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Scholarship in UW-Extension is understood to be a particular approach to educational programming that is: a) creative intellectual work, b) reviewed and affirmed by peers, c) added to our intellectual history through its communication and d) valued by those for whom the work was intended. For more information, see Portfolio Format. PDF link

The concept of scholarship, in the literature of higher education, reflects a strong commitment to knowledge – including its growth, utilization and communication. Fully developed scholarship creates knowledge that is validated by peers in the discipline, and communicates that new knowledge in forms that are long-lasting and accessible by those who might build on it to advance the discipline. Extension scholarship goes beyond this, and requires that the new knowledge be valued by both the discipline and the public.

"For an activity to be designated as scholarship, it should manifest at least three key characteristics: it should be public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one's scholarly community. We thus observe with respect to all forms of scholarship that they are acts of mind or spirit that have been made public in some manner, have been subjected to peer review by members of one's intellectual or professional community, and can be cited, refuted, built-upon, and shared among members of that community. Scholarship properly communicated and critiqued serves as the building block for knowledge growth in a field." From: Shulman, Lee. The Carnegie Teaching Academy. (1998). The Pew Scholars National Fellowship Program (pp 9-10). Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


UW-Extension has many excellent examples of scholarship, some of which are featured here. You can see more examples from the field of Agriculture at Department of Agriculture/Ag Business.


Events and Resources

Engagement Scholarship Consortium Annual Conference -October 7-8, 2014, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

Imagining America - October 9-11, 2014, Atlanta, GA

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health - April 30 - May 1, 2014, Chicago


Extension Scholars

Deanna Schneider

Emerging Technologies Specialist

Open Source Software Development

Open source software is software in which the originating author makes available the source code (the human-readable code) and invites other developers to review, critique and improve upon the existing code with the caveat that all improvements are contributed back to the community. Approached with intention, it is scholarly work.

David Friedman ("Future Imperfect") agrees:

"...the open source movement is simply a new variation on the system under which most of modern science was created. Programmers create software; scholars create ideas. Ideas, like open source programs, can be used by anyone. The source code, the evidence and arguments on which the ideas are based, is public information."

I have taken this scholarly approach to provide value to Cooperative Extension and enrich the broader open source software development community by developing extensions for the WordPress platform. Read more . . .

Will Andresen

Community Resource Development Educator

Understanding Volunteer Motivation: Moving from Learning to Action

UW-Extension works with community leaders to "transform communities in powerful and long-lasting ways." One way this is achieved is through the logic model, a signature pedagogy with UW-Extension. Like the ripple effect, the logic model proposes that short-term changes in learning lead to mid-term changes in action which lead to long-term changes in conditions. This research is designed to understand what motivates adult learners to apply short-term changes in learning to mid-term changes in action to affect long-term organizational and community transformation. Read more . . .

Gogebic Range Next Generation Initiative

Many of today's young people are looking for more than just a job. They want to live in a place that also matches their lifestyle. This is a major change that local government and economic development officials should understand so that the community can attract and retain young people to sustain its population and economy.

A thorough review of the related literature supported this idea, but I realized that local research was required to build community credibility. I surveyed 668 local young people, presented the survey results to an audience of more than 60 local leaders and community members, and divided participants into four groups to develop strategies to retain and attract young people by better connecting them to the community, developing our niche, promoting our strengths and creating social capitol. Read more . . .

Jeffrey L. Lewis

Lecturer; Ad Hoc Program Specialist
  • Photo of Jeffrey Lewis
  • Ph.D., Education, University of California-Davis
    M.S., Early Childhood Education, University of Oregon
    B.A., Economics, Drury College

    Cooperative Extension Division
    UW-Extension Building
    432 N. Lake Street, Room 617
    Madison, WI 53706
    (608) 890-2668;

African American Boys' Views of Family as Support for School

Researchers long have recognized that family-school relationships affect children's success at school, so educators in the last two decades have reached out to parents or households. However, many African American children receive support extending beyond the nuclear family or immediate household. Attempts to connect families and schools may bypass these adaptive family systems, with educators missing opportunities to partner with supportive adults and to build on the positive impact of peers supporting success at school. This study looks at key relationships related to academic success of African American boys in the critical pre-teen years. Read more . . .

Molly Spaulding

Family Living Educator
  • Photo of Molly Spaulding
  • M.P.H., Community Health, Saint Louis University
    M.S., Nutrition, Saint Louis University
    B.S., Community Medical Dietetics, Viterbo University

    Green Lake County UW-Extension
    492 Hill Street, P.O. Box 3188
    Green Lake, WI 54941
    Phone: (920) 294-4039;

Assessing Needs of Family Caregivers in the Workplace

One in four adults is a caregiver, and caregivers who are in the workforce cost employers in the U.S. more than $34 billion annually. The average cost is $2,000 per caregiver working fulltime, in part, due to workday interruptions and distractions, absenteeism and shifts from full-time to part-time work or leaving the workforce altogether. To address needs of employees who also are caregivers, I worked with UW-Extension colleagues in five other counties and with the UW-Extension program specialist in aging to develop and pilot a brief online assessment tool with county government employees. More than half of the respondents were in a caregiving role. Their responses helped our workgroup clarify the economic impact of adult caregiving on county government and assess the caregivers' educational needs.
Read more . . .