October 2005 // Volume 43 // Number 5

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Editor's Page

Some JOE Style Points: Terminal Punctuation & Superscripts
"Some JOE Style Points" talks about terminal punctuation (yes) and superscripts (no). "October JOE" highlights three articles that deal with underrepresented audiences and five that deal in one way or another with information technology.


Extending Ethics
Zimdahl, Robert L.
The primary objective of a series of workshops was to explore the ethical dimensions of Extension's role in achieving agricultural sustainability. A complementary objective was to increase participants' awareness of the ethical dimensions of agriculture. The workshops revealed that the ethics of agricultural practice is not a routine concern of Extension personnel. If the small sample from these workshops represents the view of the majority of Extension personnel, it is, at a minimum, interesting, and perhaps indicates a deficiency that should be addressed.

Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Extending Ethics"

Feature Articles

Hearing Their Needs: Voices of Underrepresented Populations
Ingram, Patreese D.; Syvertsen, Amy K.
The Plan of Work process provides an opportunity for Extension to review its educational objectives and consider the changing needs of its potential audiences. In Pennsylvania, a special effort was made to gain input concerning programs to be conducted in 2005-2009 from ethnic minority and low-income populations. This article shares the concerns and needs expressed during focus group interviews, summarizing issues related to youth, family, community, and nutrition and health. Results have important implications for the development of relevant programming with diverse audiences.

Exploring Agricultural Census Undercounts Among Immigrant Hispanic/Latino Farmers with an Alternative Enumeration Project
Garcia, Victor; Marinez, Juan
This article argues the need to examine whether or not the agricultural census is locating and including Hispanic/Latino farmers, particularly recent immigrants, who are not aware of the census. We explore the possible reasons why Hispanics/Latinos may be missed. We also suggest an alternative Hispanic/Latino farmer enumeration to gather basic information that will allows us to identify Hispanic/Latino farmers and check if they were included in the 2002 agricultural census. Our plan is based on an alternative enumeration project conducted by US Census Bureau in Census 1990.

Validating Institutional Commitment to Outreach at Land-Grant Universities: Listening to the Voices of Community Partners
Weerts, David J.
The need for public understanding and awareness of the value of university Extension and outreach is at an all-time high due to flattening Extension budgets and recent criticisms about higher education's commitment to public service. Drawing on interviews from community partners in three states, this article examines how community partners formulate their perceptions about an institution's commitment to its outreach mission. Community partners form their opinions about institutional commitment to engagement through a combination of three factors: language and symbolic actions of campus leadership, personal experiences with faculty and staff, and success in navigating the complex structures of the university.

Diamonds in the Rough: A Case Study of Team Development Across Disciplines, Distances, and Institutions
Fritz, Susan; Boren, Amy; Egger, Valerie
The ethnographic case study reported here analyzed the experiences of a team of faculty from different universities in a technology-intensive project. Team development mirrored Tuckman's model of small group development. Contrary to previous research, the leader did not have higher status than members, and approached the role with empathy rather than aggression. Motivation levels, timeline pressures, inadequate evaluation and rewards, leadership style, need for cohesion and interaction, and importance of trust are reported.

Determining the Quality of Youth-Adult Relationships Within Community-Based Youth Programs
Jones, Kenneth R.; Perkins, Daniel F.
There is a lack of research on assessing how society views youth voice and participation in youth programs. Youth taking on leadership roles and interacting with adults have shown success in establishing positive youth-adult relationships. This article introduces the Involvement and Interaction Rating Scale, a new measure that assesses the perceptions and experiences of youth and adult participants working together in various community-based efforts. The scale serves as a means to empower participants by enabling them to evaluate their own experiences to determine the quality of these experiences and acknowledge areas that need strengthening.

A Model for Recruiting and Training Youth Development Volunteers in Urban Areas
Smith, Martin H.; Dasher, H. Steve; Klingborg, Donald J.
A model for recruiting and training volunteers for 4-H Youth Development Programs in urban areas was designed and evaluated. Utilizing a formal course at a community college to recruit and train volunteers, the model was effective in developing and enhancing their skills. As part of their course requirements, volunteers applied their skills by implementing a science literacy program with elementary-age children in after-school settings. Their efforts were effective; participating children's science process skills showed significant improvements. Academic and community service credit served as rewards for volunteers' participation.

