Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.

Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education


    Developing & evaluating intergenerational initiatives in diverse settings.
    Training Extension educators and other professionals in intergenerational programming.
    Establishing intergenerational strategies for civic engagement and environmental design.



    About Me


    • Provide statewide leadership for program initiatives related to intergenerational engagement and aging, in conjunction with extension agents and other public groups.
    • Develop and support nonformal education programs that strengthen intergenerational relationships and competencies in children, youth/4-H'ers, and families across the life span.
    • Promote initiatives that yield healthy aging outcomes, improved family care of aging and disabled persons, positive family dynamics, and improved intergenerational relationships in civic settings.

    Research and/or Extension Areas

    The focus of my research and extension/outreach activities is on intergenerational strategies for supporting children, youth, older adults, families, and communities. My intergenerational work fits into four broad thematic areas:

    1. Intergenerational strategies designed for specific settings and target groups (includes early childhood care/education centers, adult care facilities, and retirement communities).
    2. Intergenerational strategies to promote community planning and civic engagement (includes focus on natural as well as the built environment).
    3. Strategies for improving intergenerational communication within families (includes work with families that own and operate small farms, families with grandparents and other relatives raising children, and families experiencing conflict around issues related to food selection and eating practices).
    4. Principles and processes for developing effective intergenerational programs, practices, and policies (emphasis on common themes that apply across settings and national and cultural contexts).

    In each of these areas, results from research projects inform the Extension agenda. New approaches for bringing the generations together are developed, piloted, and, if found to be effective, disseminated to Extension educators and other professionals.

    Courses Taught

    AYFCE (CI ED) 845 - Intergenerational Programs and Aging (online course)

    Recent Publications

    Kaplan, M., Sanchez, M., & Bradley, L. (2015). Conceptual Frameworks and Practical Applications to Connect Generations in the Technoscape. Anthropology and Aging, 36(2), Nov., 182-205.

    Sánchez, M., Kaplan, M., & Bradley, L. (2015). Using technology to connect generations: Some considerations of form and function. Comunicar, 45. doi: 10.3916/C45-2015-10

    Kaplan, M. & Haider, J. (2015). Creating intergenerational spaces that promote health and wellbeing. In R. Vanderbeck and N. Worth (Eds.). Intergenerational spaces (pp. 33-49). London, UK: Routledge.

    Kaplan, M. & Perez-Porter, M. (2014). Support for grandfamilies: A mosaic of intervention strategies. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 12 (2), 99-112.

    Kaplan, M. & Sanchez, M. (2014). Intergenerational programs and policies in ageing societies. In S. Harper and K. Hamblin (Eds.). International handbook on ageing and public policy (pp. 367-383). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Sánchez, M. & Kaplan, M. (2014). Intergenerational learning in higher education: Making the case for multi-generational classrooms. Educational Gerontology, 40(7), 473-485.

    Kaplan, M., Wikert, B., Scholl, J., & Rushton, M. (2013). Intergenerational panels at centennial events: Stimulating discussion about continuity and change in the 4-H program. Journal of Extension, 51 (1). [WWW document]. URL:

    Lai, A. & Kaplan, M. (2013). Intergenerational strategies for enriching the ESL education platform. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 11 (4), 425-439.

    Kaplan, M., Sanchez, M., Shelton, C., & Bradley, L. (2013). Using Technology to Connect Generations – Report and program profiles database. Washington, D.C.: Generations United. Available online:

    Thang, L.L. & Kaplan, M. (2013). Intergenerational pathways for building relational spaces and places. In G.D. Rowles & M. Bernard (Eds.). Environmental gerontology: Making meaningful places in old age (pp. 225-251). NYC: Spring Publishing Company.

