April 2004 // Volume 42 // Number 2

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
"JOE FAQ's" calls attention to the updated and reconfigured page that should answer most of your questions about JOE. "April 2004 JOE" talks about the many articles in this issue that take a "long view of Extension" and how JOE really is the Journal of Extension.


Futuring: The Implementation of Anticipatory Excellence
Sobrero, Patricia M.
In the 21st century, futuring, the use of techniques to anticipate potential public issues, will give Extension the time needed to address emerging real-world issues before crises occur. Where do our current efforts fall short? We excel in planning, yet futuring can provide us options for change using anticipatory techniques to inform continual improvement. Futuring, timely and proactive planning tied to meaningful engagement with the people in each state, will result in Extension becoming "the catalyst for connecting people to the wealth of relevant knowledge and research residing within various colleges and disciplines of the university."

Which Universities Should Provide Extension Services?
Laband, David N.; Lentz, Bernard F.
Do cost considerations justify the current production of Extension services in which one or more providers exists in virtually all of the contiguous U.S. states? Using 1995-96 data, we estimate a multi-product cost function for 1,450 public institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the United States, including 65 that provide Extension services. We find significant (diseconomies) economies of scale with respect to the provision of Extension services by the (largest) smaller IHEs. We conclude that regionalizing the provision of Extension services and/or shifting the provision of Extension services from the largest 1862 institutions to smaller 1890 institutions would improve cost-effectiveness.

Feature Articles

Identifying the Public Value in Extension Programs
Kalambokidis, Laura
Government budget crises have compelled state Extension Services to defend their receipt of state and county funding. A key to that defense is persuading citizens and policymakers of Extension's "public value": the benefit from Extension programs to those who are not directly served. This article uses the principles of public sector economics to help formulate that defense and describes how Extension staff have applied economic principles to identify the public value in their own programs. The approach, developed into a workshop for program teams, serves to both sustain programs that have strong public value and identify programs that do not.

Evidence-Based Extension
Dunifon, Rachel; Duttweiler, Michael; Pillemer, Karl; Tobias, Donald; Trochim, William M. K.
This argues that Extension should embrace the evidenced-based practice movement, which links scientific evidence and practice. This movement entails a thorough scientific review of the research literature, the identification of the most effective interventions or strategies, and a commitment to translating the results into guidelines for practice. This process corresponds closely to the goals of USDA CSREES. We offer several ways in which Extension can connect with ongoing evidence-based activities in relevant areas. By doing so, Extension can improve its use of research-based practice and also inform and advance the ongoing evidence-based work occurring in the scientific community.

Supporting the Critical Administrative Leadership Role of County Directors
Campbell, David; Grieshop, Jim; Sokolow, Al; Wright, Joan
With a foot in both the university and local communities, Cooperative Extension county directors have unique opportunities to network, scan opportunities, identify assets, design and market programs, build public support, and solve problems. A survey of the administrative workload, satisfactions, and frustrations of California county directors finds these leadership roles are insufficiently supported. The data suggest the need to 1) alter merit review policies to reward community connections and networking, 2) reinvent university support bureaucracies to treat county directors as valued customers, and 3) reassert a robust vision of county-based Extension at the highest levels of the organization.

Extension Agents as Administrators of Volunteers: Competencies Needed for the Future
Boyd, Barry L.
Extension faculty, in their role as administrators of volunteers, often lack the competencies to fully manage and utilize this tremendous resource. This article reports the findings of a nation-wide Delphi study that identified 33 competencies required by persons leading volunteers. These competencies included skills in the broad constructs of organizational and systems leadership, developing a positive organizational culture, personal skills that will help them in developing effective teams and managing change, and skills in daily management of volunteers. It is recommended that Extension devote greater time and resources to helping faculty acquire these competencies.

Program Leadership: Do Teams Work?
Taylor, William
Research was done into the effectiveness of team program leadership models in eight states, with concentration on the new team structure in Wyoming. A survey, evaluation grid, and team chair comments were used to gather data. Teams can add strength and diversity to programming, and all states should examine the possibility of using teams in program leadership. The transition from traditional structures is not simple, and requires strong administrative and personnel support. Financial and resource commitment of state resources, as well as appropriate incentives, are necessary for success. Teams cannot be so numerous as to over-extend already busy educators.

