December 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 6

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page


Cooperative Extension: The Service Challenge
Greene, Sonya S.
As the United States has grown and progressed, many significant contributions have been recognized as a result of the Cooperative Extension Service. In recent years, however, many states have been moving away from the word "Service" and replacing it with "System." This commentary is based on the premise that, regardless of what we call ourselves, Cooperative Extension professionals must continue to see the organization as responsive and service-based, if we are to remain strong and progressive during our nation's third century and beyond.

Feature Articles

A Framework for 21st Century Leadership
Sandmann, Lorilee R., Ph.D. Vandenberg, Lela, Ph.D.
Early in 1994, a task force, created under the aegis of Michigan State University Extension, was charged with articulating a conceptual framework to guide existing and future community-based leadership development efforts. This article summarizes the definition, driving forces, values, and principles of the framework. Leadership development for the 21st century requires a change in personal practice, conceptual thinking, and organizational application. From the point of view of this framework, leadership development shifts from individual-centered to collective centered; from packaged curriculum to an evolving, customized educational process focused on building relationships; and from discrete leadership development programs to leadership development embedded in concrete issues identified by the participants in the process.

News Reporters as a Target Audience for Extension Food Safety Programs
Benedict, Jamie Baker, Paul Brennand, Charlotte Deer, Howard Dodds, Mary Krysl, Leslie Kvasnicka, William Leontos, Carolyn Nipp, Peggy Omaye, Stanley Parks, Pamela Sorenson, Clyde
This article describes the development and evaluation of a food safety resource manual for news reporters. The manual, prepared by a multi-disciplinary team of Extension faculty, was distributed to news reporters/directors affiliated with print and broadcast media in three Western states. Program evaluation showed that over half had used the manual and found it helpful, easy to use, and timely. These findings suggest that a proactive approach may be an effective way to work with the news media and may increase the impact of Extension's efforts.

The Use of Publicly-funded Extension Services in Australia
Cary, John W. Wilkinson, Roger L.
A survey of farm operators in the Australian state of Victoria has shown a high degree of contact between government employed Extension agents and the farming community, despite the contracting resources available for government Extension services. The high rate of farmer contact reflects a farming community that is smaller than a decade earlier and more active in its search for information. While individual farmers had a small demand for environmental information, there was an increasing focus on, and demand for, Extension services to farmer conservation groups.

A Review of County Health Councils in Alabama
Mecsko, Lisa A. Dunkelberger, John E.
In this article, the evaluation of the Alabama County Health Council Program is described through the study of six councils selected for their success and diversity. The review was designed to determine how they were functioning as mechanisms for promoting and influencing rural health. The research strategy used was an in-depth case study procedure utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods to obtain a detailed picture of each council. Information obtained from the six health councils has aided ACES staff and local leaders in maintaining and expanding the County Health Council Program across Alabama.

Dairy Excel: Not Extension Business as Usual
Oelker, Ernest
The Ohio Extension Dairy Excel Team is a unique combination of county, district, and state Extension educators to conduct management training workshops for farmers. The focus of Dairy Excel is also unique because it represents a radical change in programming and a new approach to problem-solving by Extension educators. This article chronicles the assessment of program need, the development of the team's mission and goals, and the promotion, planning, presentation, and evaluation of Dairy Excel, 1992. Evaluation results show that 100% of the participants found the program worthwhile. Recommendations for effective teams are included.

Research in Brief

Marketing Extension in Louisiana: Image and Opportunity
Verma, Satish Burns, Alvin C.
This image survey supports a marketing Extension strategic plan of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Samples of rural and urban publics were surveyed by telephone and compared on key variables. The general public was somewhat aware of Extension, a majority of users were satisfied, and nine Extension programs were perceived to be potentially useful. The rural audience had a more favorable image than the urban audience. Specific recommendations to boost Extension's image include complementary mass media and grass-roots identity strategies, and capitalizing on recognized programs.

