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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

May 14, 2024

What’s in a Name?

Submitted by Gregg Hadley

My father-in-law was very fond of the expression, “You can call me anything you want, as long as you don’t call me late for supper.”

I may align with this thought personally. I have answered to Gregg Hadley or Handley, Greg Hadley or Handley, Craig Hadley or Handley, George Hadley or Handley, and Gary Hadley or Handley. Of course, I have been called much worse, too. Nevertheless, I generally do not directly correct people.

It begs the question: What’s in a name?

Names are important, and words matter, especially when words describe things that need differentiation. I have noticed some using names incorrectly to describe K-State things. It is easy to do, especially when a lot of new things are coming down the pike. Nevertheless, if we do not use the terms correctly, we run the risk of confusing our stakeholders. I will try to describe select important terms I often hear used incorrectly, and I will do so from an extension professional or volunteer perspective.

Next-Gen K-State refers to how the Next-Gen K-State Strategic Plan describes Kansas State University, its goals, and our role in Kansas, the nation, and the world. When one uses the term “Next-Gen” or “Next-Gen K-State” they are referring to aspirational qualities for Kansas State University that are described in that plan. Extension and engagement is a very important part of Next-Gen K-State. For more information, please go to https://www.k-state.edu/next-gen/.

Engagement captures all activities that describe how K-State interacts with the public and vice versa. It includes service-type activities (serving community or professional organizations, for example) as well as extension. The term “extension” refers to extending the university’s research-based knowledge and expertise resources to the public like we in Extension do.

The difference between “extension” and “Extension” is that the latter is shorthand to describe our Cooperative Extension system, which is our cooperative system of professional and volunteer practitioners of extension engagement. The Office of Engagement focuses on getting the non-Extension side of K-State more involved in extension-type engagement activities. For more information on engagement, please see https://www.k-state.edu/engagement/.

An initiative that informed the Next-Gen K-State Strategic Plan was the Regional Community Visits. These meetings were held across the state to demonstrate K-State’s commitment to Kansas. This initiative enabled K-State’s senior leadership to go to Kansas communities to have conversations with the public on a wide array of issues affecting the communities and K-State. Information on this meeting series can be found at https://www.k-state.edu/president/initiatives/regional-community-visits/.

The Delivering on the Promise meeting series is an initiative of Extension and the Office of Engagement. While both the Regional Community Visits and Delivering on the Promise involve discussions with the public, the Delivering on the Promise meeting series focuses on discovering how Extension and all of K-State can better serve Kansas through extension-type engagement. Please visit https://www.k-state.edu/engagement/delivering-on-the-promise/ for more information.

K-State 105 has been used synonymously for engagement, extension, and Extension. That is incorrect. K-State 105 is strategically very important because it delivers on the Next Gen K-State Strategic Plan’s commitment to deliver greater economic prosperity to all 105 Kansas counties.

K-State 105 is a tool to help K-State, other higher learning institutions, and other Kansas organizations to build partnerships and coalitions to address issues related to community and economic development. K-State 105 also offers funds via a competitive process to provide expertise for select community and economic development efforts. You can find more information at https://www.k-state.edu/105/.

What’s in a name? A lot of important context. I hope this helps clarify some of the differences in names and terms used to describe some of our very important initiatives, ideals, tools and programs. If you would like further clarification, please reach out to me at ghadley@ksu.edu.