October 2003 // Volume 41 // Number 5

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
"JOE Is Here to Stay: A Citation Corollary" describes JOE policy on JOE citations. And "October 2003 JOE" highlights the interesting--and useful--Tools of the Trade articles in this issue.

Feature Articles

Evaluation of Capacity-Building Programs: A Learning Organization Approach
Gruidl, John; Hustedde, Ronald
Major Extension programming, whether in community development, nutrition, youth development, small business, or other areas, strengthens organizations by enhancing the capacity of members to work together effectively. Yet evaluating these impacts is difficult and rarely done in practice. In this article, we apply ideas from the Learning Organization model to the evaluation of capacity-building programs. We identify questions that Extension educators can ask in evaluating the impact of their programming on an organization. In our view, a Learning Organization approach to evaluation holds promise in providing Extension educators with tools to demonstrate the value of their interventions with organizations.

Assessing Extension Internal Organizational Needs Through an Action Research and Learning Process
Havercamp, Michael; Christiansen, Elizabeth; Mitchell, Deborah
A participatory action research and learning process was used to carry out an internal needs assessment for a statewide Extension organization in a western United States land-grant institution. Focus groups, a written questionnaire, and employee feedback sessions were utilized as a means of identifying strategic organizational issues, needs, and resources that the organization would prioritize based on a 5-year time frame. The research and learning process, discussion of the results, limitations of the study, and implications for similar use of this process are discussed in this article.

A Survey-Based Model for Collecting Stakeholder Input at a Land-Grant University
Kelsey, Kathleen Dodge; Mariger, S. Christian
The 1998 Farm Bill (AREERA) called for greater engagement of land-grant universities with the public by mandating stakeholder input when setting priorities. The study described here developed a model for collecting and implementing input from stakeholders. The researchers collaborated with the Cooperative Extension Service (CES). Data was collected from a randomly selected group of producers. Findings include data regarding producers' needs for services and preferred information sources. The model gives the CES a methodology for gathering input and stakeholders a voice at the program-planning table, increasing the likelihood that they will use research findings to improve practice.

Success Outcome Markers in Extension (SOME): Evaluating the Effects of Transformational Learning Programs
Rockwell, S. Kay; Jha, LaDeane; Krumbach, Eileen
Success outcome markers (SOMs), and the process of creating them, offer Extension a new approach to plan, monitor, and evaluate programs. Generating success outcome markers helps to carefully determine all partners (including beneficiaries) who may need to change to accomplish program goals and identifies steps to continuously track incremental successes. Hard-to-measure human behaviors become more concrete when success outcome markers are listed. To successfully use SOMs, one must (a) create a vivid and compelling vision, (b) list your WHOs, (c) write an outcome challenge for each WHO, and (d) determine SOMs. Then decide how to monitor and report on each SOM.

Opportunities and Challenges for Land Use Planning in the Intermountain West
McLeod, Donald; Coupal, Roger; Seidl, Andrew; Inman, Katherine; Taylor, David
Land use planning is a persistent challenge for rural communities of the Intermountain West. A role for Land-Grant Universities in planning activities is provided through lesson learned in four county projects. Inclusiveness, reciprocal communication, transparency, and objectivity are illustrated as keys to success in applied research and outreach programming.

Women's Retirement: Beyond Issues of Financial Security
Price, Christine A.
As increasing numbers of women retire from the U.S. labor force, Extension educators will be called on to provide programming that (1) emphasizes women's retirement and (2) addresses the psychosocial components of women's retirement beyond financial concerns. This article identifies topics of significance for future retiring women as reported by a sample of 31 professional and nonprofessional retired women. These "words to retire by" can serve as a foundation for future program development in the area of women's retirement as well as further study.

Research in Brief

A Longitudinal Study of the Evolution of Organizational Values of Ohio State University Extension Educators
Safrit, R. Dale; Conklin, Nikki L.; Jones, Jo M.
A 2001 replication of a 1991 study investigated the evolution of OSU Extension organizational values. For almost a decade, the 1991 values were used by administrators for decision making and policy development. The authors used a census and Values Questionnaire to collect data. The authors identified 10 of the 12 original organizational values as current OSU Extension organizational values. The strength and stability of its organizational values may be both a source of continuity for OSU Extension during times of rapid social and fiscal change, as well as a source of frustration for leaders seeking to reshape the organization's culture.

