UK Happenings

Kentucky Cooperative Extension launches community survey to better serve all Kentuckians

UK Cooperative Extension seeks community feedback to plan ways to serve the Commonwealth.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is launching a comprehensive community assessment survey to identify and prioritize opportunities for targeted efforts to help communities thrive and shape the future of Kentucky’s extension services.

“UK Extension's community assessment process embodies a collaborative and responsive approach, demonstrating a deep commitment to engaging the community and incorporating their perspectives,” said Laura Stephenson, UK associate vice president for land-grant engagement and associate dean and extension director for the college. “In addition to this survey, county extension agents will actively seek feedback through informal listening sessions, fostering close relationships with local communities.”

Programming areas in Cooperative Extension include agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development. In addition, horticulture and fine arts programming are also offered in some counties.

Many current programs resulted from the 2018 survey’s 38,000 responses, including:

  • 4-H’s Mindful Mechanics and Get Experience in Mindfulness
  • Addiction 101
  • Botvin Life Skills Training
  • Bringing Awareness Right Now to Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Understanding Rural and Farm Stress and the Neurologic Impact of Stress
  • Healthy Choices for Your Recovering Body
  • National Mental Health First Aid
  • Mind. Art. Recovery. KY.
  • Recovery Garden Toolkit
  • Recovery Gardens Project
  • Recovering Your Finances

The 2023 community assessment will collect insights from across the state. Community members will rate areas where they need practical education or assistance in agriculture and environment, youth development, community and economic development and family/individual development.

UK Extension will also employ secondary data sources such as the American Community Survey and County Health Rankings to create county profiles. Profiles will highlight local needs and challenges, enabling strategic resources and program development allocation.

The data will identify and guide state-level priorities and pinpoint specific county-level issues, informing tailored programmatic and outreach initiatives. The survey findings and county profiles will be accessible through dashboards on the UK Extension and UK Engage websites.

“Working closely with UK Engage partners, UK Extension ensures that programming and outreach efforts align precisely with identified needs,” Stephenson said. “The assessment reaffirms our dedication to serving the needs of the community and our ongoing commitment to delivering impactful programming and engagement. We will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of all Kentuckians.”

To participate in the 10-minute community needs assessment survey, visit

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.