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Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v9 n1 p131-140 2004

Universities are frequently criticized for being unresponsive to the needs of their stakeholders. In response to this perception, many institutions of higher learning have taken steps to become more productively engaged with the people, organizations, and communities they serve. In this article, we analyze the process of engagement by focusing on a coordinated university/government response to plum pox--a disease that can destroy entire orchards of stone fruit trees and, potentially, a large portion of the North American Stone Fruit Industry. Working in partnership with growers enabled university researchers, extension agents, and government representatives to respond rapidly and thus to quickly and effectively contain the disease. We suggest that four engagement factors shaped university involvement and are largely responsible for the success of this initiative. These include a mission mentality, the existence of partnerships, organizational flexibility and agility, and accessibility.

Descriptors: College Role, School Community Relationship, Forestry, Agency Cooperation, Government Role, Extension Agents, Institutional Mission, Cooperative Planning, Plants (Botany), Partnerships in Education

Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia and the Institute of Higher Education. Treanor House, 1234 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-6167; Fax: 706-542-6124; e-mail: jheoe[at]; Web site:

Autor: Alter, Theodore R.; Bridger, Jeffrey C.; Travis, James W.


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