Nurturing International Graduate Students for a More Diversified and Inclusive Extension Workforce

Yangxuan Liu, Wendong Zhang
July 2022  [22-WP 634]

Download Full Text

Suggested citation:

Liu, Y. and W. Zhang. 2022. "Nurturing International Graduate Students for a More Diversified and Inclusive Extension Workforce." Working paper 22-WP 634. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


Over 20 percent of U.S. agricultural products are exported; thus, agricultural trade and understanding global markets and agricultural policies in partner countries are increasingly important for the continued success of the U.S. agricultural economy and farmers and ranchers. Heightened demand for trade-related knowledge has created new opportunities and challenges for Extension services—international graduate students represent a significant portion of the student population at many land grant universities; however, many are not exposed to Extension. We argue this creates an untapped resource to integrate graduate education and Extension services. The net effects of this untapped resource are Extension missing opportunities to recruit top talents to serve the agricultural industry and less job market success for international graduate students.

Leveraging a survey of department heads and Extension faculties in agricultural economics departments, our research helps document the status of international Extension professionals in our profession, helps identify hidden and perceived barriers for international students pursuing academic Extension careers, and provides insights into appropriate education and training programs in university graduate curricula to increase the awareness and interests of international students in Extension.