February 2014 // Volume 52 // Number 1
JOE By the Numbers 2013
In "JOE by the Numbers 2013" I report on the 2013 submission and readership rates and announce JOE's current acceptance rate: 26.6%. I also highlight the Top 50 Most Read Articles lists, pointing out that several entries were published in 1984. (All JOE articles still "live" and can still "speak" to us.) "2013 Outstanding Feature Article" announces the winning article among the Features published in 2013. This award is the final observance of JOE's 50th anniversary. And "February JOE" highlights the first of six Commentaries commemorating the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act and four articles that tackle the issue of climate change.
Cooperative Extension: A Century of Innovation
As Cooperative Extension celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014, the Land-Grant System will be reflecting on the first century of accomplishments and preparing for a second century of education. This commentary is the first in a series of six throughout the year that will analyze the rich history of Cooperative Extension, examine its role in contemporary society, and help us collaboratively envision the future of this unique American educational endeavor.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Cooperative Extension: A Century of Innovation”
Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture and Their Effective Communication by Extension Agents
Agriculture is an important sector of the U.S. economy, contributing at least $200 billion to the economy each year. It is considered to be one of the sectors most vulnerable to climate change and represents a key sector for international trade. Climate change is a global problem with widespread effects and implications. This phenomenon could make it more difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and same places as in the past. Therefore, it is critical that climate change messages are communicated effectively by Extension agents to farmers and the farming community.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture and Their Effective Communication by Extension Agents”
The Merits of Separating Global Warming from Extension Education Sustainability Programs
Using the rhetoric of global warming to support the adoption of sustainable practices beneficial to society limits their adoption. Climate data are about to fall outside the models used to "settle" the global warming issue. Atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to increase, while temperature, since 1998, has decreased. The science is becoming unsettling. Is it time for Extension educators to reevaluate sustainability programming and de-emphasize climate and concentrate instead on the many other beneficial aspects of moving toward a more sustainable future at all levels of Extension programming—agriculture, natural resources, the environment, health, nutrition, and housing?
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “The Merits of Separating Global Warming from Extension Education Sustainability Programs”
Ideas at Work
Climate Masters of Nebraska: An Innovative Action-Based Approach for Climate Change Education
Climate Masters of Nebraska is an innovative educational program that strategically trains community volunteers about climate change science and corresponding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an interactive and action-based teaching environment. As a result of the program, 91% of participants indicated that they made informed changes in their lives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 500 hours of volunteer work was reported by participants as an outreach for greenhouse gas emission reduction. The program can be easily replicated to other locales with an effective planning and with small leadership team.
Energy Transformation: Teaching Youth About Energy Efficiency While Meeting Science Essential Standards
This article describes the Energy Transformation 4-H school enrichment curriculum. The curriculum addresses energy efficiency and conservation while meeting sixth-grade science essential standards requirements. Through experiential learning, including building and testing a model home, youth learn the relationship between various technologies and building practices and the influence those items have on energy use. Additionally, youth learn the impact that their individual behaviors on overall energy use and conservation.
OSU Extension Housing Corps—Testing an Innovate Approach to Foreclosure Prevention in Rural Counties
An AmeriCorps program at OSU Extension offices was tested in rural Ohio counties with particularly high foreclosure growth rates. The goal was to increase rural homeowners' awareness about the statewide foreclosure prevention efforts. Fourteen AmeriCorps members provided rural homeowners with information and assisted with the online enrollment in the Save the Dream Ohio program. Despite its challenges, the program was successful in reaching over 7,000 homeowners, in engaging about 150 community volunteers, and in providing professional and personal development opportunities of over 200 hours to each AmeriCorps member.
Using Web-Based Surveys to Evaluate Field Day Open Houses: The Great Tomato Tasting Evaluation
The Great Tomato Tasting event was developed to expose residents to Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station research and Cooperative Extension and to educate them on gardening, local agriculture, and nutrition. More than 7,400 attendees have participated in this event from 2000 to 2011. A Web-based survey of attendees was created to evaluate the impact of this event, replacing previous on-site paper evaluations. The results of the survey implemented in 2010 and 2011 revealed attendees overwhelmingly agreed the event gave them a better understanding of Extension and that they were more likely to take advantage of programs being offered.
