Board Excellence Newsletter - Summer 2017
Information for Local K-State Research and Extension Board Members
Volume VII, Issue 3 — Summer 2017
From the Acting Associate Director
Congratulations to Wilson County for joining the Wildcat Extension District #14 and and to Barton and Ellis Counties for forming Cottonwood Extension District #17. These changes, effective July 1, 2017, result in 48 counties now organized into extension districts. The process of creating these opportunities for greater effectiveness, efficiency,and it requires the active involvement of agents, extension boards, county commissioners, and extension stakeholders.
Many other counties across the state are actively engaged in discussions about creating new districts or joining existing districts. Contact your regional extension director for more information and support for this discussion. Board members can review districting resources at: www.ksre.k-state.edu/boardleadership/extension-districts/
Thank you to all involved in creating this new future for K-State Research and Extension programming for the residents of Barton, Ellis, and Wilson Counties.
— Jim Lindquist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension District Governing Body Election Changes
The Secretary of State’s office announced a noon deadline on September 1 for prospective extension district governing body members to file with the county clerk. Two members of the governing body from each county in the district are up for election on the municipal election ballot every two years. Because of a change in Kansas election law, municipal elections are now held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of odd numbered years. The first election under the new law will be on November 7, 2017. Governing body members are elected for four-year terms.
The new election law also requires district governing bodies to extend the terms of their members whose terms would have expired by July 1, 2017, through January 8, 2018, when governing body members elected in November will take office.
Assessing Board Effectiveness
The Excellence in Board Leadership assessment is designed to guide boards in setting goals early in the year and measuring progress toward those goals in December. Boards meeting the numeric standards are recognized at the annual Partnership Meetings. As a mid-year checkup, here are a few goals from the assessment:
The local extension board:
- Uses the Recruiting Board and PDC Members module to identify prospective members.
- Reviews the agenda and supporting documents before each meeting
- Focuses primarily on policy, programming, budget,personnel, and planning for the future, delegating day-to-day issues to the appropriate employees.
- Establishes committees with specific assignments and responsibilities — personnel, nominating, budget, etc.
- Communicates program outcomes regularly with stakeholders, funders, and the public.
- Reviews county or district policies annually and revises them as necessary.
- Assures that Program Development Committees work with agents to identify local needs.
- Appoints individuals to PDCs who are not otherwise represented (considering geographic distribution, age,gender, race, etc.)
- Includes program progress and outcome reports from PDC representatives at monthly board meetings.
Board Members to Use New and Improved Agent Performance Review
Last fall, eight local units piloted a new agent performance review tool. The tool was developed to address board member concerns that the performance review process was too complex and time consuming, which resulted in many board members not participating in the review.
A committee of local unit directors, along with the extension administration team, developed an online survey for board members to complete. Instead of providing written comments in six different sections, board members were asked to provide feedback on a scale from “Significantly Exceeds Expectations” to “Below Expectations.”
Board members from the pilot counties unanimously thought the new format was easier and less time consuming. Likewise, the local unit directors reported better board member participation and improved feedback quality. With the success of the pilot project, the decision was made for all local units to use the new performance review this fall. Watch for additional information.
Local units involved in the pilot project include: Douglas County, Frontier District, Marais des Cygnes District, Phillips-Rooks District, Riley County, River Valley District, Shawnee County, and Wildcat District.
Recruiting Board and PDC Members Summer is a good time to think about recruiting members for Program Development Committees (PDC) and boards. A tool to help is the Recruiting Board and PDC Members module, it provides a step-by-step guide to help identify potential members.
John Forshee, River Valley district director, says, “The Board Recruitment Module helped our board discuss characteristics of effective leaders. We were able to identify potential new board members who were encouraged to file for election in our district. The result was an engaged board that better represents a cross section of our population.”
This is one of 14 modules developed to help extension board members enhance their leadership skills. Board members can explore topics about effective leadership as part of the monthly board meeting or through self-directed learning. Learn more at the Board Leadership website.
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy is an eight-week exercise program for older adults and is designed to improve health and quality of life through strength training. The program is ultimately a fall prevention program.
In 2016, local agents provided 40 Stay Strong, Stay Healthy sessions, resulting in more than 640 classes involving more than 400 participants. Program benefits included: increased muscle mass and strength, restoration of balance and flexibility and improved bone density and decreased arthritis pain. One participant shared, “All of my medical test numbers improved! My doctor told me, ‘whatever you’re doing — keep doing it!’ I have better balance and move more freely on stairs.”
Volume VII, Issue 3 – Summer 2017
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