Summer 1992 // Volume 30 // Number 2
This edition of the Journal deals with two areas of major concern for Extension: urban programming and youth at risk.
Training Impacts on Programming
A training program directed at empowering Extension home economists to provide diabetes education does increase their involvement in diabetes educational activities. More Georgia Extension agents were willing to do or increase their diabetes programming after being trained and provided with appropriate material to educate consumers about diabetes self-management.
Expanding Into the Urban Arena
Most state conservation agencies don't have the resources, facilities, or networking capabilities of Extension to transfer wildlife information to these large, geographically separated urban audiences. Cooperative programming may be the most effective approach to successfully plan and implement an urban emphasis requiring wildlife expertise and information transfer capabilities. Effectively addressing urban residents' requests for wildlife information while also transferring technical information about wildlife needs and land-use decisions is both a challenge and a tremendous new opportunity for Extension.
Urban Extension Programs
...in April 1991, Texas Extension implemented an "Urban Initiative" for its major metropolitan counties. The initiative focuses on development of the urban faculty, involvement of urban lay leaders in program development, and educational programs for urban audiences. The initiative involves administrative and programmatic change based on the results of the study, but adapted to the uniqueness of each county situation.
To Be Seen and Heard By All
Extension clients of all ages have visual and hearing impairment that limit their ability to participate in Extension programs. Clients who have visual impairments can be helped when Extension produces publications based on the elements of contrast and identification. Hearing impaired clients can better learn from presentations when background noise is controlled, they're seated near the presenter, and the presenter uses high quality visual aids.
Microcomputers in Distance Education
Distance education can be an important catalyst for rural and community development. Part of Extension's mission has been to offer continuing education for professionals, the opportunity for individuals to take college level courses in rural areas, and short courses to help farmers and small businesses adapt to new technologies. Traditionally, these courses have been offered on site, which is costly in time and travel. The implementation of conference telephone calls, video recorded programs, satellite link-ups, and microcomputer educational programs have made it possible to offer such courses remotely.
Barriers to Youth-at-Risk Programming
Expanding the ability of Extension to deal more effectively with critical youth needs will involve significant individual, institutional, and organizational change. Success in expanding this capability will depend on how well Extension identifies and then overcomes both real and perceived barriers to planning and implementing effective programs for at-risk youth.
Legal Education to Arrest Delinquency
Although Extension agents have little difficulty diagnosing the personal, educational, and related social profiles of these youth, solutions and effective programs for working with youth at risk evade Extension's grasp. ...Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service developed Project LEAD (Legal Education to Arrest Delinquency) as a special 4-H curriculum targeting youth in late elementary school before they become delinquent. Project LEAD is designed to prevent delinquency by positively affecting attitudes of youth at risk.
Expanded Perspectives on Drug Education
What has evolved in Illinois Extension is a program that addresses both the abuse of illegal substances, such as marijuana, "crack," and heroin, and the misuse of medicinal drugs, particularly among older adults. A second characteristic of the Illinois approach involves school, families, and community groups and agencies-an excellent approach for several reasons. For example, parents aren't only made aware of what's happening in their child's classroom, but they learn how to reinforce concepts being taught in school.
Tobacco Risk Awareness
The fact the average for starting tobacco and substance abuse is 11 years for at-risk children underscores the need for collaboration among the schools and youth organizations to tackle the problem. These concerns led the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service to develop a tobacco use prevention program as part of its programming for at-risk youth.
To The Point
Overcoming Rural-Urban Polarization
While Extension indeed has existed in urban locations for many years, it has for the most part been a token and fragmented existence. Urban residents have needs Extension can address, and elected officials who represent them demand we do so as an expectation for programmatic and financial support.
Rural, Urban Clientele Are Linked
...can anyone argue that...the ever smaller farm population can politically support federal, state, and local budgets for a narrowly focused Extension program? To limit Extension contact to certain geographical and occupational segments of the population denies the excluded groups access to...their land grant university.
Face Urban Needs Through Issues-Based Programming
[Urban and rural descriptors] can stereotype clientele and set up adversarial relationships. ...we must face the needs of urban clientele through issues-based programming, not through the establishment of a separate Extension System.
What Have We Learned?
