December 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 6

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Editor's Page

The December 2001 JOE is especially notable for two reasons. First, more than half the articles center or touch on diversity, an issue that is at the forefront for many JOE authors and should be for JOE readers. Second, at the end of each Commentary, you have the opportunity to join our new JOE Discussion Forum. JOE is a Web journal, and we should all take more advantage of that fact.

The December 2001 JOE has two notable things that distinguish it aside from the quality of the articles it contains. First, more than half the articles focus on diversity. Second, at the end of each Commentary, you have the opportunity to join our new JOE Discussion Forum.

Diversity to the Forefront

Over the last few years, JOE has published a number of articles that raise the issue of diversity and how Extension is meeting the challenge it presents. Judging from the number of submissions that raise the topic this year, diversity, in all its many facets, is moving to the forefront as an issue engaging JOE authors' attention.

When it became clear how many articles on diversity had passed our reviewers' scrutiny (and mine) and been accepted for publication, I brought it to the attention of the JOE Board of Directors, and we decided to publish them in a single issue. If diversity is at the forefront for so many JOE authors, it is time to do what we can to highlight that fact for JOE readers.

The two Commentary articles discuss diversity and what Extension must do and is doing to meet its challenge. One wonders if it might perhaps already be too late. The other describes a necessary rebirth for Extension.

The first articles in the Features, Research in Brief, Ideas at Work, and Tools of the Trade sections also center or touch on diversity--on how things are now, on how we can make them better, and on how we can more effectively meet the needs of our increasingly diverse clientele.

I have purposely not enumerated which of the articles in this issue deal overtly with diversity and which don't. The articles that do not nonetheless cover a range and wealth of topics that also deserve your attention.

JOE Discussion Forum

JOE is a Web journal, and we are moving to take more advantage of that fact. Our latest effort is the JOE Discussion Forum, which we're inviting you to join at the end of the two Commentary articles. There, you can enter or start a new discussion with your Extension colleagues on the issues raised in the articles.

JOE has always been a forum for discussion of the issues engaging Extension professionals. The Web gives us the chance to capitalize on that strength, to encourage a more dynamic, interactive exchange.

The discussions will remain "live" and you will have the opportunity to participate for the 2 months that the December issue is current. Consider this a "beta test." We plan to extend the forum capability in the future, but we're still working on how and how far.

Much will depend on you.

We've made it as easy and transparent as possible for you to participate in the JOE Discussion Forum, and we hope you will.

Laura Hoelscher, Editor