August 1998 // Volume 36 // Number 4
Integrating a Marketing Mindset: Building Extension's Future in the Information Marketplace
Extension professionals must adopt corporate marketing strategies to be competitive in the information marketplace. Integrated marketing helps boost brand recognition and lead consumers to repeated use of the Cooperative Extension System. Although research is needed to learn more about loyal Extension clients, we can take the first step toward marketing Extension in the twenty-first century by targeting specific audiences and developing an integrated mindset.
Scholarship Unbound for the 21st Century
In 1995 Oregon State University defined scholarship as creative intellectual work that is validated by peers and communicated. The university revised its promotion and tenure guidelines to reflect this broad view and to recognize scholarly achievements across all university missions including teaching and outreach. In the same year the university made organizational changes to reflect its commitment to extending education beyond the campus. An important change moved the tenure homes for all Extension faculty members from Extension to academic departments and colleges. Specific implications of these fundamental changes in how and by whom faculty members are evaluated, tenured, and promoted are discussed. The experiences of Extension faculty members with new promotion and tenure criteria, processes, and peer evaluations are described. Similar changes are beginning to take place at several other universities. An upcoming national forum on these topics will be held in October 1998.
Extension Outreach Opportunities Among Segmented Dairy Producers
A survey of 874 dairy farms indicates challenges for Extension educators to address differentiated needs of dairy farmers. Confinement producers will focus on educational issues relating to larger farm and herd size, and higher milk production, to stay competitive. Intensive grazing producers, being somewhat younger, more highly educated, and having recently adopted new technology, are likely to innovate and incorporate formal planning processes to improve grazing performance. Farmers using traditional production techniques present a unique challenge because they are likely to shift toward specialized confinement of grazing systems to improve competitiveness. The low indebtedness of traditional producers is conducive to financing system change and innovation. Because all three groups anticipate increased use of computers, education and outreach activities focusing on planning and ration balancing may be useful.
Integrated Pest Management in Cucurbit Crops in South-Central USA: Pest Status, Attitudes toward IPM and a Plan for Implementation
USDA Cooperative Agreement Project G-8438 was initiated in 1995 to develop a plan to implement IPM on cucurbit crops in South-Central USA using Texas and Oklahoma as representative states. Through this project, the current status of cucurbit IPM was surveyed in terms of implementation and research. Constraints to an advanced IPM system were identified in facilitated workshops and research, Extension, and education priorities for implementing IPM in cucurbit crops were developed. From the survey it appeared that IPM was fairly well understood by workshop participants. The main tools for management of pests included application of pesticides, disease resistance incorporated into cultivars, and cultural practices such as manipulating planting dates and field rotation. Workshops (consisting of a comprehensive educational program along with facilitated discussions and a short survey) were well received and provided an opportunity for assessment of current IPM programs by representative IPM users in cucurbit crops. Research and Extension continue to be critical for IPM implementation.
Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Middle School Students: Implementing the 5-A-Day Program
Research shows that populations consuming diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and grain products have significantly lower rates of many types of cancer. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed, implemented, and evaluated an educational program based on Social Learning Theory to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and promote consumption of fruits and vegetables among middle school students in two Nevada schools. Results showed that students' attitudes about the acceptability of eating fruits and vegetables improved significantly (p =.005) as did their perception of their ability to eat five fruit and vegetables per day (p<.0001). Students demonstrated a high level of knowledge of the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables on the pre-test (mean score of 55 points out of 75 points) and showed no significant increase on the post-test.
Florida Cooperative Extension's County Program Review Process
County program reviews can be an important part of the program development and evaluation process. In Florida, reviews are conducted through a case study protocol that triangulates information to ensure validity and reliability. Sources of data for the review include: planning and reporting documents, original educational material, observation of instruction, and personal interviews with agents, program assistants, volunteers, advisory members, local government officials, collaborators, and clientele.
