June 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 1
Transferring Technology Through the Internet Channel
The Cooperative Extension Service has been in the technology transfer business for nearly eighty years, and the National Science Foundation's Internet computer communication system can aid this process. This article explains how the use of the Internet channel can be viewed as another tool, similar to newspapers, TV, and radio, for transferring technology. The technology transfer process is presented with six interactive phases to distinguish progress through a flow-system model. The process is presented to promote awareness and understanding of the role Internet service can play within the Extension community.
Growing Through the Stages: A New Look at Professional Growth
In rapidly changing environments, both organizations and the people who make up those organizations must engage in continual growth, or risk becoming obsolete. All too often, professional growth is a hit-or-miss process. Learning opportunities selected are often those that meet immediate needs rather than future needs. Most professional development programs do not acknowledge a learners' career stages in helping individuals make choices regarding professional development. In this article, the authors' introduce a model for professional development currently being used by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, which recognizes that professional development needs vary according to an individual's career stage and long-term career goals.
Challenges to Diversity from an African-American Perspective
The strategic plan for Extension diversity describes the system's commitment to diversity in mission and vision, work force, programs, audiences, and relationships with other people, groups, and organizations. Successful integration of diversity goals into the core mission and vision of the organization requires recognition and attention to both internal and external challenges. From the perspective of African-American personnel and audiences, many such challenges are grounded in the history of this country. This article presents a historical overview of socio-economic and political events of the past that limit the amalgamation of African descendants into the mainstream of American life and create barriers to Extension diversity efforts.
A Perfect Fit: Involving Youth with Disabilities in 4-H
All youth, regardless of their physical and mental capabilities, need the opportunity to be involved in activities that complement their own special talents and interests. While formal educational systems (public and private schools) have been fairly successful in their efforts to develop specialized programs for youth with disabilities, non-formal educational programs such as 4-H have not made a concerted effort to make their programs truly accessible to all youth. This article summarizes a project underway at Purdue University to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities that make it possible for them to grow mentally, physically, and socially regardless of their physical and/or mental capabilities. The legal implications, benefits of involvement, and ways to adapt projects and activities are also discussed.
An Extension Perspective of the Minor Use Crops Pesticide Problem in Vegetable Production
In 1988, Congress amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and mandated that all pesticide users registered before 1984 be re-registered by 1997 to meet certain human health and environmental standards. A survey conducted among Extension agricultural agents in the eastern U.S. shows that most agents are concerned that re-registration costs will result in the cancellation of many currently-labeled vegetable pesticides. The loss of these vegetable pesticide labels will likely result in failure to control certain insect pests, an increase in pest resistance to the remaining pesticides, an increase in insect-transmitted plant diseases, and an overall negative impact on effective pest-management programs for minor-use crops.
A Family Life Program Accountability Tool
The Cooperative Extension Program Evaluation Survey (CEPES) was created as an accountability tool for research in family life programs. CEPES tests seven dependent variables concerning family life, demographic information, and controls for potential changes in family strain levels. As a pilot, a pretest and posttest were given to 13 different audiences (N = 244) in two states. In the pilot test, family life programs in parenting, communication, conflict resolution, stress management, and balancing work and family were evaluated. Results from CEPES can be used by program leaders, department heads, specialists, and county agents to assess current programs. The assessments can be used to validate programs to clientele, county commissioners, state and national legislators, and funding agencies.
Assisting Swine Producers to Maximize Marketing Returns
The Kansas State University Lean Value Marketing Program was designed to investigate the value of pigs marketed on a wholesale-cut basis. This program allowed producers to directly compare the actual wholesale value of their pigs with the value of pigs from other producers. Key factors identified by a survey of the program were sort loss and grade premium. The survey demonstrated to producers where they were in comparison with other swine producers in the state, as well as the enormous impact these factors had on profitability.