Fit 2-B FATHERS: The Effectiveness of Extension Programming with Incarcerated Fathers
Maiorano, Joseph J.; Futris, Ted G.
Incarceration and recidivism negatively affect offenders, their children, families, and communities. Fit 2-B FATHERS, a social and parenting skills program for males in the corrections system, has been found to improve participants attitudes about themselves, their role as fathers, and their understanding of positive parenting practices. This program can help participants become less of a security risk during the remainder of their sentence and have reduced rates of recidivism following their release. When participants positively engage in the lives of their children, their children may be less likely to engage in at-risk behaviors that could lead to imprisonment.

Research in Brief

An Evaluative Study of the United States Cooperative Extension Service's Role in Bridging the Digital Divide
Elbert, Chanda D.; Alston, Antoine J.
"Raising the level of digital inclusion by increasing the number of Americans using the technology tools of the digital age is a vitally important national goal" (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2000). The study reported here focused on Extension administrators throughout the United States to gauge their opinion concerning the role of Extension in bridging the digital divide. It was found that a perceived digital divide existed. Extension administrators expressed that Extension was an adequate mechanism to combat this societal dilemma. Recommendations included establishing strategic partnerships with local community groups to provide technology access and training for residents.

An On-Line Survey Process for Assessing Impact of an Email-Delivered Pest Advisory
Malone, Sean; Herbert, D. Ames, Jr.; Kuhar, Thomas P.
IPM specialists simplified the entry, collection, editing, and distribution of pest alerts by creating a new Web site, the Virginia Ag Pest Advisory. A simple on-line survey was used to assess the usefulness of the advisory. The on-line survey was low-cost and required less effort than conventional surveys. Such a system provides feedback from users, which can be used to improve Extension programs and generates results to be used in reporting impact data.

Determinants of Irrigation Farmers' Crop Choice and Acreage Allocation Decisions: Opportunities for Extension Service Delivery
Mullen, Jeffrey D.; Escalante, Cesar; Hoogenboom, Gerrit; Yu, Yingzhuo
A survey of Georgia irrigators focused on the determinants of farmers' crop choice and crop acreage allocation decisions was conducted. The survey also addressed farmer interest in open-access information and decision support programs delivered by the University of Georgia via the Internet. Results indicate crop choice and acreage decisions are heavily influenced by rotational considerations, but such considerations are not viewed as strict constraints. Crop futures prices and expected input costs are also important factors. Farmers expressed considerable interest in accessing information relevant to their crop choice and acreage allocation decision on the Internet at a university-run Web site.

An In-Depth Look at 4-H Enrollment and Retention
Harder, Amy; Lamm, Alexa; Lamm, Dennis; Rose, Herbert, III; Rask, Glen
The membership of 4-H is a highly fluctuating, variable body, with youth coming and going at all ages. A more complete understanding of this fluctuation can be obtained by examining enrollment and retention trends, allowing agents to identify key strategies to increase membership in their own counties. By using the ES 237 data for Colorado from 2002 and 2003, it was possible to recognize patterns that have implications for the ways agents handle recruitment. Increasing retention in 4-H is most closely linked to enrolling youth at an early age and preventing the loss of first year members.

Adolescent Leadership Skill Development Through Residential 4-H Camp Counseling
Garst, Barry A.; Johnson, Jeremy
Camping is a 4-H delivery mode and context for positive youth development. Research suggests that 4-H camping may enhance the life skills outcomes of adolescents who serve in leadership roles. The study reported here was to explore the lived experience of 4-H camp teen counselors and to better understand the leadership and life skill outcomes of 4-H camp participation. Eleven focus groups (n=68) were conducted with 4-H camp teen counselors from across Virginia's six 4-H educational centers. The results indicated that 4-H camp participation positively affected teen counselors by helping them to develop leadership-related knowledge, skills, and behaviors.

