Building on our land-grant mission across Colorado

rural colorado foothills

A letter from Blake Naughton, VP for Engagement and Extension, Colorado State University

For over 100 years, CSU Extension has evolved how we work to meet changing community needs. With employees across the state reaching every county in Colorado, we bring the breadth of the University’s resources to individuals and communities to support lifelong learning. That’s part of our commitment as a land-grant university.

We are honored that the CSU System Board of Governors voted in June to invest an additional $8.58 million, including $1 million in scholarships, over the next three years to expand support for rural Colorado students and communities.

These investments are made after listening and learning from our communities, economic and community development leaders and individuals across the state. Earlier this year, the Board engaged in a conversation on how the state’s land-grant university system can best support rural communities in their goals to be economically sustainable post-pandemic and beyond. Our Extension agents and staff are also part of their communities and work closely to understand changing needs. And over the past year, we conducted a community needs assessment to gather additional data and insights that will inform our future planning.

While we have learned a lot to date, we don’t have all the answers. We invite you to join us on our path forward. We will be asking and engaging in conversations – what do these resources look like in your community. As we learn and work together, we will evolve and enhance our approach to better serve the needs of Colorado communities moving forward.

This plan includes funding for key areas including:

  • Accessible education, supporting college access and curriculum and partnership development with community colleges and other university partners and piloting 4-H programs targeting underserved populations
  • Improved health, expanding our lifelong learning and wellness programs for older Coloradans and establishing a ‘health extension’ system based on prevention science
  • Vibrant communities, expanding community leadership training, civic capacity building and dialogue, and establishing a system of ‘humanities extended’ to create connections that promote rural histories and cultures
  • Thriving economy, expanding the Regional Economic Development Institute’s (REDI) capacity to inform and support community planning and redefining our impact on the ag economy with a focus on technical assistance and research translation
  • Program infrastructure including communications and project coordination

Outcomes and impact will be important measures of success and will be further clarified in our continued design processes. Visit our website for regular updates on our work and progress on our goals, as well as to find ways to get involved.

From the new CSU Spur campus in Denver opening in 2022 to our Extension offices and regional engagement centers serving communities across the state, Colorado State University is local wherever you are. Be part of your land-grant university and discover new ways to connect with us in your daily lives.

Blake Naughton serves as VP of Engagement and Extension for CSU. Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement and Extension brings the university’s educational programs, services and resources across Colorado and beyond, empowering individuals and communities to thrive through learning. 

Want to get involved or learn more?

Interested in being part of a program design conversation or just want to stay updated on what’s happening? Sign up and let us know your topic of interest.