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Course Syllabi

The 21st Century Seminar

Harry C. Boyte and Nan Skelton
University of Minnesota

Harry Boyte, Senior Fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Co-director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship
Co-chair of CPN's advisory board.

Nan Skelton, Humphrey Institute Fellow
Director of Youth Development and Training at the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and a member of
CPN's youth editorial team.

This course was designed for Extension staff members interested in reinventing the Extension Service for the 21st century. The course is structured around ten 2 1/2 hour class sessions.

It is not sufficient to train technically in the trades and crafts and arts to the end of securing greater economic efficiency. This may be accomplished in a despotism and result in no self-action on the part of the people.

Every democracy must reach far beyond what is commonly known as economic efficiency and do everything it can to enable those in the background to maintain their standing and their pride and to participate in the making of political affairs.

Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Holy Earth, 1915

Critics today voice alarm about Americans' civic disengagement and the dangers to democracy it poses. In 1958, 73 percent of the public said they trusted government in Washington to do what is right "just about always" or at least "most of the time." That has declined precipitously -- only 13 percent of the people now have much faith in government at the federal level, and state and local government don't fare much better. The majority of Americans now think government creates more problems than it solves. A recent Times Mirror Center poll showed a sharp decline in support for public welfare programs. More broadly, scholars have documented decline in voluntary engagements, trust between neighbors, and faith in every major institution, from the media to religion and education.

The seminar on the future and mission of Extension Service will explore the possibilities for the cooperative extension system to take a substantial leadership role in addressing this overarching challenge of our age: the crisis in democracy itself. The seminar is a joint undertaking of MES and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. It will meet weekly on Tuesday evenings, 6:30 - 9:00, in the spring quarter, 1996, beginning March 26, place to be announced.

The seminar is directed by Dr. Harry C. Boyte, Senior Fellow at the Humphrey Institute and Co-Director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and Nan Skelton, Humphrey Fellow and Director of Youth Development and Training for the Center. Graduate credit toward masters degree can be arranged as an independent study with Professor Boyte. Registration information for credit will be forthcoming. The seminar has a cap of fifteen at the Twin Cities site, with the possibility of two other sites (including Madison, WI), with a minimum of seven participants, linked through interactive television.


Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Farmer and the State Framing the Future: Strategic Framework for a System of Partnerships Country Life Commission Report

Article packet: Some of these will be core readings for all; some will be supplemental:

Jane Addams, "On Education" and "Socialized Education" Harry Boyte and Nancy Kari, Chapters One, Three, Nine, Ten, in Building America James Comer, "The Potential Effects of Community Organizations on the Future of our Youth" Lawrence Cremin, Chapter Three, The Transformation of the School Michelle Fine, "Silencing and Nurturing Voice in an Improbable Context: Urban Adolescents in Public School" Clayton Ellsworth, "Theodore Roosevelt's Country Life Commission" Christopher Lasch, "Opportunity in the Promised Land" Charles McCarthy, The Wisconsin Idea (brief excerpts) O.B. Martin, Chapter One, The Demonstration Work: Seaman Knapp's Contribution to Civilization John McKnight, "Professionalized Service and Disabling Help" Scott Peters, Cooperative Extenstion and the Democratic Promise of the Land Grant Idea (excerpts) Donald Schon, Part 1, The Reflective Practitioner.


March 26: First discussion organized around participants' own reflections on this framing question: On the basis of your experience, what do you think are the possibilities for CES to take public leadership on the largest challenges of our time?

April 2: Discussion of Bailey, Farmer and the State

April 9: The Founding of Cooperative Extension; discussion of on Seaman Knapp; Clayton Ellsworth article on the Country Life Commission

April 16: Role play: a semmar debate (perhaps organized with a position articulated by different sites) between the "Bailey" view of extension and the "Knapp view"; Cremin, "Culture and Community"; Jane Addams

April 23: Discussion: The rise of the expert: Schon; Lasch

April 30: Discussion of concept papers: "transformations in an area of public policy"

May 7: Changes in extension; Peters on The Democratic Promise; McKnight; Comer.

May 14: Debate, based on Framing the Future . Seminar divides into four groups, each of which writes a four to ten page paper on implementing the Framing the Future document. Two groups take a "Knapp approach" to extension's role; two take a "Bailey approach."

How might these alternative approaches and traditions affect internal structure, staff development, mission, roles of extension in land grant universities, relations with wider publics and groups, and extension's role in the crisis of democracy? Boyte and Kari, Chapter Nine

May 21: Seminar analysis of case studies

May 28: Case studies


Seminar participants will read the core readings, with those who take the seminar for credit also reading the supplemental list (the article listing above includes core and supplementary materials).

Participants will write one short paper (two-three pages) on some major change that has taken place around a public policy arena in the 20th century (e.g. education; farming; health; nutrition), due April 30.

Groups will produce a four to ten page paper on the implications for extension's future of the "Knapp tradition" and the "Bailey tradition."

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The Center for Democracy and Citizenship