The Rising Tide of Outreach and Engagement in State and Land-Grant Universities in the United States: What are the Implications for University Continuing Education Units in Canada?


  • Scott McLean University of Calgary
  • Gordon Thompson University of Saskatchewan
  • Peter Jonker University of Saskatchewan



In this paper, we describe the outreach and engagement movement in the United States and explore the implications of this movement for university continuing education units in Canada. Across the United States, major universities have adopted the vocabulary of “outreach and engagement” to foster a shift in the relationships of those universities with communities and organizations beyond the traditional boundaries of the institution. This vocabulary has its roots in the work of Ernest Boyer (1990, 1996) and the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities (1999, 2000). In the past decade, many American universities have adopted new leadership and organizational structures to make an operational commitment to outreach and engagement. In Canada, university continuing education units have traditionally been involved in activities that fit within the concept of outreach and engagement, and leaders of such units should consider the implications of the outreach and engagement movement.