The University Community Extension Framework

The University of Saint Louis as a higher learning institution brings to bear in its extension programs its expertise in instruction and research. The University through the Community and Extension Services (CES) envisions developing socially aware, sensitive and responsive members of the Louisian Community through active involvement in community extension activities towards community development.

The extension agenda of the University has five components which include action research programs, non-formal education programs, service learning programs, outreach programs, and advocacy and networking programs. Action research programs refer to researches that are specifically intended at addressing existing needs, problems, and issues among identified target group/ clienteles. Non-formal education programs are organized educational activities for identified needs of specific sectors (out-of-school youth, women, street children, small scale entrepreneurs, etc.) or communities with the end in view of ameliorating their conditions. Service learning programs integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to boost learners’ learning experiences, teach active citizenship, and empower individuals and communities. Outreach programs involve one-time and immediate need assistance to individuals who are need of the service. Advocacy and networking programs are sets of strategies that promote policy change, including those affecting the attitudes and practices of key decision-makers in the society. These five program components are aligned in any of the extension services of the University. The extension services are encapsulated in the acronym, CHEERS- Charity; Health and Wellness; Education and Citizenship; Environmental and Social Advocacies; Resource and Entrepreneurship; and Spiritual Formation and Enrichment. Conduct of these services empowers the community towards development.

Planning and implementing the different extension program components through the different extension services are guided by five extension principles. The extension program should be discipline-based, research-based and –guided, CICM mission oriented, collaborative and participatory, and sustainable. These principles are significant in materializing the purpose of any extension program. An extension program should stem from, relates to, or at least complements an existing academic or research program, or a combination of these (discipline-based); stimulate research activities relative to the assessment, analysis, and resolution of the target group’s needs and concerns (research-backed and –guided); transformative and more aligned to the CICM pastoral priorities which are directed towards the poor, the marginalized, the indigenous peoples, and the youth and for environmental protection (CICM mission oriented); engage all stakeholders which include the implementers and clienteles (collaborative and participatory); and sustainable (sustainability).

The conduct of the University extension programs follows a process. Problems should be identified first only then that specific needs of the target group are to be assessed. The results of the needs assessment serve as the basis for extension program proposal- making. Approved extension program proposal should be processed for its implementation. Once the extension program is implemented, constant monitoring should be ensured to finally meet the objectives of the program. The extension program will only be terminated if it has attained its purpose.