JHSE Volume 5, Number 2 Cover
Brad Gaolach
Washington State University
Michael Kern
Washington State University
Christina Sanders
Washington State University


metropolitan, public policy, short-term projects, building capacity, responsiveness, programming, public value

How to Cite

Gaolach, B., Kern, M., & Sanders, C. (2017). Urban Extension: Aligning with the Needs of Urban Audiences Through Subject-Matter Centers. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2). Retrieved from https://www.jhseonline.com/article/view/713


The educational program model is the principle approach Extension uses to deliver on its mission of “taking knowledge to the people.” However, with county-based faculty fully engaged in long-term program delivery, they may have little or no capacity to address emerging issues faced by urban communities. Urban governments often seek the research capacity of a university in addition to, or instead of, the traditional Extension programming model but sometimes turn first to other urban-serving universities. Washington State University Extension has addressed these challenges by establishing subject-matter centers. This article examines how subject-matter centers can add capacity to traditional Extension offices in order to be responsive to emerging local needs, suggesting models that other university Extension programs may use or adapt to their local communities. These models also foster more community engagement and articulate greater public value for the institution as a whole.

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