Fall 1991 // Volume 29 // Number 3

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
The integrating themes that cut across these otherwise diverse articles provide insights into how we conceptualize what we do, how we think and act as individuals and as an organization, and how what we think and do affects our clientele and programs.

Commentary





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Feature Articles

Getting Serious About Strategic Alliances
Astroth, Kirk A.
Establishing linkages with other agencies takes time, a lot of hard work, and a commitment to success. It won't be easy, but the goal is worth the effort. Cowboy management must go the way of the frontier. Instead, the more we work together, the more we have the possibility of better understanding complex social problems and acting on the in an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, and mutual respect.

Critical Factors for Successful Programs
Casey, Mary Anne Krueger, Richard A.
Agents who continually produced successful programs got ideas for programs from extended networks not limited to their county or Extension. They tried to optimize their time by using it effectively and prioritizing activities. They tried to keep their perspective-anticipating what may be on the horizon and reflecting on the past. They ultimately defined success as having a positive impact on people.

Who Participates...and Why?
Miller, Dale R. Smith, M. F.
Planning ahead to influence the decision of others isn't new in Extension. We do it all the time with clients. This study has shown that if Extension wants to influence the development of specific programs at the local level, planning to affect faculty decisions may be more critical than providing detailed plans for how to implement programs.

Climate for Change in Extension
Tondl, Rose Marie

Where Field Staff Get Information
Shih, Win-Yuan Evans, James F.
Results of this study underscore the continuing importance of a strong internal support system for field staff, including close linkages with subject-matter specialists. The top three information sources were Extension publications, Extension specialists, and personnel files. As advisers gained experience and contacts, they tended to use oral information sources increasingly often and continued to use written sources extensively.

Rural Small Business Development
Johnson, Thomas G. Fisher, Dennis U.
Extension must maintain or increase its relevance to society if it's to expect continued support. Growing evidence shows members of society are weighing Extension's relevance with more scrutiny. Small business and entrepreneurship programming represents an opportunity to substantially increase our relevance and support. In the end, this may enhance our ability to provide better programming. We must decide how to overcome the obstacles and take full advantage of the opportunities in this area.

Concept Mapping as a Program Planning Tool
Duttweiler, Michael W.
Concepts are patterns or regularities we see in events or objects. Concept mapping is a way to pictorially represent concepts and relationships held by an individual or a group. Extension staff and volunteers in 18 New York counties have been experimenting with concept mapping as an aid to setting program direction. In almost every case, participants have found the approach useful to program development and evaluation techniques. We'd be glad to share our experiences should you wish to explore use of concept mapping.

Controversial Issues as Opportunities
Fiske, Emmett P.
The CES can make a major contribution to the resolution of environmental disputes in this country if we choose to do so. Quite a few faculty already have the education, skills, and vision to be effective in this arena. Many others, with additional training, would probably be more willing to take calculated risks and devote sustained effort in this direction. We have the potential. Are we ready to take the risk and make the commitment?

To The Point

Is Extension Changing Too Rapidly?
Nelson, Donald E.
I question whether Extension is really moving "toward the cutting edge." ...labels placed on National Initiatives and the special initiative assignments given to staff can be more divisive that the "fences" that have been built around individual disciplines. Is a fence around an initiative any lower than a fence around a discipline?

Change Is Real
Thompson, Ann
The value of having statewide themes-and national priorities, for that matter-is that previously overlooked needs can be identified, resources can be marshaled, and programs that have run their course can be dropped.

Issues-Based Programming Shouldn't Be All-or-Nothing
Skelton, Irvin
The adoption of issues-based programming can be thought of as a "new label, new bottle, but old wine." Extension programming and the environment in which it operates is dynamic, so Extension's approach should be dynamic. ...both issues and initiatives, by definition, are dynamic and will change or dissipate over time.