Organizational Values Perceived as Evident Among Ohio State University Extension Personnel
Crossgrove, Jana; Scheer, Scott D.; Conklin, Nikki L.; Jones, Jo M.; Safrit, R. Dale
The study reported here sought to determine the perceived evidence of organizational values and compare the perceived organizational values of Ohio State University Extension personnel. It investigated the organizational values according to the levels of perceived "extremely evident" and "extremely valued." The top five values perceived as "extremely evident" were: "unbiased delivery of information," "research-based programs," "honesty/integrity in our work," "an emphasis on excellence in educational programming," and "helping people help themselves" (range: 46.4% - 50.4%). The findings provide direction for OSU Extension to develop strong organizational values and target values not being expressed in the work environment.

Pennsylvania Community Watershed Organizations as Seen by Key Informants
Lee, Brian D.
The primary objective of the project described here was to identify needed and used organizational resources for a successful CWO. This article reports key informant perceptions of Pennsylvania Community Watershed Organizations (CWO). Utilizing snowball sampling, 24 people were interviewed. The results indicate CWOs are in need of organizational development training, mentoring, and assessment. Extension has a history of providing these resources to communities. Therefore, CWOs represent a potential new market for Extension.

Strengthening Marriages: An Evaluation and Assessment of a Couple's and Marital Enrichment Newsletter
Futris, Ted G.; Bloir, Kirk; Szu-Ying Tsai, Daphne
In times of shrinking budgets, are newsletters a wise use of resources? Findings from Ohio State University Extension indicate they are. Results from an evaluation and assessment on the impact of a statewide couples and marital enrichment newsletter reveal that a significant proportion of readers experience positive changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Readers tend to rate the newsletter positively and view it as a helpful resource in their personal relationship. Newsletters like this can serve as a cost-effective way to reach more couples in the community (who may not attend a relationship class) and promote healthy marriages.

Extension Programming for Food Entrepreneurs: An Indiana Needs Assessment
Marshall, Maria I.; Bush, De; Hayes, Kirby
The objective of the research reported here was to identify the needs of food entrepreneurs in the state of Indiana. To attain this objective, Purdue Extension educators from 86 counties in Indiana were surveyed. Topics of interest from the survey results included marketing, new business start-up, food regulations, and food safety. This assessment tool has directed Purdue Extension in developing a Food Entrepreneur Engagement Program. The survey results were used to develop a statewide workshop for food entrepreneurs. Resources provided by this program ultimately helped several food entrepreneurs create value-added food businesses in Indiana.

Ideas at Work

Strengthening Integration of Land Use Research and Outreach Through Innovative Web Technology
Rozum, John S.; Wilson, Emily; Arnold, Chester
The University of Connecticut has long used geospatial information as a component of its Extension programs on land use policy. In recent years, increased use of remote sensing and geographic information systems has created a "technology gap," as sources of data outpace the ability of many communities to make use of it. The NEMO program has developed several Web sites that attempt to bridge this gap. Connecticut's Changing Landscape uses a range of approaches to disseminate information to audiences of varying geospatial sophistication. These techniques help Extension to serve a broader audience and also strengthen the ties between research and outreach

Embracing Edutainment with Interactive E-Learning Tools
Williamson, Robert D.; Smoak, Ellen P.
Advances in technology are changing how people access data. We are living in an Internet Revolution that will have major impacts on the lives of people. Personal computers (PCs) are the front-runners; they serve as a lifeline for some and a vital household tool for others. In many ways, however, the emerging technology is compelling Extension practitioners to compete with private enterprise and other educational institutions. Unlike synchronous and site-based learning, people can use e-learning tools wherever they are "24/7" year round. Among other things, the products can be "edutaining" for many learners.

4-H Wildlife Stewards--A New Delivery Model for 4-H
Hosty, Maureen
This article reports that 4-H Wildlife Stewards volunteers trained in building community capacity and how to work collaboratively with schools and community partners are making a difference in the lives of thousands of youth. 4-H Wildlife Stewards work with students and teachers to create, use, and sustain Habitat Sites on school grounds for science learning. Evaluation of the project documents that student interest and knowledge in science increases when 4-H Wildlife Stewards projects are initiated. Today, 188 active 4-H Wildlife Stewards work with 376 classroom teachers and over 12,000 youth to deliver hands on science education.