Tennessee Farm Operators' Attitudes About Extension Service Soil Conservation Information
Pompelli, Greg Morfaw, Christopher English, Burton
Contacts by Extension personnel play an important role in communicating soil conservation information to farm operators. This study reports the results of a survey of farm operators from three Tennessee watersheds about their attitudes toward Tennessee Agricultural Extension information sources. The results indicate that contacts by Extension personnel and the existence of a mortgage increase the likelihood that farm operators consider Extension information useful. However, farm operators earning less than 25% of their income from farm receipts are less likely to consider soil conservation information from the Extension service useful.

Ideas at Work

Caring for Planet Earth Interactive Exhibit and School Enrichment Program
Kirby, Sarah D. Chambers, Billie J. Cuperus, Gerrit W.
This article describes the Caring for Planet Earth Interactive Exhibit and School Enrichment Program developed by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension professionals. The purpose of the exhibit and school enrichment program is to address concerns, misconceptions, and environmental education needs of Oklahoma youth. The exhibit uses innovative and creative ways to address environmental issues while reaching a large culturally diverse audience. The school enrichment curriculum consists of seven lessons that reinforced environmental experiences in the exhibit. Pre-test/post-test results reveal that the Caring for Planet Earth project is an effective method of educating a mass audience about environmental issues.

Using Assessment Centers to Train Elected Officials and Community Leaders
Conklin, Nikki L. Boothe, David M. Spiegel, Marilyn Gunderson, Gail Haynes, Bill R.
The Assessment Center for Ohio County Commissioners provides a confidential and safe environment for individuals to experience job related activities. Expert panel members and Project EXCEL staff developed eight simulation exercises that reflect the tasks, duties, and activities of county commissioners. Each participant gets personalized, confidential feedback concerning 15 behavioral dimensions. Since 1991, seven assessment centers have been conducted with 63 participants. Project EXCEL, initiated in 1991, is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Rehabilitating Misdemeanor Offenders at County Jail Through Extension Education
Gao, Gary, Ph.D. Dupree, Kim McKee, Steve, Ph.D.
OSU Extension-Clermont County delivers educational programs in horticulture, agriculture, and family life to misdemeanor offenders at Clermont County jail as part of their comprehensive rehabilitating process. Classes involve both formal instruction and hands-on training. This program is the first of its kind in the nation. An innovative grant of $6,000 was awarded to this program by OSU Extension. If the program proves successful, inmates will improve their lives and be more productive citizens.

The Philadelphia EFNEP Volunteer Program
Byrnes, John, Ph.D., R.D.
The article describes Philadelphia EFNEP's attempt to expand programming and support their Nutrition Education Advisors through a new volunteer training program. The design of this program is outlined and results of 1995's first training session are discussed. Results suggest that a systematic approach to volunteer training can be effective, but not without the efforts of the entire EFNEP team, especially EFNEP Nutrition Education Advisors themselves.

Understanding Volunteer Adult/Teen Relations
Wingerter, Betty Kleon, Scott King, Jeff
A focus group method was used by faculty members of Ohio State University Extension to identify qualities and behaviors that enhance or deter relationships between adults and teenagers involved in the Ohio 4-H program. The study identified barriers and challenges that can interfere with effective relationships. The study also showed qualities and behaviors that lead to better working relationships in 4-H leadership activities. Adults seemed to be expecting adult-like behavior in volunteer teen leaders. Adult volunteer education classes are now emphasizing that adults are working with a developing product rather than a finished product.

Tools of the Trade

Master Gardener Phone Response Team
Patterson, Don
A phone response team (PRT) of Master Gardener volunteers was developed to provide Delaware residents with consistent Delaware Cooperative Extension approved answers to horticultural inquiries rapidly. The ingredients needed to make this organization succeed are discussed. The PRT answers some 4,000 calls per year and has a retention of members of over 80% for three years or more. For every hour of Cooperative Extension involvement, seven hours of time is volunteered.

Social Impact Assessment in Extension Educational Programming
Score, Michael
This article opens a dialogue on whether or not Extension programming can be enhanced by inclusion of social impact assessments before initiatives are pursued at the county level. It is written to provoke reflection about previous and existing trends in program planning. References are made to journal articles and texts cited in the attached bibliography. The article concludes with a challenge to USDA to fund pilot projects that would help determine whether advantages of integrating SIA into program planning would outweigh disadvantages.