The Journal of Extension -

April 2014 // Volume 52 // Number 2 // Editorial // v52-2ed1

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Some Words About Commentaries

"Some Words About Commentaries" explains what distinguishes a Commentary and describes a few steps we have taken to differentiate Commentaries from articles in other categories. (More to come.) "April JOE" talks about the three Commentaries in the issue, including another one on climate change, and mentions a number of Feature articles.

Laura Hoelscher
Editor, Journal of Extension
Department of Agricultural Communication
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Some Words About Commentaries

According to the JOE Submission Guidelines, Commentaries "offer a challenge or present a thought-provoking opinion on an issue of concern to U.S. Cooperative Extension" and "initiate discussion or debate."

The February issue of JOE contained two Commentaries on climate change, undoubtedly an issue that concerns Extension. And one of them, "The Merits of Separating Global Warming from Extension Education Sustainability Programs", definitely initiated vigorous discussion and debate. There were more contributions to that Commentary discussion than to any other since we initiated the Discussion Forum feature. So, from that standpoint, the Commentary was a success. The issue was thoroughly discussed, and a number of issues were raised.

However, from feedback we received beyond the Discussion Forum, we concluded that Commentaries are not sufficiently differentiated from other article categories. We need to make it clearer that Commentaries are just that—Commentaries.

In this issue we've taken some steps to make the categories of the various articles more obvious by including the article category at the top of each article. In addition, the Discussion Forum for each Commentary now says "Commentary Discussion" rather than simply "Discussion."

We will take further steps in subsequent issues to differentiate Commentaries from other types of articles. But we will continue to publish Commentaries that conform to JOE submission standards and provide an opportunity for intellectual discussion among professional colleagues.

April JOE

Speaking of Commentaries, this issue's Commentary marking JOE's observance of the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, "New Problems, New Day" <>, makes the point that "Extension remains not only relevant but is essential to agricultural endeavors." And "'Connecting' with Your Clients [on Facebook] <>, urges "all Extension agents to grow fluent in social media and capitalize on this widespread technology." Finally, we have another Commentary on climate change, "Cooperative Extension and Climate Change: Successful Program Delivery" <>, which proposes a "tiered approach to effectively communicate climate change adaptation strategies to agriculture and natural resource Extension clients."

Any discussion?

Extension itself takes center stage in the first three Features, "Doing the Work of Extension: Three Approaches to Identify, Amplify, and Implement Outreach" <>, "Engaging Learners Through Collaborative Learning: Leadership Development of County Extension Directors and Lessons Learned" <>, and "Development of a University Undergraduate Course Sequence About the Extension System" <>.

Those articles are followed by two discussing Extension work with military youth and two on food systems. (By the way, look for a Commentary on food systems approaches to public health in the June issue.)

And that's just some of the Features. There are 26 other articles in the April JOE to enjoy and learn from.