August 2018 // Volume 56 // Number 4
Upcoming JOE Special Issue and August JOE Highlights
In “Upcoming JOE Special Issue,” the first section of the Editor’s Page, I announce a special issue of JOE that will be published next month. In “August JOE Highlights,” I identify several offerings in this issue that feature or relate in some way to the concept of connectivity and preview just some of the wide range of topics addressed in the issue.
Coming to Grips with the Way the World Works
Extension finds itself in a cultural phenomenon known as disruptive change. Clientele increasingly access products and services digitally and in real time. This digital revolution challenges historical methods that have served Extension for over 100 years. Extension's response going forward may stem or even reverse current organizational decline. The Joint Council of Extension Professionals responded to member feedback in 2017 by hosting a virtual town hall meeting (VTHM), initiating a national conversation on innovation and change. The VTHM produced provocative discussions regarding the potential use of digital tools to increase Extension's relevance and value. In this commentary, we reflect on the implications of those discussions.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Coming to Grips with the Way the World Works”
Ideas at Work
Crossing Lines: Integrating Law and Economics in Farmland Leasing Workshops
Farmland leasing involves both legal decision making and economic decision making, which often are addressed through separate educational programs. In response to high demand for farmland leasing information in a period of leasing uncertainty, we integrated law and economics into a single farmland leasing curriculum. "Crossing the lines" and combining our areas of expertise yielded a comprehensive program that followed the actual farmland leasing decision-making process. Attendees of 11 Ohio Farmland Leasing Workshops reported positive knowledge change and high program value. Extension educators can apply our integrated approach to other issues that possess both legal and economic dimensions.
Surfing Waves of Change: Building Organizational Capacity in Extension Through Leadership Programs
Leadership development is a viable solution to equipping Extension employees for administrative responsibilities at earlier career stages. Extend Advanced Leadership Training Program (Extend) is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension cohort-based initiative proving to be a catalyst for enhancing the leadership skills of Extension personnel. This article addresses data from a mixed-methods study of the Extend program, which revealed findings on how "changing self" and "changing others" resulted in personal and professional growth within the cohort participant study sample.
Using Speed Meetings to Connect Extension Experts with University Health Researchers
Speed meetings are an innovative approach to creating partnerships among Extension experts and university health researchers. Extension educators play a pivotal role in providing community-based education, building partnerships across the state, and disseminating local research on a community level. The Extension Health Research team at Michigan State University has organized and held four speed meetings to educate researchers and faculty on Extension's history, infrastructure, and existing health programs. Participants at the speed meetings gained familiarity with Extension, and subsequent connections made with educators have strengthened research and funding opportunities in mutually beneficial ways.
Multiple-University Extension Program Addresses Postdisaster Oil Spill Needs Through Private Funding Partnership
In response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was formed to answer oil spill–related scientific questions. However, peer-reviewed scientific discoveries were not reaching people whose livelihoods depended on a healthy Gulf of Mexico. GoMRI and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs partnered to develop a regional Extension program with a team of multidisciplinary specialists and a regional manager embedded within the Sea Grant programs. The team answered oil spill science questions from target audiences. The program leaders also identified the value of adding a regional Extension communicator to enhance their Extension products.
Applied Research Engages Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
Extension master gardener (EMG) volunteers can be a valuable resource for Extension professionals in applied research if they are given clear instructions and tools for success. We developed recruitment and training materials for EMGs that equipped them for planting, maintaining, and collecting data in four demonstration/research gardens to measure the benefits of biochar on plant growth. EMGs' evaluations showed 80% satisfaction with the quality of the project, the education they gained about biochar, the volunteer training experience, and the communication methods used. Volunteers reported that working in applied research was a fulfilling educational experience.
The Georgia Master Composter Program: Increasing Small-Scale Waste Reduction and Education
The Georgia Master Composter Program is both an adult environmental education course and an Extension volunteer program addressing the growing demand for composting education across the state of Georgia. The 9-week program includes lectures by experts, hands-on learning, and field trips and differs from traditional master Extension programs because of the rigor of its hands-on component. Through collaboration with statewide organizations, program coordinators provide participants with current and scientifically accurate composting information. Upon course completion, volunteers share composting knowledge by volunteering in the community through an annual commitment. Participants widen the efforts of University of Georgia Extension, fulfilling composting education requests and fostering relationships with diverse community groups.
Collective Thinking for Extension Practice: A Time and Place for World Café
World café (WC) is a structured methodology that provides an opportunity for collective thinking through open dialogue. The WC concept affords the opportunity for individuals to engage in the sharing of ideas and knowledge. Participants rotate through timed discussions on different themes with different groups of individuals, providing for an intermixing of ideas. Facilitators benefit from accessing dialogue output and ideas related to chosen topics of discussion as a result of collective input. Extension professionals should consider WC for increasing communication and generating shared knowledge. Our approach to WC was implemented at the 2016 National Health Outreach Conference.
