Many land-grant universities are examining approaches to community engagement to better align with the US land-grant mission of knowledge democratization. With a growing majority of the United States’ population living in urbanized spaces, it is a societal imperative for university engagement initiatives to devise strategies for engaging people on the complexity of urban issues central to individual and community wellbeing. Effective urban engagement demands collaboration and strong relationships with urban organizations and residents to co-create approaches to urban concerns. Through narrative-based inquiry, we explore urban engagements within Penn State Extension (PSE) across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (USA). PSE, located administratively in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is charged with carrying out Penn State’s land-grant commitment to serve Pennsylvania’s citizens through community engagement and nonformal education in the agricultural and food, human, and social sciences. We examine extension educator and faculty practices, program development, community engagements, and experiences, and those of community stakeholders. This work draws upon democratic methods to uncover the undergirding philosophies of engagement within PSE and how communities experience those engagements. This project offers an entry-point to longer-term applied research to develop a broadly applicable theory and praxis of translational research, engagement, and change privileging urban community resilience.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Urban Studies