Concordance Among Extension Workers, Researchers, and Professional Arborists in Rating Landscape Trees
Lorenzo, Alfredo B.; Blanche, Catalino A.; Henson, James F.
Formulas developed to determine the monetary value of landscape trees require a species rating value. Polling Extension professionals, researchers, and arborists is a common procedure to derive species rating value. Due to differences in professional training and background, and the variability of landscapes in any given area, professional agreement on the rating of a species is difficult to reach but is necessary to be useful. The Delphi method and W criterion were used to determine the strength of concordance among extension professionals. We hope that other Extension professionals can use this method in developing species rating in their respective areas.

Logger Training Leads to Improved Market Access but No Price Premium
Germain, René; Harris, Steve
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program is a catalyst to develop or improve state-based logger training programs. SFI characterizes the role of loggers as the most visible and engaged participants in the implementation of sustainable forest management. This article discusses the use and compensation of trained loggers, contrasting SFI wood procurement operations with non-SFI operations. The results indicate that trained loggers are being used but are not receiving additional compensations for their training efforts. Logger training providers, such as Cooperative Extension Forestry Programs, should be aware that training for loggers may not translate into a price advantage but is likely to improve access to markets.

Evaluating Mississippi Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowners Acceptance of an Interactive Video Short Course
Londo, Andrew J.; Gaddis, Deborah A.
An interactive forest landowner short course was held in Mississippi in the spring of 2001. Participants evaluated the interactive video versus traditional short course delivery methods. Ninety-five percent of participants said that they would attend another interactive program in the future if given the opportunity. Technical problems were the main reasons cited for not preferring the interactive video format. Results indicate that several subject areas not currently covered in traditional short courses were requested for future interactive programming. Travel costs were significantly reduced. Suggestions for ensuring the success of future interactive programs are given.

Adult Attitudes About Youth Participation in Community Organizations
Rasmussen, Marilyn F.
Many youth development professionals advocate for youth participation in civic and community organizations, but how do the leaders of these organizations feel about inviting youth to become partners in the decision-making process? A small-scale survey indicated that one-fourth of the responding organizations in South Dakota currently had some level of youth participation. More than half of the leaders of the remaining organizations indicated that youth should be consulted and invited to participate as members of their organizations. Youth development professionals should be encouraged by these results to explore potential youth and adult partnerships within their communities.

Value of an Educational Program on Osteoporosis
Driskell, Judy A.; Pohlman, H. Darlene; Naslund, M. Michelle
Cooperative Extension helped initiate a community-based educational program on osteoporosis prevention and treatment. The program utilized a network of partners and coalitions. A team approach was taken in presenting the educational session, offered twice, and answering/discussing participant questions. Statistically significant differences were observed in the program participants' reported knowledge of osteoporosis, taking of calcium supplements, eating of a calcium-rich diet, and performing weight-bearing exercises 1 month after the sessions as compared to prior. The results demonstrate that Cooperative Extension can play a leadership role in building partnerships that implement effective programs that improve the health behaviors of individuals and strengthen the community.

Ideas at Work

Strategies for Extension Specialists with Research or Classroom Instruction Assignments
Loveridge, Scott
Many Extension Specialists hold appointments including classroom teaching and research functions. The article discusses using the classroom to enhance Extension work, structuring a research program synergistic with Extension, and developing a focused program consistent with a smaller percentage time appointment in Extension. Integrating research and classroom teaching with a meaningful Extension appointment may seem daunting, but it can be done. The key to success is to creatively assess opportunities for blending the activities in a synergistic way instead of simply segmenting time across the three functions.

Using Regional Economic Analysis Tools to Address Land Use Planning Issues
Nelson, James R.; Neufeld, Jerold D.; Peterson, Steven S.
This article presents an example of how Extension economists and local Extension educators can use local economic information along with readily available data and tools to provide relevant factual information to help contextualize problems and evaluate alternative outcomes related to land use planning (especially land use planning focused on farmland preservation). The focus of this article is on how such information was developed, delivered, and used to help local policy makers and citizens make better informed decisions in a county with highly productive agriculture and heavy pressure from suburban and rural residential sprawl.

