June 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 3
Education Reform as Public Policy: A Role for Extension
Education has become a top priority on the national legislative agenda. Of particular concern is the growing disparity in achievement between students of low income and high income status. New laws passed by Congress have established the trend in public policy to change the education system by involving the local community. This is where Extension and 4-H in particular can have an important role. We have the expertise and community connections to facilitate productive dialogue between education, business, parents, and community organizations. Establishing such a collaborative effort can provide all students with the opportunity to succeed in the next century.
A Model Train-The-Trainer Program for HACCP-Based Food Safety Training in the Retail/Food Service Industry: An Evaluation
A Train-the-Trainer model program is presented for HACCP-based training in the retail/food service industry. With over 50% of the consumer food service dollar spent on eating out, food safety is an important concern in the food service industry. Results of a 50-state survey indicate that states are adopting increased training and certification requirements for food service managers and employees. Providers of food safety training are identified, preferences for types of educational resources are indicated, and impacts of the training effort in the food service establishments of participants are presented.
Community Surveys: Measuring Citizens' Attitudes Toward Sustainability
Land Grant universities, through Extension, can help local governments gather information on public opinions, attitudes, and behavior about environmental, economic, and social sustainability in their communities. This paper provides suggestions and examples about questions that can be asked of citizens to measure support for sustainability. It examines issues and local government involvement in environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
Area Of Expertise Teams: The Michigan Approach to Applied Research and Extension
Michigan State University's Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station have restructured their educational delivery system through implementation of area of expertise (AOE) teams. The AOE teams are different from most Extension teams in that they are more permanent in their life span; more self-directed in their operation; more tightly linked with public leaders and groups; more integrative of research demonstration, education design, delivery and evaluation; more dedicated to enhancing their knowledge skills and capacity; and more empowered with resources. This article describes how the adoption of AOE team approach and related system changes have created the seamless interface between Extension and the Experiment Station, resulting in increased capacity to deliver quality educational programs.
The Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Evaluation Collaboration
The Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Evaluation Collaboration is comprised of a team of Extension professionals and evaluation researchers from universities involved in CYFAR programs to work with CSREES staff to assist in sustaining the work of the CYFAR initiative, to assess program impact and organizational change, to build the evaluation capacity of Extension, and to provide information on how community-based projects can become institutionalized within CES or sustained within their communities. This article summarizes their current and future work towards these goals.
Food Safety Instructor Training Using Distance Education
An instructor training program was designed to provide state mandated food safety updates for certified Food Protection Management (FPM) instructors using the Trans-Texas Videoconferencing Network (TTVN). The distance education train-the-trainer program featured innovative, interactive, computer-based instructional components including multimedia class materials and activities. A telephone survey of 89 participants indicated that videoconferencing was just as effective as face-to-face instruction and that there was a substantial increase in self-reported knowledge of food safety content after the training program.
Research in Brief
Program Evaluation and Accountability Training Needs of Extension Agents
In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis to document program results and impact. Extension agents should not only be aware of various evaluation methods, but also be able to use those methods to document program results. A survey of Clemson University Extension agents was conducted to determine in-service training needs relative to program evaluation, accountability and research methods. Sixty-two percent of the agents responded to the survey. Major findings were: (a) agents expressed a greater need for inservice training in specific areas of program evaluation and research methods, (b) agents preferred receiving training via workshops, short courses, video, and seminars, (c) agents were very receptive to the idea of publishing a newsletter focusing on program evaluation. Two issues of a quarterly newsletter EVALNEWS has been published and several inservice training programs have been offered based on the specific needs expressed by agents.
Consumer Attitudes and Response Toward State-Sponsored Agricultural Promotion: An Evaluation of the Jersey Fresh Program*
Consumer response to the Jersey Fresh state-sponsored marketing program was evaluated by randomly surveying consumers on their awareness and opinions of the program and locally grown fresh produce. High consumer awareness and even willingness-to-pay a premium for Jersey Fresh produce were found. Consumers rated the quality and freshness of locally grown produced higher than non-Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables. Participants also indicated that price cards and television advertising were the most effective forms Jersey Fresh promotion. The results may provide beneficial information for other states and extension agents educating growers or produce retailers.
A Summary of OSU Extension Internal Salary Study
In 1997 Ohio State University's Extension's Administrative Cabinet conducted an internal review of the salaries of Extension agents. This study examined the salaries following a formula used in hiring new agents and a multiple linear regression model. The study found that some agents' salaries were below the salary they would receive if they were newly employed by OSU Extension. Recommendations were made to address the issues identified by this study.
Ideas at Work
Junior Master Gardeners[TM] Program Addresses Youth Needs
The new JMGs[TM] - Junior Master Gardeners[TM] program is building on the success of the adult Master Gardener program in order to provide positive learning experiences for youth and to develop their leadership, responsibility and community pride through organized gardening activities.
Some Do's and Don'ts for Successful Farm and Ranch Family Estate Transfers
Ten do's and 10 don'ts are recommended for amicable farm and ranch family estate transfers. These are based on the research literature and on our Integrated Resource Management Estate Transfer Workshops with over 200 ranch and farm family members. Cooperative Extension and adjunct faculty can provide farm and ranch families with these recommendations along with technical tools (legal, economic, and tax-related) and people skills (human relation, team building, and strategic planning). With the proper mix of technical tools and people skills, many ranch and farm families can manage their current and future risks and survive well into the 21st century.
Creating a Down-to-Earth Approach To Teaching Science, Math and Technology
Down-to-Earth is an innovative award-winning instructional resource that focuses on gardening through the use of the scientific method. This resource helps youth ages 9-12 bridge a gap between informed decision-making and responsible stewardship. The goal of Down-to-Earth is to enrich critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The program allows youth educators to draw on a rich mixture of multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary topics. The effectiveness of Down-to-Earth is demonstrated through increased academic achievement, attitudinal and behavioral changes. This educational program is adaptable for all ages, with a variety of learning style preferences, and from different ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Teaching Consumers to Use the Internet to Make Consumer Decisions
The Internet is increasingly being used by Americans to gather information necessary to make consumer decisions (e.g., shopping, investing, travel, use of credit, retirement planning). This article describes a class that was developed to increase the familiarity of Extension clientele with online resources. The class has been taught to several hundred people and resulted in planned action to visit one or more new Web sites.
Empowering Consumers: Hamburger Safety
Cooperative Extension empowers consumers by providing clear, concise, repeated messages. In Albany County, Wyoming a local food safety education project changed people's behaviors to reduce the risk of food borne illness from E.coli O157:H7. The community campaign utilized volunteers from traditional clientele group. An evaluation project was completed using youth and adult volunteers. Results indicated desired behavioral changes. The most effective education methods utilized media, point-of-purchase displays, and education through children.
Tools of the Trade
Gaining Audience Involvement: Interactive Teaching Exercises
In order to enhance teaching effectiveness, exercises were devised to involve attendees at train-the-trainer sessions. While focusing on a specific health issue, it is believed that the general principles used here are applicable to a variety of teaching situations. The principal exercise assigns the roles of key stakeholders to participants. This allows articulation of major issues from various perspectives, especially in relation to expression of the divergent views of "opponents" of the majority view. It has been observed that these exercises provide welcome relief in what would otherwise be a long day. They generate useful exchanges and sometimes comic relief.