August 2008 // Volume 46 // Number 4

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Editor's Page

Important Changes to JOE Submission Guidelines
In "Important Changes to JOE Submission Guidelines," I talk about two new additions to the guidelines, the requirement that authors of JOE articles search for and cite relevant JOE articles and the requirement that they provide a keyword list with their submissions. And I make corresponding authors of articles that have been accepted but not yet published an offer they shouldn't refuse. In August JOE I call attention to a thought-provoking Commentary and 10 of 28 other excellent articles.


Interacting with Your Gay and Lesbian Colleague
Myers, Jeffrey D.
A diversity subject, rarely discussed, is how we interact with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered colleagues. While it is a very uncomfortable subject for many, we can only begin to grow in our awareness if we begin the dialog. This article brings a voice to this topic with the hope to facilitate this journey of acceptance and inclusion.

Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Interacting with Your Gay and Lesbian Colleague "

Feature Articles

Essential Components for Successful Virtual Learning Communities
Sobrero, Patricia M.
Cooperative Extension and engaged universities can build on use of social learning through implementation of virtual communities of practice. This article identifies essential components of online communities of practice and the critical building blocks needed for social learning to develop. The article is part two of a three-part series on virtual communities of practice.

Proactive Planning to Address Budgetary Shortfalls: The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Experience
Lyons, Rachel; O'Neill, Barbara; Polanin, Nicholas; Mickel, Robert; Hlubik, William
The Cooperative Extension System has experienced significant fiscal challenges during the past three decades, necessitating proactive responses to enhance revenue received from federal, state, and local funding sources. This article presents an overview of Extension budgetary challenges and the work of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Revenue Enhancement Task Force (RETF). The RETF was charged with developing guiding principles and recommendations with respect to cost recovery and revenue enhancement and tools to help RCE employees think and act like "intrapreneurs." The article concludes with lessons learned and recommendations for Cooperative Extension organizations planning similar revenue enhancement initiatives.

Hard Times Ahead: Creating Alternative Revenue Streams for Extension
Taylor, Gina M.; Anderson, Dennis M.
Many 4-H professionals have overlooked the largest source of charitable funding in the United States--individual donors. Former members and volunteers are a likely source of donations. Many former members and volunteers fall into two main generational cohorts: Generation X and the Millennials. Understanding the characteristics of these two groups can improve your chances of turning them from prospective donors to actual donors.

Job Travel and Work Experiences of Women Employed in the Cooperative Extension Service
Peters, Cheryl L.; Zvonkovic, Anisa M.; Bowman, Sally
A sample of 53 Extension professionals from three western states responded to questionnaires about the challenges and rewards of work travel related to work identity, commitment and satisfaction, and job burnout. Most women identified positive and negative experiences in their jobs, but generally enjoyed the travel aspect of their work. Although burnout is evident, women also experienced a positive effect from balancing many responsibilities at once. Positive aspects of work most distinguished stressed from happy work travelers. Extension women are strongly committed to work in spite of job hardships and tiring demands. Implications for workplace policies and administrators are addressed.

Managing Performance in Extension: Redesigning the Performance Evaluation System at Illinois
Kuchinke, K. Peter; Correthers, Gerald; Cecil, Kyle
This article describes the initiative of a large Extension system to improve its performance management system. Information on the utility of the present system was sought from a wide range of stakeholders, and key strengths and weaknesses were identified. The revision focused on updating and simplifying the performance dimensions, creating a single set of requirements for all levels of staff, and moving towards an electronic submission, storage, and retrieval system for evaluative information. The article concludes with implementation and evaluation strategies and lessons learned along the continuous improvement path of performance management at Illinois.

Indicators of Success for Teamwork: What Extension Professionals Need to Excel as Team Members
Kelbaugh, Beverly M.; Earnest, Garee W.
The study reported here identified Extension team behaviors, outcomes, and impacts that are appropriate to use as indicators of team success. A Modified Delphi technique was used with a purposeful sample of Extension professionals identified as experts. Twenty-five indicators of success were identified for Extension program teams. Ten indicators of success related to team outcomes and impacts, external team deliverables. The remaining items related to team member behaviors, interactions, and processes, which affect how team members work together. Implications and recommendations for the Extension System are based on organizational readiness and support of teams, organizational expectations of teams, and teamwork practices.

