Good stories are all about journeys — where they take us, why we choose them, what we learn from them. Extension has had a long, long story, one everyone thinks they understand, and the journey has been taken so long, and so many times, that no one sees it anymore. There is only one way to go, and everyone knows the road.
But now that story is changing. Extension is now working with different people and communities, serving different goals, honoring different needs. The old story is not enough now; it must grow, and Urban Extension is where that growth is occurring.
The old story is still real, still vibrant, still needed, and Extension must serve as it always has. But Urban Extension is now adding a new chapter to that traditional tale.
This eFieldbook has been envisioned as a story of Urban Extension, exploring what it is, how it works, and what it is becoming.
The first section is an exploration of what Urban Extension actually is, its purpose and scope, describing its particular characteristics of diversity and population shift, and laying out its differences and similarities to Rural Extension.
The second section is a list of those contributing to this publication, allowing the reader to explore its founders as interest allows.
The story then winds on to dive deep into the actual work of the Urban Extension office as viewed through case studies, which have been structured through the lens of the 4P’s (Positioning, Programming, Personnel, and Partnerships) that the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) believe to be critical to the future of Urban Extension.
Positioning focuses on the ways in which Extension is placed in terms of national, state, regional, and city levels, while Programming examines how Extension addresses the multitude of issues and priorities in the city. Personnel assesses how Extension attracts, develops, retains, and structures competent talent in the urban arena, and Partnerships explores how Extension collaborates to leverage resources for collective impact.
Finally, the heart of the eFieldbook, and the crux of the story, revolves around what professional development is like in Urban Extension, how it is achieved, and how it advances the work of the institution and serves the needs of the communities in which it is embedded. This section is the springboard to the Impact Collaborative Summit held in October, focused on professional development.
What area of Extension work interests you the most?
The last part of this story is the list of resources available for exploration, which touch on everything from deliberative discourse critical to democracy and Extension’s work in that arena, to sustainability sources, to professional development documents, and to scholarly research circling around questions posed about Urban Extension.
In addition, the reader can investigate the interactive asset map, and reach out to the virtual experts with questions. Both pages are located under the Resources tab.
Now, turn the page to begin!
Header/cover collage images provided with permission by:
2018 NUEL Southern 1890s Caucus
2013-2017 Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program
2019 Seattle, Washington, NUEC (2 of them)
NC Cooperative Extension, Durham County Center
NC Cooperative Extension, Wake County Center