October 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 5
The new "Help for JOE Authors" page delivers just what its name implies. It's a portal to information and advice to help prospective JOE authors and those who teach them.
Interactive Distance Learning Effectively
Provides Winning Sports Nutrition Workshops
This study compared an interactive distance-education format and a face-to-face format for providing sports nutrition continuing education workshops for health care and education professionals. A collaborative team of state and county Cooperative Extension and a County Health Department faculty and staff conducted the study using The Winning Edge: Nutrition for Fitness and Sport curriculum. The results indicated that a well-designed distance-education format is as effective and acceptable as a face-to-face format for providing workshops. In addition, responses to 6-month follow-up evaluations indicated that the workshop contents were useful for providing sports nutrition education programs in workshop participants' communities.
Two (or More ) Heads Are Better Than One: An Application of Group Process to Developing Extension Evaluation Tools
This article describes a process used to design a statewide evaluation tool for parenting education programs. Domains of successful parenting were identified using a nominal group process. Indicators were developed for five domains and were pilot tested in six counties. The resulting instrument was easy to use and produced reliable results that could be aggregated at the state level. Several shortcomings were identified and will be addressed. The involvement of county faculty in this process was a key to its success.
Partnering with a National Heritage Corridor: A Connecticut Case Study
A local, grass roots effort resulted in the creation of a National Heritage Corridor in northeastern Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts. The Corridor's mission overlapped with that of the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System. By thinking and acting creatively, these two organizations partnered in a way that enhanced the effectiveness of both. The result was a new local Extension education program addressing critical and previously neglected issues and audiences. A needs assessment survey provided crucial information to guide the development of the new education program. The survey results have been and continue to be used to develop the Extension education curriculum and prioritize program offerings.
Essential Tasks, Skills, and Decisions for Developing Sustainable Community-Based Programs for Children, Youth, and Families at Risk
Experienced grant writers suggest the only thing worse than writing a grant proposal is getting funded! For those with little or no experience in program development, the many decisions of running a grant-funded project are both overwhelming and costly. The effectiveness of those decisions ultimately affects a project's sustainability. This article draws on experiences from Cooperative Extensions Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) projects in proposing a model for sustainable community-based programs. The model delineates five typical stages of program development, and the critical tasks, skills, core questions, and feedback loops essential at each stage of effective practice.
Research in Brief
An Examination of Rural Recycling Drop-Off Participation
Recycling education programs have constituted an important component of Extension outreach in the past decade. The study reported here used a two-stage statistical modeling procedure to predict the characteristics of residents who participate in a recycling program and to explain frequency of visiting the drop-off sites. The results reveal that older respondents in large households in more remote sections of the community are more likely to use the drop-off centers than others. Those participants who show more satisfaction with the convenience and quality of the drop-off sites visit more frequently. An unintentional consequence was a spirited competition among the seven townships involved to claim the highest participation rate.
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 indicate 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.
Factors Influencing Adoption of Extension Technology: The Case of PowerPay Debt Reduction Software
The case study reported here surveyed users of the PowerPay Debt Reduction software to examine factors that influence the adoption of technology developed by Extension to expedite the transfer of ideas or applications. Respondents were classified into sectors labeled Extension, Military, or Business users. Each of these client segments rated "ease of use" and "product quality" as the major influences on their decision to acquire the software. The "cost of software" was a greater influence for the Business sector, while "administrative attitudes" were more of a factor in Extension and the Military.
Professional Development Needs of State Extension Specialists
A study was conducted to determine professional development needs of state Extension specialists employed by Clemson University. Three constructs, program development and evaluation, research generation and synthesis, and communication and presentation, were examined. Specialists responded to a survey that contained 35 statements relative to the three constructs, measured on a Likert scale. Demographic information was also gathered. Matrix analysis was used to determine critical professional development needs of specialists. Overall, the matrix analysis yielded 3 critical needs and 11 low level needs. Critical needs identified were: 1) communicate program impact to key decision makers, 2) communicate client problems to researchers, and 3) view problems from different perspectives.
Content Analysis of Media Coverage of the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The study reported here examined the nature of the nutrition messages communicated by the media about the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Upon the release of the 1995 Guidelines, a mass media content analysis was conducted to determine the nature of the media messages communicated to the public. Media channels included were national and local newspapers, national television news and news type programs, magazines, and National Public Radio (NPR). Findings indicate that the Dietary Guidelines are not covered adequately by the media. Nutrition educators are encouraged to take a more active role in making their expertise available to the various media channels.
National 4-H School Enrichment Survey
School enrichment has become the predominant 4-H delivery mode, with 3.7 million youth reached annually. The study reported here examined how it and other modes are used and viewed by Extension staff. Long-term programs such as 4-H clubs have proven effective in helping youth develop life skills, but Extension staff devote efforts to school enrichment because of its efficiency in reaching diverse youth in large numbers and because it has helped develop credibility with community officials and formal education. Extension must carefully consider the purpose and consequences of diverting resources to short-term programs. This may require choosing between "numbers" and "impact" or achieving a balance of the two.