It's our hope this Journal section provides a forum for active reflection on our collective development of a futures perspective. We specifically invite articles on lessons learned in futures technique instruction and alternative program development approaches, along with diverse views of future educator roles to prompt healthy self-reflection.
Work Force 2000: Is Extension Agriculture Ready?
Extension will be ready for the 21st century workforce when cultural diversity is viewed as essential to ensuring an adequate human resource base. Reaching that state of readiness requires a human resource management system that can identify, recruit, hire, and support competent and diverse staff. Policies must be set to restructure staffing patterns, enhance salaries and benefits, increase training and technical support, and implement a more family-oriented work place. Without such efforts, Extension will be unable to maintain its competitive position in delivering research-based agricultural and natural resources knowledge and practices.
Helping Deprived Youth
Can Extension play a significant role in helping socioeconomically deprived youth? These youth will have to survive in a society that's becoming more technical and information-based. The expected answer might be that Extension's not prepared for that role. However, my personal and professional experience suggests otherwise. If Extension applies the educational model of Booker T. Washington, founder and first president of Tuskegee Institute, it can be a significant force for change in young lives.
Ideas at Work
Livestock Projects for Urban Youth
A goal of Colorado Extension is to increase urban participation in 4-H. One means of achieving this goal is to offer nonownership livestock projects for urban 4-H members so they can benefit from the positive experiences associated with caring for and showing livestock. Urban youth can also benefit from livestock projects by expanding their knowledge about rural ways of life, and food and fiber production.
Teaching Early Adopters
Traditional agricultural audiences haven't always understood the concept of low-input sustainable agriculture. This is especially true for the areas of integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control of crop pests and weeds. The key is to introduce the concerns gradually to the early adopters and to use these clientele to educate later adopters.
Agricultural profitability is an important issue faced by farm operators and the Extension System serving them. Just as economics is an everyday part of farming, economics can be included in everyday educational programs for farmers.
Herbicide Bioassays as Teaching Diagnostic Tools
A herbicide bioassay program was developed to help Ohio farmers and agrichemical dealers make better crop rotation and cultural management decisions following the 1988 drought. Surveys of custom applicators in three counties identified herbicide carryover as the major agronomic concern.
Volunteers Train Child Care Providers
Child care providers need ongoing training to provide high quality care for children and Extension has the expertise and a rich history of providing such training. However, shrinking budgets and staff have forced us to look at more creative ways of delivering that training. Using trained volunteers instead of Extension faculty can be a successful and cost-effective way.
Research in Brief
Stress and Turnover Among Extension Directors
Concern by the ES-USDA about the number of Extension directors or administrators leaving their positions prompted this research to identify factors that might reduce turnover. Specifically, this study was designed to assess: (1) current levels of stress, strain, and burnout of current directors; (2) current job satisfaction; and (3) intent to leave.
Impacts on Program Success
How is the current economic climate affecting Cooperative Extension programming? Taxpayers, municipalities, and the federal government are placing demands on each other to provide services. How do these government and citizen demands influence Extension programming success? These are questions asked in a recent survey of district and county Extension agents across America.
Tools of the Trade
When Giants Learn To Dance
Rosebeth Moss Kanter, When Giants Learn To Dance, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989, 366 pp. $22.95 hardcover As Extension professionals seek ways to meet the needs of their clientele, while at the same time facing their own organizational challenges, the need for clear direction becomes even more apparent. Occasionally, a book is written in which the author's perspective can serve as "inside" information to help better understand change. Kanter's book, When Giants Learn To Dance, is exactly that, an inside perspective on the challenges facing America's corporate structure. Although written for a corporate audience, the book offers valuable insights for Extension professionals as well.
Vision in Action
Benjamin B. Tregoe and others, Vision in Action, New York: Simon and Schuester, 1989. 214 pp. $24.95 hardcover If you've been turned off in the past by books on management, vision, and strategic planning because they were difficult to comprehend and fit into real-life situations, then Vision in Action is for you. This easy-to-read book gets down to the nitty-gritty of what works and what doesn't in the real world. It offers a blend of formulation and implementation, integrating strategy with operations. It has two central themes: making vision happen and achieving participation for implementing vision.