Community vitality and whiteboarding—yes, it is a real verb—come together in the February First Monday Video. Lindsey Shirley, associate provost of University Outreach and Engagement and associate director of OSU Extension Service, and Jeff Sherman, assistant director of University Outreach and Engagement, demonstrate their collective innovation and problem-solving process. They want your input into their community vitality process and outcome.
Share the projects and ideas you are whiteboarding, or invite Jeff and Lindsey to join you in a whiteboard session, in the comment section below.
Reprint of Corvallis Gazette-Times article by James Day, June 22, 2016
Editor’s Note: Lindsey Shirley, new University Outreach and Engagement associate provost and associate director of OSU Extension Service received some front page attention in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The article provides some insights into Lindsey’s way of thinking so I thought the article is worth sharing in its entirety.
Lindsey Shirley has perhaps one of the most far-reaching positions at Oregon State University.
As associate provost and associate director of the OSU Extension Service, Shirley runs the day-to-day operations of the service and works with outposts in all 36 Oregon counties. She succeeds Deborah Maddy, who retired this year.
One of her first orders of business since assuming the position June 1 is to visit all 36 counties. She will start with visits to the Portland metro area, Eastern Oregon and Central Oregon. She doesn’t have a sense yet of how long it will take, and it sounds like one of those enterprises that could turn into a bit of an adventure.
“The extension service is the front door of the university,” Shirley said. “It’s really important for me to spread the word about the benefits of the extension service. We have diverse offerings and programs and ways to communicate that information.”
Shirley also notes that she has to have a dual focus: understanding the breadth of the service’s programs and accomplishing group goals.
“I need to be combining information gathering with task-oriented advocacy on things that can be implemented,” she said. “I don’t want to take my first 100 days just information gathering.”
When you think OSU Extension Service, 4-H and other agricultural programs wind up top of the mind, but Shirley emphasizes that the service is much more than that and tailors its programs to the needs of people in those 36 counties. Shirley also noted that 4-H has a presence in all Oregon counties.
She offered a handout that identified the activities the [Extension] service is involved in, including energy, poverty, economic development, urban issues and human health.
“What activities are appropriate? What gets you the outputs and outcomes you want?” she said. “It could be a change of behavior that could help fight obesity — for adults and children.
“We need to look at the people in each county. What are the needs for this region?”
That’s why the visits are so critical. Although Shirley knows that some spots on the Extension Service map are much more conveniently reached by air, “you could also see it as a road trip, a way to see all the dots and what’s between the dots.”
Shirley came to OSU from Utah State University, where she initiated a bachelor’s program in outdoor product design.
“There are more than 1,000 companies in Utah that are involved in outdoor products,” she said, “and no career path. We worked on everything from materials to manufacturing, snowboard gear and apparel.”
Shirley grew up in Iowa, with two of her degrees being awarded from Iowa State University in her hometown of Ames. The strong extension programs and agricultural resources in the state definitely influenced her “life path,” she said.
And the life path of her family as well. Her parents have moved from Iowa to Portland, and her brother also left Iowa and is now working for the University of Oregon. Shirley previously had only brief experience traveling through Oregon but she felt “Oregon was a great place to live and work and this position gets me connected with people in Oregon.
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
David 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.
November 2, 2015 — In this month’s video, Scott Reed introduces O&E’s new Communications & Marketing Manager who is charged with communicating the purpose, activities and accomplishments of the Division, which ultimately will result in strong stakeholder support. He also reveals why the focus on community outreach is vital.
Scott believes: “The engagement trajectory we’re on will change the university, and everyone in the Division is key to that. In the spirit of co-creation and reciprocity, community engagement makes the university better.”
Please take a few minutes to view the video and share your favorite OSU youth outreach and engagement story. Topic suggestions for future First Monday videos are also welcome. What do you want to know about University Outreach and Engagement?