An Assessment of Virginia Cooperative Extension's New Extension Agent Training Program
Brown, Almeshia S.; Gibson, Jerry D.; Stewart, Daisy L.
The study reported here was designed to determine how new Extension agents, Extension training agents, and Extension administrators who have participated in the NEAT program assessed its importance and effectiveness. Demographic characteristics were identified for descriptive purposes in this research study. The research conducted in this study is based upon competencies utilized in the current training practices of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

An Assessment of Agricultural Producers' Attitudes and Practices Concerning Pesticide Spray Drift: Implications for Extension Education
Blaine, Thomas W.; Hall, Franklin R.; Downer, Roger A.; Ebert, Timothy
This article summarizes findings of a survey of agricultural producers concerning their practices and attitudes regarding pesticide spray drift. The results reveal that just as the agricultural enterprises involved in the sample are diverse and complex, so too are the approaches that growers take to managing drift. Growers tend to use multiple strategies in approaching this problem and display flexibility in attempting to achieve drift reduction. At the same time, they are concerned about implications of drift reduction for farm profitability. Programs and regulations designed to reduce drift should be constructed in ways that allow growers to comply without bearing excessive costs.

Research in Brief

Back to the Future Part 2: Surveying Geospatial Technology Needs of Georgia Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Professionals
Merry, Krista L.; Bettinger, Pete; Hubbard, William G.
Land conversion and habitat fragmentation are affecting natural resources. Land use/land cover change models can play an important role in understanding these impacts and illustrating the land conversion process to the public. A two-phase needs assessment was conducted to understand the perspectives, attitudes, and needs of planning and education officials. The second phase targeted Extension professionals in Georgia. The majority of Extension professionals surveyed felt that land use/land cover change projections would be valuable in their extension efforts. They felt that projections would be best distributed via Web-based access to maps and through research centers or workshops.

Facilitation Competence: A Catalyst for Effective Extension Work
Cyr, Louise Franck
Quantitative and qualitative data collected from research subjects in a multi-year University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff development initiative showed that in-depth facilitation training and practice can effectively prepare Extension staff to help groups achieve positive change. Facilitation training can lead to effective facilitators as well as more effective group members, demonstrating the long-term organizational and community value of training Extension staff in core facilitation skills.

Increasing Positive Perceptions of Food Irradiation: Appealing to One's Affective Domain
Laminack, Janet; Dainello, Frank; Degenhart, Shannon H.; Vestal, Tom A.; Wingenbach, Gary
A study tested the effectiveness of experiential learning techniques in food irradiation technology to positively influence understanding in both the affective and cognitive domain. Research shows that food irradiation is a safe food technology effective at reducing foodborne illness, but the adoption rate of the technology remains slow. The short course employed experiential components, such as tours of food irradiation facilities, group activities, and taste-tests of irradiated produce. Data were collected assessing participants' knowledge and perceptions about food irradiation, using Likert-type scales. The short course produced significant gains in participants' knowledge and positively influenced participants' perceptions of food irradiation issues.

Improved Knowledge and Adoption of Recommended Food Safety Practices by Food Recovery Agency Personnel and Volunteers Participating in the Serving Food Safely Program
Dean, Katie W.; Reames, Elizabeth S.; Tuuri, Georgianna; Keenan, Michael J.; Bankston, Jr., Joseph David; Friendship, De'Shoin York; Mixon, Melissa P.; Tucker, Easter H.
The tri-state study reported here tested the effectiveness of a curriculum developed and presented in workshops by Extension and research faculty to increase knowledge and promote safe food handling practices of staff and volunteers of food recovery agencies providing rescued and surplus food to vulnerable populations. Results indicated that knowledge and adoption of recommended food safety practices increased for both staff and volunteers following participation in the workshops. The improvement in food safety knowledge and adoption of recommended food safety practices support the continued use of the food safety curriculum in the three states and possibly other areas in the United States.

Oregon WoodFest: Assessing the Educational Impact
Knowles, Chris; Hansen, Eric; Engle, Molly
Oregon WoodFest had the goal of increasing awareness of Oregon citizens about the Oregon forest sector. The event featured two components: a continuing education course for architects and builders, and a public wood festival. This article reports the results of an assessment of the educational impact of Oregon WoodFest. Educational impact of Architectural Design with Wood was assessed using a post-test questionnaire and of the public festival using participant interviews. Results show that the CE course influenced participants' intentions regarding their use of wood and that the public festival increased participants awareness of wood and the forest sector.

