June 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 3
What's the difference between one category of JOE article and another? Who cares? JOE reviewers do, and JOE authors should, too.
Welfare Reform 4 Years Later: The Mobilization of the Land-Grant System
Welfare reform occurred during an era of economic prosperity. In question in 2001 is the ability of the economy to sustain its robust nature and maintain jobs for people at entry levels. Thus, the stage is set for continued engagement of the land-grant system, with Extension at the forefront, in welfare reform. This article describes what the land-grant system is doing to address the policy issue of welfare reform and to capture and report the system's accomplishments. The article challenges us to renew our commitment to one of this nation's most compelling issues.
Agents of Change: Thoughts on Youth Development
4-H Agents are change agents who foster changes in youth, communities, and individuals. As a youth development organization, we have an opportunity to clarify what we want to develop in youth. As we enter the new millennium, we are faced with the task of managing change and helping others adapt to change. This article discusses how the need to empower youth is intertwined with our own task of empowering ourselves.
Effecting Extension Organizational Change Toward Cultural Diversity: A Conceptual Framework
No state Extension organizations have achieved effectiveness in a culturally diverse society. To become effective, Extension needs an organizational culture that incorporates multiple perspectives that reflect varying values and belief systems. Extension organizations have been designed within the dominant European-American cultural paradigm, which reflects one perspective. Because culture changes very slowly, changing the organizational climate, which is integral to an organizational culture, is one method to achieve effectiveness in a diverse world. A conceptual framework for identifying an Extension organization's diversity climate is a useful step for effective organizational change.
Using the Program Life Cycle Can Increase Your Return on Time Invested
Carefully timing revisions to educational programs can yield valuable returns on the time invested. Extension educators can use simple quantitative and qualitative measures to identify a program's life cycle. Letting programs go beyond their maturity phases into decline and termination is not a good investment of time. Making necessary program revisions between the maturity and the decline phases can save Extension educators both time and effort while simultaneously maintaining quality programming.
Preferred Learning Styles of Florida Association for Family and Community Education Volunteers: Implications for Professional Development
The Florida Association for Family and Community Education (FAFCE) is a volunteer group that works with the Family and Consumer Science program area of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. A demographic questionnaire and learning style assessment were administered to volunteers. The mean age of volunteers was 71 years, and the majority were Caucasian females. Forty-two percent reported they have received some form of professional development as a volunteer. As a group FAFCE volunteers were field dependent. The median GEFT score was 2.0, with scores ranging from 0 to 18. Findings from this study provided useful insight and baseline data on the FAFCE volunteer program.
Extension and Health Promotion: An Adult Learning Approach
In order to strengthen the health of three communities in Nova Scotia, a group of community-based agencies, including a university Extension department, a local women's association, and a regional public health department, initiated a health promotion project called PATH (People Assessing Their Health). This article examines the use of intentional adult learning approaches to enable the participants to examine their experiences of health and factors that are determinants of health in their communities. Community members designed community impact assessment tools, unique to each of their communities, that can be used to determine the impact of policies, programs, and services on their health.
Extension, Communities, and Schools: Results of a Collaborative Forestry Education Project in Philadelphia
Penn State Forestry Extension worked with Philadelphia community leaders, school district administrators, and area teachers to develop a comprehensive educational program aimed at helping inner-city youth learn about forestry and forest management. Questionnaire results indicate that students who participated were more knowledgeable about forestry and gained a greater understanding of forest management. Evaluation results reveal that teachers who participated were more likely to use natural resources in their curricula. This project shows the benefits gained through collaborative programming and partnering skills that will be useful to Extension faculty as they address natural resources Extension with an increasingly urbanized population.
The Capable Families and Youth Project: Extension-University-Community Partnerships
The Capable Families and Youth (CaFaY) Project creates partnerships among Extension personnel and researchers at Iowa State University, public schools, other community stakeholders, and rural families. Extension's land-grant mission and widespread local presence provide a unique opportunity to partner in all phases of the project. The preventive interventions implemented in the project were designed to reduce adolescent substance use and other problem behaviors. Schools were randomly assigned to one of three groups to evaluate the impact of preventive interventions in reducing adolescent substance use and other problem behaviors. Multiple assessments will be completed over a 10-year period to evaluate various adolescent and parent outcomes.