Feasibility of a Brief Community-Based Train-the-Trainer Lesson to Reduce the Risk of Falls Among Community Dwelling Older Adults
The Better Balance, Better Bones, Better Bodies (B-Better©) program was developed to disseminate simple home-based strategies to prevent falls and improve functional health of older adults using a train-the-trainer model. Delivered by Family & Community Education Study Group program volunteers, the lesson stresses the importance of a physically active lifestyle to optimal health and promotes "best practice" strategies to prevent falls. Data from 235 program participants show participants gained knowledge and learned to reduce their risk of falls during this one-hour brief encounter. Over 80% reported intent to change behavior related to physical activity and to perform home safety checks.
Ranchers Feeding Kids: A Multi-Partner Approach to Programming
School districts face challenges to balance budgets and provide healthy meals. Oregon State University Extension agents joined with community partners to form Ranchers Feeding Kids (RFK). The program started with ranchers donating cattle that were harvested and processed for local schools' lunch programs. An educational event taught youth about livestock production, its importance to the local economy, and beef's health benefits. In 4 years, the program has grown to include 32 schools in 13 different school districts, providing over 5,500 students with meals. Forty donated cattle, with a value of over $40,000, have provided 30,000 pounds of beef to schools.
High School Harvest: Combining Food Service Training and Institutional Procurement
This article discusses High School Harvest (HSH), an Extension educator-led project in five Vermont schools to provide students with job training and food system education and to provide lightly processed produce to school lunch programs. One hundred and twenty-one students participated, logging 8,752 hours growing, harvesting, and processing nearly 33,000 pounds of local produce, helping food service increase healthy local produce on their cafeteria plates. The main lesson is that while this project can achieve educational and food service procurement goals, educators must be flexible and adapt to individual schools' assets and requirements. Key ingredients to success are discussed.
Tools of the Trade
The Virtual Extension Annual Conference: Addressing Contemporary Professional Development Needs
Extension systems are experimenting with new models for conducting professional development to enhance staff competence and other returns on professional development investments. The ISUEO virtual annual conference provides a successful flipped classroom model of asynchronous and synchronous learning events for conducting an Extension annual conference. The lessons learned and emerging promising practices from our experiment will help Extension systems better meet the professional development needs of today's Extension workers by providing new learning models and technology they can incorporate into their practice.
The Communicator: Electronic Newsletter Provides Expert Support to FCS County Educators
Extension specialists are challenged to provide expert support to county faculty on an ongoing basis, particularly in geographically large states with low populations. The Communicator is a newsletter developed by University of Idaho Family and Consumer Science specialists to update county faculty on research findings as they develop programs to meet clientele needs. Survey data show that county faculty in Idaho use the newsletter effectively, reading it promptly and extensively upon arrival and applying the information in their programs. Family and Consumer Sciences professionals are invited to subscribe to The Communicator as a resource for their ongoing professional development.
Using Turning Point to Conduct an Extension Needs Assessment
Turning Point has the capability to collect market research data from an audience. This use is not supported by Turning Point, making the analysis challenging. A method for downloading raw data into a spreadsheet was identified. Once in the spreadsheet, the data could be cleaned and sorted. Although not straightforward and somewhat time consuming, it is believed that this method is superior to using paper surveys.
Training Materials Developed for Latino Entrepreneurs
This article describes the materials and training program that Extension created to assist current and potential Latino immigrant entrepreneurs in starting businesses in Arkansas. The content-based educational materials describe the process for starting a new business, government regulatory requirements, start-up costs and considerations, and how to organize important documents. All items were designed with the ultimate goal of providing business owners with worksheets and an organizational system that can be used to write a business plan.
Improving Disability Awareness Among Extension Agents
Increasing prevalence rates and legislative mandates imply that educators, parents, and Extension agents will need better tools and resources to meet the needs of special populations. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service addresses this issue by using e-learning tools. Extension agents can take advantage of these courses to gain critical special populations-related knowledge as well as garner professional development credit.
