon with the second annual Create fundraising campaign. Funds from the campaign are dedicated to providing needed resources for Juntos programming in the state, resources like transportation for college visits, meals, childcare, and hosting the 2017 Juntos Family Day. Share the fundraising campaign with friends and family, or consider making your own tax-deductible contribution.
University Outreach and Engagement enters the world of social media! Join us at #OSUengage before, during and after the Colloquium on Twitter (@OSU_O&E) and on Facebook: OSUOutreachandEngagement.
Video produced and edited by Jill Wells, University Outreach and Engagement Administration