National Urban Extension Leaders

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The National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) has developed a series of resources and publications that are available below.

Journal of Human Sciences and Extension: Urban Extension

Through tremendous efforts from a team of people across the U.S. including Donna Peterson at Mississippi State, editor of the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension (JSHE), Julie Fox from the Ohio State University as Guest Editor and Michelle Gaston from the Ohio State University, as well as the authors who put their ideas, experiences and thinking to paper, NUEL is pleased to share the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension special edition focused on ‘urban Extension’ is now available online (Volume 5, Number 2).  To access it, visit and select the Current Issue tab. 


Articles build upon the National Urban Extension Framework, published in 2015 by NUEL, and decades of applicable insight.  The invited authors address the distinct aspects of Extension in urban settings through meaningful examples of research, practice, and theory related to Extension positioning, programs, personnel, and partnerships. 


Articles in this issue include:


  • Foreword by Patrick Proden

  • Discovering What Makes Urban Extension Unique Within the Interdependent Urban–Rural Continuum: Editors’ Introduction to the Urban Extension-Themed Issue of JHSE by Julie Fox and Donna J. Peterson

  • America’s Changing Urban Landscape: Positioning Extension for Success by Marie A. Ruemenapp

  • What is Unique About Extension Personnel in the City? by Julie Fox

  • Extension in the City: Meeting the Challenges of Scale by Jennifer Sarah Tiffany

  • Tampa Bay Extension Agents’ Views of Urban Extension: Philosophy and Program Strategies by Amy Harder and Ondine Wells

  • Involving Extension in Urban Food Systems: An Example from California by Lucy Diekmann, Rob Bennaton, Jessica Schweiger, and Cole Smith

  • Community-Based Green Infrastructure, A Rutgers Cooperative Extension Urban Extension Initiative by Christopher C. Obropta

  • Creating Inclusive Youth Programs for LGBTQ+ Communities by Katherine E. Soule

  • Urban Extension: Aligning with the Needs of Urban Audiences Through Subject-Matter Centers by Brad Gaolach, Michael Kern, and Christina Sanders

  • Urban Extension–Reflections on the Past–A Look to the Future by Jeffery A. Young and Kenneth Jones


The Journal of Human Sciences and Extension is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal focused on disseminating knowledge and information to academicians, educators, and practitioners.  Topics addressed include human development (e.g., early care and education, youth development); family studies; agricultural education; leadership development; Extension; health and wellness; apparel, textiles, and merchandising; agricultural economics; nutrition and dietetics; family resource management; and program planning and evaluation.  The journal seeks to bridge research and practice, thus all manuscripts must give attention to practical implications of the work.  JHSE is published three times a year. 


This special issue continues JHSE’s commitment to promoting the practical implications of research – the goal of this issue is to add to the national conversation on urban Extension through a diverse collection of articles.  We hope you enjoy these articles!

Urban County Extension Director Competency Framework

To better understand what it really takes to serve as an Extension leader in urban or metropolitan designated areas, a competency study was conducted with local Extension directors working in large counties. The county Extension director was selected due to their critical role in navigating community and organizational complexity and the dynamic interaction between internal and external environments (Jamali, 2005). The study aimed to systematically tap into the knowledge of practitioners – people who do the job, not who write about it or instruct it. Results of the Competency Framework Development process with urban county Extension directors include evidence these professionals need specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs that are both similar and unique when compared with findings from previous studies. 


eXtension is implementing the capability for you to offer competency-based education (CBE) into your programs. CBE will also enhance eXtension’s professional development offerings. With CBE, your programs will align more directly with the roles your programs support, such as volunteer training as well as increasing the skills of Extension professionals. For example, the Climate Learning Network CBE framework identifies the training and resources necessary to become a Climate Literate Extension Professional.

Right now, we are developing tools to align resources and training with the needs of Extension Professionals. Our CBE vision is detailed in the two whitepapers below. The first whitepaper summarizes eXtension’s goal of transforming professional development through competency-based education. The second whitepaper describes eXtension’s Competency Framework Development (CFD) process which will be available in early 2017. Pilot competency frameworks are also available, including the Urban County Extension Directory Competency Framework developed by the National Urban Extension Leaders.

A National Framework for Urban Extension

In an effort to reinvigorate a national discussion and move toward a more sustainable and integrated approach to urban Extension, NUEL published "A National Framework for Urban Extension: A Report from the National Urban Extension Leaders." NUEL’s Steering Committee prepared this report for the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). In October 2015, ECOP approved NUEL as a Director/Administrator-approved group of Extension employees who cooperate in advancing the strategic importance and long term value of urban Extension activities by being relevant locally, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Advancing urban Extension is now one of ECOP’s top priorities. The original report was submitted to ECOP in the autumn of 2015. It has been edited and updated to include the following tribute, current operational procedures, executive committee and officers’ responsibilities, and final edits. The overall substance of the report remains unchanged.

Let's Talk NUEL!

Join the discussion! Over the years, Extension faculty and staff have addressed critical urban issues by successfully delivering solutions to local stakeholders. NUEL would like you to join the discussion on urban needs across the nation. Help us understand the important challenges that your urban and suburban communities are struggling to address. NUEL has published the following brochures to help engage Extension faculty and staff to join the discussion. Click on the link below to download and share our brochures!

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As part of our mission to advance the long term value of urban extension activities, we inivite you to learn more about the great work that is happening across the nation. Please follow the links below to read our annual eNewsletter. If you have not subscribed to our mailing list and would like to receive our eNewsletter, please click here to sign up!