October 1997 // Volume 35 // Number 5

Previous Issue Back Issues Next Issue Toggle Abstracts On or Off

Editor's Page

Editor's Page


Opportunities for Cooperative Extension and Local Communities in the Information Age
Tennessen, Daniel J. PonTell, Steven Romine, Van Motheral, Suzanne W.
The Cooperative Extension System is well-suited to enable communities to participate on the Internet and compete in the global market. The Internet will enable people to work, learn, and play at any time and in any location. However, accessing this new technology by some communities can be inhibited by lack of economic and human resources. This paper describes Cooperative Extension's potential role in enabling communities to access the Internet by seeking alliances among local individuals, industry, and institutions to employ the Internet as an educational and work medium. Benefits for Cooperative Extension and for rural communities are detailed.

Manufacturing Extension: A Role for CES?
Maher, Theodore J. Spencer, Michael P.
This article considers whether the Cooperative Extension System has an interest in assisting rural food and fiber manufacturers and if so, what capacity it can bring that is complementary to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) manufacturing technology centers.

Feature Articles

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Adopting a GIS in the Extension Service: Evidence from the Cooperative Extension Service at Mississippi State University
Estrada, Joselito K. Steil, James R.
The purpose of this publication is to provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of adopting GIS in issues-programming activities of Extension Service specialists and agents. Exchange of information between program areas responsible for GIS and other program areas was conducted to show how GIS can be applicable to each major area's programmatic needs. Data on number of GIS products developed and hours of work revealed approximately half of maps produced were for the host programming area. Over 90 percent of hours worked was devoted to clients outside of the Extension Service.

If It Sells Soap It Can Help Sell Innovations: A Useful Lesson from Marketing
Bierma, Thomas J. Waterstraat, Frank L. Kimmel, Grear Nowak, Jr., Paul
Promoting innovations is an act of marketing. Carefully conceived marketing plans can greatly enhance success. Understanding that different market segments have different product and information needs is a basic concept in commercial marketing. "Innovativeness" and "Stage in the adoption process" are two useful ways of segmenting a market. The Innovativeness-Stages Matrix, combined with an understanding of the different needs of market segments, provides a powerful tool for focusing marketing efforts without extensive marketing research or resources.

4-H Shooting Sports Hits the Mark with Youth-At-Risk
Sabo, Kenneth E. Hamilton, Wendy V,
The 4-H shooting sports program provides a dynamic way to involve hard-to-reach youth as demonstrated through long term programming and summative evaluation results. Four-H shooting sports is an under-used hook for involving youth in 4-H. Involvement in shooting sports can provide the skills that lead to many other 4-H opportunities, in many cases, changing the lives of youth in positive ways and opening doors to vocational or avocational opportunities. Four-H shooting sports is truly an activity for a lifetime. The 4-H shooting sports program has the potential to attract a new audience of 4-H members and adult volunteers.

County Extension Agents and On-Farm Research Work: Results of a Kansas Survey
Norman, David Freyenberger, Stanley Schurle, Bryan
This paper reports the results of a survey designed to ascertain information about on-farm research, that is, on-farm work (OFW) implemented by county Extension agents (CEAs) in Kansas. The survey collects information on the types of OFW, who was responsible for it, what data were collected, what was done with the results, and attitudes of CEAs toward OFW. The survey results indicate that OFR associated with CEAs in Kansas is fairly common, that CEAs have positive attitudes for OFR and play important roles in initiating, implementing, analyzing, and distributing the results of such work, but major constraints exist to expanding such work.

Research in Brief

Development and Evaluation of Activity-Oriented Nutrition Classes for Pregnant and Parenting Teens
Owen, Darcy Kendall, Patricia Wilken, Karen
A 4-week nutrition workshop series for pregnant and parenting teens was developed and pilot-tested with four groups of teens (n=60); 10 teens served as the control. Evaluation methods consisted of pre/post knowledge tests, skill/behavior checklists, and 24-hour food recalls. Mean knowledge score increased significantly (p < 0.001) from 58% pre-workshop to 87% post-workshop compared to no change in the control group. further, 87% of participants reported nutrition-related improvements in skills/behaviors. despite this, no significant improvement in self-reported dietary intake was seen. observed barriers to dietary change included lack of control over food purchasing and preparation and lack of readiness to change dietary habits.

