Reconceptualizing University Extension and Public Service

  • Gordon Thompson University of Saskatchewan
  • Wayne Lamble University of Alberta


The full development and potential contribution of university extension is limited by confusion about its basic nature and misunderstanding about its relationship to other concepts such as public service and outreach. This article addresses the evolution, role, and basic characteristics of university extension, as well as various sources of uncertainty and confusion about it and the importance of achieving greater common understanding about its function. A framework and definition are provided for developing a shared perspective on the concept of university extension in the context of scholarship and public service.
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