Appendix A: Extension Appointments

Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty with Extension Appointments

This statement is provided to assist Unit, College and University Promotion and Tenure Committees in evaluating College of Agricultural Sciences faculty with total or partial extension appointments. It does not supersede or contradict AC-23 in any way. Those faculty who have research and/or resident instruction appointments in addition to their extension appointments should also be evaluated on their potential or demonstrated accomplishments appropriate to those functions.

The University promotion and tenure procedures and regulations (AC-23) specify that

"the general criteria or principles (outlined here) must be applied (to promotion and tenure decisions) in light of a detailed knowledge of the specific goals of an academic program or organizational unit and the specific qualities and competencies of the individual."

Furthermore, it provides that the three evaluative criteria "must be applied in light of the mission of the academic unit and the professional responsibilities carried out by the faculty member." 

Mission of the College of Agricultural Sciences

As an academic college of The Pennsylvania State University, it is the mission of the College of Agricultural Sciences to offer programs in undergraduate, graduate and extension education, in basic and applied research and in public service that address:

  • Efficient, safe and profitable production, processing, manufacturing and marketing of food, agricultural and forest products;
  • Environmentally sustainable management and conservation of land, water, air and renewable natural resources; and
  • Improvement in the quality of life for individuals and their families and communities.

Penn State, through its College of Agricultural Sciences, is the only institution in the Commonwealth that provides comprehensive agriculture programs in basic and applied research and undergraduate, graduate and extension education.

The College is unique to Penn State in that it is part of the federal system of Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Services with legal authorization and funding under the Hatch, McIntire-Stennis and Smith-Lever acts.

Mission of Extension

Extension is one of the three major programmatic responsibilities of the College. Faculty with extension appointments and extension staff at the state, multi-county and county level comprise Penn State Extension. This system is the outreach function of the College. Its mission is to extend knowledge through non-formal education programs to youth and adults across the Commonwealth.

Evaluation of Faculty with Extension Appointments

AC-23 emphasizes that "the University’s complex organization and multiple missions make these academic judgments (of faculty and academic administrators) vital, since no one part of the criteria can apply equally to all faculty members in all programs. Likewise, such diversity within the University entails promotion and tenure arrangements specifically tailored to the mission and organizational structure of its various academic units."

The evaluation of faculty with extension appointments must reflect the mission of extension; that is, the development and delivery of non-formal education programs to Pennsylvania citizens. Thus, the emphasis in tenure and promotion decisions relative to the extension component of a faculty member’s appointment should be on demonstrated abilities in the preparation and delivery of appropriate educational materials, non-formal/non-classroom teaching, scholarship and service.

The following defines the relationship between the criteria for evaluation of faculty specified in AC-23 and the faculty member’s responsibilities pursuant to his/her extension appointment.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Teaching by faculty with extension appointments is of a non-formal nature and usually conducted in the clientele’s community, business or home to very diverse audiences in age, educational background and interest. Attendance is voluntary and seldom carries academic credit.

Training of county extension staff, who in turn are the teachers or extension clientele, is also a major responsibility of faculty with extension appointments.

Educational materials and programs are developed by faculty with extension appointments based on the identified needs and problems of their clientele. Materials include publications, slides, films, video tapes, computer software, newsletters, and new releases.

Program delivery includes meetings, demonstrations, radio, TV and written material. Presentations may be either one-on-one or to larger audiences. Programs may be research-based, interdisciplinary, and/or draw upon the total University as well as resources outside the University.

Multi-county and county extension staff and extension clientele (students) are important sources of information to be used in the evaluation of faculty having extension appointments.

The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments.

Faculty with extension appointments are expected to be creative and scholarly. However, they seldom publish the results of their extension-related creative work in peer-reviewed publications because it would not reach the appropriate audiences through this media. It is expected that they will publish in trade journals, extension bulletins and other media forms that are read by their clientele. Those faculty with 100 percent extension appointments normally do not have formal responsibilities for graduate students.

It is essential that faculty with extension appointments engage in scholarly activities consistent with their assignment. This includes participation in professional societies.

Service and The Scholarship of Service to the University, Society and The Profession.

The mission of Penn State Cooperative Extension is embodied in this criterion. Faculty with extension responsibilities are intimately involved "in extending specialized knowledge to … the public" (from AC-23). In addition, they are expected to participate in University, College, and academic unit affairs, and to be active contributors to professional organizations.

~ Revised 9/25/95
~ Revised 3/03 to reflect recommendations by Dr. Secor to be in compliance with present University AC-23 Guidelines.
~ Revised 12/13/2017