Tools of the Trade
RELAX to Relajarse: A Framework for Culturally Adapting Educational Programming in Extension
Family life and Extension family and consumer science educators are encouraged to adapt existing curricula to effectively use with ethnically diverse audiences. Scholars have described different methods for culturally adapting programming; however, few have documented the process by which Extension educators may tackle this endeavor. The purpose of this article is to provide a framework and step-by-step example for how one Extension program was translated and culturally adapted for U.S. Latino participants. Lessons learned and recommendations are provided.
Data Parties I Have Known: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Success
Increased focus on data-driven decision making requires Extension professionals to excel at data analysis and interpretation. Data parties have become increasingly popular for involving stakeholders in making sense of data. As these parties become more frequently used by Extension professionals, best practices are emerging from lessons learned to improve the process and enhance the outcomes. These practices include designing discussion questions to fit the specific goals of the process, engaging a team of key partners, setting a theme and party environment that appeals to the participants and fits the context, providing appropriate data visualization tools, and using strong facilitation practices.
Graphically Communicating Hay Test Results—A Tale of Two Nutrients
Our purpose with this article is to share the benefit of using a scatter plot created from hay test results for total digestible nutrients and protein to teach livestock producers four important forage and feeding concepts. The concepts are that a producer's hay is likely not of average quality, nutrients are not independent, hay quality varies on individual farms and across farms, and supplemental feed needs vary according to animal nutrient requirements and fall within one of four categories. Overall, our "tale of two nutrients" tool has served us well as an effective visual aid that can be adapted to meet local needs.
Strategies for 4-H Program Planning and Recruitment Relative to African American Male Youths
Extension educators often seek new strategies for engaging minority youths in 4-H programs, especially young Black males. These strategies require programming developed in response to the context of this population. We offer insights into the social context of Black males and offer suggestions that will help educators develop identity and integrative site-based programs for this population.
Four Approaches to Building Extension Program Evaluation Capacity
Extension educators are expected to more fully evaluate programs. In response, evaluation capacity building (ECB) is a necessary component of Extension educator professional development. One size rarely fits all; ECB more likely succeeds if it is well aligned with the educator's evaluation needs and the type of educational effort. Four approaches to Extension work have been documented—service, facilitation, content transmission, and transformative education. These approaches require different evaluation measures and therefore different forms of ECB.
Take Action with Action Learning: A Valuable Practice for Navigating Change
Action learning is a practical and high-impact way to enhance staff development within an organization. With action learning, participants are invited to own their learning experience by weaving personal experience, individual professional needs, and developmental training into a concentrated focus. In Extension, it is vital to offer tangible learning experiences that can be easily applied to one's position in real time while also building competence for future work, and action learning appeases this need. This article describes action learning in practice within an Extension program and details the necessary components to effectively execute an action learning project.
Increasing Extension Visibility by Involving Undergraduates in Research
With baby boomer Extension professionals at or nearing retirement, recruitment strategies for future hires are important. Reaching out to undergraduate students is not uncommon; however, involving them in research may be an untapped tool for exposing them to a profession in Extension. Using community-based research that involves undergraduate research assistants is a positive way to increase awareness about professions in Extension.
Extending Extension's Outreach: Using Student Interns as a Resource for Obtaining Implementation of Irrigation Improvements
Student interns are a resource that can increase the capacities of Extension professionals. Trained student interns based out of Nebraska Extension offices provided water and energy reduction recommendations to irrigators using center pivot irrigation systems. Follow-up interviews and a survey performed 1 to 3 years after the original assistance indicated impacts at levels similar to those garnered via previous assistance from Extension staff. In almost all cases, irrigators implemented soil water sensors, and the main motivations for doing so were financial. Recommendations for other improvements were infrequently implemented; however, as part of making those recommendations, the student interns collected fuel usage data that allowed for quantifying the energy and greenhouse gas impacts from reduced water use.
Veterinary Science Career Development Online Study Guide Improves Student Performance
The Online FFA Veterinary Science Career Development Event (CDE) Study Website was created to better prepare FFA members for the Veterinary Science CDE but is useful to Extension educators as well. The website provides resources for students who may not have access to hands-on study materials for the CDE. These resources include (a) instructional videos of clinical and handling and restraint practicums, (b) photographic identification examples, and (c) practice examinations. Students indicated that they felt more prepared for the CDE after using the online study guide. Because of the types of materials on the website, the site can be used in various ways by Extension educators working with youths interested in animal sciences.
Exploration of Engaged Practice in Cooperative Extension and Implications for Higher Education
Greater engagement has been emphasized as a need for Cooperative Extension for decades. Today this emphasis is also seen in higher education. Accordingly, there is need for clarity regarding the definition and community implementation of engagement. In the study described, I sought to address this need by conducting semistructured interviews with 35 Extension educators in two state Extension organizations. Emergent in the findings was the use of a hybrid model of program delivery in Cooperative Extension. Conceptual frameworks, definitions, and overviews of implementation for expert, engaged, and hybrid models are provided. Related implications for greater engagement in Cooperative Extension and higher education are presented.
