UPLB, US unis share contemporary extension practices

It was the Americans who brought the discipline of extension in the university when they established the Department of Agricultural Education in the then UP College of Agriculture in the late 1920s.

After almost a century, a new generation of American scholars visited the university, not only to teach contemporary trends in the said field, but also to learn how UPLB has flourished its own brand of extension education and practice at the International Extension Professional Development Program (IEPDP).

The IEPDP held a conversation with UPLB on extension practices at the symposium on the US Extension Program Model on Mar. 9 at the REDREC Auditorium.  

IEPD participants – 12 professors and practitioners – talked about the current application of extension in agriculture and natural resources, environmental and resource management, family and consumer sciences, and youth development in the United States.

They came from Utah State University (USU), University of Wisconsin (UW), Iowa State University, Colorado State University, Green Country Development Corporation, and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

During the symposium, USU’s Dr. Celina Wille, IEPDP program leader, said that the program aims to expand US extension faculty’s views on global issues in the Philippines and Asia, learn about extension work in the country, and increase participants’ cultural competence and ability to address the needs of culturally diverse audiences in the US.

One of the US-based extension programs tackled at the symposium was the Water Action Volunteers Program (WAV) presented by Peggy Compton, an extension specialist from UW Extension.

WAV is a statewide network of citizen scientist volunteers committed to monitoring as much of Wisconsin’s over 86,000 miles of streams and rivers.

“With the help of our volunteers, we aim to preserve, protect, and restore the state’s streams and rivers by collecting high-quality stream data that’s useful for decision-making and natural resource management,” Compton said.

Present during the symposium was Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. who welcomed the participants and talked about the status of the discipline in the university.

“Here in UPLB, extension work are usually in the form of providing technical trainings or advice to concerned stakeholders or sectors, as well as, raising awareness and disseminating relevant and timely information using various forms of available media,” Chancellor Sanchez said.

“This symposium is an excellent opportunity for us all to learn how our partners in America carry out their extension programs, compare it with our own, and see the ways that both parties can improve so as to better help the communities and stakeholders that we serve,” he added.

UPLB faculty members, research, extension, and professional staff, and students attended the symposium.

Also present during the event were Dr. Simplicio Medina, director of the UPLB Office of International Linkages (OIL), and USU’s Justen Oliver Smith, director of Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Department. UPLB-OIL and USU co-organized IEPDP.

During their stay in the campus from March 6 to 14, the participants visited UPLB units such as the College of Agriculture and Food Science for its Farmer-Scientists RDE Training Program; the College of Human Ecology for the Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement; and Ugnayan ng Pahinungod for its literacy programs.

They were also oriented about the extension education graduate curricula of the College of Public Affairs and Development; and the extension programs of the School of Environmental Science and Management and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. (John Glen S. Sarol)

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