October 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 5

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Swatting Flies--Eating Elephants
Russell, Bill
"Swatting Flies--Eating Elephants" challenges the Extension system to become a premier adult education agency by focusing talented teachers on real world clientele. The thesis is that Extension has compromised itself by clinging to a dwindling clientele-base with an unfocused curriculum and a strategy of political reliance.

What Business Are We In?
Johnson, Earl C.
There is a parallel between U.S. industrial firms that have been successful for 100 or more years and what Cooperative Extension must do to remain viable in the years ahead. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal provides valuable food for thought on how we can most-effectively market our organization. As we ask ourselves "What Business Are We In?", it is imperative that we focus on Extension's strength. We know and serve the adults and youth of rural America, providing them education in agriculture and home economics.

Feature Articles

Extension Leaders: Moving Beyond Affirmative Action to Value Diversity
Ludwig, Barbara G.
Multicultural organizations value diversity and are challenged to take steps to foster pluralism. A study of Ohio Extension administrators using survey instruments and focus group interviews examined perceptions about Extension's response to diversity issues, knowledge of administrators toward diversity issues, and organizational ability to provide equal opportunity to all employees. Outlined are steps leaders have taken since the study to foster diversity within the organization, including the development of a diversity plan with goals and action strategies.

A Model for Coalition Building in Urbanizing Areas
Tavernier, Edmund M. Hartley, Maurice P.
Increasingly complex and controversial issues are emerging for Extension educators and decision makers as urbanization of rural and agricultural lands expands. To help address those issues, the present study provides a model for coalition building. The model adopts a focus group approach bringing together farmers, environmentalists, policy makers and the non-farm public. The results suggest that coalition building is best facilitated when views are properly communicated and understood. In addition, participants involved in controversial issues can be brought together most effectively after common agenda items have been identified, and the information generated used to establish a positive mind-set.

The Effect of Nutrition Education on Improving Fruit and Vegetable Consumption of Youth
Ryan, Linda, M.S., R.D. Anderson, Jennifer, Ph.D., R.D. Sherman, Bonnie M., M.A.
The ability of a nutrition education program in K-6 schools to improve fruit and vegetable intake was assessed. School intervention focused on grade school children and was designed as hands-on nutrition education. Community intervention consisted of news articles, information and education at health fairs, PTA meetings, and the county fair. Evaluation included a pre- and post-random telephone survey to heads of households to measure intake of fruits and vegetables, and 24-hour food recalls and knowledge tests of the students. Changes were measured before and after intervention and compared to a control community not receiving education. School children increased fruit and vegetable intake by 1/2 a serving per day following the education program. This is consistent with national efforts showing positive outcomes.

Evaluating Extension Program Effectiveness: Food Safety Education in Texas
Gentry-Van Laanen, Peggy Nies, Joyce I.
This article describes how program outcomes can be assessed and used to determine Extension program effectiveness, using on evaluative study as an example. The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which program participants changed their food handling or food preservation behaviors after attending Extension programs. Two hundred three telephone interviews with program participants were completed. Results indicated that programs were effective in increasing the adoption of safe food handling and safe food preserving behaviors. Evaluative data such as this is critical for Extension personnel, as they prepare accountability reports, funding requests, and program plans.

Research in Brief

Employee Satisfaction in Extension: A Texas Study
Boltes, Barbara V. Lippke, Lawrence A. Gregory, Elizabeth
This article describes a study establishing seven dimensions that contribute to organizational effectiveness and employee satisfaction as a means of strengthening strategic planning efforts. A survey, administered to 1,720 Extension employees, received a 66% response. Findings suggest that balance between professional and personal life, a clear vision of the future, attention to training and development, and employee involvement are sources of opportunity to increase employee satisfaction and success in strategic planning and implementation. Assessing employee attitudes resulted in the initiation of an organizational renewal effort that was strongly linked to the long range planning process.

An Assessment of Health Insurance Concerns
Keil, Beverly J., CFCS Chenoweth, Kathryn K., CFCS Ferris, E. Linda Gaydos, Beth D., CFCS
The cost of health care is a major public concern. This study surveyed various groups in five Eastern Ohio counties. Respondents were asked to indicate their level of concern about health care issues, identify the type of coverage carried, and assess their knowledge and attitudes about health insurance. Respondents did not know as much about health insurance as they thought. Most self-rated their knowledge as adequate, but could not define basic insurance terms. Some could not identify the type of coverage they carried, except by company name. Educators could target health insurance programs toward helping people understand their current coverage.