Assessing and Addressing Extension Employees' Wellness Needs
Recognizing that wellness is more than simply the absence of illness, the University of Vermont Extension System provides activities to heighten employees' awareness of wellness and promote positive health behaviors that lead to increased productivity, improved morale, and reductions in health-care costs. A study conducted at the University assessed the perceived health-related needs, interests, and practices of Extension employees, which provided the basis for wellness programming. The investigation included a survey questionnaire and focus group interviews. Results indicated a high level of interest in an employee wellness program. Program goals, components considered most important, and topics of greatest interest were identified.
Farmers Adopt Microcomputers in the 1980s: Educational Needs Surface for the 1990s
Successful Farming's prediction that 80% of American farmers would use the microcomputer to assist them in managing their operations has not been realized. However, the 1980s was a period of growth for the adoption of the microcomputer in agricultural operations. Specifically, Extension needs to target both youth and young adults as well as the female partner in agricultural operations. Microcomputer educational programs need to be designed so programs address both the basic microcomputer concepts, as well as more advanced concepts that further enhance the skills of those who have already started applying the technology in their specific situation.
Facilitating Conflict-Laden Issues: An Important Extension Faculty Role
Increasingly, Extension educators across the country are being asked to facilitate conflict-laden public issues. Many Extension educators, however, feel there is minimal encouragement and incentive for this educational activity. The author argues that facilitation of this type is not viewed from the proper educational paradigm and this is what creates difficulty in providing recognition for this important work. An argument is made for establishing performance evaluation guidelines that encourage and reward more than the traditional land grant university research and teaching paradigms.
Research in Brief
Managing Administrative Conflicts
Conflicts are a daily reality, and dealing with them can be extremely frustrating and uncomfortable. To be successful, Extension administrators must be able to effectively deal with daily conflicts. This study identified the conflict management styles and Myers-Briggs Type personality type preferences of Extension directors and district directors in the North Central Region and examined the relationships that existed between them.
Job Satisfaction and Commitment of 4-H Agents
A study of 208 Extension 4-H agents was conducted to determine agents' organizational commitment and job satisfaction, the relationship between these variables, and family structure and work characteristics. The majority of the 160 agents who responded to the mail survey were white female, middle-aged, and married. Survey results indicated agents were satisfied with their jobs, and were somewhat committed to their cooperative extension organization. In addition, the agents' job satisfaction and organizational commitment were related to age, marital status, work experience, and gender.
Information Dissemination in Dairy Nutrition
Forty employees or owners of nutrition service suppliers and 145 dairy farm managers were surveyed to identify the type of information requested and transferred to dairy farm managers, and to identify the role nutrition suppliers perform in technical information transfer to farm managers. The results indicate that feed industry personnel, private consultants, and veterinarians have become major distributors of technical service information to dairy farm managers. This implies communication between Cooperative Extension and dairy farm managers will diminish, while information transfer between suppliers and dairy farm mangers will not. Extension program leaders will have to adapt their role in the dissemination of dairy nutrition information to include nutrition service personnel in technical programs.
Public Opinion and Lake Erie Water Quality
Lake Erie recreational resource users were surveyed at the Mid-America Boat Show in Cleveland, Ohio over a three year period. Respondents in 1992 were significantly (p<.05) more inclined than respondents in 1990 or 1991 to have a negative impression of agriculture and its impact on Lake Erie. Most respondents viewed Lake Erie as a resource worthy of protection and agreed that government should do more to control pollution in Lake Erie. Results suggest that Extension needs to address the issue of agricultural impacts on the environment more vigorously than in the past, particularly with recreational resource-user groups.
Swine Project Skill Development
Two Iowa studies addressed the question of how effective are 4-H swine projects in helping youth develop lifeskills and subject-matter skills. The studies also addressed which sources of information were used to help support learning. In both studies, participants reported that participation in swine projects had a positive effect on their development of lifeskills and subject-matter skills. Findings also indicate that parents are an important source of information.
