April 2002 // Volume 40 // Number 2
JOE's New Look
"JOE's New Look" talks about our redesigned site, about what's behind it (and who's responsible). "Comment on the Commentary" asks you to do just that by participating in the JOE Discussion Forum. Both sections are about ways JOE works on the Web.
Global in Our Backyard
Extension faculty function in a political arena and should be politically active in Extension issues and budgets. Extension faculty and administrators each have a role in providing reliable information on issues and budgets to elected officials. Extension administration should provide plans and budgets to faculty and expect them to work with elected officials as well as inform clientele and support groups. Communication between all levels of Extension becomes extremely critical. There are pitfalls, but the rewards can be a stable or higher Extension budget.
A Systems Approach: Maximizing Individual Career Potential
and Organizational Success
Continuing professional development for employees is critical to meet the demands and expectations of the evolving workplace. In the search for career fulfillment, individuals may no longer plan to spend their entire work lives in one organization. Maximizing an individual's career potential to enhance the success of the organization calls for a systems approach in career development. Systems approaches are implemented in a manner that enables the individual to enter and exit the model at the most appropriate point. This article provides an overview of the professional development model in a systems context used by Ohio State University Extension and its application in changing organizations.
Designing Professional Development Systems for Parenting Educators
As the field of parenting education grows in demand, methods of developing and supporting parenting education professionals are critical. This article describes research by North Carolina Extension staff examining the perspectives of 59 parenting educators who took part in focus group interviews addressing their professional needs. The article makes recommendations on how multiple systems can systemmically work together and suggests ways Extension is uniquely situated to help prepare competent parenting educators. The article also offers a model of professional development systems interaction.
Building Successful Campus and Field Faculty Teams
This article discusses how to build successful campus and field faculty teams in order to meet the Land-Grant research and outreach mission more effectively. Data was collected through individual interviews, telephone surveys, and focus group discussions. Differences between campus and field faculty with regards to their respective work environments were noted, including supervision, appointment, evaluation, publication, promotion and tenure, scholarly pursuit, and funding. Improved campus and field faculty interaction can be achieved if all faculty take initiative in identifying mutually beneficial work and are diligent in creating a body of work that is recognized in both the field- and campus-based cultures.
4-H Programs with a Focus on Including Youth with Disabilities
Youth with disabilities often have limited opportunities for integration within their communities. The mission of "Intentionally Inclusive 4-H Club Programs," a 4-year pilot project, is to purposefully create accessible 4-H environments and engage communities to address the needs of people with disabilities. During year one, a collaborative team developed an experiential curriculum for 9 to 12 year-old youth entitled "Shine Up and Step Out." In year two, selected counties used the materials and developed specific training and resource opportunities. A formative evaluation showed how 4-H staff are raising awareness and involving youth and volunteers with disabilities in community programs.
The Challenges Associated with Change in 4-H/Youth Development
This article discusses a study documenting the beliefs about proactive change among volunteers and Extension staff who develop policy for local Indiana 4-H Programs. Data analysis indicated that volunteers believe in the core values of the 4-H Program; recommend that the 4-H Program should reach more and different youth; and believe that the program's rural image inhibits progress in these areas. Staff interactions with volunteers, lack of parental involvement, policy-making group organization and structure, and youth representation were cited as barriers to a more open, inclusive organization. The article makes recommendations based on the study's findings and suggests topics for further research.
Moving the Working Poor to Financial Self-Sufficiency
Working poor families face many barriers to financial self-sufficiency. In addition to information and skills leading to a better job, the working poor need information about federal, state, and community-level support available to them. This article provides an overview of the information needs of the working poor and offers five strategies Extension staff and others can use to facilitate the upward mobility of the working poor. The strategies include: 1) information outreach for the working poor, 2) information outreach for employers, 3) education and training for workers, 4) public awareness campaigns, and 5) collaborations for building community capacity.
Research in Brief
Progress Report--Globalizing U.S. Extension Systems
This article highlights the results of a 2000 study of U.S. Extension directors who described their Extension systems related to efforts to globalize over a 20-year period. Directors recognize that globalization of Extension is underway and will become more integrated into future Extension programming. Positive changes were seen between 1990 and 2000, with 35 systems moving towards globalizing. For purposes of the study, globalization was defined as the incorporation of global content into Extension efforts so that clientele develop an understanding of global interdependencies as they relate to the issue areas within the Extension mission.
A Case Study of Stakeholder Needs for Extension Education
The 1998 Farm Bill mandated collecting stakeholder input for land-grant universities. The study described here developed a model for collecting stakeholder input when developing educational programming priorities using qualitative case study methods. The study found that communication barriers existed between university faculty and stakeholders. Stakeholders were not getting the information they needed to solve daily problems. Extension agents generally lacked appropriate content knowledge and printed communications were ineffective. The article offers recommendations based on the study's findings.
Interagency Collaboration on Wildlife Management Issues: Opportunities and Constraints
The researcher used mail surveys to evaluate the potential for partnership between Ohio's Extension and state organizations on wildlife management issues. Respondents rated wildlife topics according to perceived importance and their own knowledge about topics. Extension and state personnel did not differ in the perceived importance of 72% of topics, suggesting similar programming needs. However, knowledge values were higher for state than Extension personnel for 83% of topics. Thus, state agencies seem better poised to deal with wildlife management issues. Extension organizations should enhance the wildlife training of Extension agents and promote additional collaboration with state agencies.
Value of Adult Volunteer Leaders in the New Mexico 4-H Program
The study described here determined the economic value of volunteer time contributed to the New Mexico 4-H program. A volunteer profile of personal characteristics, role/activities engaged in, motivational factors, and monetary donations was established. Economic value was determined by calculating the average number of hours spent in 1 year by a volunteer and multiplying the number by the average hourly wage for nonagricultural workers ($14.30) as determined by the Independent Sector in 1999. The article makes recommendations based on the study's findings.