Montana HAYWATCH: Field Prediction for Timely Alfalfa Harvest
Cash, Dennis Knerr, Virginia Hill, Chester Carlstrom, Ron King, Marc
The Montana HAYWATCH program assists hay producers in scheduling their harvest to optimize forage quality. A simple field estimate of stage of maturity (MSC--mean state by count) was established in 15 Montana counties to predict forage quality of standing alfalfa in 1993 and 1994. HAYWATCH results were posted by electronic mail, newspapers, radio announcements, and voice-mail messages. Although most cooperators are already good hay producers, they did increase their awareness of stage of crop maturity and the value of routine hay quality testing. HAYWATCH provides timely interaction among producers and the Extension Service for all aspects of forage management.

Ideas at Work

Collaboration Builds a Successful Recordkeeping Course for Small Businesses
Penrose, Christopher D. Hollingsworth, Janet M.
To reach a new audience, Ohio State University Extension, Athens County, collaborated with area business related agencies to promote a small business computer recordkeeping course. District and state specialists were also involved to provide individualized teaching to the various experience levels of the participants. Based on a pre-test/post-test instrument, the twelve participants indicated an increase in understanding for each of the eleven competencies designed to improve recordkeeping skills and productivity.

Parent/Teen Relations
Kleon, Scott
Developing good parent/teen relations is important. "Mom and Pop Night" is a special program for working through issues parents and teens commonly must face. Participants learn the importance of communications in values clarification and decision-making for enhanced relationship development. Parents and teens many time struggle with issues, and solutions can be found through communicating with an open mind.

Master Gardeners and Youth Gardeners Raise Vegetables to Help Needy
Gao, Gary, Ph.D. Bumgarner, Walt Buettner, Amy Doran
Master gardeners and youth gardeners raise vegetables to help the needy in Clermont County. This is a joint effort involving two Extension agents, 20 master gardeners, 15 4-H members and their parents, Clermont County commissioners, local businesses, and The Freestore/Foodbank to address this need in our community. Our master gardeners will be able to implement the theoretical knowledge that they have gained by teaching a new generation of gardening enthusiasts--our 4-H members. This should prove to be a rewarding experience for our volunteers as they will be providing those in need of quality vegetables. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

Tools of the Trade

DOTS: A Visual Assessment Technique for Groups
Lev, Larry S. Smith, Fred William, Ray
The DOTS (Delta Over Time System) technique provides a quick visual means for groups to assess pre- and post-meeting knowledge and attitudes of individual participants. Because the technique is interactive rather than extractive, the group rather than the meeting organizers owns the results. This information can be used to shape the meeting agenda, discussion, and action plans. The DOTS technique improves communication during meetings and assessment afterwards.

Determining Need for a Geographic Information System (GIS)
Samson, Scott A.
A user's need for a geographic information system (GIS) is dependent on having data with location as a characteristic as well as location being of significance to the user. Appropriate tools should be used for appropriate issues. Many potential GIS users are entranced by the graphic nature of the technology and fail to comprehend the application of the technology to their needs. Potential users should (a) identify the spatial components of their data, (b) determine if the spatial character of the data is significant in the data analysis, and (c) understand the basic concepts of GIS before approaching commercial vendors about specific GIS products.

"101 Ideas on Economic Development"
Thomas, Jerold R.
Cal Clark's "101 Ideas on Economic Development" is an excellent introduction to economic development for educators and practitioners alike. It covers the broad spectrum of community economic development in a brief 115 page volume.

Master Gardener Phone Response Manual
Patterson, Don
A phone response manual has been developed to permit rapid response by master gardeners to the residents of Delaware on horticultural concerns. The 390 page manual took five years to complete with 1,250 volunteer hours and 100 hours of Delaware Cooperative Extension professional time expended. Its five sections cover ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, fruit, and landscape and buildings. Each loose-leaf page is a single entry which is in short phrase form describing the problem and providing control(s). Cultural information has also been included.