Evaluation of a Wildlife Education Exhibit for Youth
Carrozzino, Amy L.; Smith, Sanford S.
Understanding the ability of educational exhibits to communicate information effectively is important in all Extension programs. We evaluated the influence of a table-top exhibit entitled "Threats to Pennsylvania's Wildlife." In fair and classroom settings, participants in grades 5-7 (N=698) were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups. One group participated in a pre- and post-survey; the other completed only a post-survey after viewing the exhibit. Results demonstrate that table-top exhibits are useful in conveying basic information and facilitating learning; however, the overall effectiveness of this exhibit was only about 10% and may have been influenced by additional confounding factors.

Learning Styles of Farmers and Others Involved with the Maine Potato Industry
Johnson, Steven B.; Carter, Hannah S.; Kaufman, Eric K.
The article reports on the learning preferences of Maine Potato Industry representatives. Using the Gregorc Mind Styles™ approach to examine learning styles, we categorized potato farmers, university/government employees, allied industry personnel, and others involved in the potato industry into four learning styles: Concrete Sequential, Concrete Random, Abstract Sequential, and Abstract Random. The plurality of potato farmers were Concrete Sequential, while the plurality of university/government employees and allied industry personnel were Abstract Random. The difference in learning styles of the deliverers and the recipients of the information can result in poor communication and a less than optimum learning environment.

Who Is Volunteering for the Maine 4-H Program?
Lobley, Jennifer
The study reported here was designed to identify the people who are most likely to volunteer for the Maine 4-H Youth Development program and determine how they became involved and why they continue to provide service to the organization. Volunteer demographics can then be used to shape marketing and volunteer recruitment efforts, ultimately enlarging a currently dwindling volunteer base for the Maine 4-H program. Although demographic profiles of 4-H volunteers haven't changed much in 50 years, Extension staff should use this information to put new focus on recruitment, retention, and recognition.

Ideas at Work

Community-Based Food Systems in Michigan: Cultivating Diverse Collaborations from the Ground Up
Conner, David; Cocciarelli, Susan; Mutch, Barbara; Hamm, Michael W.
This article discusses the results of a Michigan project to forge partnerships between Extension and diverse teams of community members to enhance development of local food systems. The project provided training and resources for teams to utilize food system work as a community problem solving tool. Such efforts have great potential to address a host of public health, economic, and land use issues.

Volunteer Development in 4-H: Constructivist Considerations to Improve Youth Science Literacy in Urban Areas
Smith, Martin H.
The 4-H Youth Development Program can play an important role in targeting improved science literacy among urban youth in the U. S. However, 4-H volunteers must be trained effectively in order to be competent in their roles as science educators, and existing methods of volunteer training in urban areas are inadequate. Lesson study, a professional development model for educators that uses a constructivist approach to learning, is a viable option. Lesson study occurs within the context of the specific learning setting, takes place incrementally over extended periods of time, and has been shown to be effective.

A Population at Risk: Youth "Aging Out" of the Foster Care System and Implications for Extension
Baugh, Eboni J.
Youth who age out of the foster care system are faced with many unique challenges. This article offers an overview of risk factors found within this group, occurring both before and after discharge from care. Suggestions are given for the creation of Extension programs that address the specific needs of this growing population.

Expanding Horticultural Training into the Prison Population
Robinson, M. L.; O'Callaghan, Angela M.
This article addresses positive and negative aspects of teaching horticulture to underserved prison populations. The southern Nevada master gardener curriculum was adapted to a concentration on job-readiness. Curriculum is only part of the challenge of working with this clientele. A number of problems and challenges arise with prison administration at all levels. We address the evolution of curriculum to meet the needs of each type of facility and institutional challenges so that the Horticultural Training Program can make a positive impact on individuals and communities.

Kentucky Extension Professionals Use Oral Health Partnership to Educate Communities
Burch, Sharlee Shirley
As the evidence mounts regarding systemic connections between oral health and other chronic diseases, new and innovative partnerships are being formed with Extension personnel to educate communities on the importance of oral wellness and disease prevention. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and College of Dentistry have developed one such unique collaboration, The Oral Health Wellness and Disease Prevention Program. Process evaluation data suggests this partnership between non-traditional partners can produce original, easy-to-use, adaptable educational resources that benefit Kentuckians as well as lead the country in innovative approaches to oral health wellness, education, and disease prevention.