    Lawrence-Jacobson, A. & Kaplan, M. (2012). The applicability of empowerment theory to intergenerational programming. In A. Kusano, K. Mizobe, H. Uchida, & A. Yoshizu (eds.). (2012). Tayouka-shayakai wo tsumugu sedaikankoryu (“Intergenerational Relationships to Unite the Diversified Society”). Otsu, Japan: Sangaku Publishing Co., Ltd.

    Jarrott, S., Kaplan, M., & Steinig, S. (2011). Shared sites: Avenues for sharing space, place and life experience across generations. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9(3), 343-348.

    Kaplan, M., James, L., Alloway, F., & Kiernan, N.E. (2011). Youth empowerment in family conversations and decision-making about food. In J.M. Cramer, C.P. Greene, and L.M. Walters (Eds.). Food as communication/ Communication as food (pp. 337-358). New York: Peter Lang Publishing Group.

    Larkin, E., Kaplan, M., & Rushton, S. (2010). Designing brain healthy environments for intergenerational programs. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 8 (2), 161-176.

    Larkin, E. & Kaplan, M. (2010). Intergenerational relationships at the center: Finding shared meaning from programs in the U.S. and Japan. Young Children, May, 88-94.

    Kaplan, M., Alloway, F., & Middlemiss, C. (2009). A feasibility study of FRIDGE – An intergenerational nutrition education program. Journal of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, 4, 55-61.

    Kaplan, M., Nussbaum, J., Becker, J., Fowler, C., & Pitts, M. (2009). Communication barriers to family farm succession planning . Journal of Extension, 47 (5). October.

    Kaplan, M., Larkin, E., & Hatton-Yeo, A. (2009). Leadership in intergenerational practice: In search of the elusive “P” factor — Passion. Journal of Leadership Education, 7 (3), Winter, 59-72.

    Pitts, M., Fowler, C., Kaplan, M., Nussbaum, J., & Becker, J. (2009). Let’s do it the way we’ve always done it.” Dialectical tensions underpinning family farm succession planning. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 37 (1), February, 59-79.

    Kaplan, M., Forthun, L., Nichols, A., Kostelecky, K., Johnston, J., Corbin, M., Elrod, B., & Crocoll, C. (2008). “Rationale and recommendations for strengthening the intergenerational agenda within Cooperative Extension.” Penn State University. University Park, PA. Position paper. Available online:

    Hatton-Yeo, A. & Kaplan, M., (2008). “Safe and Sound: Environmental approaches to building better intergenerational relationships.” Occasional paper. Beth Johnson Foundation. Stoke-on-Trent, England.

    Kaplan, M. & Hatton-Yeo, A. (2008). Intergenerational Forums: A collaborative community approach for developing an intergenerational agenda. Beth Johnson Foundation. Stoke-on-Trent, England. Research report & curricular resource. Available online:


    Becker, J., Kaplan, M., Dickinson, K.R., & Jacobson, M.G. (Eds.) (2013). Estate and succession planning for farm and forest landowners. University Park, PA: Penn State University. [Online book and companion resource for eLearning curriculum.]

    Sánchez, M., Kaplan, M., and Sáez Carreras, J. (2010). Programas intergeneracionales: Guia introductoria [Intergenerational programs: An introductory guide]. Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales (IMSERSO). Madrid, Spain. [In Spanish]

    Kaplan, M. and Hanhardt, L. (2003). Intergenerational activities sourcebook, Penn State Cooperative Extension. University Park, PA.

    Kaplan, M., Henkin, N., and Kusano, A. (Eds.) (2002). Linking lifetimes: A global view of intergenerational exchange. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

    Winston, L. with Kaplan M., Perlstein, S. and Tietze, R. (2001). Grandpartners: Intergenerational learning and civic renewal, K-6. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

    Kaplan, M., Kusano, A., Tsuji, I., and Hisamichi, S. (1998). Intergenerational programs: Support for children, youth, and elders in Japan. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


    Ph.D., Environmental Psychology, City University of New York Graduate Center M.A., Psychology, Hunter College, City University of New York B.A., Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook