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Engage • Advance • Innovate

Logo: Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research


The Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER) is a multi-university collaboration established by the Western Extension Directors Association to

  • increase the internal capacity of Western Extension programs to address metropolitan issues, and to
  • elevate the stature and value of Cooperative Extension to external metropolitan audiences.

Since WCMER’s founding in 2014 we have focused our efforts on applied research on best Extension practices and issues facing metropolitan areas, and professional development for Extension professionals, with a goal of better aligning programs and program delivery with the needs, issues and interest of their metropolitan constituency.

Institutional membership in the WCMER has expanded beyond the west from an original group of six founding university Extension members, to thirteen members from coast to coast. This greater participation and diversity has allowed us to broaden our collaborations, extend our reach, and engage in new projects that advance the knowledge base of Extension work in our metropolitan regions.




Membership in WCMER is open to any Cooperative Extension organization. Benefits of membership apply to all faculty and staff in your institution.



The Western Center is embarking on projects that advance the knowledge base of Extension work in our metropolitan regions.



WCMER empowers Deep Dive, Urban Sabbatical and Urban Graduate Fellows to address complex issues facing metropolitan areas.


Career Progression for Urban Extension Professionals

To be successful in achieving Extension impact and community change, urban Extension professionals need flexibility from the academic system. This paper from WCMER Applied Research Fellows Jeantyl Norze and Eric Killian explores how new and innovative career tracks balanced with academic rigor will help propel urban Extension professionals to both greater academic advancement and overall impact.

GROW – Urban Agriculture Conference

The inaugural Generating Research Opportunities Workshop (GROW) for Urban Agriculture, is a virtual three-part conference for researchers, extension professional, educators and stakeholders designed to build interdisciplinary teams and support their efforts to secure funding for research, extension and education (REE) that supports and expands urban agriculture.

ESP Conference Poster

WCMER Fellows Ramona Madhosingh-Hector and Alyssa Bowers presented a poster at the 2023 Epsilon Sigma Phi annual conference in Billings, MT.

Meet our 2022-23 Research Fellows

WCMER is pleased to offer renewed funding to four fellows, as well as welcome four brand new fellows! New research topics include urban soil assessment and characterization, urban canopy rebate program analysis, and identity & computer science curriculum for Black and Latina middle-school aged girls.

Best Practices in Suburban Housing Affordability

Suburban communities across the United States have experienced a steady rise in median housing prices. Lower housing affordability has a host of negative consequences including increased homelessness, poor health outcomes, unaddressed racial housing inequality, and lower disposable incomes. WCMER Applied Research Fellows, Craig Carpenter, Tyler Augst and Dave Ivan from Michigan State University developed a position paper on affordable housing, focusing on first and second ring suburban cities and smaller, growing urban centers.

Editor's Intro LED Series Banner

Explore our Leading Edge Dialogues White Paper Series

National Urban Extension dialogue on: Density, Youth Engagement, Preparing the Extension Workforce, Data and Policy, Fulfilling the Land Grant University Mission, and Smart Cities.

Urban Farming

What's NEW in Urban Agriculture

Learn more about the Multi-state Urban Ag project or review the summary and survey results from last summer’s NIFA listening sessions.

Member Benefit: The NATURA Project

WCMER is a partner of the NATURA project. WCMER member schools are invited to join the conversation and take advantage of learning networks, fellowships, and event opportunities.