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National Action Dialogue: Extension Futures Summary Report

In partnership with ECOP, two National Action Dialogues (NAD) focused on Extension Futures were held on July 13 and July 14, 2020. 382 participants from 69 Land Grant Universities (LGU) representing all five ECOP regions and program areas along with18 partner organizations who collectively shared ideas, concerns, and needs within 5 focus topics, guided by 10 Facilitators, and informed by 17 Key Informants.

The purpose of the Action Dialogue was to imagine near-future possibilities for how Cooperative Extension can better serve individuals and communities in the face of evolving needs and capabilities. This work was done through a diversity, equity and inclusion framework that includes awareness of low-income and low access individuals. The outcome of this dialogue will support the transitional aspect of Cooperative Extension to a more-virtual delivery platform and will inform the need for funding of infrastructure/equipment needed for the envisioned future.

Five focus topics were identified including:

  • National Community Learning Network
  • Digital Cooperatives
  • Professional, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development
  • Infrastructure
  • Living Ecosystem of Professionals

From each focus topic, the notes and recordings were analyzed to identify emerging themes. These themes are listed in the report. However, two themes emerged in all breakout groups: (1) the need for universal, affordable broadband access (2) the need to strengthen existing and pursue new partnerships within local communities. Additionally, Infrastructure and Training needs were identified along with suggestions for new solutions.

Additional input was gathered from Cooperative Extension administrative leadership as part of the September 2020 National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) meeting. Breakout sessions included topics that emerged from the July NAD event. These included access to farm and ag data for ag innovation and data-driven decision-making; aggregation and use of public data for community decision-making; advocating for broadband technology in rural and urban communities that have low or poor accessibility with a digital equity emphasis; and building community technology networks and hubs, including low-tech and offline solutions.

A copy of the full report is available here.

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eXtension & ECOP Host National Action Dialogue – Community Based Programming in the Digital Networked COVID-19 Age

March 26th & April 1st, 2020
3 PM – 4:30 PM ET
Available to: All Cooperative Extension Professionals
Register Here

Panelists Include:

Chuck Hibberd, Dean & Director of Nebraska Extension
Paul Hill, Extension Associate Professor, County Director, Community Economic Development, Utah State University
Elise Lofgren, Senior Instructional Designer, Purdue University
Doug Edlund, Assistant Director of Operations, UTIA Communications, & ACE President

In partnership with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), eXtension has been mobilized to support Cooperative Extension System (CES) during this tough time of social distancing and in response we have started a webinar series to address working virtually and connecting with your audiences through digital technology. You will also find more information at and in the Connect Extension Group: Extension Response & Resources for Extension Professionals Working Online you might consider joining.


To take this all one step further, we will be hosting a National Action Dialogue around Community Based Programming (CBP) in the Digital Networked COVID-19 Age as a two-session online event starting tomorrow, March 26th, available for all CES professionals across the country regardless of eXtension Foundation, Inc. membership. Registration is Open

Online Event: Community Based Programming (CBP) in the Digital Networked COVID-19 Age

  • Part 1: Date/Time: Thursday, March 26, 3-4:30 PM ET
  • Part 2: Date/Time: Wednesday, April 1, 3-4:30 PM ET

Purpose/Outcome: The purpose of this National Action Dialogue is to position our universities to rapidly respond to CBP in the Digital networked COVID-19 issue by delving in, capturing collective wisdom, inspiring innovative thinking, and focusing on new opportunities, partnerships, solutions, tangible actions and collaborations on issues for farms, families, businesses, and communities that will exist long beyond this public health crisis. This is open to all Cooperative Extension professionals.

  • The first day in Part 1, this event will offer a speaker(s)/panel to seed the conversations around the topic and time will be allowed for small breakout groups to discuss the issues and groups will report back the main outcomes of their conversations to the entire attendance.
  • The second day in Part 2, the top issues will be explored more deeply by breakout groups to share strategies for addressing these issues and potential needs to address the issues.

About the eXtension Foundation

The eXtension Foundation is a membership-based non-profit designed to be the engine fueling U.S. Cooperative Extension’s advancement in making a more visible and measurable impact in support of education outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory. eXtension provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs. This work is supported by your membership dollars and funding from USDA-NIFA, grant no. 2019-41595-30123. For more information on eXtension membership, please visit

Information Issue Response

Survey Report Provides Resources for Civil Discourse Programming

In order to rapidly get a look at activities and interests among Extension Directors/Administrators around the issue of Civil Discourse, the ECOP Program Committee sent a survey in August to 76 Extension Directors/Administrators. eXtension supported the program committee by conducting the survey. Thanks to that survey, and supplemental information from additional experts, eXtension was able to compile a report that includes experts, programs and resources that you and your teams can use to support local programming on Civil Discourse.

ECOP Civil Discourse Survey Report August 2016