Weight ~ The Reality Series: An Extension Weight Management Program for Adults
Rural U.S. residents bear a greater burden of obesity than urban residents and may have limited access to healthy foods and physical activity. Extension agents for Family and Consumer Sciences requested an adult weight management curriculum. Specialists developed Weight ~ The Reality Series (WTRS) as two curricula: Becoming Weight Wise and Becoming Body Wise. More than 7,000 Kentucky residents have participated in WTRS, with about 30% losing 5% or more of their initial body weight. Development, implementation, and evaluation of this program demonstrate the feasibility of reaching a rural audience through County Extension Offices on the topic of weight management.
Incubator Farms as Beginning Farmer Support
Incubator farms are a fairly new model developing across North America to address barriers to beginning farmers, including access to land, capital, and credit, and opportunities to learn and develop skills in farm business planning. The number of incubator farms is increasing nationally. A sub-sample of existing incubator farm programs are described and compared side by side, providing evidence of the variation in program design. Extension may serve alternative roles, beyond the educator, in design and development of these programs.
Challenges of Engaging Local Stakeholders for Statewide Program Development Process
The University of Missouri Extension needed to develop an annual program review process that collaboratively engaged county-level stakeholders. The results from the first 2 years highlight the results, challenges, and implications of the design process. The annual review process needs to be adaptive, responsive, and reflective from year to year when engaging with local stakeholders. For example, the 2012 program review process changed from the prior year to focus on participant mind mapping to better engaged stakeholders and to produces more detailed data. The process has ensured more engagement with local stakeholders and generated information helpful to regional faculty members.
Design Matters in Community Gardens
With increased focus on local foods, food safety, nutrition, and physical health, community gardens are being created by a variety of entities, many of which are seeking assistance from Extension agents and specialists in the fields of horticulture, family consumer science, and 4-H. Extension professionals have expertise in nutrition, health, food safety, and food production, yet have little training in community garden design, which can provide the framework for successful gardens. Based on analysis of landscape elements of 10 professionally designed community gardens, recommendations were developed to help Extension professionals work with garden designers and volunteers.
Partnering with Industry to Deliver Continuing Education to Florida's Licensed Pesticide Applicators
Partnering with private industry can empower Extension educators to enhance their educational outreach efforts. Since 2011, UF/IFAS has cooperated with the Florida Turfgrass Association in conducting a 1-day statewide Polycom® event for providing continuing education to licensed pesticide applicators employed primarily in the ornamental and turfgrass industries. The annual Great CEU Roundup has become an established event through these cooperative efforts. There continues to be greater acceptance of distance delivery techniques as our audience has become accustomed to such programming.
Integrating Extension and Research Activities: An Exploratory Study
The exploratory study reported here examined Extension-research integration activities. Focus group interviews with Extension and research faculty (N=17) revealed several themes, which included: current status of integration activities, perceptions of the roles of Extension and research, barriers to integration, and opportunities for integration. Time, funding, administration-related communication challenges, need for clarification regarding respective roles of collaborators, and lack of incentives and structural support were viewed as barriers. Utilizing faculty joint appointments, networking, involving graduate students in Extension and research activities, and serving on graduate student committees were strategies suggested. Based on the findings, a framework for integration is proposed.
Navigating Difference: Development and Implementation of a Successful Cultural Competency Training for Extension and Outreach Professionals
As our world becomes more interconnected on international, domestic, and personal levels, our need to be more culturally competent increases (Samovar, Porter, & McDaniel, 2007; Ting-Toomey, 1999). Recognizing this need, Washington State University Extension sought to increase skills of its personnel by developing a set of cultural competencies and training curriculum. This article describes the process of creating, implementing, and evaluating the training. Examples are offered to show how WSU Extension addressed quality standards for successful implementation of diversity training models as outlined by Bendick et al. (2001), serving as guidelines for other Extension organizations with similar goals.
