Spring 1991 // Volume 29 // Number 1
I received a submission from a senior administrative staff person in a state Extension office. The article discussed problems with doing meaningful personnel evaluations in Extension and concluded that Extension has accumulated "a lot of dead weight that is seriously undermining effectiveness." The author asked that, if accepted, the article be published anonymously. "I would put my Extension career in serious jeopardy if this were published under my name. But I can't have this published with my name on it. It's just too risky. The system can be very vindictive." The policy of the Journal of Extension is not to publish articles anonymously. The author withdrew the manuscript and said, "Maybe I'll resubmit it after I've retired-if I still care then."
Quality Means Results
The purpose of the Minnesota program quality project was to clarify to ourselves and others what we mean by program quality. The program quality indicators clarify our mission by focusing priority setting, resource commitment, and program implementation actions on outcomes. In other words, quality means results.
Criteria for Judging Excellence
This article examines difficulties that have discouraged the development of criteria, identifies benefits criteria can provide, and proposes three criteria for assessing both Ag Experiment Station research and Cooperative Extension programs.
Marketing Knowledge Is Money in the Bank
...Extension needs to be a cheerleader when teaching marketing. The link between knowledge and performance is less clear in marketing than in many other areas of Extension education. We hope this research excites both Extension educators and our farmer clients as we conclude that marketing knowledge levels do have a positive impact on performance. Extension is in the marketing knowledge business; therefore, we can, and are, having a positive impact on pricing performance in Benton County and others across the nation.
Higher Impact Instructional Videos
The major purpose of this study was to determine if inserting questions with feedback in an instructional video program would enhance learning. A secondary purpose was to examine the effects of two kinds of application questions.
Getting the Right Stuff into the Right Hands
A common challenge for Extension is getting clientele to pay attention to what they need to know but may not want to hear. Our experiences with an educational program on pesticide safety provide lessons that can be applied to any challenge Extension topic.
Managing Innovative Programs
This article briefly describes five case studies of successful Extension program development methods.
Research-Based Youth Programming
As we in Extension work to implement our new Youth-at-Risk Initiative, we often look for tools that can give us direction and help us focus our efforts. The Teen Assessment Project, also known as TAP, is one such tool. It was developed to help communities identify, prevent, and begin to solve youth problems.
Give Teens the Programs They Want...and Need
Designing programs to meet "felt needs" of clientele is definitely the key to maintaining involvement and may help keep youth at risk from leaving 4-H. The 4-H Senior Needs Assessment has been a valuable tool in identifying teen interests and felt needs, the first step in targeting these youth for Extension's national Youth-at-Risk Initiative.
Letters to the Editor
To The Point
Rural Development and Extension
The Extension System isn't the only outreach activity in the university with relevance for rural development. As Extension leaders take on a broader coordination role, they should uphold the integrity of Extension as an honest broker and source of education and information.
Agricultural Gatekeepers - Real Barrier to Rural Development
The entire USDA land-grant system has an organizational bias against rural development, unless it has an agricultural underpinning controlled by agriculturists. One solution is to move all federal rural development responsibilities and funds outside of the USDA.
Results, Not Good Intentions, Count!
Extension's long-standing efforts in rural development haven't been comprehensive. Now we must act boldly and consistently on what we know-less preaching and more pushing.
Tomorrow's Extension Educator- Learner, Communicator, Systemicist
If the keys to future organizational survival are responsiveness and flexibility, then adaptable, perceptive people-people who understand and can lead change-are necessary. Rather than relying on a specific, technical, subject-matter base, the Extension educator of the future will be prepared to manage change with a combination of knowledge, attitudes, and skills...
Facing Reality in Rural America
In characterizing rural America, often false assumptions are made. The myth of a close-knit community and extended family structures should first be dispelled. As a transient society, not everyone in a typical rural community knows each other. Neighborly visits, once prevalent in rural areas, are no longer characteristic. With the trend of accepting second and sometimes third jobs, often out-of-town workers leave early in the morning and arrive home after dark.
New Refugees: Our Own Children
Whether we like it or not, rural areas in the U.S. have some of the same challenges as the rest of the developing world: "Brain Drain," families-at-a-distance, and looking elsewhere for higher salaries and greater opportunities-these are local, as well as international issues-and we hold the keys right in our own hands.
Ideas at Work
The Columbia/Willamette Waterways Program helps youth broaden their horizons and promotes a partnership between industry ad Cooperative Extension.
Integrating Evaluation Into Teaching
Building an evaluating device into the program delivery method is a way to reduce negative participant reactions to pre-post evaluation instruments. Making the evaluation a part of the teaching can provide clear evidence of results. The students like it. By participating, they receive individualized attention and information they can use.
Using Rainfall Simulators for Water Quality Education
The program's intent is to encourage agricultural producers to voluntarily implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) through education, cost-sharing incentives, and technical help. And, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service is playing an important role in this pollution control effort.
Enhanced Media Use
The traditional delivery methods of Extension programming-conferences, printed material, press releases, radio, and county meetings-are still important. But, the new communications technologies offer interesting ways to enhance traditional deliveries by broadening the audience, including more educators in the delivery process, and improving the timeliness of the information.
Research in Brief
Prevention Education Programs: Can They Be Effective?
While many evaluation studies fail to show positive outcomes for individual programs, we'd agree with Benard that such results shouldn't deter us from continuing programs that empower the participants to direct their own future. 4-H CARES demonstrates that Extension has the capacity to develop and implement such programs. A continued emphasis on good research will help establish our credibility in prevention education.
Tools of the Trade
Insect Pest Management Videotapes
"Insect Scouting in Corn" and "Insect Scouting in Soybeans and Alfalfa." Robert J. Wright and Keith J. Jarvi, 1989. Available for $29.95 each plus sales tax ($50 plus sales tax for both on one tape) from: Field Scouting, 104 Agricultural Communications, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0918 Classroom training sessions are often conducted during Winter or Spring, when it's difficult to have an outdoor laboratory session to demonstrate what to look for in the field. The videotapes, through use of color footage of insects as they appear in the field, provide a potential substitute for a field training session. Another possible use is for individuals to view them at home and have them available for review at the beginning of the field session as a "refresher" course.
Today, one in every four individuals is involved in some form of cooperative business-HMOs, credit unions, insurance, baby sitting, etc. Sadly, many people don't understand the basic principles on which cooperative business organizations are based. "Understanding Cooperatives" is a new instructor's curriculum guide.