Community Development in the Digital Age: Role of Extension
With the digital age in full swing, helping rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in digitally minded ways is critical. This article describes an innovative outreach process that relies on asset-based community development and the intelligent community concept. More importantly, the process relies heavily on Extension personnel and resources. This outreach process consists of four steps and is community driven. Results indicate that Extension programs and resources have helped small, rural communities begin this important transition.
Gender and Racial Disparities in a Youth Urban Agriculture Workshop
Urban youth participation in agricultural activities has been linked to positive educational outcomes. This article explores the gender and racial differences in perceived knowledge gain and intended behavior change among youths participating in a youth urban agriculture workshop in 2015. Participants were students from underserved areas in Washington, DC. Female students and Black students had about half-grade higher (0.43–0.63 points) self-reported scores for knowledge change, whereas only female students showed an increase in intent to change behavior. Our results suggest that female students may learn at a faster rate than males and that experiential learning aids Black students in gaining knowledge.
Recommendations for the Creation of a Center for Citizen Science
The explosive growth of citizen science has led to myriad independent projects in Minnesota and beyond. Here, we examine whether the field of citizen science would benefit from a center to coordinate efforts and help citizen science practitioners. We present results of a focus group–based needs assessment involving 52 practitioners active in citizen science. The main conclusions are that establishment of a center for citizen science would benefit efforts and that a statewide center should serve multiple functions. Though this process focused on Minnesota, we believe our findings and recommendations are applicable to and would benefit Extension efforts anywhere.
The Role of Extension in a University's Response to a Natural Disaster
In 2014, a mudslide devastated a small community in rural northwestern Washington State, taking 43 lives. The disaster created ripple effects that affected families, economies, transportation, and employment in neighboring communities. This article provides details of the state land-grant university's efforts to help affected communities recover. Aspects of this response readily replicable by other land-grant universities include outreach leadership provided by local/county-based Extension faculty; creation of a response team with depth and breadth of expertise and skills; engagement of campus-based colleges, colleagues, and students; and delivery of youth development programs in affected communities. Meaningful outcomes have been achieved, and the outreach continues.
Research in Brief
Latinos Living Well—A Diabetes Education Program for Rural-Residing Latinos
Diabetes is a health issue for many Latinos. Extension can help provide diabetes self-management education for rural-residing Latinos. In a pilot study, we evaluated the Extension-delivered diabetes program Latinos Living Well (LLW), as provided to 76 rural-residing Latino adults in a midwestern state. LLW consists of four weekly lessons that include hands-on activities and cooking practicums. Participants completed diabetes self-management, self-efficacy, and knowledge questionnaires; significant (p ≤ .05) changes from before to after the program were detected for each outcome measure. Additionally, participants viewed LLW favorably. Results suggest that LLW is an effective, culturally relevant diabetes self-management education program for Latinos and is appropriate for Extension delivery.
Defining Mob Grazing in the Upper Midwestern United States
Mob grazing has emerged as an increasingly used management strategy on pasture-based farms throughout the country; however, the practice lacks clear definition among practitioners. We conducted a survey of livestock and dairy producers using some form of rotational grazing in the upper midwestern United States (N = 155) to gather producer-generated definitions, perceptions of benefits and disadvantages, and implementation strategies for mob grazing. The results describe a practice defined by variability and associated with compelling impacts. Implementation of mob grazing differed among producers, although most used it as a strategic tool and not a rigid management strategy.
What Extension Personnel Should Know About Midwestern Goat Producers
The growth of the goat industry has created opportunities for producers looking for a profitable alternative enterprise. Little is known about goat production or educational needs of producers in Missouri and Arkansas. A survey of goat producers in Missouri and Arkansas addressed farm characteristics, product marketing characteristics, preferred information sources, and educational topics of interest for goat producers. A better understanding of goat production and producer needs can support Extension's development of education programs to further develop the emerging goat industry.
Examining Predictors of Implementation Quality in an Emerging International Extension Context
In this article, we explore a component of evidence-based programming—implementation quality—within an emerging international Extension context. Specifically, we examine how the traits, characteristics, and perceptions of 46 program facilitators influenced their support of maintaining implementation quality in a Nicaraguan youth violence and substance abuse prevention program, Dale se REAL. The results indicated that of four potential variables, only facilitator buy-in to the Dale se REAL program was a meaningful predictor of implementation support. The implications of the study findings, relative to evidence-based Extension research in both the United States and an emerging international context, are discussed.
Developing Internal Partnerships to Enhance a Local Foods Campaign
The Connecticut 10% Campaign teaches consumers about local foods and garden opportunities while supporting communities by promoting relevant changes in behavior. It was hypothesized that several Extension programs have similar goals and could partner to increase impact. A survey of University of Connecticut Extension personnel gauged knowledge of programs administered by the 10% Campaign team and interest in future collaboration. Results are being used to strategically plan for future programming. Extension systems addressing challenges and opportunities related to local foods elsewhere may face challenges to internal collaboration and benefit from knowledge of the findings from Connecticut.