Teams Change Everything
Chatfield, James A.; Boggs, Joseph F.; Gao, Gary Y.; Draper, Erik A.; Smith, Keith L.; Ludwig, Barbara G.; Baertsche, Stephen R.
Successful teams depend upon certain unique "teamisms" that describe that team and make it work for the colleagues involved. The Ohio State University Extension Nursery Landscape and Turf Team is such a team, and its cultural history helps define how it creates synergy that results in a high functioning, challenging, and collegial environment. From "teams do not form in a vacuum," to "teams need to constantly reinvent themselves," to a riff on "team jazz," this article profiles a team in constant growth.

Can Diversity Extend to Ways of Knowing? Engaging Cross-Cultural Paradigms
Hassel, Craig A.
This article briefly outlines three examples of cross-cultural academic programs, each bringing to the table either indigenous knowledge or Chinese medicine, knowledge generally considered to lie beyond the "research base" of 1862 land-grant institutions. In the process, the gate-keeping function of our "research-base" is challenged, examined here through a cultural lens. Including diverse ways of knowing as assets within the scope of academic work can enhance engagement outreach, but it asks us to re-examine basic assumptions of our academic culture.

A Comparison of Farmers Who Do and Do Not Use Cooperative Extension Services
Kelsey, Kathleen Dodge; Mariger, S. Christian
Land-grant universities have a historical role of serving Americans through the Cooperative Extension Service (CES); however, not all citizens are equally served by CES. Using a mailed survey, we identified a subpopulation of farmers who did not use CES and compared them to those who did. CES should develop communication systems that reach late adopters using their preferred modes of receiving information such as direct mailings. It is the responsibility of the CES to serve all stakeholders through the mandate of the Morrill Act.

Research in Brief

The Effect of Tenure and Promotion Policy on Evaluation and Research in Extension
Nichols, Allison
This article discusses results from a study to understand how a promotion and tenure policy at West Virginia University Extension allowing faculty to select service over research as their significant area of contribution would affect research and evaluation productivity. The results show that research expectations are related to job status and length of service, but evaluation expectations remain consistent across groups. The author suggests that administrators enhance evaluation skills and promote evaluation studies as a way to document service scholarship in the tenure process. The result would be a better understanding of how to document the scholarship of engagement.

Use Retrospective Surveys to Obtain Complete Data Sets and Measure Impact in Extension Programs
Raidl, Martha; Johnson, Shelly; Gardiner, Kali; Denham, Marty; Spain, Kris; Lanting, Rhea; Jayo, Cammie; Liddil, Audrey; Barron, Karen
The increasing emphasis on evaluation suggests that Extension programs should use the most effective tools to measure impact. The project reported here used a retrospective survey to: compare the retrospective survey and pre/post survey in the number of incomplete responses and monitor participant changes in nutrition, food safety, and resource management behaviors in a Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) program. Results indicated that the pre-post survey yielded incomplete data, with 16% of questions unanswered, while 100% of questions were answered on the retrospective survey. All self-reported nutrition, food safety, and resource management behaviors significantly increased.

Defining Key Sub-Competencies for Administrative County Leaders
Owen, Mitchell B.
The study reported here sought to identify those sub-competencies that are key indicators of future success for individuals who serve as the Administrative Leader for County Extension in North Carolina. A significant number of County Extension Directors surveyed indicated that eight sub-competencies are considered critically important in achieving success in the role of an administrative leader. While eight of the sub-competencies evaluated were deemed critical early in the tenure of a new leader, findings also suggest that Administrative County Leaders need to master all 38 sub-competencies to insure long-term success.

Engaging County Educators in Science Education Reform: The New York 4-H Environmental Inquiry Program
DePriest, Timothy; Krasny, Marianne
We attempted to engage 4-H educators in facilitating science research experiences for youth. Through interviews and surveys of county educators and on-site observations, we determined that although nearly all educators implemented youth research projects, they faced challenges related to their own and their partner educators' lack of research experience and to fitting research projects into ongoing school curricula and county Extension programs. Future efforts might consider providing short research experiences for county educators and teachers to better enable them to facilitate research experiences for youth and thus to help schools meet inquiry-based science education standards.

Expanding Extension's Reach: Partnering With FSA to Meet Educational Goals
Parsons, Robert L.; Hanson, Gregory D.
Extension specialists at Penn State and University of Vermont continued their successful expansion of extension clientele to partner with FSA to train new loan officers from 12 states on agricultural production practices, related equipment and marketing challenges. The 3-4 day workshops were designed around a series of visits to farms and ag businesses. A follow-up workshop focused specifically on entrepreneurial innovators. Participant evaluations indicated that visits to ag businesses were the most highly rated activity, followed closely by farm visits. Overall satisfaction was very high, and nearly all participants indicated the training would make them better loan officers.