Developmental Stages and Work Capacities of Community Coalitions: How Extension Educators Address and Evaluate Changing Coalition Needs
Extension educators provide resources to community coalitions. The study reported here adds to what is known about community coalitions and applies an assessment framework to a state-level coalition-based Extension program on healthy relationships and marriages. The study combines the Internal Coalition Outcome Hierarchy (ICOH) framework with four coalition capacity categories: general, internal, external, and prevention. The findings from two focus groups, one with formation coalition leaders and one with midlevel coalition leaders, are presented. Recommendations are made for designing educational, service, and evaluation interventions to meet the needs of community coalitions at specific developmental stages.
Impact of a Middle School 4-H Science Camp on College Aspirations of Alumni
This article reports on an alumni study of middle school participants in a university-based science camp; at the time of the study the youth were completing their junior or senior year of high school. The science- and technology-intensive program was set in an intentionally designed positive youth development context. The camp was free to youth who were members of populations underrepresented in science and technology careers or were from underserved areas of the state. The alumni fulfilled the camp goal that they plan to attend college after high school. The majority reported planning to get a professional or advanced degree.
e-Learning for 4-H Volunteers: Who Uses It, and What Can We Learn from Them?
Orienting and training 4-H volunteers are critical to individuals and the organization. The two-part study reported here re-establishes the profile of the 4-H volunteer and evaluates both the format and content of e-Learning for 4-H Volunteers modules launched in 2006. Volunteers from seven states perceived that online modules made learning more convenient and flexible. Volunteers with 2 years of experience or less (84.2%) liked e-Learning modules regardless of their age. Although the profile of the 4-H volunteer has remained similar over the course of six decades, technology has successfully provided new options for reaching and preparing 4-H volunteers.
Development Strategies for Online Volunteer Training Modules: A Team Approach
Volunteers are central to the delivery of 4-H programs, and providing quality, relevant training is key to volunteer success. Online, asynchronous modules are an enhancement to a training delivery menu for adult volunteers, providing consistent, accessible options traditionally delivered primarily face to face. This article describes how Minnesota 4-H focuses on a team approach to the intentional instructional design process used to develop interactive and engaging asynchronous training modules for adult volunteers. The roles and responsibilities of the team members are described along with how this method expedites module development, increases quality, and minimizes costs.
Integrating Digital Response Systems Within a Diversity of Agricultural Audiences
Extension educators have new computer-assisted tools as audience response systems (clickers) for increasing educational effectiveness and improving assessment by facilitating client input. From 2010-2012, 26 sessions involving 1093 participants in six diverse client categories demonstrated wide audience acceptance and suitability of clickers in agricultural and horticultural programming. Farmers, ag students, and Master Gardeners provided anonymous information using wireless clickers. Analyzed data was shared in each session. Such user-friendly technology improved pedagogy with rapid and sustained learner engagement and through enhanced peer-to-peer instruction. Pre-post assessment and re-teaching techniques provided documentation for group demographics, educational evaluation, and programmatic impacts.
Parent Internet Use During a Child's Emerging Adulthood: Implications for Extension
Parents frequently use the Internet to connect with professionals and other parents for information and support, but parents of emerging adults have fewer resources to rely on than parents of younger children. This article explores how parents of 18 to 25 year olds used the Internet to connect with others, including differences by parent age, education, and income. Findings reveal that parents of emerging adults used a variety of activities for parenting and used specific activities for different purposes. Findings directly benefit Extension professionals who aim to address the needs of parents of emerging adults via the Internet.
National Outreach Programming for Landowners—Natural Resource Enterprises
We conducted a survey of Mississippi landowners to determine revenues collected and expenditures incurred during 1996-1998 for fee hunting on their properties (inflated to 2011 estimates). Study findings revealed that respondents diversified incomes derived through fee hunting enterprises on their lands. This information has been used to design a series of multi-state landowner workshops about natural resource enterprises development and conservation practices on private lands. With state and local collaborator assistance, we have conducted over 50 landowner workshops in nine U.S. states and Sweden and have received requests to expand outreach programming to other U.S. states.
