December 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 6
The December 2001 JOE is especially notable for two reasons. First, more than half the articles center or touch on diversity, an issue that is at the forefront for many JOE authors and should be for JOE readers. Second, at the end of each Commentary, you have the opportunity to join our new JOE Discussion Forum. JOE is a Web journal, and we should all take more advantage of that fact.
Achieving Diversity and Pluralism: Our (Sad) Separatist Model
How has the land grant college and university system met the challenge of diversity? Largely through a separatist model in which 1862, 1890, 1994, and HIS institutions serve their separate (and separated) targeted audiences. The Cooperative Extension System is unquestionably the finest educational infrastructure in the world. But how are we preparing for a future where there is no need for a divide-and-separate system? We're not. We must ask ourselves why. And we must do it together--1862's, 1890's, 1994's, and HSI's.
Facing Issues of Diversity: Rebirthing the Extension Service
Our desire to meet the educational needs of the increasingly culturally diverse population in our communities is driving the need for system change in Extension nation-wide. Just as we are successfully managing technological changes, so also must we manage diversity. Managing diversity requires a new set of skills and an institutional framework for change. We need to provide intercultural competency training for staff and hire professionals who have skills to work with diverse audiences. Support for institutional change exists through the National Subcommittee on Extension Diversity (SED- part of the ECOP structure) and the Change Agent States for Diversity Project.
Talk Around the Coffeepot: A Key to Cultural Change Toward Diversity
Leading a state Extension organization to become effective in a culturally diverse society takes a deliberate organizational culture change to incorporate diverse perspectives. One way to change Extension's organizational culture is to identify and then change the organizational diversity climate. Climate, integral to culture, changes more readily than culture. Findings from a qualitative study of Oregon State University Extension's climate toward diversity revealed supportive, defensive, and uncertain dimensions. Applying the results of this assessment to the development and implementation of a strategic plan, OSU Extension is now on a charted course to become more relevant in a culturally diverse society.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Cooperative
Extension: A Case for Urban Collaboration
USDA-sponsored Cooperative Extension systems and university programs offered through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may find themselves in collaboration or conflict as both expand urban outreach activities. This article draws attention to some of the potential issues of concern, examines a case where collaboration has occurred, and details points of future collaboration. Based upon a pilot in Des Moines, Iowa, recommendations are given to foster further cooperation and forgo redundancy between the two systems.
Teaching Nutrition to Hispanics at an English as a Second
Language (ESL) Center: Overcoming Barriers
Reaching minorities in their communities is a challenging goal for Extension educators. Informal programs of English as a Second Language (ESL) may be an avenue through which nutrition education can be provided to Hispanics. To test this process, a nutrition education program was pilot-tested to a group of Hispanic participants of informal ESL classes. This article discusses the barriers that were encountered during this pilot program. Barriers were related to the dynamics of working with volunteer organizations, to the Hispanics' characteristics, and to the pilot program's goals.
Internalization of Character Traits by Those Who Teach Character Counts!
The purpose of the study reported here was to determine if the act of teaching character education programs such as Character Counts! affected the internalization of taught ethical values. Fifty-three Cooperative Extension personnel completed a Web-based survey analyzing Character Counts! impact on Cooperative Extension, the personal life of Extension educators and assistants, and society. Results demonstrated that Extension educators and assistants were more likely to make ethical decisions in the areas of Cooperative Extension, personal life, and society as a result of teaching Character Counts!. Collected data also suggested the need for increased implementation of Character Counts! principles in Extension programming and broader networking among character education supporters.
What Farm Families Tell Us That Can Be Useful in Educating
for Health and Safety
A pilot qualitative research study in Weld County, Colorado, was designed to obtain the perspectives of farmers and their families on the occupational health and safety risks they face and to gain their insights into extant and potential preventative measures. A structured interview schedule and an iterative process of qualitative data analysis identified four themes: 1) risks, 2) obstacles, 3) motivators, and 4) supports. Considerations relevant to Extension educators for the development of prevention programs were extracted from the data and presented according to what should be emphasized, what should be included, what should be avoided, and what should be acknowledged in the design and delivery of Extension educational efforts with this population.
Research in Brief
Cracking the Concrete Ceiling: Inquiry into the Aspirations,
Values, Motives, and Actions of African American Female 1890 Cooperative Extension
The potential population Extension serves continues to become more ethnically diverse. Does Extension administrative leadership reflect diversity in both ethnicity and gender? In most states the answer is "no". It is the authors' premise that if the numbers of minority administrators increases, so will the number of minorities in county program positions, and thus, the number of minority clientele. This article provides research findings related to challenges current African American women administrators face, what they believe contributed to their success in breaking the concrete ceiling within the 1890 Cooperative Extension System, and professional development suggestions for African American females aspiring to Extension administrative positions.