Attributes of Indiana's 4-H Livestock Judging Program
This article describes the degree of influence Indiana's 4-H livestock judging program had on developing 10 life skills associated with workforce preparedness, profiles 185 alumni of the 4-H judging program, and documents the beneficial attributes of the judging program by listing qualitative responses from former 4-H livestock judges. The majority (>80%) of the respondents were college-educated men between the ages of 21 and 50. According to the alumni, Indiana's 4-H livestock judging program was highly influential in the development of the following skills: the ability to verbally defend a decision, livestock industry knowledge, oral communication, and decision making.
A Method for Evaluating Storm-Damaged Cotton for Extension County Agents and Specialists
Extension county agents and specialists are often asked to provide unbiased crop damage assessments when storms occur. There is generally no published methodology on which to base damage assessments. The objectives of the project described here were to (a) provide an unbiased database to producers and crop insurance representatives and (b) develop an unbiased, in-field method for damage evaluations for cotton. This method proved to be effective in allowing Extension personnel to monitor crop damage over time as a result of the storm. It provided an unbiased database for use by Extension and USDA workers, producers, and crop insurance personnel.
Ideas at Work
A Framework for Introducing Program Evaluation to Extension Faculty and Staff
There is an increasing requirement for Cooperative Extension to demonstrate that programs are making an impact on the populations served, yet many staffs have little background in evaluation. This article presents a framework found to be useful in introducing the basics of evaluation to Extension staff. The authors draw upon Jacobs' (1988) Five-Tiered approach to program evaluation and the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1994) as a base. This foundation allows staff a better understanding of the processes involved in conducting evaluations.
Service-Learning: Going Beyond Traditional Extension Activities
This article advocates service-learning as an integrative strategy for Cooperative Extension Educators to advance the concept of a truly engaged institution through the use of college students. The authors, having designed and implemented a service-learning course, discuss the advantages of experiential education and its positive impact on the university, students, communities, and the Cooperative Extension Service.
The Nutrition Information and Resource Center at Penn State University
Consumers are barraged with nutrition and health information. This presents a challenge for educators to keep abreast of the latest information. In order to help address this need, a Nutrition Information and Resource Center (NIRC) was developed. NIRC has an informational Web site (http://nirc.cas.psu.edu/) with online fact sheets, links to credible Web sites, an email question and answer system (email@example.com), and a lending library. The NIRC provides resources for educators that they can use to help children, youth, and families to acquire knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to improve their health.
A Biosolids Technician Training Course with a "Hands On" Team Approach Using Professionals from the Field
Biosolids are one of the major end products of the wastewater treatment process and are used primarily for agricultural land application in Florida. An adult education course, Biosolids Technician, was initiated in 1999 for biosolids professionals in Florida. The team course format was "hands on" interactive experiences combined with biosolids professionals facilitating learning. The Florida Water Pollution Control Operators Association, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Brevard Community College combined to coordinate the statewide course. Students were presented with basic knowledge and developed positive attitudes.
Fire Prevention in the Rural/Urban Interface: Washington's Backyard Forest Stewardship/Wildfire Safety Program
In the state of Washington, there is a combination of aggressive and innovative technical assistance and educational programs to promote sound management practices in rural/urban interface forests. The Backyard Forest Stewardship/Wildfire Safety Program integrates a variety of available information to provide rural/urban landowners with the tools necessary to protect their property, while still allowing them to meet many of their forest management objectives. The program helps landowners better manage their properties by promoting fire safety, the protection of water resources, and improvements to wildlife and fish habitat.
Swift County Farm Business Retention and Enhancement Program
Decreasing farm population has led to the closing of main street businesses, school consolidations, and other countywide economic problems. This article describes a community-based, citizen involvement model that was used to bring farmers and main street together to address the future of agriculture in Swift County, Minnesota.
Tools of the Trade
Decision Making: An Architect's Model for Extension Applications
Architects use a four-step process to guide clients in development of a plan. This process can be adapted for use by Extension faculty when they work with clients, whether individuals, groups, or communities. The process, for complex problems, often involves several cycles through the steps, with reviews between the cycles. The process is useful at many levels of decision making, from program planning to meeting management. Benefits from the process include increased and more effective participation and reduced costs in both time and money.
Writing Success Stories for Program Enhancement and Accountability
Success stories showcase Extension program efforts. In a time of greater demand for accountability and performance measurement, success stories provide a qualitative measure of Extension program success. This article describes the rationale, the need, and tips for writing success stories. From the accountability standpoint, success stories serve as readily available piece of information for program impact. In addition, they also serve as a communication and marketing tool and also improving the communication and/or writing skills of Extension agents.
Biological Training for Poultry Flock Advisors: Training the Trainer
Continuing training of poultry flock advisors is an important effort of many Extension specialists and agents in areas having significant poultry industries. The programs discussed in this article describe unique efforts to deliver training on a company-by-company basis. Collaborative efforts by industry, allied industry, and Extension personnel produced programs that were well received by the broiler industry nationally.
A Contemporary, Color-Enhanced Herbicide Site of Action Bulletin
Incidences of herbicide-resistant weed biotypes continue to increase throughout the Midwest. Management approaches to reduce the selection of herbicide-resistant weed biotypes include rotating herbicides based on modes or sites of action. The University of Illinois Extension bulletin, "Utilizing Herbicide Site of Action to Combat Weed Resistance to Herbicides," establishes a classification based on 14 sites of action with each individual site of action coded with a distinct "primary" color. This bulletin is intended to enhance the ability of growers to rotate herbicides based on site of action to slow further development of herbicide-resistant weed biotypes.