Ideas at Work
Clergy and Extension Networking for Newly Married Couples
Newly married couples are often a difficult audience for Extension educators to reach. Since clergy members routinely conduct counseling sessions with couples before their marriages, clergy could be an important contact in reaching this audience. To find out whether clergy would use Extension as a resource, a mail survey was conducted. Results indicated clergy were receptive to referring couples to Extension and even offering Extension education classes through their churches. As a follow-up to the survey, Extension conducted a one day "clergy refresher" to help acquaint clergy with educational services offered. This work was an important first step in building a relationship between Extension and clergy to expand programming for newly married couples.
An Issue-Based Program on Solid Waste
The Extension staff of Lake County, Ohio addressed the problem of solid waste management education. Each program area took leadership in one or more of the following topics: yard waste and composting, consumer choices, environmental shopping, household hazardous waste, youth programs, recycling, and business waste. Traditional and innovative teaching techniques and a strong media campaign were used to educate the public. As a result, the county solid waste district has provided over $1.1 million for the office to serve as the public information center for their 10-year waste management plant. The success of this interdisciplinary, issue-based effort has led to increased visibility with residents, the business community, and decision makers. This, in turn, has led to increased resources to expand Extension educational programming.
Money Management Teaching Tools for Low Income Audiences
An Indiana Extension team developed, piloted, and delivered money management lessons for Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) audiences. Materials include a calendar for record keeping, reading and activity sheets for clientele, and a curriculum guide for program assistants. While use of the materials by EFNEP continues, other organizations, working with low-income audiences, also use the materials and training.
Urban IPM - Alaska Style!
The Alaska IPM program was developed to meet a demonstrated need for entomology and pest-control information. Cooperative efforts between Extension and researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station have resulted in a statewide program reaching thousands of Alaskans. IPM technicians in seven Extension districts provide current and useful data on Alaska's pests and their management. Newsletters, site visits, newspapers, insect collections, herbarium mounts, and slide sets are being used by many educators and groups throughout the state. Almost all people receiving IPM information adopt one or more practices or principles.
Teamwork and Technology: A Communications Showcase
A "trade fair" exhibition created to showcase agricultural communications technology at Texas A&M, inspired subject-matter specialists to explore new and creative educational products and services. Booths and presentations covered topics such as interactive/multi-media programs, electronic clip art and publication catalogs, and satellite teleconferencing. Additionally, communications and subject-matter specialists demonstrated the value of teamwork by accomplishing specific goals.
Tools of the Trade
Multimedia for the Masses
IBM Linkway Version 2.01 provides technology to create professional multimedia instructional tools that can be developed quickly on IBM or IBM-compatible equipment. Linkway enables the user to combine text, graphics, sound, and motion to develop materials and presentations that can be distributed to field staff and clientele, without the cost of purchasing specialized hardware.
Resource for Building Self-Esteem in Youth
Healthy self-esteem is essential for success in every area of life. It is one of the most dynamic variables that will influence the outcome of a person's perceptions and opinions of themselves and of others, as well as feelings, thoughts, interests, and abilities. To assist Extension professionals, a four-part educational resource series, "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem," has been developed. These field-tested resources, which include a videotape, study and discussion guide, and a resource notebook, provide educators with materials needed to encourage, emphasize, and enhance positive and healthy self-esteem in youth.
Leadership for the 21st Century
This book provides an important critique of leadership studies. Rost contends a majority of leadership studies are about management rather than leadership. He challenges the industrial paradigm of leadership as management and calls for a new school of leadership. He offers a new post-industrial definition of leadership as "an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes." Rost believes the dynamic interaction between leaders and followers has been overlooked. The author's concepts can provide new directions for the study and practice of leadership.
Computerizing Contest Information
A computer program has been developed at Purdue University that will greatly reduce the time required to conduct a 4-H contest. The computer program, written in Clipper and Dbase 3.3 Plus, handles registration details including supplying confirmation notices and a printed receipt to all coaches; prints contestant labels; assigns and calculates class cuts when necessary; tabulates scores by age divisions (clover, junior, senior, etc.), organizations (4-H, FFA, etc.), and contest (dairy, crops, horticulture, etc.); and ranks individuals and teams by individual classes and overall contest. The program sets and prints results in a variety of options to fit user needs.