August 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 2
Managing Diversity Within Cooperative Extension
This study examined the implications of cultural diversity in Cooperative Extension. A review of the literature suggested ways through which organizations change when they become more diverse. These organizations are more able to recruit (and retain) culturally diverse staff, expand their reach, create new work and management styles, develop new patterns of interpersonal relationships, and build new structures. Focus groups with Extension staff indicated that Extension must enhance its affirmative action strategies, place greater value on diversity, concentrate on managing differences, reposition itself, create new management structures, and establish mechanisms that build a more supportive working environment.
Three Keys to a Successful Limited-Resource Families Program
This article reviews three tenants of successful programming for limited-resource families. The keys to successful programming include understanding the audience, expanding education through volunteers, and networking with community agencies. Based on Oklahoma's experience with a money management program, the authors are convinced that these tenants of community-based education are critical for reaching not only limited-resource audiences but also other non-traditional groups.
Transition Team - A Tool for Change
When budget cuts force large staff lay-offs, the usual communication lines may not work. Minnesota Extension Service appointed a transition team representing all parts of the organization to supplement usual procedures and to provide personal support to those cut, their families, and colleagues. The team used confidential communication procedures and the theoretical work of Dr. Pauline Boss, Dr. Robert Veninga, and William Bridges to facilitate organized movement from old security to new reality.
Extension's Role in Developing Community Volunteers
This article focuses on the potential role of Extension in developing competent community volunteers who serve in governmental roles. Volunteers who serve on governmental boards, committees, and commissions participated in an assessment, which prioritized training topics and identified a need for comprehensive orientation. Family Community Leadership volunteers assisted in the design and implementation of the assessment, as well as the subsequent implementation of training. Extension's expertise in needs assessment and educational training are essential skills in helping government agencies better utilize volunteers.
Marketing Planning for Extension Systems
The purpose of marketing planning is to develop marketing strategies that will help organizations attain their overall objectives. Effective marketing planning requires a marketing orientation based on three propositions: client orientation, coordination of client-related activities, and goal direction. The author suggests a four-step marketing planning process that guarantees a marketing orientation that improves the chances for choosing the best marketing strategy for Extension programs.
Learning Best Through Experience
Learning theory and research have consistently concluded that learning opportunities providing a chance to "do" or experience the educational input, result in higher learning gains and retention. Studies of North Carolina Extension clientele and new Extension field faculty confirm that "doing" is clearly the most preferred mode of learning by both groups. Combinations of learning modes were shown to be even greater learning enhancers than individual modes. The most preferred combinations included "seeing," "doing," and "discussing." Findings demonstrate that a well planned program delivery system that includes opportunities to see, experience, and discuss should greatly enhance the learning process.
Developing 4-H Curriculum on an Electronic Database
Traditional and electronic (PENpages) methods of curriculum development and review, speed the development of 4-H project materials and other curricula. Results indicated that development time and effort was reduced by one-third for large curriculum projects and up to 75% for smaller supplementary materials. The greatest advantage of the electronic method was to get first drafts of text, particularly those that would be widely used and/or controversial into the hands of those who will be using the final product before the bulk of the curriculum investment was expended.
Food Safety Assessment and Programming
This report presents the results of a county-wide food safety survey conducted during 1990 and 1993. The survey explored food safety concerns of residents and preferred educational formats to address their concerns. Major food-related concerns are analyzed across the entire subject population, as well as by occupation and age. The major concern in 1993 was foodborne illness, as compared with pesticides in 1990. The preferred media channel for both years was radio and television. Recommendations for incorporating the findings into community awareness activities are discussed.
Research in Brief
Extension Programming to Educate the Elderly about Nutrition
This study reports the nutritional adequacy of a three-day food record and quality of life questionnaire completed by seniors participating in Meals-On-Wheels and congregate meals. Local Extension agents may be the best resource to respond to the identified problems and facilitate community agency activities to improve nutritional health, life quality, and health-related costs for senior adults.
Leadership Effectiveness of County Extension Directors
This study examined the leadership styles, behaviors, and practices of all 62 county Extension directors (CEDs) in Pennsylvania. Data were collected using a mail survey. Findings indicated that: (a) 72% of the CEDs identified themselves as having a relation oriented leadership style; (b) CEDs, in general, possess the requisite skills needed for the CED leadership role; and (c) leadership behaviors and practices, and team work are related. Findings of this study may be utilized to identify strengths and weaknesses of CEDs in leadership roles. Such identification would help staff development to determine additional training for CEDs in the area of leadership.
Clarifying Ohio State University Extension's Organizational Values
The values held by members of Extension organizations play important roles in determining how they plan, conduct, and evaluate programs. The researchers utilized a 62 item Values Questionnaire to survey all Ohio State University Extension personnel. The questionnaire investigated 51 potential organizational values identified from the literature, a North Carolina study, and two panels of experts. The study identified twelve organizational values for OSU Extension. This is an important first step towards improving the health and productivity of an Extension organization, and provides critical information to examine current policies and to formulate future directions.
Ideas at Work
Using Clothing Choices and Body Image to Enhance Self-Esteem
"Body Image--What You Weigh or What You Wear" integrated nutrition research on healthy weight with body image aspects of clothing and self-esteem. Program purposes were to recognize criteria for a healthy weight, identify the effect of clothing choices on body image perception, and improve self-esteem through clothing choices that enhance body image. A majority of 188 program respondents better understood the concept of a "healthy" weight. Three months later a sample of respondents reported an enhanced self-esteem and nearly all said they were using the information to make better clothing decisions.
Animal Science Youth Education Conference
A state teen animal science education program was developed for the animal science department at the Ohio State University. Youth, 14 to 17 years of age, participating in this conference were nominated by county Extension agents and vocational agriculture instructors. Participants were allowed to specialize in beef, swine, sheep, or an animal evaluation curriculum. Lectures, laboratories, farm tours, and interaction with state livestock organizations were utilized to enhance animal production and leadership skills.
Tools of the Trade
Using Rapid, Interactive, and Iterative Posters (RIIP)
The RIIP approach (rapid, interactive, and iterative posters) provides an effective method for enabling large groups to participate in priority setting and planning. The three stage process consists of (a) the development by small groups of concise and rapid posters on assigned topics, (b) an interactive phase as individuals circulate to comment on the posters developed by other groups, and (c) an iterative phase as the original small groups incorporate the comments received. The RIIP approach generates and maintains a high level of interest and energy and fosters a perspective of shared ownership of ideas rather than one of adversarial criticism.
Integrating Indochinese-American Youth into American Society
How can Extension agents include Indochinese-American audiences in their educational programs? A recently published Extension handbook reviewed in this article provides guidelines. Although the focus is on youth in Pennsylvania, Extension agents in agriculture, family living, and community development from all states will find the handbook useful. Cultural characteristics of the Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian, and Hmong are described. Common stereotypes of Americans held by foreigners are also discussed. Statistics on Indochinese minorities in all fifty states are given in the handbook.
The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
Behaviorism has become so widely accepted that we no longer question its pervasive influence in the family, in our work, or in education. The heart of behaviorism is: Do this and you'll get that. Yet, Kohn points out that the wisdom of this approach has rarely been challenged. Kohn's latest book takes on the behaviorist approach, revealing its weaknesses and problems as evidenced in the research.