Educating Rural Private Water System Owners in Pennsylvania Using Satellite Versus Traditional Programs
A safe drinking water program was delivered by satellite in an attempt to more efficiently reach the target audience while maintaining the same effectiveness present in the traditional live speaker program. Survey results were compared between attendees of the traditional and satellite program. The satellite program met the educational objectives and was cheaper and required less time commitment from specialists, but it attracted a smaller audience and allowed limited audience interaction. The cost per attendee for the two programs was similar. Future water quality programs will continue to use both satellite and traditional programs.
Extending Our Reach: Strategic Opportunities for Cooperative Extension to Promote Infant Health Through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Preventative Education
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains one of the deadliest health risks for infants up to age 1 year, claiming nearly 5,000 lives annually. The number of SIDS cases has decreased in the last decade due to nationwide efforts to educate the public about guidelines for reducing the risk of SIDS; however, evidence indicates that certain segments of the population are failing to implement these guidelines, which include placing infants to sleep on their backs. This article offers specific suggestions on how Extension is ideally suited to influence education, intervention, and public policy efforts aimed at reducing the incidence of SIDS.
Research in Brief
Ripple Effect Training: Multiplying Extension's Resources with Veteran Master Gardeners as MG Trainers
Ripple Effect Training, a new train-the-trainer program, was implemented by the Oregon State University Master Gardener program in 1999. The goals were to increase veteran volunteer commitment and participation in the Master Gardener training program and to reduce program expenses. During a 2-day workshop, participants received instruction on the training modules and teaching strategies for adult learners. They completed a self-efficacy evaluation after the workshop and again after delivering the training. Evaluation showed they had a high level of confidence prior to delivering the training, and this confidence was elevated after completing the task. Additionally, the new Master Gardener trainees felt the quality of instruction from the Ripple Effect Trainers was similar to that of Extension agents and state specialists.
Impact of a Community Leadership Program on the Volunteer Leader
As issues in communities become more polarized, community volunteers can take responsibility for leading their communities through these issues. Taking responsibility for community leadership requires a set of group process and leadership skills. Findings from a survey of 56 FCL volunteers from an urban/rural region of Oregon showed an increase in leadership skills, confidence level, and hours of community participation. Findings suggested that training plus practicing new skills result in greater impact. A post-pre survey served as an easy credible method to measure behavior change and program impact.
Evaluation of Forestry Programming: Leading to Recommendations for Improvement
Extension specialists are called upon to provide educational opportunities and information to field faculty in order for them to assist citizens in making informed decisions through county programming. North Carolina Extension Forestry conducted an evaluation of programming at the county level to find out if field faculty were getting the support they needed. Results indicate respondents are faced with the pressure of lack of time and lack of knowledge base to cover multiple subject areas. Demand for time and knowledge underscores the need for a strong support system in which specialists need to play an active part to assist field faculty in overcoming programming barriers.
Evaluating Pork Producers' Acceptance of Distance Education Media
A booth was developed to expose pork producers to eight distance educational media. Booth survey results indicate producers had the greatest previous exposure to videotape. After exposure in the booth, producers were willing to try all media except chat rooms and multi-media kits. Producers (86%) prefer face-to-face educational programs to distance education. However, 87% of the producers indicated that distance education is the future for information access, and 84% of the producers felt that their questions could be adequately answered through distance education. These results suggest that exposure to distance education media is a limiting factor to the media's acceptance for educational program delivery.
Ideas at Work
Everyone a Teacher, Everyone a Learner:
A Learner-Centered Pesticide Private Applicators Recertification Training
Meeting the challenge of stimulating participants in a mandated program prompted the development of a learner-centered Pesticide Applicators Recertification Training curriculum. The goal was to enhance the value and applicability of the material being taught. This curriculum transformed an unpopular, routine training program into an effective learning experience, with some applicators attending regardless of the status of their certification. Participants widely embraced this curriculum, preferring it by 85% over traditional methods. This type of participatory, interactive curriculum could be used in other areas of Extension, such as youth quality assurance programs.
4-H Master Tree Steward Program Teaches Thousands
The 4-H Master Tree Steward Program teaches thousands of school children about trees. The article describes, step-by-step, how to create a successful volunteer program. The author details information about how to recruit and train volunteers and how to get schools involved. Adults interested in learning about trees can get training to carry out this type of program. The author describes how the program has worked in his county since its creation in 1992.