Tools of the Trade

Taking Program Snapshots: Planning Strategies When There Isn't Time for Strategic Planning
Simon-Brown, Viviane
Periodic strategic planning is critical to long-term program success. Taking program "snapshots" is a method that helps program teams make mid-course corrections within the strategic planning cycle. This much shorter process (6-8 weeks) is particularly effective for small program areas or project teams. Advantages are 1) the ability to obtain qualitative information quickly from clients, colleagues, and administration; 2) optimal working environments for planning by bringing people in to the process sequentially rather than concurrently; 3) a widening circle of people becoming champions of the program; and 4) its fast pace, generally 6-8 weeks from beginning to end.

Promotion, Tenure, and Merit-Based Pay: 15 Keys to Success
O'Neill, Barbara
Extension personnel are periodically evaluated against performance and productivity measures for promotion and merit-based pay. The most important evaluation for many Extension employees is the decision that grants tenure at a land-grant university. Areas of performance evaluation generally include teaching, scholarship/Extension practice, and service. While specific guidelines vary among academic institutions, general requirements are similar: documented excellence in all three areas of evaluation, national impact on one's discipline, improved practices of Extension clientele, excellent external review letters, and evidence of future productivity. This article describes 15 strategies for Extension faculty to achieve success in the university promotion and tenure process.

Student Internships in Extension: Strategies for Success for the Agent and the Student
Wilken, Carolyn S.; Williams, Brenda C.; Cadavieco, Norma; Walker, D. Katey
The Extension internship provides a valuable learning experience for the agent and the intern. The intern receives a lesson in "real-world-learning"; for many agents, supervising an intern is an opportunity to update their knowledge and skills. Too often the intern and the agent are not a good match, leaving both parties dissatisfied and disappointed. This article offers three perspectives of the internship experience, that of the agent, the intern, and campus supervisor. We offer suggestions for strategies agents can use to enhance the internship experience for all involved and remind the reader that internships are an excellent recruiting tool.

The Gap Analysis Program: A Proactive Approach to Biodiversity Conservation
Gerlach, II, John D.; Jolley, G. Jason
This article introduces Extension professionals to the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program (GAP). GAP seeks to inform the natural resource policy process by providing land cover, stewardship, and species distribution data to decision makers. GAP data may be used to make land use decisions at different geographic levels. GAP aims to address biodiversity conservation in a proactive manner, paying unique attention to the protection of common species and their habitats. Extension professionals may also find GAP data helpful in education and outreach programs designed to inform the public of the role individuals can play in biodiversity maintenance.

Building a Successful ATV Safety Education Program Utilizing Youth and Community
Flautt, Maci; Giaccaglia, Laura; Hutchinson, Thomas; Twiner, Ann; Whitt, Anna Lyn; Boggan, Ricky
When summer is in full swing, many use all terrain vehicles for farming, work, and recreation, blissfully unaware of dangers that lurk while operating an ATV. Our experience with addressing this topic through safety education, grassroots intervention, and community collaboration yielded a replicable, youth-friendly program. Through this community-based action plan, we were able to provide safety education to a diverse population, stressing positive safety practices that reduce accidents thereby reducing injury and death. Using national and community resources, we were able to tailor a program that will prevent and reduce the impact of ATV-related injuries and death.

Cattle CODE: Coproduct Optimizer Decision Evaluator
Buckner, Crystal D.; Mark, Darrell R.; Bremer, Virgil R.; Erickson, Galen E.
Expansion of the corn-based ethanol industry in recent years has resulted in a growing supply of coproduct feeds. These coproducts result in significant improvements in cattle performance and are often priced lower than corn on a dry matter basis. Along with these benefits to feeding ethanol coproduct feeds, cattle feeders must also account for additional transportation costs to originate the coproducts and for added expenses to handle, mix, and deliver the feed ration within the feedlot. An economic budget model, called Cattle CODE, was created to help feeders, nutritionists, and Extension educators evaluate these nonlinear effects across unique feeding situations.

Does the University of Missouri Extension Educational Program for Aspiring Certified Pesticide Applicators Assist Them in Passing the General Standards Exam?
Fishel, Fred
A survey was administered in 2002 to determine if the University of Missouri Extension's educational program for pesticide applicators provided an advantage for those attempting the state certification exam for the first time. The survey compares the success rate of applicators who attend the program to those who elect to only self-study. Following the program, the Missouri Department of Agriculture conducted the survey prior to administering certification exams. The survey demonstrates such a program provides benefit and is a relatively simple method for Extension professionals to show accountability for such an effort.