Alternative Income Opportunities: Needs of County Agents and Foresters in the Mid-Atlantic Region
Kays, Jonathan S.
County Extension agents and professional foresters in four Mid-Atlantic States were surveyed to determine the types of requests they receive for specific alternative income opportunities, their clientele demographics, the types of information they need, and how they would like to receive it. A significant percentage of county agents received requests in the areas of forest farming and utilization and recreational access enterprises. They also expressed a greater interest in gaining more knowledge in the area of recreational access compared to foresters. While both audiences preferred printed media to gain this knowledge, county agents had a greater interest in electronic media.

Forestry Extension Participation and Written Forest Management Plan Use in New York City's Water Supply System
Munsell, John; Germain, René
The management of New York City's surface water supply system entails sustaining a working landscape that balances economic development with water quality conservation. Forestry Extension plays a vital role in this approach, particularly with nonindustrial private forestland owners, by serving as a resource for information and technical assistance, promoting forest stewardship, and encouraging the use of written forest management plans. The article presents findings from a recent survey that suggests there is a relationship between the participation rates in forestry Extension and written forest management plan use among New York City nonindustrial private forestland owners.

Agricultural Community Is Aware of Skin Cancer Risks
Burwell, Catherine E.
Most farmers are aware they are at increased risk for skin cancer, yet most still prefer unsafe headwear in the sun. This study replicated the "Trade Your Hat" projects and follow-up surveys conducted in other states. Approximately 50% of farmers answering the original or follow-up surveys believed they were at increased risk yet still chose unsafe headwear. Follow-up surveys show 25% of those indicating they wore no hat or ball caps when in the sun the day of the "trade-in" changed their behavior and wear sun safe headwear more than 50% of the time. Recommendations for further research are included.

Ideas at Work

You, Extension and Success: A Competency-Based Professional Development System
Stone, Barbara; Coppernoll, Susanna
Achieving the mission of the Cooperative Extension System and maintaining our strength as educational leaders are hinged on our professional competence and technical expertise. An unrelenting spotlight on professional development will match the level of excellence we expect from ourselves and ought to have for Extension in order to create a statewide, national, and global impact. So where to begin? This article describes the five elements of You, Extension and Success! (YES!), a competency-based professional development system. YES! offers a starting point for Extension employees to focus on professional goals, increase personal fulfillment, and make a real difference in Extension.

Toward Cross-Cultural Outreach: The Washington State Experience
Youmans, David
The changing face of America presents Extension workers with an unprecedented cross-cultural program delivery challenge. In order to meet that challenge, Extension faculty and staff must develop the awareness, sensitivities, and skills for effective outreach and engagement. Washington State University Extension has conducted intensive training workshops toward that end. Those highly interactive workshops are designed to help participants face social realities, share experiences, overcome anxieties, and build program strategies. Extension in Washington has become a richer environment.

Creating Productive Meetings
Haskell, Jane; Prichard, Jonathan
Group functioning and meetings may evolve from being unproductive and inefficient to being pleasurable and efficient over time. A Maine Extension work team shares lessons in their experience in making such a transformation. Anyone within a group is capable of initiating and building support for process change. Collaborative leaders in a group step forward to offer an invaluable service that can result in increased group efficiency, satisfaction, and productivity.

Holistic Pest Management Program for Master Gardener Volunteers
Samples, David H.; Penrose, Christopher D.
There is a growing interest among Master Gardener volunteers in the use of sustainable and non-chemical solutions for pest control. A holistic pest management program was designed to provide unbiased, research-based information and resources that would support the educational efforts of Extension and these volunteers. The results of pre- and post-survey instruments, completed by 54 volunteer participants, identified knowledge and attitude changes, as well as instructional areas needing modification. The framework of this program has allowed for replacing emotion with science and offers flexibility for adapting the program to suit the audience.

An Educational Program Model for Pork Producers Pursuing Value-Added Marketing Opportunities
See, M. Todd
An Extension program was developed to assist producers who are targeting products toward value-added markets. Market hogs from 11 producers were evaluated for hot carcass wt, lean composition, and fresh pork quality. Pork quality classification significantly differed by producer. These results were shared with producers during an educational program that described quality measures, presented individual results, and described methods to improve quality at the farm level. Producers were able to learn recommended production practices and share knowledge among their peer group. This program has helped pork producers improve pork quality, gain entry into value-added markets, and secure repeat sales.

