Where do we want to go and what do we want to be known for in the future? If we are to help people with widely divergent viewpoints engage in making decisions within a changing environment, technical and scientific expertise alone cannot provide solutions to issues which have political, ethical, and environmental impacts on communities and their inhabitants. We are not the university our grandfathers or grandmothers attended, if they earned a college degree. Nor is our outreach and engagement system like the one our parents may remember. This article discusses four challenges agriculture education and extension face as the 21st century advances, framing them in a global context: What is the role of public research universities? How do cross cultural exchanges impact students? Where does agriculture education and extension fit into the urban agenda? What benchmarks success for extension?
Challenges include the pace of change and expanding linkages between private sector firms, clientele, students and the international community. We may think local, but actions have global consequences. Thoughtful, well-intended actions are not enough to position us to lead change. We need to be able to change ourselves, our programs, and our institutions. To do that, we need to be informed decision makers. To be informed, we need data (research) that we can change into information. Information when applied to real world problems becomes knowledge. If that knowledge holds true over time, it may become thought of as wisdom.
Keywords: Agriculture Education, Change, Extension, Global