Finding Hidden Partnerships to Create a Teaching Garden
Renquist, Stephen B.
Finding sources of funding to create a teaching or demonstration garden for Extension educational purposes was difficult, especially during a downturn in the economy. The horticulture agent and Master Gardeners from Douglas County Oregon discovered successful fund raising could be accomplished not by asking for donations but by finding partners who would see the project as a means to achieve mutual goals. Extension agents are accustomed to being organizers in the community, and this process of creating meaningful partnerships can be a long-term source of support for our programs.

Tools of the Trade

More Tips: What If a Cooperative Extension Professional Must Work with Native American Institutional Review Boards?
McDonald, Daniel A.; Peterson, Donna J.; Betts, Sherry C.
This article focuses on working with tribal IRBs to conduct research or evaluations of projects on tribal lands. It is a follow up to a series of four recent articles designed to help Extension Professionals navigate the university IRB process. The authors use their experience with a community assessment project conducted in one small, remote community located on the Navajo Nation to illustrate some of the issues and tips for success.

Volunteering: An Untapped Impact
Osborne, L. J.
Extension and other volunteer-based organizations have relied upon the number of volunteer hours as a way of reporting the organization's volunteer value to society. With the current legislative focus on the "Aging in America" issues, we are in a unique position of promoting a different type of impact for Extension's volunteer efforts. This article is based upon the efforts of Johns Hopkins researchers and earlier published works on how volunteering can reduce the three key risk factors of aging.

ABC's of Behavioral Objectives--Putting Them to Work for Evaluation
Boone, Harry N., Jr.: Boone, Deborah A.
With shrinking budgets, evaluation and accountability become increasing important in the justification and impact of Extension programs and faculty. The key to solving the accountability issue is to develop clear, concise behavioral objectives as a part of each educational activity. This article discusses how to write measurable behavioral objectives that should be used for both planning and evaluation of Extension programs. Examples of well written behavioral objectives that can be used to measure impact are included.

Program Assessment and Improvement Through Youth-Adult Partnership: The YALPE Resource Kit
O'Connor, Cailin; Zeldin, Shepherd
Youth and Adult Leaders for Program Excellence (YALPE) is a resource kit for youth programs seeking to engage youth in generating assessment data for action planning, communicating to stakeholders, and training volunteers and community partners. The research-based, user-friendly resource kit outlines a structured process of planning, assessment, and improvement to be carried out by a team of youth and adults. The kit includes a guide to the assessment process; four assessment tools to choose from; templates for data entry, analysis, and reporting; and four research briefs that detail the empirical basis for the YALPE tools and the processes.

Exotic Pest Invasion--Plan of Action for Extension Educators
Sundermeier, Alan
Exotic pests can unknowingly be transported into your community and cause ecological and economic harm. A plan of action for Extension educators confronted by an exotic pest invasion could help minimize the threat. The plan includes: Define the threat, Identify the pest, Enact emergency programming, Ensure technical readiness, Disseminate information, Facilitate community meetings, Communicate with officials, Know the law, Do local research, and Keep a positive attitude. Wood County, Ohio Extension shares how they have followed this action plan against an Emerald Ash Borer invasion. This plan can be adapted by Extension educators to battle other invasive pests.

Meeting the Educational Needs of Professional Crop Advisers Using Extended Workshops
Oldham, J. Larry
The International Certified Crop Adviser program has created a demand for continuing agronomic education for professional practitioners. An annual short course at Mississippi State University provides quality instruction in quantities sufficient for CCA registrants to maintain their professional registration. Faculty from the universities, industry, government, and concerned stakeholder entities provide diverse, up-to-the minute instruction for participants. Participants in the workshops indicate they appreciate the content, coordination, diversity, and logistics of the programming. This and similar workshops are becoming more widespread as the CCA program matures and local Extension Services refine their relationship with it.

Presenting to Win--A Book Review
West, Ben C.
Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, by Jerry Weissman, provides invaluable information on how to create compelling and effective presentations. In contrast to other books that hint at the use of PowerPoint as a visual aid, Weissman explains specifically how to create effective visual aids and discusses why some approaches work and others don't. Presenting to Win should be in the library of every Extension educator interested in enhancing the educational value and impact of his or her presentations.