February 1998 // Volume 36 // Number 1

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page


Commentary II: A New Paradigm for Extension Administration
Patterson, Thomas F., Jr.
This is the second commentary of a two-part series addressing Extension administrative practice. Having rejected the classical school of management, this commentary proposes a paradigm based on fresh assumptions about the nature of employees and the work place. New Extension administrative practice is suggested, based on these assumptions. Finally, the profound challenge of this paradigm shift to current Extension administration is discussed

Feature Articles

Staffing Strategies For A More Diverse Workforce: Case Examples In Cornell Cooperative Extension
Grogan, Soneeta Eshelman, Barbara
Strategies for recruiting a diverse workforce are illustrated by case examples from the three stages in Cornell Cooperative Extension's staffing process. Organizational change to address diversity and pluralism requires a change in organizational culture. In the process of recruiting staff from diverse backgrounds, Cornell Cooperative Extension is creating new rules to become more inclusive. Implications indicate that retaining staff from diverse backgrounds needs to be as high a priority as recruiting them. Preparing the workplace to support staff from diverse backgrounds requires greater attention. Changing organizational behavior is the first step in creating a workplace that supports diversity and pluralism. Strategies for helping organizations become more inclusive are reviewed.

Affluent Parents of Young Children: Neglected Parent Education Audience
Mulroy, Maureen T. Goldman, Jane Wales, Cassandra
Extension parent educators have gone to considerable effort to design parent education programs and materials that are responsive to the needs of a wide array of audiences. However, there is one group of parents whose needs have not been addressed: parents living and rearing children in affluent circumstances. Responses of 85 affluent mothers of young children documented strong interest in participating in parent education programs. Topics and items of child and family functioning that were of high interest to this group are described. Suggestions for program format are given.

Regional Extension In-Service Training Via the Internet
Lippert, Robert M. Plank, Owen Camberato, Jim Chastain, John
Exclusive use of the Internet was utilized for a regional county Extension agent in-service training titled "Land Application of Animal Waste". The in-service training material for the two week session was posted on the World Wide Web. Ten specialists from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama and 22 Extension agents from South Carolina and Georgia were engaged in Internet discussions focusing on the Web material and related personal experiences. In a post-training questionnaire, agent responses were strongly favorable to this form of training and indicated that the Internet can be an effective way of implementing an in-service Extension training for certain topics.

Research in Brief

Characteristics of Florida Extension Professionals that Influence the Teaching - Learning Process
Baker, Matt Hoover, Tracy Rudd, Rick
The traits that Extension professionals and clients bring into the instructional environment impacts instructional outcomes. This study identified learning styles, value systems, and demographic characteristics of 56 Extension professionals in north Florida. The Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT), Values Analysis Profile (VAP), and a researcher-developed questionnaire were used to collect data. The GEFT data revealed that most Extension professionals have global perceptions, need structured learning environments, and are naturally social. In terms of values, all subjects were classified as synthesizers, who tend to be over-demanding of themselves and what they can reasonably accomplish. Implications for program delivery and professional development were forwarded.

Ohio Farmer Use Of The Pesticide Label
Prochaska, Steven C. Norland, Emma Lou
Significant human and monetary resources are expended for pesticide training. A descriptive study was conducted to measure pesticide label use of Ohio certified private pesticide applicators (OCPPA). A sample size of OCPPA was used to provide .95 confidence interval for the population parameters. Internal and external validity threats were examined and controlled in the study. OCPPA perceive the label to be very valuable when pesticides are used and they are reading the pesticide label at least one time per year. There are no differences in pesticide label reading (use) of OCPPA by level of education or acres farmed.

Volunteerism in Ohio Central Cities and Surrounding Communities: Frequency, Potential, and Demographics
Safrit, R. Dale
A 1993 research study in five Ohio cities investigated the prevalence of volunteerism and demographics of volunteers and non-volunteers. Random telephone surveys of 2116 households were conducted by trained volunteers. Seventy-one percent of all respondents had volunteered in the previous three years. A statistically significant larger percentage of study respondents had volunteered than compared to similar statistics for the entire nation. Volunteer respondents differed from non-volunteer respondents in being slightly older and having higher total household incomes. The findings will enable Extension educators to build stronger collaborations with adult volunteers in developing proactive strategies to address urban issues.

Ideas at Work

Usefulness of Extension News to DTN Subscribers
Sperbeck, John M. Kurtz, P. Joseph
The purpose of the study was to help evaluate the effectiveness of a twice-weekly news service that the University of Minnesota Extension Service provides to Data Transmission Network/Farm Dayta (DTN). A telephone survey of a random sample of 125 Minnesota DTN subscribers resulted in 92 useful responses. Over 8,000 Minnesota farm families and agribusiness firms regularly retrieve the stories. Furthermore, 82 percent of the respondents found the information "somewhat useful" or "very useful." This service appears to be effective and efficient (the organization incurs no production or out-of-pocket expense).

Cluster - A Great Way to Work
Cropper, Rebecca J. Merkowitz, Rose Fisher
Adams, Brown, and Highland counties in Ohio use the concept of clustering to deliver specialized programs to reach clientele needs. A needs assessment helped the faculty in the three counties find common issues that became major areas of focus. Clustering allows faculty members to develop their specializations to a greater extent and to foster volunteer and clientele interests. Some projects became multi-discipline endeavors and others were done by agents in specific program areas. The cluster applied basic management skills in team building by addressing staffing patterns, looking at their organizational structure, and changing the program focus where needed. The team continues to conduct needs assessments in their communities to strengthen their delivery and to address those issues that effect their citizens. For these counties, the concept of clustering has been a positive example of multi-disciplinary efforts that develop specialization skills.

Tools of the Trade

Recognizing Volunteers: Right from the Start
Hiller, Janet H.
"Recognizing Volunteers: Right from the Start" is an easy-to-use kit for supporting volunteers throughout their tenure of service. Its main theme is that recognition is a relationship, not an event. The training manual provides a complete guide for pre-preparation and conducting a 2-hour workshop. It includes a lesson plan, handouts, transparencies, and activities. Using these materials could help Extension and other agencies more effectively utilize volunteers.

Proverbs: A Path to Understanding Different Cultures
Schuster, Ellen
Studying proverbs can help Extension staff understand the similarities and differences of other cultures compared to our own. The proverbs of some different cultures are used to illustrate the differences between cultures. The author shares her experiences with using proverbs in her daily Extension work and other ways Extension staff can use proverbs in email, newsletters, trainings, etc. Sharing and using proverbs is one way Extension staff can begin to understand the deep culture of some of the groups they work with.