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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A history of the extension and adult education services of the University of British Columbia, 1915- to 1955 Selman, Gordon R.


The object of this study is to trace the development of the extension services offered by the University of British Columbia from its founding in 1915 until the end of the program year 1954-55. The first chapter summarizes some of the outstanding features of the history of adult education and more particularly of university extension as it has developed in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada. Chapter II describes the experience with extension activities at U.B.C. up to 1933, the year in which the Carnegie Corporation offered a grant which made It possible to expand these activities significantly. The important formative years between the offer of the grant and the appointment of a full-time director of extension activities in 1936 are dealt with in Chapter III. Chapters IV to VIII describe the various extension services offered by the University between 1936 and 1955. Chapter IV deals with Vocational Education; Chapter V with Evening Classes, Lectures and Credit Courses; Chapter VI with Social Education; Chapter VII with Fine Arts and Summer School; and Chapter VIII with Audio-Visual, Library and Radio Services. The final chapter summarizes the general development of the Extension Department and examines some of the factors influencing that development. There were two main problems involved in writing this study. The first of these was to acquire the factual information concerning the development of Extension services. This proved to be a difficult task because of the gaps in the records available. Correspondence and interviews with persons involved over the years and other means were used in order to gather this information. Some questions remain unanswered. The other problem was to identify and evaluate the relative importance of the various factors which have influenced the growth of the Extension program. An attempt has been made to do this especially in the second, third and last chapters. Some of these factors include: the desire for better public relations on the part of the University; the attitude of the University Presidents and others concerning the relative importance of extension work; the abilities, understanding and degree of commitment of the three directors of the Extension Department; the resources which were available at different times to develop aspects of the work (such as the Carnegie grant and the federal government funds for certain activities); economic and social Conditions in the province; and the characteristics of the staff employed by the Department since its creation in 1936. The attempt to trace and to understand the development of extension services at the University of British Columbia is felt to be of particular significance because the Extension program of this University became during this period one of the most outstanding in Canada.

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