Selected Published Articles

This list presents some of Gerber's articles on extension, organizations and change. A list of disciplinary research articles are presented elsewhere.


Gerber, J.M. 1985. Extension specialists: a self analysis. J. of Extension 23:8-11.

ABSTRACT: To document perceived changes in the role of the Extension specialist, a national survey of state horticulture specialists was conducted in 1983. The majority responding were faculty members within an academic department with more than 10 years experience. The role of the specialist is perceived to be changing dramatically. A majority were spending less time on personal visits, while more time was devoted to group teaching and training local extension staff and others. Specialists reported more time was being spent on research and training graduate students than 10 years earlier. Respondents expected private consultants and others to take on more of the responsibilities formerly carried out by publicity funded Extension in the future.


Gerber, J.M. 1989. Changing roles within horticultural extension. HortScience 24:416- 418.

ABSTRACT: Change is such an ingrained precept of extension doctrine that it rarely elicits a discussion. Yet, the change we generally agree upon is change by others - our clientele or target audience - not ourselves. This article is about change within a publicly supported institution, the Cooperative Extension Service. It explores issues of how technology is developed and transferred, how adults learn, government service, and the appropriate role of a public learning system.


Gerber, J.M. 1992. Participatory research and education: science in service to horticultural producers. HortTechnology 2(1):12-15.

ABSTRACT: There has been a gradual weakening of the extension-research linkage within the U.S. land grant university system. This article introduces a model for strengthening the extension-research-producer linkage by focusing on the needs of both horticultural producers and the general public. It offers an alternative to the research and extension education paradigm in which knowledge is "discovered" by university researchers, "transferred" through extension education, and "put into practice" by producers. The participatory research and education model changes the largely unidirectional flow of information from researchers to practitioners, and modifies current relationships among growers, extension educators, researchers, agricultural industry representatives, and community leaders. It provides a model for agricultural research and extension education based on a vision of partnership that better accommodates the changing needs of individual knowledge users and society.


Gerber, J.M. 1992. Farmer participation in research: a model for adaptive research and education. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 7(3):21-24

ABSTRACT: Many farmers view with skepticism the dominant agricultural research and extension education model, in which new knowledge on farming practices is developed by researchers and delivered through extension programs. The participatory research and education model is designed to support a shared vision of research and education as a learning process among partners working in community. The participatory model is offered as a way to achieve better communication and enhanced cooperation among farmers, researchers and extension educators.


Francis, C., J. Gerber, M. Liebman, and J. Gardner. 1995. Compatibility of food production and protection of the environment: an international agenda for research and education. IN: Agriculture and Environment: Bridging Food Production and Environmental Protection in Developing Countries. Amer. Soc. of Agronomy Special Publication No. 60.

ABSTRACT:     Research and development programs in both industrialized and developing countries are dealing with the challenges of producing adequate food for a growing population while conserving natural resources for the future. Priority research will focus on ecological approaches to crop production, breeding crops for stress tolerance, efficient nutrient and water cycling, crop/animal integration, biological pest management, and impacts of technology on the environment and society. Classroom programs will increasingly focus on agroecology and sustainable development. Extension will pursue a broad, participatory agenda serving the needs of particular marginalized communities and the public good. Experience will be legitimized within the academic and policy making communities as an important source of knowledge. The future organizational culture will encourage participatory research and education using a wider range of people and resources than at present, and the sharing of power will lead to greater integration of activities among groups in agriculture and the larger society. Agricultural universities and other organizations will need innovative and courageous leaders to make the changes needed in future programs to benefit society and preserve a livable environment.


Francis, C., Edwards, C., Gerber, J., Harwood, R., Keeney, D., Liebhardt, W., Liebman, M. 1995. Impact of Sustainable Agriculture Programs on U.S. Landgrant Universities. J. of Sust. Agric. Vol. 5(4):19-33.

ABSTRACT: Emerging societal concerns about resource use, environmental impact, food safety, government support programs and economic equity in agriculture haveprompted U.S. landgrant universities to reevaluate priorities and led to some new initiatives in sustainable agriculture. Activities include modifications in classroom curricula and extension program topics, as well as new research directions. This article describes changes in detail at seven landgrant universities.


Gerber, J.M. 1997. Rediscovering the Public Mission of the Land Grant University Through Cooperative Extension. IN: Visions of American Agriculture, edited by W. Lockeretz. To be published by Iowa State University Press, Spring, 1997.

ABSTRACT: The land grant university was one of the great experiments of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Born during the turbulent days of the American Civil War, the public university system partially financed through grants of federal lands to the states, contributed to the rapid industrialization of American society and particularly to the development of modern agriculture. The "successes" of the system are legend: increases in production and productivity; increased labor efficiency; inexpensive and plentiful food; and all the rest. The "failures" began to be recognized only more recently: environmental degradation; resource depletion; the disruption of rural social systems; and the disconnection of humans from the sacredness of the earth. Today, the land grant agricultural institution is splintered. Two of its traditional functions, research and extension, are moving apart, fragmenting and dispersing as they attempt to serve separate masters without the vision, purpose, or common stories needed to maintain the wholeness of the organization. This chapter examines the disconnected nature of agricultural research and extension and proposes a renewed commitment to purpose, internal and external connectivity, and serving the public good through the emergence of a new learning organization.