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Chapter I.-Introduction


A fundamental fault of educational institutions has been their failure to recognize substantially in practice that education is a lifetime process. Educational agencies have until recently pretty generally confined their efforts to the earlier years of life. They have been little concerned with assisting the individual in his problems of learning after he has left school. Adequate facilities have not been provided to serve the limited and specific postschool desires of those who recognize the need for further educational direction. This is true even in the case of those whose postschool period began early in life. The provision for further educational opportunity for college graduates and for the professionally trained has been notably deficient. It is true that the level of general education is being raised and that the period of education, especially in the professions, tends to be prolonged, but only recently have the developments in modern scientific and social progress tended to break down the old conception of education as a process of acquisition and storage during early life.

Educational agencies are beginning to regard it as their function to provide people with lifetime opportunities to secure aid upon their problems of learning. That this is the case is evidenced by the development of the movement known as adult education. Although this term is inadequate to cover the conception of education as a lifetime process, it does emphasize the need for educational opportunity for the period of life that our present organized system of education most generally neglects. This is essentially the field of extension services.

If this ideal of educational provision for all periods of life is to be attained, all the organized agencies of education will be involved. For any State a state-wide system of cooperating and coordinating agencies will be required. Full responsibility can not rest upon any one institution or agency. Its field of educational endeavor, its resources in personnel and money, and the resources available from other agencies of the State will determine the part of the land-grant college in the development of any state-wide program of extension education.

It is not the function of this survey to present an educational program for any specific State that will insure lifetime educational opportunity to all its people. Nor is it the survey's function to define the part that any individual institution should play in such a program. It is the function of this survey to show what the land

. grant colleges are now doing that may contribute to educational development of this kind and to point out the deficiencies in and the obstacles to such utilization of the existing resources of the landgrant institutions. The survey may also properly suggest in general terms to the land-grant colleges certain extension objectives and functions that may be assumed by them.

Presentation of these matters will not be controlled strictly by abstract logic. For the sake of clarity and in order to relate the treatment to existing forms of institutional organization, discussion of extension services will be grouped about two major centers of activity; first, cooperative extension in agriculture and home economics established under the Federal Smith-Lever law and supplementary legislation and, second, other forms of extension activity sometimes grouped by the institutions in a university extension division.

Throughout this discussion the basic objectives of all types of extension activity are defined in liberal terms. It is the viewpoint of this survey that Smith-Lever extension, which includes only extension work in agriculture and home economics, can not properly be considered as exclusively vocational. To consider it so is to miss entirely the humanistic and social purpose which should constitute the basic foundation of all education. This survey will emphasize appreciation of this point of view of Smith-Lever extension as well as evident lack of it. Indeed this is no less important than is the appraisal of its failures and successes in the strictly vocational phases of its work. General extension, which includes the arts and sciences, engineering, and business and, in short, all extension service other than that included under Smith-Lever, will be viewed in the same light. Its objectives also are vocational, humanistic, and social.

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Chapter II.-Position and Objectives of Smith-Lever

Cooperative Extension

College and university extension activities have been regarded quite commonly as by-products of resident instruction and research. The main business of the institutions has been intramural work. Educational service to persons not classified as "regular" students

” has pretty largely been regarded as a stepchild in the family of institutional activities. Therefore, in spite of recognition of a certain relationship to institutional responsibility, extension work has not usually been assigned by the colleges and universities to an educational and administrative position coordinate with that of resi. dent instruction. The most notable exception to this general statement of the situation is the development of Smith-Lever extension. Smith-Lever extension work has been set up in the land-grant colleges with definite objectives quite distinct from those of resident instruction and research. An administrative and operating organization has been developed for the specific purpose of attaining these objectives. Methods that depart widely from those prevailing in resident instruction have been accepted as appropriate to the purposes that characterize Smith-Lever work.

