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About Us

Who We Are

The Western Center was established by the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA) with fiscal support from:

Cooperative Extension Service University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension
Colorado State University Extension
University of Idaho Extension
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Washington State University Extension

The Western Center is hosted at WSU by WSU Extension and co-hosted by the Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension.

Our Advisory Board incorporates distinguished university professionals working all across the United States whose expertise lies in project management, facilitation, leadership, and academia. The Center also provides internship opportunities, helping to prepare the next generation of collaborative leaders. Please refer to News and Events for internship opportunity announcements.

Why We Do It

In 2006, the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA) tasked the WRPLC: Western Regional Program Leadership Committee (.doc) to identify the characteristics of Western metropolitan and to explore one or more conceptual models for metropolitan Extension work. Based upon a literature review and an informal survey of state Extension programs, the WRPLC concluded in its report (.pdf).

  • A common approach to metropolitan Extension education and issue analysis does not exist in the West
  • Woefully, little has been published on metropolitan Extension models or how to operationalize them

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Strengthening Western Extension

Strong Extension programs are informed by research and supported by best practices, however WRPLC’s research suggested that that the resources to guide metropolitan Extension organizations in the west were limited to university outreach or faculty development.

Recognizing these distinctions of metropolitan centers in the West, WEDA established the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research in 2014 to:

  • Increase the internal capacity of Western Extension programs to address metropolitan issues
  • Elevate the stature and value of Cooperative Extension to external metropolitan audiences

How We Do It

With the overarching goal to better align programs and program delivery with the needs, issues and interests of their metropolitan constituency, the Western Center focuses on two major components:

  • Applied research on issues and best Extension practices
  • Professional development of Extension professionals

Operationally, our activities integrate these two core functions, such that applied research informs the professional development activities lead by the Western Center.

For more information about applied research and professional development, please visit our page on Applied Research and Professional Development.

Western Center Membership

Due to all of the positive input in regards to the Western Center’s activities, we are now offering membership to all Extension organizations. Membership provides tools to maintain an impactful presence for your Extension organization in cities and metropolitan areas, professional development for Extension faculty and staff, opportunities to engage in applied research, project and funding opportunities, and a broader forum for advancing effective models of working within metropolitan regions.

To learn more about all of the Western Center’s membership benefits, please visit our membership page.