Board Excellence Newsletter - Summer 2015
Information for Local K-State Research and Extension Board Members
Volume V, Issue 3 — Summer 2015
From the Associate Director
As I think about K-State Research and Extension’s ability to serve future generations, I am reminded of the need for continuous improvement and change.
Goals that require our organization to change include addressing K-State Research and Extension’s programming focuses on the five grand challenges — global food systems, water, community vitality, developing tomorrow’s leaders, and health.
Extension’s strategic plan identifies two broad goals that indicate how we must focus our work to ensure we are reaching all Kansans to improve the quality
of their lives and their economic wellbeing.
Goal 1. Provide residents with the knowledge, education, and facilitation needed to address the five grand challenges and enhance residents’ quality of life while improving their communities.
Goal 2. Build our human capacity and infrastructure to address the five grand challenges and accomplish our vision and goals.
Experiences with extension vary widely. Some of these differences are because we have local differences in staffing; even with such differences, we must focus on key outcomes for everyone living in Kansas. Those outcomes include:
- Local units assessing local grand challenge needs and developing, implementing, and reporting progress toward action plans that address those needs.
- Local units effectively communicating the public value of their programs.
- Local units developing a culture that embraces interdisciplinary, internal, and external collaboration.
- Local unit boards, personnel, program development committees, volunteers, and their program audiences reflecting the characteristics of the communities they serve.
- Local units aligning in districts or in a manner to encourage agent specialization.
- Local units developing content-specific expertise that aligns with priority program needs.
Change is necessary. We are, and must be, about making strides toward continuous improvement. The Vision2025 ExtensionStrategic Plan helps guide our thinking and actions to work together as the educational outreach system of Kansas State University.
— Daryl D. Buchholz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Challenge: Community Vitality
Kansas communities face challenges such as loss of population, aging population, lack of health-care
services, water shortages, school closures, and the need to transition leadership to younger adults.
In January 2015, K-State Research and Extension hired a Dane G. Hansen Foundation community
vitality extension specialist to help northwest Kansas residents address these challenges. Nadine Sigle began working to boost the vibrancy of the 26 counties served by increasing leadership capacity among community volunteers and extension professionals.
One of the first initiatives is First Impressions, a community assessment through the eyes of a visitor. Residents of two communities of similar size anonymously visit the other community, viewing it as if they were moving to the town. Information gained from the visitor’s first impressions are prepared
and shared in a town hall meeting. Following the presentation, community members identify needs and select projects that make the community more inviting and improve their quality of life.
Farm producers and ranchers faced many decisions regarding the Agricultural Act of 2014. To help with that decision making, K-State Research and Extension professionals and federal and state agency representatives held 228 workshops across the state. In those workshops 20,377 agricultural producers were educated to help them understand the economics of their options.
Agricultural economists developed a decision tool and discussed the functions of each program — Agricultural Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, and Supplemental Coverage Option. Producers learned about the economics of their decisions in making the one-time program election.
Resources developed by agricultural economists helped producers decide which program to select by using variables including farm yield, base acres, and forecast of prices over the next 5 years.
For additional information, go to www.agmanager.info.
Board members are encouraged to work with their local extension agents to prepare a nomination for Outstanding Local Extension Unit and the Outstanding District or County Extension Professional. Applications are due July 23. Awards will be presented at the K-State Research and Extension annual conference awards lunch on October 22.
Criteria for the recognition include:
Programming — engaging Program Development Committees, reaching underserved audiences, and partnering with community organizations.
Personnel — developing subject matter expertise, serving in leadership roles, and pursuing professional development opportunities.
Budget — securing external funding for program expansion and planning for appropriate budgets.
For additional criteria and the nomination process go to www.ksre.ksu/employee_resources. Click on “Nominations” in the center of the page.
Best Practices for Program Development Committees
Active program development committees are essential to a strong local extension program. Here are some best practices for agents and program development committees as they identify issues that might be addressed by extension programming.
- Use the RecruitingBoardand PDCMembers module to nominate new members.
- Conduct an orientation for new members. Experienced members can work with the agent in leading the orientation. Use the ProgramDevelopment Committee Orientationmodule.
- Provide each member with a PDCMember Position Description.
- Involve PDC members in brainstorming appropriate strategies to reach specific audiences — workshops, website, social media, print, electronic media, presentations, or other methods.
- Involve PDC members in programming implementation. Members might promote events, secure donors and speakers, prepare meeting spaces, greet and register participants, emcee an event, review program evaluations, or communicate program impacts.
- In addition to face-to-face meetings, consider additional strategies to gather input from and meet with PDC members — individual consultation, conference call, web conference, email, or electronic poll.
- Send PDC members regular communications from the local office — newsletters, social media posts, the Excellence in Board Leadership newsletter, or other relevant messages to make them aware of the scope of local extension programming.
Agents recently attended a workshop, “Agents Engaging Program Development Committee Members,” where they learned about this resource and others. See the PDC Website for more information.
Volume V, Issue 3 – Summer 2015
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.