International Study Abroad Experiences with Agents and Students: A Case Study in Belize
The internationalization of local Extension programs has long been a source of debate among Extension educators. Often, international work is seen as extravagant during difficult economic times. Extension also faces challenges attracting qualified young people into our profession. We report the results of a combined international Extension training and student education program. This program was popular with agents and students, improved student knowledge of Extension, and made long-term contributions to the programs of agents who participated. Building the cost for agent participation into study abroad courses may benefit students, Extension agents, and teaching faculty while controlling cost to Extension programs.
Research in Brief
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Professionals' Climate Change Perceptions, Willingness, and Perceived Barriers to Programming: An Educational Needs Assessment
The educational needs assessment reported here measured North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE) professionals' perceptions of global warming and identified barriers to climate change programming. Survey results from 400 NCCE professionals show 70% are cautious, concerned, or alarmed about global warming. Liberal and female Extension professionals were more likely to be alarmed and concerned than their conservative and male counterparts. Respondents indicated willingness to engage in programming, but need in-service training to address conflicts, gather information, and emphasize relevancy. NCCE professionals perceive lack of audience interest, conflicts within available information, and lack of applied information as the greatest barriers to climate change programming.
Evaluation of the Leadership Institute: A Program to Build Individual and Organizational Capacity Through Emotional Intelligence
The purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate the impact of Leadership Institute, a program designed to strengthen leadership capacity through developing individuals' emotional intelligence (EQ). A pre- and posttest approach was used to collect data from two workshops with identical EQ content, program structure, and evaluation. Results showed the program yielded significant improvement on evaluation participants' overall EQ score and composite scales and subscales measuring specific areas of EQ. The findings support previous research that EQ can be learned and developed. Extension professionals are encouraged to consider programs to improve EQ as a tool for building capacity.
Factors Within Multiple Socio-Ecological Model Levels of Influence Affecting Older SNAP Participants' Ability to Grocery Shop and Prepare Food
The study identified and determined if factors within multiple levels of the socio-ecological model were effective in explaining older adult Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants' ability to grocery shop and prepare food. Data were collected from 370 SNAP participants, 65 years and above, via a telephone survey. Factors within multiple levels of influence were significant in explaining both ability to grocery shop and prepare food, including physical and emotional wellbeing; self-reliance; finances; housing; family and friend interactions; social support; and food access. To effectively influence older SNAP participants, integrated SNAP education programs addressing multiple levels of influence are recommended.
Food and Nutrition Practices and Education Needs in Florida's Adult Family Care Homes
A statewide survey was carried out to determine food and nutrition practices and education needs of Florida's adult family care homes (AFCHs). The 30-item survey included questions on food and nutrition education, supplement use, and menu planning. Infrequent use of menus and nutrition supplements was reported. A strong need was indicated for education on special diets, menu planning, pureed food preparation, and the nutritional needs of the elderly. Extension programming to meet these educational needs may result in improved nutritional wellbeing of frail older adults in care.
Student Interest in STEM Disciplines: Results from a Summer Day Camp
Research shows student participation in science programming can affect scientific interest, academic performance, college majors, and careers. This article reports a study where results obtained from questionnaires completed by participants, parents, and guardians assessed whether interest in STEM disciplines was advanced by a summer day-camp attended by elementary and middle school students. Participants indicated that most activities positively affected their interest in STEM subjects. Parents and guardians also reported that student subject-matter interest was noticeably enhanced following the camp. Results indicate that inquiry-based but non-mathematical STEM activities were most successful at stimulating interest.
Use of Soil Tests for Residential Landscapes: A Survey of Soils Lab Open House Participants in Alachua County, Florida
We discuss the results of a residential homeowners survey conducted at the Open House organized by the University of Florida's Extension Soil Testing Laboratory. For the majority of participants, the Open House provided the first opportunity to learn about the Soil Testing Laboratory services. Approximately half of the survey respondents who had never tested soils indicated that they had been unaware of the soil testing services or the organizations offered the service. Among those who had used the soil testing services prior to the event, more than one-third indicated that soil test recommendations are difficult to interpret.