Hispanic American Volunteering
This article discusses a qualitative study that identified the attitudes, motivations, and barriers of Hispanic Americans in Cleveland, Ohio toward volunteerism. Twenty participants were interviewed, and the constant comparative method (multiple raters) was used to analyze the data. Six themes were identified: (1) influence of family and fiends; (2) importance of volunteering to benefit youth; (3) importance of church and religious beliefs; (4) volunteering as a requirement; (5) connections between volunteerism and the community; (6) personal satisfaction and growth. Extension and community agencies should actively develop aggressive volunteer recruitment efforts to enhance the participation of Hispanic Americans as volunteers.
Differences Between Parent and School Personnel Observations
of Extension Service Literacy Program's Impact with Children
The purpose of the qualitative research study reported here was to learn if parents and school personnel observed changes in children's reading as a result of participation in the Energy Express summer reading program. Results of interviews revealed that both parents and teachers observed a positive program impact. Parents noticed improvements in their children's reading, where as teachers emphasized socialization gains. There were significant differences between school personnel's connections with children in larger schools as compared to smaller school communities. The qualitative research is consistent with the quantitative data; both demonstrate the Energy Express program's positive impact on children's reading.
The Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program's (FSNEP) Impact
on Selected Food and Nutrition Behaviors Among Texans
The Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (FSNEP) focuses on improving the dietary intakes and food safety and food resource management skills among limited resource individuals. To assess its impact, a telephone survey was administered to participants to assess changes in 20 food and nutrition behaviors. Subjects (n=459) reported improvements in all identified behaviors upon completion of the FSNEP program (p < .0001). Results suggest that the FSNEP is improving food and nutrition behaviors among limited-resource individuals.
What Do You Know About Your Clients? Implications for
Extension Financial Management Training
The study reported here sought to determine the financial management training needs of agricultural producers in Nevada. Two groups were surveyed via an investigator-designed questionnaire, participants who enrolled in a tax management program and non-participants who chose not to enroll. The results indicate that the two groups are demographically alike. While the non-participant group reported lower financial management knowledge, they indicated that they would not be willing to attend future Extension financial management training events. Therefore, it is recommended that additional study determine why and if a reallocation of resources to reach this group is warranted.
Project Leaders' and Volunteers' Competencies of Kansas Top
Eight 4-H Programs
The concept of volunteer competencies has been discussed in many forums. Project leaders and volunteers play vital roles in the success of 4-H programs in Kansas. They contribute considerable time and effort in carrying out their responsibilities. One hundred and eighty five (185) faculty and staff, including administrators, agents, specialists, program assistants, and office professionals, randomly selected from the 105 counties in Kansas, clarified volunteers' competencies needed for effective volunteer participation in the state's 4-H Youth program. Fifty seven (57) competencies were identified and placed into four(4) categories: "Professionalism," "Working with youth and adults," "Knowledge of the program," and "Planning and organizing programs."
Innovative Agricultural Extension Partnerships in California's
Central San Joaquin Valley
The West Side On-Farm Demonstration Project was an innovative, participatory research and Extension program conducted from 1995 through 1998 in California's Central Valley. Objectives of this project were to monitor and evaluate farm demonstrations of practices for maintaining soil quality, investigate biologically integrated pest management, and facilitate information exchange. Participant surveys conducted at the end of the project revealed that 100% of the respondents deemed the project successful. Changes in soil and pest management practices during the course of the project were documented and provide an exhaustive baseline for future comparisons.
Ideas at Work
Accomplishing Cross Cultural Competence in Youth Development Programs
Cultural competence is fast becoming a competence needed by educators to function effectively in an educational setting. Changing demographics calls for this competency. By the year 2050, racial/ethnic groups will make up 48% of the total U.S. population. Self-awareness is one of the three vital ingredients in developing cultural competence. This knowledge assists individuals separate ways of thinking, believing, and behaving. The author developed the Youth Development Cultural Competence Continuum Quiz to assist educators/youth development practitioners in assessing their individual cultural competence.
The Meaning of Aging
This article discusses findings from a study exploring the inner world of older people's life experiences and how they felt about being old. Freedom, slowing down, loss, changes, companionship, loneliness, faith, and active engagement were main themes. Social access provided opportunities for older people to fulfill their sense of belonging and productivity. They believed "being old is being sick." Because they were capable, they did not think they were old. They felt aging not only meant losing independence and dignity, but also having more experiences. These findings are critical for Extension educators, who should rethink the meaning of aging and how to respond to the needs of the elderly.