Computer-Mediated Needs Assessment to Identify 4-H Youth Curriculum Needs
Pennsylvania's 4-H Youth program faculty and staff participated in a needs assessment to determine priority needs for curriculum revision and development. The needs assessment process began with a computer-mediated discussion among a panel of youth development professionals. Statewide input from county Extension educators was obtained using interactive software on the World Wide Web. County educators reacted to the priorities identified during the computer-mediated discussion. A curriculum priority list emerged that is being used for resource allocation and curriculum planning.
Does Study Abroad Make a Difference? An Impact Assessment of the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program
The Texas Agricultural Extension Service 4-H program asked an undergraduate research team from the Eisenhower Leadership Program at Texas A&M University to assess the impact of participation in the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) program. The team surveyed all former IFYE participants from Texas, their family members, and friends. The findings indicate those surveyed were more sensitive to other cultures, more interested in global events, and more involved in community activities because of the exchange program. Participants described the exchange as a life-changing event. Participants also cited barriers to participation that can be overcome by seeking corporate support and by more effective promotion.
Ideas at Work
Scoring IPM Adoption in Ohio: It Really Adds Up
Ohio has developed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) definitions for over 20 major crops, including field crops, fruits, and vegetables. These crop definitions are actual criteria that allow growers and researchers to evaluate a selected crop production system and determine how many IPM practices the producer has adopted. There are six sections to complete, and points are awarded based on proper implementation for that particular crop. The goal for growers is to achieve 80% or more of the points in the crop definition.
Pathways to a Better Trained Workforce
Changes in the economic and social climate have intensified pressures on the food industry. A significant factor is the lack of qualified workers and, at the same time, a lack of well-paid jobs and desirable careers. "Pathways to a Better Trained Workforce" is a 5-year project funded by the Mid-Atlantic Consortium through the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The mission is to create a regional workforce development system that will provide a well-trained, reliable workforce for the food industry. The project is led by a team from Rutgers and Cornell Universities as a multi-state collaborative effort among educators, policy makers, and employers.
The Role of the Adult Volunteer When Youth Turn to Them in Crisis
Volunteers who work with adolescents may be called upon when youth are in serious crisis. In supporting adult volunteers who work with youth, it is important for youth professionals to be mindful that the youth needs support from the volunteer and the volunteer needs support from the professional. Supporting the adult volunteer involves helping identify appropriate roles and actions. Situations in which youth face a health danger (pregnancy, drug use or abuse) or are keeping the crisis from their parent(s) are discussed. The volunteer must work with the youth to develop a plan for resolving the challenge that faces them.
Involving Undergraduate Students as Extension Program Interns
Undergraduate students represent a potentially valuable pool of talented people who can extend the ability of agents to provide education at a time when resources are limited. A student intern was recruited and employed to visit cattle producers and develop reports about alternative marketing strategies. Each of the producers found at least a few useful ideas from the intern's reports. The project was funded with research dollars from a marketing project being conducted by a cooperating faculty member. This represents a different way of reaching audiences, with learning occurring for clients, student interns, and Extension staff.
Adapting a College Credit Course to Extension Programming Needs
An irrigation systems management college credit course was offered in the state of Nebraska for a period of 6 years with an on-campus instructor lecturing via satellite and off-campus Extension Irrigation specialists delivering instruction at research and Extension centers across the state. Agency personnel were in need of training to assist them in redirecting their expertise to assist and educate farmers in the area of irrigation water management. Eighty-nine professionals across the state completed the basic irrigation course that gave detailed instruction on water management as well as background for conducting one-on-one water management assistance.
Fatherhood . . . Classes for Unconventional Dads
This article describes educational programs taught by the Ohio State University Extension in Butler County, Ohio, for men yearning to establish roles of fatherhood. The issues identified are taken from program pre-/post-survey materials taught in the curricula to measure behavioral changes. Program graduates have shared how needs were met and expanded horizons on fatherhood.
Fit 2-B FATHERS
Fit 2-B FATHERS is a parenting-skills education program for incarcerated adult males. The goals of this program are for participants to have reduced recidivism rates and a reduced risk of their children acquiring criminal records. These goals are accomplished by helping participants become physically, practically, and socially fit for the demands of fatherhood.
Tools of the Trade
In Over Your Head: A Tool for Agents Working with Clients in Financial Crisis
In Over Your Head . . . Life-Saving Strategies for Financial Crisisis a publication written by four Ohio Extension agents. The group completed a survey of 60 bankruptcy filers to investigate how Extension could best address some of their educational needs. This article addresses the content of the resulting (budgeting) teaching tool and describes how it was designed and organized to lead clientele through the advantages and disadvantages of five strategies. The article reports how the publication was initially distributed and evaluated by Ohio agents.
Utah State University Extension 4-H Safety Certification Course: Safe Agricultural Equipment Operation
Utah State University Extension offers 4-H safety certification programs that prepare 14 and 15 year olds to work in hazardous occupations for employers other than parents. The primary goals of this program are to save lives, prevent injury, and reduce the economic losses associated with agricultural accidents. The course information includes educational goals, legal requirements, eligibility, insurance requirements, arranging for training equipment, quantity of equipment needed, required operating manuals, recommended course length, general course guidelines, and detailed course content.