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Board Leadership

Extension Board Leadership

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Board Excellence Newsletter - Spring 2016

Information for Local K-State Research and Extension Board Members
Volume VI, Issue 2 — Spring 2016

From the Associate Director
Thanks for your dedication to your local extension program! We value the leadership and commitment each board member shows by encouraging excellence in the local extension program.

Several years ago, the State Extension Advisory Council developed a tool to help local extension boards. The Excellence in Board Leadership assessment is intended to help boards develop and measure their leadership skills. Early in the year, boards review the self-assessment, which is based on best practices of effective boards, and set goals for the year to guide their work. Throughout the year, members can review the goals together and complete the self-assessment. The board should submit the document to the area director by January 1. Boards are then recognized at the annual Partnership Meetings.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to review the assessment and set goals for the year at your meetings in April and May.

— Daryl D. Buchholz, dbuchhol@ksu.edu

New Extension Advisory Members Elected
Five new members of the State Extension Advisory Council were elected at the recent Partnership meetings. They are: Sandy Jacquot, Douglas County; Carmen Crandall, Doniphan County; Nathan Leiker, Ellis County; Greg Davis, Greenwood County; and Gary Snyder, Edwards County.

Each elected State Extension Advisory Council member shall have served a minimum of two years and currently be serving or within the last two years have served on their local extension board. They serve four-year terms as an advisory group to the director of extension. The council meets in February and August. The February meeting in Topeka includes visits with legislators. The August meeting location rotates around the state and features different K-State Research and Extension programs. For more information, go to:

Extension Boards Discussing Options for Forming New Districts
Currently, several extension boards are discussing the option of forming an extension district. Budget realities, as well as the desire to allow agents to narrow their focus and provide more in-depth programming, are prompting the discussion. The upcoming tax lid faced by county commissioners has caused concern for the sustainability of extension programs in many counties.

Boards may want to review extension district informational resources found on the Board Leadership Web site: www.ksre.k-state.edu/boardleadership/extension-districts.

The Forming an Extension District module contains a PowerPoint and several handouts. Extension district success stories, including several videos also can be reviewed. Boards interested in more information about districts should contact their area extension director. To date, 45 Kansas counties have formed 16 extension districts.


Focus on Outcomes: Global Food Systems
Sugarcane aphid, a new, serious pest affecting sorghum, emerged in at least 36 Kansas counties in 2015. Research demonstrates that if this pest is left uncontrolled, the aphid causes yield losses of 10 to 60 percent. The affected area represents 50 percent of the state’s sorghum production. Six targeted regional workshops were conducted to help farmers scout and manage the pest. As a result, crop damage was significantly reduced, resulting in an estimated $38 million public benefit in grain sorghum production.

Program Development Committee (PDC) Successes
Strong local programs are the outcome of a partnership between extension agents and members of the local PDC. With the establishment of the PDC Task Force in 2013, agents were introduced to tools and resources to effectively engage members. Recently, agents were asked to share their successes.
Agents shared the following examples of their success:

  • The Family and Consumer Sciences PDC changed the format and number of meetings. We followed the recommendations from the Program Development Committee resources and invited community members and volunteers to attend our meeting to expand our PDC. Special focus was given to include demographic and programmatic related members. Agendas were planned and emailed to each member before the meeting. We performed an environmental scan of our community. As part of the process of this scan, we shared demographic data and discussed community trends and needs.

  • As district director, my greatest success is, for the first time since the inception of the district, we have a PDC identified for each program area and each of those PDCs are meeting and working with agents to identify programmatic needs on the local level.

  • The mission of the Community Economic Development PDC was completely restructured from years past. My intent for this first year was to provide education regarding what the true role of a PDC is and determine duties of its members. We have made great progress and had engaged conversations regarding how we can better reach the community. One example would be to visit other extension offices both within and outside Kansas. I am also hosting and facilitating the Board Leadership series this coming spring 2016.

In the summer of 2015, two bilingual/bicultural interns worked in Barton County to reach new 4-H audiences. The interns taught STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum through summer programming twice a week at local elementary schools. The interns reached about 40 youth in 20 families.

The culmination of the program was “New Families Night,” during which a bilingual presentation was shared to orient the new families to 4-H. One of the guest speakers came from one of the oldest community 4-H clubs in Barton County. In recent years, the club’s membership had diminished, and they had been actively looking for new members. Throughout the course of the evening, the parents from the new audiences group along with the parents and youth from the existing club hit it off great. The new families were invited to attend the next community club meeting.

The community club volunteer leader was excited about incorporating the new families’ culture into their pre-existing club. They began to brainstorm about how to create a hybrid of both cultures that could coexist within the group since multiple languages would be spoken. With enthusiasm they decided that the Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge should be recited in both English and Spanish so all attending could understand and celebrate their unique differences. This was a new journey that brought a 4-H club that began in 1934 and the newest first generation 4-H families together in a way that diversity is celebrated and encouraged.

Alternative Meeting Formats for PDCs
A typical Program Development Committee meeting is likely to involve going to the local office to sit down with other members of the PDC. This traditional meeting format is important, but is it always feasible? Consider the alternative meeting options listed below. These should be used to complement, but not completely replace, the traditional meeting format:

Face-to-face meeting, individual consultations, conference call, web conference, email, and electronic poll

Each of these meeting formats presents strengths and challenges. Refer to the Alternative Meeting Formats document to learn more.


Volume VI, Issue 2 – Spring 2016
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