What characterizes an internationalized extension system in the U.S.? A seemingly simple question, but one which few individuals have sought to address through research. Henson (1990) in his study of university internationalization stated that internationalization was frequently viewed in general, rather amorphous terms that were difficult for some to understand and comprehend.
Arum and Van de Water (1992) in their book Bridges to the Future: Strategies for Internationalizing Higher Education supported this view. In article after article, report after report, and at conference after conference the terms used to characterize the international dimension of education vary tremendously.
A review of literature revealed broad, but often ambiguous goal statements related to internationalization of Extension (ES-USDA, 1989; Ingle, 1990; King & Martin, 1991). Some ideas have been formulated for internationalizing (Somersan, 1992; Henson, Noel, Gilrad-Byers, Ingle, 1991; ES-USDA, 1989; Knox, 1987; York, 1984; Patton, 1984), but there has been little emphasis on implementation by Extension systems across the country (Rosson & Sanders, 1991; Poston & O'Rourke, 1991; Andrews & Lambur, 1986). Few studies have been conducted related to internationalization of the Extension component of the land-grant university system.
None defined internationalizing in terms of objectively verifiable indicators of success. A need to examine and improve the understanding of internationalizing of a state university Extension system became apparent through a review of literature. If the characteristics of an internationalized extension system could be identified, then an organization might focus available resources to create changes needed to achieve internationalization.
Kaufman (1982, 1992) suggested putting problems into the context of what is and what should be when dealing with organizations. The Organizational Elements Model (OEM) developed by Kaufman (1982, 1992) provided a framework for the study. Kaufman's model used a holistic framework in looking at organizations and what those organizations use, do and deliver as well as the impact on clients and society in general. The current study was limited to examining organizational efforts comprised of inputs and processes and organizational results comprised of products and outputs.