December 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 6
Extension's Portfolio for the 21st Century: A Place for One-on-One Consultations
Revisits the individual consultations that provided the base from which the Cooperative Extension Service grew. Using data gathered from clients' and Extension staff evaluations of one-on-one activities, our findings show these consultations have an economic and educational value for clients. The consultations benefit field specialists as well, augmenting their need assessments by providing information from in the field, providing opportunities for on-going research, and building credibility. It is maintained that continuing (or re-implementing) these consultations as part of Extension's portfolio for the 21st Century has mutual benefit, both to the client and to Extension.
History of Extension Work in Virginia Prior to Smith-Lever
Numerous activities occurred in Virginia Extension associated with Congressional district agriculture schools prior to the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. Historical research methodology was utilized to find information. The article documents how the 11 schools had courses of study taught on the subjects of agriculture and home economics, and also performed a great deal of Extension work. Typically, the agriculture teacher would conduct demonstration work during the summer. Faculty members at the schools also worked with youth activities and home economics programs. The funding sources helped set precedents with a combination of state funding through the Land-grant university and local support.
Providing Program Review for Cooperative Extension Publications
This paper describes the peer review and publication decision-making process used by California Cooperative Extension. The goal of the system is to ensure that publications and other educational materials produced are high quality and meet important programmatic needs. It also deals with resource allocation and educational appropriateness. The system is relatively simple and has been accepted by most Cooperative Extension staff. It has improved the quality and quantity of CE publications.
Taking R&E to the Next Level
During the late 1980s, the business retention and expansion (R&E) program emerged as one of the most successful programs in Ohio State University Extension's Community Development area. As the economic recovery of the early 1990s turned into an economic expansion, business and civic leaders began to shift focus from general R&E efforts to issues related to labor force preparedness. A survey of businesses in Portage County undertaken four years after completion of an R&E program reveals that, while employers believe that local resources are available to help improve basic math and communication skills of employees, those skill levels are still significantly below expectations. The new challenge to Extension will be to facilitate the operation of community partnerships designed to enhance labor force development.
MONEY 2000 Participants: Who Are They?
This study was conducted to determine if there were any statistically significant differences between MONEY participants and others who attended three Extension personal finance conferences. The sample consisted of 124 MONEY 2000 program participants and 101 others. Using chi-square analysis, no significant demographic differences were found between the two groups of respondents. Significant differences were found at the .05 level, however, for action taken and/or planned to invest funds wisely and to set financial goals and objectives. A third significant difference was paying more than the minimum due on credit cards. A more powerful Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test for ordinal data found one significant difference between the two groups of respondents with respect to paying bills on time.
Defining Your Customer Profile - An Essential Tool
Defining the customer in terms of wants, needs and desires is essential if Extension personnel are going to successfully deliver educational programs to their clientele. Defining whom the customer is in respect to what commodities are produced and how the customer prefers to receive information are two important criteria for the success of educational offerings. Data base management programs coupled with data collection tools can allow Extension personnel to do program marketing and reporting to the stakeholder.
Effectiveness of Extension Cotton Advisory Committees
Well-organized and managed advisory committees are a key to quality Extension programs. Extension agents and members working with cotton advisory committees were interviewed in focus groups to find out if committees were effectively involved in programming and committee processes. Both groups agreed that committees were highly involved in giving advice to agents, legitimizing decisions, and implementing programs. Committees were less involved or not at all involved in communicating with others, or planning and evaluating programs. It was concluded that cotton advisory committees could be more effective if agents improved their management of some aspects of committee work, and if members were better oriented, and committed to and involved in planning, evaluation, and communication.
Consensus Management Model for Families Caring for a Loved One with Dementia
This article proposes teaching care-giving families a practical, six-step Care-giving Consensus Management Model. Cooperative Extension professionals can teach clientele this model and can reduce caregiver burden by broadening the ownership of caregiver responsibilities among both proximate and distant family members. The model integrates strategic planning, futuring, decision making, effective family communication, task accomplishment, priority setting, and problem solving. It fosters shared responsibility and provides guidelines for effective family meetings and decision making.
Impact "Women's Participation in Public Policy" Seminars on Participants' Knowledge Gain, Practice Change, and Attitude Change
This study measured the impact of a series of seminars titled "Women's Participation in Public Policy" on participants' knowledge gain, levels of participation in public policy affairs, and attitude change. The study used the pre-test/post-test design. The population was limited to those who attended at least five of the seven sessions in the seminar series. Analysis of the data indicated that the seminar series resulted in participants generally: (a) becoming more knowledgeable about decision makers, (b) developing more positive feelings about themselves and their ability to control their own lives and situations, and (c) increasing their participation in public policy affairs.
Research in Brief
Priorities for University Outreach in Children, Youth, Families and Communities
In a survey of 950 residents of Michigan, respondents were asked about their preferences concerning receiving more information from Michigan State University, and the means by which they would prefer to receive to this information. Topics that were more frequently rated high priority than others were school violence, child abuse, treating people equally, preventing drug abuse, and affordable health care. Methods of information dissemination that were most frequently rated as "highly prefer" were public schools, Internet, television, Extension, pamphlets and printed matter.