Volunteers: The Key to Expanding Extension Programming for Older Adults
Collins, Claudia C.
With the rapid growth of the nation's aging population, Extension is trying to provide useful programming for seniors. Like many other Extension programs, older adult wellness education is expanding through the use of volunteer instructors. For the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Seniors CAN program, these volunteers come primarily from two groups: peer-educators who are over 55 years of age, including those from diverse populations, and the staff of agencies that already provide services to elderly clients. The inclusion of these volunteer instructors has the benefit of bringing Extension programming to a much larger and more diverse aging audience.

Parenting from Prison: What Can Extension Educators Do?
Reilly, Jackie L.
The number of children affected by parental incarceration has increased drastically in the last decade. Many incarcerated parents want to be good parents, and, while in prison, they can improve on their parenting skills and maintain or strengthen their relationships with their children. Extension parent educators can teach parenting skills and present ideas for staying connected while in prison. Since 1997, 139 mothers and 68 fathers have taken the Parenting From Prison class. Activities used in the class are described as well as considerations for modifying existing parenting curricula to fit the needs of incarcerated parents.

Tools of the Trade

Transformative Explanations: Writing to Overcome Counterintuitive Ideas
Gordon, Joye C.
This article presents a five-step writing tool, called "transformative explanation," that provides a proven mechanism to promote acceptance of hard-to-understand concepts. When Extension messages present counterintuitive information, message consumers are psychologically motivated to reject the proposition and retain previous understandings. Because gaining perceptual compliance is often a prerequisite to other communication objectives, transformative explanations provide an important tool for message designers.

The Community Activeness--Consciousness Matrix
Theodori, Gene L.
The article presents one generalization about rural communities and then describes a tool that Extension faculty might find useful when delivering community development-related programs. This tool, the "activeness--consciousness matrix," can provide Extension personnel with a speedy assessment of the levels of activeness and consciousness of a community as viewed from the local citizens' perspective.

A Tool for Developing Questionnaire Content
Larson, Kathlene; Ryan, Vern
CD-DIAL, a community survey unit at Iowa State University Extension, has developed a process for generating the content of data collection instruments such as surveys and focus groups. This participative process uses three statements and the knowledge of community or organization members to identify significant issues and collect useable data for program development, long range planning, and evaluation. The goal, the setting, a description of the three statements, and examples of typical outcomes are described.

A Simple Method to Determine Consumer Preference
Robbins, Jo Ann
Statistically significant consumer preference determinations are possible by Extension personnel in the field using available clientele and without complicated statistical analysis. Clientele such as shoppers at farmers' markets can provide ratings for sensory attributes such as look, feel, taste, or smell of a particular treatment. The statistical analysis used involves comparing the rank means of the raw rating data. This procedure factors out consumer variation. The example given uses SAS to complete the analysis.

Estimation of Attendance at a Large Outdoor Event
Streich, Anne M.; Marx, David B.; Stafford, Jeanette M.; Rodie, Steven N.; Todd, Kim W.
Accurately estimating program attendance in large, undefined areas is difficult. Yet attendance is an important factor in effective impact assessment and accountability reporting. A simple method, consisting of a combined activity count and exit poll, can be used to produce reasonable results with a measurable assurance of accuracy. A case study application of this method at a major university campus horticulture event is included to summarize the method.

Developing a Phosphorus Fertilizer Training Program for Golf Course Personnel
Horgan, B. P.; Bierman, P.; Rosen, C.
A new Extension program has been developed in Minnesota to train golf course personnel on managing phosphorus inputs in response to recently passed legislation restricting the use of P fertilizers applied to turfgrass. This article introduces the P legislation passed in Minnesota, describes the curriculum, and discusses survey responses from golf course personnel who have participated in the program. The data presented indicate that respondents found the program either useful or very useful with respect to the day-to-day management of P fertilizers applied to turf.

Using a Computer Simulation Game to Teach Agri-Business Management
Barnard, Freddie L.
A computer simulation game is used to teach agri-business management to undergraduate students, agri-business managers, and agricultural lenders. A hypothetical farm supply store is used to teach cash flow budgeting, breakeven analysis, and profitability analysis. Evaluations from both undergraduate students and Extension clientele praise the benefits received from active decision-making, competition, and working as a team to facilitate sharing ideas and experiences.

Target-Audience-Specific Networking Groups: Could They Be Helpful in Your Work?
Driscoll, Debra Minar
Networking groups can assist in connecting service providers with their intended audiences. This article compares and contrasts three groups in Oregon that focus on the needs of Latino families. Results of a survey conducted in a local group are shared, and benefits of joining or starting a networking group are discussed.