August 2000 // Volume 38 // Number 4

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page


Addressing Educational Needs of Youth in Today's Society
Schlink, Kitty-Sue
The responsibility for who will educate today's youth is shifting. Where the parents, schools, and the community once provided an equal share in the teaching of our youth, a deficit is occurring. Today's child may only have one parent, class sizes may be too large, and the community may be stretched beyond its ability to provide assistance. Extension after school programs aid in school enrichment; non-traditional 4-H projects get youth involved in their communities; and traditional 4-H programs and project camps provide adult role models and subject knowledge for youth. Extension is well situated to provide youth education in today's society.

Feature Articles

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs: Linking Research and Practice
Johns, Marilyn J.; Moncloa, Fe; Gong, Elizabeth J.
Although the overall rate of teen pregnancy in the United States has been declining, rates have remained high for younger unmarried teens. Evaluation studies of pregnancy prevention programs indicate that many are ineffective or not well evaluated. The focus of this article is to identify and share 10 suggested "best practices" from the field and literature. Three critical practices identified are: a youth development component, family involvement, and culturally relevant practices. Implications for Cooperative Extension programming are discussed.

Health and Safety Behaviors: Reduced Risks Promote Health
Smith, Susan M.; Keel, Martha; Ballard, Michael
Extension employees, working at the local, regional, or state level, are involved in a profession with many rewards and many stressors. Information pertaining to health and safety risk behaviors was collected using a computerized questionnaire completed by approximately 50% of the state Extension specialists and county agents serving rural and urban communities in a large southern agricultural state. The questionnaire focused on individual health behaviors and perceptions. These included the following categories: overall self-reported physical health status, losses experienced in the last year, satisfaction with life, seatbelt use, driving habits, exercise, alcohol, cigarette use, and food habits. The most serious health risk factors identified by this study were excessive levels of stress, elevated cholesterol levels, and insufficient physical activity (exercise). If left unchecked, these risk factors could have a significant impact on job effectiveness, performance, and quality of life of Extension agents.

Research in Brief

The Relationship Between Tenure and Non-Tenure Track Status of Extension Faculty and Job Satisfaction
Nestor, Patrick I.; Leary, Paul
This study examined the relationship between tenure and non-tenure track status of Extension faculty and job satisfaction. Data were collected through questionnaires mailed to West Virginia University Extension faculty (85% responding). Analysis revealed non-tenure track faculty reporting significantly more intrinsic job satisfaction than tenure track faculty. Significant relationships also exist between age and intrinsic job satisfaction and years at the institution and intrinsic and overall satisfaction. Respondents ages 23-33 and 46-50 are more satisfied than those 34-45 and more than 51 years old. Those with 21+ years at the institution are more satisfied than faculty with 1-5 and 6-9 years.

Neufeld, Jerry; Davison, Jay
Extension professionals involved in applied agronomic research projects commonly use analytical laboratories for soil sample analysis to determine the nutrient status of agricultural soils. Additionally, many Cooperative Extension clientele and program collaborators use soil testing laboratories for the same purpose. Determination of soil nutrient status is important to maximize production and returns as well as to minimize negative impacts to the environment. There is, however, a great deal of variability associated with the analytical results received from many soil testing laboratories. Variability has the potential to negatively impact applied research projects and recommendations made to Cooperative Extension clientele. In 1995 and 1996, a study was conducted to quantify and illustrate the variability problem and to develop a set of recommendations that can be used to assist Cooperative Extension professionals and program clientele in selecting a quality soils testing laboratory. Our results indicate there is a sufficient amount of variability in results received from soil testing laboratories to make it worthwhile to research analytical soil testing laboratories before selecting one for use.

Tools of the Trade

Washington State University On-line Volunteer Management Certification Program
Sherfey, Lauri E.B.; Hiller, Janet; Macduff, Nancy; Mack, Nancy
The on-line Volunteer Management Certificate Program (VMCP) is a non-credit course delivered through the Internet <> designed to: 1) offer a quality, professional development training course on volunteer management, delivered to individuals working in the field anytime, anywhere, particularly to those in rural communities with minimum access to training opportunities.
2) develop quality distance delivery of educational programs through the technology of the Internet.
3) promote and enhance the profession of volunteer management as a field of expertise.
4) bring recognition to Cooperative Extension as a leader in the emerging field of volunteer management.

Before You Say Yes: A Planning Guide for Speakers
Francis, Charles; Carter, Heidi; Carusi, Cris; King, James
We need guidelines to help us decide whether to accept invitations to speak, whether to a class on campus or a special interest group outside. As educators and workshop organizers, we could also use suggestions on how to approach potential speakers. This article describes a single-page format that can be used to guide the planning process. Essential elements include contact information, location and organization of the activity, audience, learning goals, expected content, conclusions, and evaluation. Use of this planning sheet can give organization to an often haphazard process of planning, and enhance the potential of achieving the learning goals of a presentation.

Tools for Evaluating Written and Audiovisual Nutrition Education Materials
Betterley, Connie; Dobson, Brenda
An important step in delivering effective Extension nutrition education programs is to evaluate educational materials for specific target audiences. This article describes two new resources available to help Extension professionals use consistent criteria and a systematic process for selecting effective written and audiovisual materials.

Two Techniques to Foster Collaboration Within a Group
Rebori, Marlene K.
This article describes two techniques that a facilitator can use to help foster collaboration within a group: ground rules for effective behavior and a consensus framework for decision-making. Examples are included that outline how a facilitator can apply these techniques in a group.