Imagining America Partnership | Extension Reconsidered Initiative

Extension Reconsidered convening at the Kettering Foundation; photo by Paul Treadwell

The Art of the Rural is proud to partner in the Extension Reconsidered, a initiative led by Imagining America, a consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to advancing the public and civic purposes of humanities, arts, and design. We are doubly grateful to count Imagining America as a Year of the Rural Arts partnering organization.     

The Extension Reconsidered Initiative launched this year to mark the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, the federal legislation that institutionalized the land-grant system’s Extension work by establishing the national Cooperative Extension System.

Drawing inspiration from Ernest Boyer’s important book, Scholarship Reconsidered, IA’s Extension Reconsidered initiative aims to reconsider dominant views of what Extension is and what it’s for, and to envision what it could and should be in the twenty-first century.

  • What can and should Extension do to improve its contributions to the work of understanding and addressing the critical economic, ecological, and social problems that citizens are facing in the twenty-first century?
  • How might Extension realize its potential as a force for renewing and strengthening our communities, our democracy, and our civic culture?
  • How might Extension help citizens to claim their places in public life by coming together to advance their values and interests, and consider and act to address the problems that matter to them and their families and communities?

These and other questions will be taken up this spring in a variety of ways on the Extension Reconsidered blog and at special events that are being planned in 13 states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.  The events will help open a path for a long-term initiative devoted to developing and supporting new ways for Extension to strengthen democracy by engaging people and methodologies from arts, humanities, and design fields.  They will also contribute to research for a book that will be published in 2016, titled Extension Reconsidered.

Extension Reconsidered is a partnership between Imagining America, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), and the Art of the Rural. Please join our conversation on the Extension Reconsidered blog, or contact a state-level team to get involved in the discussion.

Art of the Rural Arts in Extension related press and publications:

Art of the Rural is currently exploring the history of the arts programs of the Cooperative Extension Service. Through collaborations with Extension Reconsidered and the Robert Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation, we’ll be posting relevant dialogue and engagement opportunities throughout the Year of the Rural Arts 2014.