Family Camp: Strengthening At-Risk Families Through Adventure-Based Initiatives
Torretta, Alayne
Family Camp weekend creates an innovative, supportive, educational, and fun environment for at-risk families, using experiential learning activities to forge positive changes in communication within the family structure. The program allows cognitive restructuring and opportunities for rehearsal by combining supportive recreation activities with structured experiential education activities. Working with the family as a whole, positive changes are systemic, and there is a greater likelihood of sustainability. Though a once-a-year experience may not resolve ubiquitous family problems, it does shed light on strengths that exist within that family that can combat the problematic situation and help prevent negative outcomes.

Tools of the Trade

Self-Directed Work Teams: The Antidote for "Heroic Suicide"
Franz, Nancy K.
Environmental pressures, including deeper accountability and uncertain public funding, enhance interest in the use of self-directed work teams. These pressures and rapid change make solo work in organizations "heroic suicide." This article examines the rationale for self-directed work teams, characteristics of effective work teams, and successful work team leadership.

The Do's and Don'ts of Working with Local Communities: Tips for Successful Community-Based Public Meetings
Coreil, Paul; Castille, Carrie
Communities must be provided with a forum to express residents' opinions on proposed public policies through effective community-based public meetings. Planning is essential to conducting an effective public meeting. To be successful, an effective public policy education process must be implemented before, during, and after the public meeting.

The Collaborative Community Change Model: Understanding and Evaluating University Extension Professionals' Role in Community Change
Brown, Randy; Evans, William
The article presents a new model for understanding Extension professionals' role in community change. This Collaborative Community Change model incorporates aspects of effective collaborations and the various influences that affect community change. It identifies different points in the community change process where Extension professionals typically contribute. Accordingly, it identifies indicators of activities that are needed to achieve community-level change, depending on the point of contribution within the model. The model is useful to Extension and community development professionals who are involved in development and capacity-building activities that lay the groundwork for community change outcomes.

At the Intersection of Extension and Litigation: What to Do When Lawyers Call
Balcom, Nancy C.
The reputation of Extension professionals as "impartial brokers" of factual information may generate requests for expert, third-party testimony in lawsuits. How should an Extension professional respond when Extension and litigation cross paths? My education at the "intersection of Extension and litigation" began in 2000. This brief introduction to the subpoena, discovery, and deposition process may prove helpful if/when lawyers call.

Guidebook for Marketing Cooperative Extension
Varea-Hammond, Sonya
Marketing Cooperative Extension at the Local Level is a highly pragmatic guidebook that stresses the need for creating visibility and recognition for Cooperative Extension county-based and regional programs. The guidebook offers a well-organized menu of strategies, tricks of the trade, and innovative ideas for getting programmatic recognition and developing political support. All staff, not just County Directors, will find useful ideas.

Faces Can Tell Us Lots!
Boleman, Chris T.
We are all asked to be accountable for the work that we do. As we continue to evaluate our programs and measure their impact, valuable evaluation strategies continue to surface. Evaluating young people can be extremely challenging. This holds especially true for young people under the age of 10 years. However, there are dynamic programs going on with this age group. One method that is being used as an attitude assessment using "three faces." This article discusses how "three faces" can be used to evaluate programs for young people.

A "Tracking System" to Assure Quality and User Satisfaction
Harrison, John D.; Toney, Aditya H.
This article describes a "Tracking System" employed to organize an enterprise information system into a comprehensive system to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. Using database searches to locate past users of a service and identify previous users of a similar or related service, the Tracking System allows Extension professionals to efficiently deliver value to customers.

Triumph Over Tragedy, Second Edition: A Curriculum for Extension Professionals Responding to Disasters and Terrorism
Wiens, Brenda A.; Evans, Garret D.; Tsao, Jennie C. I.; Liss, Heidi J.
We describe Triumph Over Tragedy, Second Edition: A Community Response to Managing Trauma in Times of Disaster and Terrorism, a curriculum designed to assist Extension professionals and other community stakeholders in helping their communities prepare for, and respond to, trauma associated with natural and human-made disasters. In the post-September 11, 2001 environment, it is imperative that community professionals become involved in planning for the psychological impact of these events.