Futures

Project Future: Vision-Based Community Development
Sandmann, Lorliee R. Kroshus, Jay
Ask a group of people about the 21st century and the response will typically be a pause accompanied by blank stares. Most people live in a nitty-gritty world of immediate decisions and actions with little time or ability to look far ahead. When concerned citizens bring this perspective to improving their community, they want to see immediate problems solved. But, a focus on the nitty-gritty mold isn't enough to address many long-term community issues.

Forum

People Listening to People...Or Are We Really?
Conone, Ruth M.
...as this organization moves through an era of self-examination, reorganization, and revitalization, the products of strategic plans and administrative reviews cast doubt on whether Extension is really listening to people. I think our listening can be improved. the need for more attentive listening is shown by our strategic planning experience in Ohio.

Ideas at Work

Nibbling Away at Nutrition Nonsense
Gaydos, Beth D. Chenoweth, Kathryn K.
As a result of "Nibbling Away at Nutrition Nonsense," participants changed their ideas about what they previously believed, improved their ability to evaluate nutrition information in popular publications, and increased their awareness of the facts about current nutrition claims. Educators reported that the program was easy to use, thorough, and professionally prepared.

Public Risk Management
Leibhart, Martha L.
The need for risk management education is timely because of increasing liability costs. Extension can be the leader in bringing the education to communities to enable citizens serving on a part-time basis and receiving limited training to save tax dollars through risk management procedures.

Reaching Isolated Rural Elderly
Frazier, Billie H. Collins, Ettie W. Rhodes, June W.
We found that when seniors were involved in the planning, developing, and dissemination process, the program became theirs and they became the goodwill ambassadors for Extension. They had the compassion, energy, and spirit to locate the lonely and difficult-to-reach seniors in isolated parts of the community.

Not Quick and Dirty, But Simple and Clean
Thomas Michael Archer

Research in Brief

Informing Farmers on Environmental Issues
Radhakrishna, Rama B. Rollins, Timothy J. Bruening, Thomas H.
...this study was conducted to determine the perceptions of Pennsylvania farmers and their information needs about environmental issues. The '90s has already been called the environmental decade. It's important for Extension to identify effective and efficient educational delivery systems of environmental issues.

Are Women Extension Professionals More Stressed?
Goering, Lois A.
Extension educators have many reasons to feel stressed as we deal with organizational, public, and personal demands. One cause of stress is role ambiguity. Not understanding such concepts as how to get ahead in the organization, expected accomplishments, priority setting, how to begin a new project, acceptable personal behavior on the job, and performance evaluation create role ambiguity stress. Extension must establish and maintain consistent patterns of role clarification and performance feedback. Such organizational support helps faculty cope with stressors.

Nutrition Knowledge of EFNEP Paraprofessionals
Chiza-Muyengwa, Miriam Ebert, Gladys M.
This study identified areas in which EFNEP paraprofessionals had less knowledge, providing guidance for future inservice training.

Household Appliance Education
Ziebarth, Ann Wallace, Colleen
This pilot study generated key recommendations for educational programming. As Extension agents work with individuals and families, ongoing household management skills remain a critical part of the core programming efforts.

Tools of the Trade

The Charrette-A Technique for Large Groups
Gamon, Julia A.
Charrette is a French word meaning "an intensive group-planning effort in an open forum format to achieve creative solutions." This approach has been used mainly by architects to elicit community input when designing public buildings. Extension educators have used it to help clientele plan mission statements and as a needs assessment tool with large groups.

Education for Adult Development Level
Nolting, Gregory A. Maricle, Gary .
C. G. Glickman.. Supervision of Instruction-A Developmental Approach. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1990. 471 pp. $39.95 (hardcover) Cognition, conceptual development, and personality development should be considered when developing Extension programs. Knowing how adults develop from simplistic, concrete thinking to multi-information and abstract thinking is vital to program success.

Sea Grant's Talking Gull Educates Young and Old
Meenen, Kimberly
What's three feet tall, has wings and webbed feet, and teaches children ad adults about the Great Lakes and related environmental issues? It's Sea Grant's interactive educational exhibit, Gulliver the Talking Gull! Talking animals are very effective educators.