Factors Associated With Clothing Care Practices of Adolescents Enrolled in 4-H Programs
Smith, Joyce A. Cox, Kathryn J. Pitts, Norma A. Tam, Hak P.
The study examined clothing care practices of 158 youth ages 13-to-19 in Ohio 4-H programs. The mail survey addressed teen clothing care and repair practices for own and family clothing and disposition of garments not repaired. Findings suggest teens who do not develop necessary skills for clothing maintenance are likely to discard apparel needing repair resulting in a potentially negative economic and environmental impact for the individual as an adult and society as a whole. As one of the few youth programs that develop clothing care skills, 4-H should support and strengthen programs in this area.

Ideas at Work

Job Enrichment in Extension
Fourman, Louis S. Jones, Jo
For approximately five years, Ohio State University Extension has utilized "job enrichment" as one tool for motivating mid-career employees. The authors sought to determine if this personnel practice produced the benefits cited in the literature. A survey of ten participants demonstrates that "vertical job enrichment" can produce positive benefits for employees, but negative outcomes can occur without careful planning and provision for supportive resources.

Building Bridges - An Intergenerational Program
Chen, Nina
Long-distance grandparents and grandchildren are common and may have resulted in growing tensions between young and old. Building Bridges provides opportunities for children to learn and interact with seniors as well as for seniors to share their talents and enjoy being with children for meaningful experiences. Education, friendships, and caring are main components. Without funding support, 23 agencies, schools, nursing homes, 10 volunteers, 900 children, and 520 frail and home bound seniors were reached. Evaluation showed that the program has made a significant impact on the children and seniors.

Backpack Buddies: A Newsletter Series for Parents
Merkowitz, Rose Fisher Jelley, Kathy Collins, Elaine Arkin, Carol Ford
Family and Consumer Sciences educators continually have parents expressing need for information to help them deal with the challenges faced in raising children. These same parents, however, are often reluctant to attend formal parenting classes. "Backpack Buddies" is an innovative monthly newsletter series designed to send home in the backpacks of kindergarten students. A survey of parents receiving the newsletter for one year revealed positive findings. Seventy-seven percent of respondents liked receiving parenting information in the newsletter format and 85% found the information helpful in coping with child rearing challenges.

Pooling Resources in the Information Age
Tennessen, Daniel J. PonTell, Steven Romine, Van Motheral, Suzanne W.
Many communities may appear to lack human and financial resources required to enable access to the Internet. CE offices are well suited to bring local stakeholders and community members together to share knowledge, assess needs, and learn about Internet opportunities. Tioga County Cooperative Extension of New York established an Internet consortium to understand and meet community Internet needs. Some basic issues and consortium initiatives are detailed.

Tools of the Trade

Developing a Successful Mentoring Program for Volunteer Training
Rogers, Bill
Developing a Successful Mentoring Program for Volunteer Training describes an effort involving veteran Master Gardener volunteers in the training of new volunteers. The effort has resulted in increased retention of volunteers and better transfer of knowledge and skills from veterans to beginners. Pairs of mentors are assigned a small group of new volunteers to work with before, during and after their training classes. A key components is the involvement of a middle manager known as a mentor coordinator.

Predicting the Future: Have you considered using the Delphi Methodology?
Ludwig, Barbara
Frequently business, governmental agencies and organizations are faced with the problem of predicting or forecasting future events and relationships in order to make appropriate and reasonable plans or changes. Several methods exist for forecasting, one of which is called the Delphi technique. This approach has not been frequently used by Extension practitioners, but has potential as a tool for consensus building. The Tools for the Trade article provides an overview of the process and suggestions for implementation.