A Home Modifications Program for Older Persons
As the older population increases, efforts need to be undertaken to assist them in staying in their current homes. A home modifications program directed at older persons was developed, implemented, and evaluated. The program consists of instructional modules presented through overhead transparencies, a video, assistive devices, illustrations of major home adaptations, and product catalogs. Evaluations from county Extension faculty and program participants were positive.
Seniors CAN: Enhancing Independence for Older Adults
Seniors CAN is an Extension wellness program for older adults that works! With the growth of the aging population, Extension is trying to provide useful programming for seniors. Seniors CAN models the crucial step of incorporating wellness behavior changes into everyday life. The program's main purpose is to enhance older adults' independent living skills by increasing their ability to decipher the overwhelming body of wellness information and increasing their sense of control over their lives. Preliminary data analysis suggests that this interactive educational program for seniors can positively affect their sense of control and produce some immediate behavior changes that could enhance successful aging.
Planting Seeds Family Enrichment Program: Serving Rural Immigrant
Hispanic Families and Their Youth in Eastern North Carolina
The United States Census has estimated a 394% increase of Hispanics in North Carolina. The development of family enrichment programs for rural Hispanics has become a challenge for helping professionals such as Extension professionals. The Planting Seeds Family Enrichment Program focused on immigrant Hispanic families and their youth. Multiple qualitative methods were used to evaluate the program. Hispanic families and their youth actively participated in developing stronger families, leadership, community skills, and wellness. Recommendations for Extension professionals are provided.
Dollars for Answers
A lively meeting with lots of involvement by participants is a goal of Extension educators regardless of the topic of discussion. County agents in Utah have developed a game show approach to instruction at seminars and training sessions that does just that. This article describes the techniques they use to build question and answer interaction into a fun, yet effective teaching environment. By providing small cash or prize incentives for participants and including a healthy dose of humor in the process, instructors can involve more people, broaden the scope of discussion, and improve the atmosphere for learning.
Raleigh County, West Virginia Student Transition from Elementary
to Middle School Extension Program
The transition to middle school brings apprehension to both students and parents. The Raleigh County Transition Camp offers students a 1-week camping experience to help prepare them for junior high school. The evaluation for the 1999 program revealed that students who attended the program increased their levels of excitement and enthusiasm toward attending junior high school. Conversely, camping program attendees experienced decreased levels of anxiety toward attending a new school.
Tools of the Trade
The Value Orientations Method: A Tool to Help Understand Cultural
To work with people of other cultures, it's important to understand their "world view." The Value Orientation Method (VOM) provides a way to understand core cultural differences related to five basic human concerns, or orientations. The method has been used widely in cross-cultural situations, including in higher education, health services, and conflict resolution. A 16-question oral survey is available and can be used for formal research about cultural differences or informally in training to help people become aware of and work with cultural differences at the individual and institutional levels.
Translating Extension Publications into Spanish: Practical
Hints for Extension Professionals
Providing high-quality Spanish language materials is not simply a matter of translating what's already on the shelf. Even if you chose to, how do you avoid an embarrassing publication if you don't speak the language? You can, if you identify qualified people and use an orderly process. This article discusses sources and considerations for manuscripts to be used with Spanish-speaking audiences and offers a method for estimating translation costs and a process for reviewing cultural, grammatical, and technical content. Spanish language materials require additional time and skills, but the result is a client well served.
"Booster Shots" for Post-In-Service Learning
A technique to reinforce learning and encourage program application after an in-service training was developed in Pennsylvania. Monthly "booster shots" are sent electronically to participants to highlight a resource or reinforce a concept from the in-service. This stimulates application of information in local educational programming. Response to the boosters has remained positive for over a year after the in-service.
An Ounce of Prevention: Addressing Birth Defects Related to
Folic Acid, Alcohol and Tobacco, A High School Curriculum
Students in Missouri schools are learning about the preventive factor of birth defects related to folic acid in the diet, and alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy. A comprehensive new curriculum was developed and implemented as a joint project of University of Missouri Extension and Health Sciences-Genetics. Topics include: prenatal development, birth defects, folic acid, alcohol, tobacco, pre-pregnancy planning, pre-natal screening and diagnosis, and genetic counseling. 80% of Missouri school districts and 74% of Missouri Department of Health county offices received the curriculum.