Promoting the Extension of Knowledge in Service to Society


  • James C. Votruba Michigan State University


Higher Education, Challenges in Education


American universities have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to address the everchanging knowledge needs of society. Today, those knowledge needs are undergoing a major transformation that is forcing universities to adapt. Eight strategic challenges confront universities that hope to strengthen and expand their capacity to extend knowledge in response to society. These include reconceptualizing the academic mission to emphasize the interdependence of its various components, broadening the definition of access, rebalancing faculty rewards, strengthening institutional capacity to organize knowledge around complex societal issues, expanding financial support, integrating knowledge extension and application into the fabric of the university's college and departmental structure, developing community based learning systems, and advancing understanding related to the knowledge utilization process. With support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan State University is engaged in addressing these strategic challenges as it adapts to the demands of the knowledge age.