Research in Brief
From Knowledge Extended to Knowledge Created: Challenges for a New Extension Paradigm
Traditionally the practice of Extension has been described as "knowledge applied" or "knowledge extended." More recently, the research community has begun to recognize Extension's role in creating knowledge. Beyond Extension's contribution in setting agendas for future research, this movement recognizes Extension's capacity to participate as a full partner in the research process. This article critically assesses a research collaboration in New York where Extension agents were full research partners. The unique challenges for both the research and Extension partners are articulated and discussed.
Consumer Response To IPM-Grown Produce
A survey instrument was used by faculty members of Rutgers Cooperative Extension to determine likely consumer response to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Produce. The objectives of the study were to document consumer willingness-to-purchase and willingness-to-pay for IPM grown-produce as well as existing knowledge of IPM. While awareness of IPM was low, over 71 percent of participants indicated that they would purchase IPM labeled produce. Only 12 percent indicated that they would be unwilling to pay a premium to obtain IPM-grown produce. Willingness-to-purchase IPM produce was found to increase with income and decrease with age. Females and higher earning households were among the most likely to pay a premium to obtain IPM produce.
The Rural Families Program Makes a Difference
This article highlights the impact of the Rural Families Program that addresses mental health issues. Rural outreach workers delivered prevention and early intervention education on a one-on-one basis to strengthen families and communities over six to nine weeks. Using a pre-test post-test evaluation design, quantitative and qualitative measures were used to assess program impact. Quantitative assessment revealed statistically significant post-test post-test mean score differences for the 17 selected indicators of family well being. Qualitative assessment indicated that the program benefited participants in the areas of decision making, communication, financial management, parenting, family relationships, and crisis management.
Ideas at Work
Defining Scholarship For County Extension Agents
With the privilege of academic rank, Oregon county Extension faculty have a responsibility to do scholarly work. In an effort to understand the meaning of scholarship as it relates to county Extension work, six agents met for a day to examine what scholarship meant to each of them. While scholarship has been traditionally defined as research, they explored how their primary job, teaching, could also be viewed as scholarship when it develops new methods or integrates new knowledge leading to new understanding. They recognized that Extension faculty's challenge is to demonstrate the value of these other forms of scholarship to more traditional, research-oriented faculty.
Working Through the Maze of Liability Shields
Liability shields are often utilized as a strategy for managing risk associated with youth programming efforts; but, at the same time, the shields are often misused and misunderstood. When properly developed and utilized, liability shields can be worth more than the paper they are written on. This article describes various liability shields that can be incorporated into an Extension risk management program. They include: permission slips, informed consent forms, waivers and releases, and indemnification agreements. In addition, five specific implications are stated for Extension professionals.
Impacts of Family Nutrition Classes Taught to Food Stamp Recipients in Grant/Adams Area of Washington State
Impacts of family nutrition classes taught to Food Stamp recipients in Grant/Adams area of Washington state describes the nutrition program used to educate the Hispanic migrant population in rural central Washington. It describes the survey process used for a comprehensive evaluation and the results obtained. The impacts showed a high level of retention on items related to budgeting and the need for more clarification of the Food Guide Pyramid as it relates to their culture. The participants were able to make nutrition judgement decisions.
Tools of the Trade
PowerPay: Consumer Debt Reduction Software for Extension Educators
Computer software developed by county agents allows Extension educators the opportunity to offer personalized debt reduction plans and teaching aides for their clientele. With the PowerPay computer program consumers can see how much money they can save and how much more quickly they can become debt free by using power payments for their individual financial situation. Other options enable users to evaluate debt consolidation plans and to see the real costs of making only the minimum required payments on credit cards. All printouts can be customized to reflect the name of the assisting institution.
Technological Issues for Improving Access to Internet Web Sites for Rural Users
Internet web site developers can improve accessibility to their sites by rural clients through awareness of technological challenges encountered by their potential market. Some rural users, especially those in impoverished areas, face problems with reliability of telephone services and dated computer technology. These technological issues can have an impact on the effective use of the web as a mechanism for data and information delivery. Web site developers can accommodate some of these limitations through simple web page design and less reliance upon relatively more advanced web programming languages such as ActiveX and JAVA.