October 2000 // Volume 38 // Number 5

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Editor's Page


This month, as I usually do, I talk about several articles in this month's issue, and then I make a few more comments about Commentaries.

October JOE

I can't make note of all the articles in the October issue, although all are noteworthy. But there are two things that I can't let pass.

Voices Not Always Heard

The Tools of the Trade article "Maine Support Staffers Unite!" explains that support staff in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE) had "an overwhelming presence in their organization but no voice." The author describes how, with the support and encouragement of their administration, they found their voice and used it to address issues that concern them and the UMCE team to which they belong.

Gosh, maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere that other Extension teams can learn.

Surprise of Science

Two of October's articles, "Farm Growth Next to a Large City: Opportunities for Extension Education" and "The Use of Focus Group Interviews to Evaluate Agriculture Educational Materials for Students, Teachers, and Consumers," are notable in part because they discuss results that the researchers did not expect.

Research does not always confirm. It sometimes surprises. It suggests new ways of looking at things and new directions. Both articles illustrate this truth.

Some Comments on JOE Commentaries

Well, I guess people do read the "Editor's Page."

In the August issue, I explained that "JOE is looking for a few (more) good commentaries" http://www.joe.org/j oe/2000august/ed1.html. I called for "provocative" Commentary submissions that "offer a challenge." I got them, and two of them appear in this month's issue.

"Extension: On the Brink of Extinction or Distinction?" tells us that Extension is all but falling down around our ears and proposes a solution that some of us will find hard to take. "Value-Free Extension Education?" makes us confront one of our most cherished beliefs about Extension and suggests that it might be doing us more harm than good.

Food for thought? Grounds for debate? We hope so.

Several other provocative Commentary submissions are waiting in the wings, challenges to our hearts and challenges to our heads. But we want more.

I'll say it again. How about it?

Laura Hoelscher, Editor