Spring 1987 // Volume 25 // Number 1

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Editor's Page


Are You in the Driver's Seat?

When our jobs put us in the educational driver's seat, we can't just lookout the front window and dream about what might happen to Extension next year, or even in the year 2000. We must be fully aware of where we are now and how to get where we want to go.

Driving along, we control where we're going and how we get there. We're responsible for providing the fuel to keep moving down the road. Our rear- and side-view mirrors give us greater vision and a greater opportunity to change and create. We can't take the role of passengers, accepting change as it comes.

There are many potential clients-new clients-with more needs than we can possibly meet. As we glance out the front, side, and rear windows, we see lots of people who could use our help. These range from people who have become acquainted with us through the years, to people who have learned about us recently, to people who are unaware of us but who, in fact, could use our information if they had it.

But, the demands on us are great. There are just so many hours in the day and a limited number of "us. " Our numbers aren't increasing as quickly as clientele demands. On top of all this, we must contend with limited budgets.

To be effective in dealing with these factors, we need to take an objective look at ourselves. We must put ourselves in the educational driver's seat-taking action to bring about change. Are we willing to demonstrate that we want to be a part of the action, or do we prefer to sit back and watch it happen before our eyes? Do we have the courage to make the changes needed to put Extension up front?

Wash the windshield and mirrors and look at how you can get the job done. Reflect on your role. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see yourself in any of these roles? Do you ACT as an Extension Professional?

A- Administrator: is concerned with planning, organizing, and directing educational programs.

C- Coordinator: relates to many agencies, organizations, and groups to carry out educational programs. May involve others to help with teaching and cooperate on Extension programs for related clientele groups.

T- Teacher: teaches local community leaders and representatives of family-related agencies and organizations, who, in turn, share information with their groups. In this role, you're responsible not only to know the subject matter, but also to know how to teach.

E- Evaluator: evaluates programs. Also responsible for surveying the backgrounds, experiences, education, and attitudes of people to plan effective programs.

P- Public Relations Expert: is interested in and able to work with other professional staff, committees, groups, business and industry, media representatives, agency representatives, and many others.

The Extension professional of today is in a prime position to provide educational programs related to our changing times. In our hands are the keys to make it happen.

Are you willing to face up to this responsibility? Are you willing to come out of that somewhat safe world of "used to be " and step into the real world of today? As a professional, can you accept change and help others cope with it? Are you willing to give up some things you like to do and move on to those things you must do?

Take a look in the mirror. You're an important part of Extension's future. There should be no haze in your vision as you focus on this future.