The Cooperative Extension Service, a publicly supported educational agency, is continually struggling to define its proper function and purpose in our changing society. Should its mission be broadly based or narrowly focused? Should staff members be generalists or specialists? Should its clients be primarily rural or urban, farm or nonfarm? What role should Extension play in the information networks of the twenty-first century? Professors Warner and Christenson take a broad look at these and other questions concerning where the Extension Service has been, how well it is doing, and where it ought to go. Theirs is, first, the only comprehensive national survey that looks at the total Extension organization rather than at just one program area. Second, it expresses the viewpoint of Extension clients and the public, rather than that of the organization's staff; and third, it combines outside survey information with data recorded in the Extension Management Information System (EMIS) and other routine agency reports. The authors evaluate, among other things, the extent of public awareness of the agency and its four major program areas (agriculture, home economics, 4-H, and community development), determine the users and nonusers of the programs and the accessibility of programs to the general population, identify the level of satisfaction with existing programs, and outline priorities and policy issues for the future.
Introduction -- Extension in Changing Times -- Evaluation in Extension -- Public Awareness of Extension -- Who Are Extension's Clientele? -- Some Clients Are Satisfied and Some Are Not -- Support for Extension -- The County as the Focus of Service Delivery -- Summary and Priorities -- Policy Issues Facing Extension -- The National Survey -- Additional Findings