Over the past 100 years, a number of societal trends have influenced how Cooperative Extension engages public audiences in its outreach and education efforts. These trends include rapid evolution in communication technology, greater specialization of Land-Grant University faculty, and diversification of funding sources. In response, Extension organizations have adapted their engagement approach, incorporated new technologies, modified their organizational structures, and even expanded the notion of public stakeholders to include funders, program nonparticipants, and others. This article explores the implications for future Extension efforts using two case studies—one which explores how a community visioning program incorporated new ways of engaging local audiences, and another which explores how an Extension business retention program used participatory action research and educational organizing approaches to strengthen participation in a research-based program.



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