Oregon State University recently hosted “OSU Extension Reconsidered,” a day-long event as part of a national conversation about how the arts, humanities and design could be a part of how Extension meets community needs.

View photos from the day.

More than 50 people were invited, including OSU Extension faculty, members of OSU outside of Extension, and community members, many of whom had little or no experience with Extension.

After a long day of exploring possibilities together, this group identified many dimensions of how such work could be considered.

Many agreed that including arts into outreach programming augments the identity and pride that comes with places.  When asked about possibilities, respondents identified things including leadership through art, math art, film, urban design, photography, music, and oral histories–among others.

Of course, we are familiar with limitations of resources-and Extension’s current workforce doesn’t have many members who are deeply trained in this area. But in true form, our stakeholders are ready to step up, contribute where possible, and help to design and fund a beginning in this area.

Participants shared reflective observations following the event.

  • “Extension is seeking to broaden its scope, reach, and purpose.”
  • “…awareness of and appreciation for creative/innovative efforts within OSU Extension to connect and engage across disciplines (and R vs L  sides of our brains).”
  • “The deep history of extension services.  The connection between agriculture and arts.”
  • “OSU Extension’s depth of impact in a wide range of communities was greater than I thought.”
  • “It’s all about communication.  Getting people talking is the key and the beginning point.  The exercises modeled at OSU could be replicated elsewhere.”

The images below are visual representations of the day developed by College of Liberal Arts students.

What opportunities do you see in this area? If you attended this event, what did you take away?

This September over 40 Oregon State faculty members (many brand new to the OSU community) participated in the first Roads Scholar Tour. The tour, sponsored by the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, College of Agricultural Sciences and the Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement, made five stops between Corvallis and Portland, and in between an engaging conversation was led by our tour hosts Barbara Holland and Judith Ramaley, both internationally renowned leaders in the area of community engagement.

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