It is the purpose of this portion of the land-grant college survey of extension services to examine and to comment upon: (1) The reasons for the unusual position occupied by this specific form of extension activity in institutional administrative and educational organization; (2) to present the objectives of Smith-Lever extension; (3) to describe the administrative and financial organization for the attainment of these objectives; (4) to discuss the character and duties of personnel charged with the operation of the administrative and educational work of Smith-Lever extension; (5) to consider the relationships of the Smith-Lever organization and personnel to national, State, and local organizations; (6) to describe methods of program building and operation of the service depended upon to attain theoretical and practical objectives; (7) to present some of the statistical results of Smith-Lever extension; and, finally, (8) to summarize findings and to make suggestions for the future.

Reasons for the Unusual Position of Smith-Lever Extension The Smith-Lever extension service occupies an important and dignified position in the land-grant colleges and universities. This is true despite the fact that the instruction given carries no college credit, and despite the fact that admission requirements, class attendance, prerequisites and sequences, and all the mechanism of resident college work are practically unknown to this type of extension service. The reasons for the prominence and strength of the Smith-Lever extension organization in the face of the violence thus done to the cherished academic traditions of higher education are not difficult to discover. No adequate estimate of this work can be formed, however, unless these reasons are clearly understood.

Obviously a fundamental cause for the success of Smith-Lever extension work is the fact that it provides educational assistance that meets a real need for such service. Yet this does not account for its institutional position in the land-grant colleges. Other forms of extension work that offer educational service equally as valuable and as much needed have not attained comparable influence and organization. The distinctive reasons why Smith-Lever extension occupies the position that it does as compared to other types of extension service must be sought upon other grounds. Five points deserve emphasis in this connection.

First, when the land-grant colleges found themselves unable through resident college work to accomplish one of their most important purposes—that is, direct service to farmers in connection with their immediately practical problems—Smith-Lever extension provided the way. The ideal of direct practical service to the industrial classes, but especially to rural people, was from the beginning prominent in the minds of the leaders of the land-grant college movement and dominant in the consciousness of the people and legislators who supported these institutions. Such service through resident college instruction was never very successful. It became increasingly difficult as emphasis upon science became necessary to solution of the basic problems of agricultural production and as general national standards of college education were developed to which the landgrant colleges were compelled to conform if they were to attain and hold a respectable position among the higher educational institutions of the Nation. Smith-Lever extension for the first time in the history of the land-grant colleges provided an effective means of accomplishing the purpose of direct service that had been cherished but poorly realized throughout the period of development of agricultural education upon the college level. Smith-Lever extension, therefore, owes its important position in land-grant-college organization, in part at least, to its value as a means of keeping faith with the public and the rural population to whom promises of direct aid had long been made as an inducement to give financial and moral support to these institutions. How well Smith-Lever extension has served this purpose is part of the story of some of the succeeding pages of this report.

Second, Smith-Lever extension became intrenched in land-grantcollege organization by reason of Federal support. It is difficult to believe that the institutions would have so uniformly and so heartily accepted instruction work of the kind Smith-Lever extension carries on as a part of their permanent organization if Federal financial support had not been given to the work in the colleges and if Federal organization in the Department of Agriculture had not provided leadership and guidance in the development of the work. Whatever the theoretical or practical objections to encouragement of specific educational activities by means of Federal money and administrative direction, the benefits of Federal support of this kind in the case of Smith-Lever extension are clearly evident.

A third influence that has given to Smith-Lever extension activity a strong place in the organization of land-grant colleges is the pressure upon legislatures, governing boards, and administrators exerted by business and economic organizations that recognize the possibility of financial profit to themselves through the increased agricultural production that may be expected to result from the use of better methods brought to farmers by the extension service. The underlying motive is not at variance with public welfare. Nor has such support been confined to those directly engaged in handling agricultural products. Business interests whose agricultural contacts are so remote as to appear quite intangible have aggressively championed extension activities.

Fourth, Smith-Lever extension would not occupy the position it does if its advocates and leaders had not exercised a very high degree of public activity and good sense. Public activity is here used not in the sense of party politics but in the sense of utilization of the means and influences through which legislative action is secured in a democracy. There has been, on the part of Smith-Lever interests, little of the academic contempt for the practical agencies and methods through which public action is secured in the United States. In other words, the integration and harmonious participation of SmithLever extension with what in noneducational connections we are accustomed to call the political genius of the Nation has to a large degree accounted for its success as compared with other forms of extension services.

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