Production, Processing, and Marketing Opportunities For Athens County, Ohio Farmers: Assessing Needs and Creating Solutions
An instrument was developed to identify production, processing and marketing needs of farmers in Athens County, Ohio. The questionnaire was mailed to 509 families with a 24% response rate. Forty-five (37.5%) needed improved markets. The greatest area of marketing interest was cattle (24.2%), hay (14.1%) and vegetables (14.1%). Respondents also expressed interest in educational programs on grazing livestock and farm management. As a result, a retail cooperative was formed to market local products, a feeder calf pool was established, and programs and publications were developed to address additional marketing and management needs.
Taking the Time to Ask: An Assessment of Home Economics Agents' Resource and Training Needs
Michigan State University Extension food, nutrition and health campus-based staff members conducted a needs assessment of county home economics agents to obtain information to drive decision making for programs, resources and training and to build rapport with county agents. The methods used to collect this crucial information were personal telephone interviews with 62 county agents and a follow-up printed questionnaire. Findings supplied a wealth of information for campus staff members to use to establish priorities about program planning and support, select or develop materials or other resources, and plan and implement training appropriate and helpful to county staff.
Ideas at Work
How to Evaluate a Conference Informally with "Listening Posts"
Extension agents often ask, "Isn't there an informal but somewhat structured way to get feedback at a conference or workshop without using a survey?" This article describes the use of 'Listening Posts' and the author gives a number of practical tips for putting this qualitative strategy to use. Benefits include: quality feedback, high participation and enthusiastic support from conferees and the chance to build program ownership among conference workers. Deficits: could exclude very shy persons or result in information most salient to participants.
Helping Children Cope with Divorce
Children of divorce are at risk for increased emotional and educational problems including anxiety and depression. A two-hour, court mandated program entitled "Helping Children Cope with Divorce" was developed to help parents understand these risks as well as how to communicate with children about the divorce and help children adjust to the changes in the family. Through a variety of educational methods, parents learn how to keep children out of the crossfire. The authors have surveyed nearly 340 program participants with end-of-meeting evaluations which revealed that parents now recognize that their children are more affected by divorce than they realized.
Feedback in Distance Education: Broadening Electronic Communication Pathways
This article explores how one distance education program has maximized the use of electronic mail for exchanging information between professors and students in a distance education environment. The article discusses issues that face distance educators when using electronic mail for exchanging course materials and offers possible solutions for effective student homework submission and professor feedback. The authors recommend a practical system for exchanging written student-professor communication using the Adobe PDF computer file format which provides a cost-effective solution to many course process problems inherent in distance education settings.
Extension Organization of the Future: Linking Emotional Intelligence and Core Competencies
Recruiting, hiring, and keeping desirable employees have been fundamental goals in institutions since before the Industrial Revolution. Traditionally, developing an exceptional workforce has been a hit-or-miss process. Recently, however, national and international organizations like Amoco, Dupont, Federal Express, and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service building a workforce for the 21st century. have developed competency models to lure and keep good workers. Part of competency models is the idea that high emotional intelligence is valuable. Emotional Intelligence and competencies are a natural fit, and they will, no doubt, become increasingly popular as organizations recognize their importance in building a workforce for the 21st century.
Tools of the Trade
Community Mapping Exercises Provide Enhanced Participant Interaction in Visioning Processes
The public sector has utilized a variety of techniques to plan for the future since the 1950s. As these techniques have evolved, so has the level of public participation. Community Visioning processes used today rely heavily on public input. Community Mapping exercises provide enhancements to the visioning process by providing a more interactive and tactile method for creating a future vision for a community. By working in small groups and creating "Big and Bold Ideas" on a large-format map, participants create a graphic image of the future of their community that provides a platform for implementation.
A Family Check-Up: A Web-based, Self-Assessment Program In Family Life, Financial Management, Nutrition, and Food Safety
The Family Check-Up is a public internet site where families can access several self-scoring assessment programs in the areas of family life, financial management, nutrition and food safety. The self-assessment program provides immediate feedback to the consumer and provides a variety of on-line educational materials and Extension contacts for them to access. The web-based program has several programming application including needs assessment, marketing, and outcome research as participant data are store for later analysis by specialists. The Family Check-Up offers increased opportunities for collaboration and referrals among family and consumer science disciplines.
Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook: Reference for Agricultural Extension Professionals and Small-Scale Farmers
The second edition of the "Specialty and Minor Crop Handbook" makes a great reference for agriculture and horticulture personnel and small-scale family farmers. This handbook was published in 1998. It is available in softcover for $35 per copy (U.S. funds), plus $5 shipping and handling, from the University of California. The specialty and minor crop section includes 63 crop sheets covering specialty vegetables, culinary herbs, salad greens, specialty fruits, and other interesting crops. The Specialty and Minor Crop Handbook is 186 pages long with 95 high quality color photos.