Beyond a Dream: Starting Your Own Small or Home-Based Business
The entrepreneurial spirit that has made American dreams become a reality should be nurtured at all levels of our Extension system. Starting a small or home-based business can be rewarding, both personally and financially. It can provide an opportunity to expand a hobby or pursue an idea under consideration, or it can be a disaster. Effective Extension entrepreneurship programs can assist individuals to explore business ownership opportunities and acquire skills to enable them to start a business of their choice.
FCS TidBits: Family and Consumer Sciences Electronic Newsletter for Agents
The FCS TidBits is a monthly electronic newsletter that provides FCS specialists the opportunity to share time-sensitive and current information on a monthly basis with FCS agents in the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and the Prairie View Cooperative Extension Service. Evaluations at 6 and 12 months have allowed agents and specialists to shape the format and the information shared through the newsletter. The FCS TidBits currently reaches over 320 agents across Texas and allows over 30 FCS specialists to share important ideas and notices.
Developing Leadership Skills with Grazing Councils
A monthly grazing council program was initiated in Athens County, Ohio in 1994 to address issues related to grazing management; and leadership skills have been developed by many of the participants. This program is held at local farms, and involves learning and sharing with the entire group. Many become interested in hosting meetings and sharing successful management techniques and improving skills from participant suggestions. With the help of this program, many have become recognized leaders, sharing their experiences and helping others throughout the country. Objectives of a long-term program may focus on identified issues, but other favorable results such as developing leadership skills can emerge.
Project Healthy Bones: An Osteoporosis Prevention Program for Older Adults
Osteoporosis awareness has increased tremendously in the past 5 years. Project Healthy Bones is a 24- week exercise and education program for older women and men at risk for, or who have, osteoporosis. Project Healthy Bones includes both exercise and education components. The exercise component is designed to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. The education curriculum stresses the importance of exercise, nutrition, safety, drug therapy, and lifestyle factors. A unique collaboration, grant funding and the educational expertise of Cooperative Extension makes this program one that can be replicated to reduce osteoporosis.
Tools of the Trade
Thinking in Multimedia: Research-Based Tips on Designing and Using Interactive Multimedia Curricula.
As the use of computers as an educational medium increases, Extension professionals need to be informed about new technology-enhanced methods for use in community-based, educational settings. Interactive multimedia curricula (IMC) have been touted by many as a way to increase learning and facilitate a shift to a more learner-centered educational experience. As with any other educational method, IMC needs to be viewed in a critical fashion. This article addresses the question, "What things seem to make effective IMC?" and presents some research-based recommendations for those using or developing IMC.
How to Design Better Programs: A Staff-Centered Stakeholder Approach to Program Logic Modeling
All too often evaluations are inconclusive because sufficient attention has not been given to the design and development of the program initially. This "how-to-do-it" manual adapts program logic modeling techniques initially developed by evaluators to devise better evaluations. The adaptations were made in work in Cooperative Extension and have been used successfully in a variety of settings and topical areas over a period of nearly 20 years. This article explains the use of these techniques in sufficient detail so that readers can decide whether or not they might be useful for their own program development efforts.
Begin With a Family Tree When Working with Family Finances
How should you start when meeting with a family on financial matters? Here I show an example family tree and give 16 benefits of beginning family financial planning meetings by sketching a family tree. A family tree is an easy way to quickly and efficiently collect and organize family information. One never knows what family member(s) will be key to a financial decision, so it is useful to get everyone identified at the beginning. Some other benefits include getting your meeting off to a good start, collecting needed information, and identifying frequently overlooked family members and relationships.
Development and Use of a Stocker Cattle Market Workshop in Extension Ranch Management Programming
This article describes the development of a workshop designed to familiarize cow-calf producers with price risk management techniques. The workshop is built around the cash markets, forward cash contracts, and stocker cattle futures and options introduced by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Participants are exposed to concepts such as setting price targets for calves, estimating basis levels, and taking advantage of seasonal and cyclical price patterns.
Empowering Cooperative Extension Educators for Heart Health Education
Extension continues to be guided by its mission of helping people improve their lives through science-based education focused on issues and needs. A current need of Americans is extensive education to reduce the alarming death rate from heart diseases, the leading cause of death in the country. This article provides tools to empower the Extension professional in their role as front-line interventionist to actively participate in the national initiative to reduce the burden of heart diseases among Americans.