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the land-grant institution does not offer it. Available resources of these schools in trained faculty men and women who could contribute valuable services in fields other than agriculture and home economics indicate their ability and consequent responsibility in general extension either through direct service or through cooperation with other institutions. Neither is there substantial basis for thinking that adults are not interested in extension education in fields other than agriculture and home economics. The enrollment of hundreds of thousands of adults in general-extension courses offered by State educational institutions and the enrollment of many times that number in commercial correspondence schools are indications that people everywhere are interested in the study of problems related to many phases of life. The fact that such a large number of men and women are paying relatively high prices for work offered by these commercial institutions is a challenge to State schools that have failed to realize their responsibility to their own constituencies for providing certain types of continuing education for adults.
Changing social and economic conditions are affecting a change in the conception of the objectives of land-grant college education. There is an increasing realization that the functions and offerings of these institutions must be adapted to current social and educational developments. The aims and objectives of Smith-Lever extension and of general extension in their broadest and most fundamental aspects are the same. These services are concerned with the educational advancement of the same people, both rural and urban. Both realize that the interests and welfare of the people depend upon an educational program that takes into consideration not only training in modes of making a living, but also in ways of participating most fully in the various complex activities of society. General extension can contribute substantially to an educational program designed to accomplish these objectives.
Appraisal by the land-grant colleges of the value of their generalextension service certainly should give encouragement to increasing its scope and amount. Of the 27 institutions reporting, there is practically unanimous agreement that their general extension ranks high on the basis of quality of work done, standing of the staff compared with resident staff, and the effect of the service on the position of the institution in the State. This is true of its appraisal by the people of the State, by public-school teachers, and by the administrators and the faculties of the land-grant colleges themselves. The one institution that reports that its general-extension work is unsatisfactory explains that this is due to the fact that so little is offered.
Objectives of General Extension
Failure to understand the objectives of general-extension education is one reason for its slow development in the land-grant colleges. Fundamentally the objectives of general extension are the same as those for education in general. General extension attempts to bring to adults the advantages of vocational, humanistic, and social education which are not open to them through the usual educational agencies nor through agricultural and home-economics extension. There are good reasons why men and women of various walks of life should engage in purposeful study in engineering and industry, in commerce and business, and in the arts and sciences under the direction of universities and colleges, even though they are not enrolled for work in residence. General extension is concerned with the promotion of study in a wider range of subject matter fields than is Smith-Lever extension. Its constituency is more widely distributed among the various professions and occupations. It is the function of the land-grant colleges within the widest limits of their institutional resources to provide democratic education for the common people. Manifestly this can be done only by taking the colleges to the people who can not go to college.
It is the chief function of general extension, therefore, to contribute guidance and assistance in the problems of both vocational and liberal learning for relatively mature people who are for the most part engaged in the daily tasks of earning a living and who wish to utilize their spare time in study. Study may be directed along the line of training for immediate improvement in vocational proficiency, thus contributing to promotion in service, or in fields of purely cultural interest. In either case, both objectives are attained if the work is successfully accomplished.
There is no doubt that the present trend of economic development indicates a greater demand for general extension. Increase in the use of machinery and other devices is constantly increasing the need for study on the part of workers. It is also lessening the pressure of manual labor, thus affording to people more opportunity for study. The general rise in the level of educational achievement is creating a demand for better means of employing leisure hours. The natural result will be a more satisfactory utilization of all the resources now available for guidance in purposeful reading and also a demand for more resources,
Chapter X.—Organization of General Extension
General extension service requires an organization that will assure freedom for its development according to special extension needs and at the same time accomplish the most thorough integration with the institution. The failure of general extension to develop its special techniques and methods, on the one hand, and its failure to enlist the sympathetic cooperation of the university faculty on the other, can usually be traced directly to faulty organization, either in form or in personnel—sometimes, unfortunately, in both.
The most satisfactory administration manifestly is one that provides for direct centralization of authority and responsibility. General extension should, therefore, be placed under the administration of one head, who is directly responsible to the president for all such work offered. The cooperation of an advisory committee has its merits, providing it is only advisory, for such cooperation assists in the correlation of extension services within the institution.
The organization of general extension requires that it provide for satisfactory correlation of various phases of extension work and also for its proper integration with the institution. In 21 of the 29 institutions reporting, the general extension work is included under one head, usually a director; in 20 the director is responsible directly to the president, while in 4 he is responsible to a committee. To accord directors a rank coordinate with the deans is the general practice. Of 23 land-grant colleges reporting, 19 employ general extension directors, whose primary function is the administration of the general extension service and whose time is devoted to this work.
Only four directors are hampered by other duties, such as institutional administration, committee work, or resident teaching, to such an extent that the administration of general extension is regarded as of secondary importance. That the directors have opportunity to travel for the purpose of lecturing and establishing desirable relationships is indicated by the replies of 18 of 23 schools. Lack of administrative assistance or clerical force or funds is given by five schools as reasons for their failure to provide such opportunity. That the directors have not taken due advantage of their opportunities to travel for the purposes suggested is shown by the report of only 241 lecture engagements for all deans and directors during 1927–28.
While the form of organization indicates centralization of general extension under the direction of one head, reports from the institutions show that there is considerable departure from the plan in actual practice. From Table 35 the extent to which general extension service is actually offered under different administrative controls may be determined. Much division of authority and responsibility is evident.
TABLE 35.-Number of institutions in which general extension service is offered
under different administrative controls
The relationship of extension service and resident work is one of the most important problems confronting the administrator of general extension. How to maintain satisfactory cooperation with the resident staff and at the same time realize the possibilities of the service for the people of the State is a difficult problem. There is danger, on the one hand, of isolating the extension service from the resident institution instead of integrating it satisfactorily, and danger, on the other hand, of failure to adapt the work to the needs of the constituency to be served.
One of the most common causes for apprehension on the part of university administrative officers has been the belief that general extension tends to set up a separate university that may fail to maintain the scholastic ideals of the institution. Results of the survey show that this belief is not well founded. The selection and assignment of extension instructors is a matter in which department heada have considerable responsibility. The most-favored procedure is for the director of extension and the department head concerned to act jointly, a plan most admirably suited to assuring harmony with general university interests. The practices followed are indicated in Table 36.
TABLE 36.-Number of institutions reporting responsibility for the selection and
assignment of extension instructors in general-extension service
Even greater is the share of the resident department heads in directing the character of instruction. This is done by keeping in touch with extension teaching through conferences, use of common outlines and syllabi, and through exchange of instructors in resi. dent and extension teaching. (Table 37.)
TABLE 37.-Number of institutions reporting extension instructors' responsibility
for methods of teaching and subject matter content
Certainly the plan of organization and the procedure followed offer good opportunities for harmonizing general extension work with resident practice if resident department heads are disposed to take any reasonable and sympathetic interest in extension service. It is clear from questionnaire returns that directors of general extension defer to the departments to a considerable degree with respect to methods of teaching and subject matter content.
An effective organization of general extension provides for satisfactory contacts with local groups. Contact is established and main