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Extension Board Leadership

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Board Excellence Newsletter - Winter 2018

Information for Local K-State Research and Extension Board Members
Volume VIII, Issue 1 — Winter 2018

From the Associate Director
Partnership Meetings provide an annual opportunity for local board members and K-State Research and Extension leadership to discuss issues critical to working effectively to better address the educational needs of Kansans.

Following the administrative update portion of this year’s program, we will have an update on the 4-H program fee. We also will learn more about our Culture of Health initiative and will review the issues, concerns, and opportunities brought to our attention in our recent listening sessions. More importantly, we will engage in an exercise to determine ways to address those issues, concerns, and opportunities. We will be electing new State Extension Advisory Council representatives and recognizing outstanding Extension Board performance.

Partnership Meetings will be January 23 in Wichita, January 25 in Lawrence, January 30 in Garden City, and January 31 in Hays.  Contact your local office for registration information.

— Gregg Hadley, ghadley@ksu.edu


The Cherokee County office was named the Outstanding Local Unit at the 2017 K-State Research and Extension Annual Conference. The award recognizes excellence in educational programming, personnel, and budget management. In addition to a recognition plaque, the office received $1,000 for program expansion.

The Cherokee County staff includes three agents, a program assistant, and an office professional. Two of the agents began working in late 2015 and they were able to add a program assistant in 2016 due to program expansion.

They have made an intentional effort to move from providing one-time programming for community groups to identifying community issues, building partnerships, training others, and employing educational strategies that result in changed behaviors. Much of their programming occurs as an agent team. Increased community visibility of the entire team has contributed to an increase in 4-H club enrollment of 12 percent in the past two years.

During 2017, the staff secured grants of $22,000 because of their collaboration with other community partners. A strong relationship with their board and county commissioners led to the opportunity to remodel their meeting room to allow for a more professional setting for community outreach and events.

Extension Educators Recognized
Recognition of outstanding programming and contributions by faculty and staff is one of the objectives of the K-State Research and Extension Annual Conference. Agents and local unit staff recognized recently included:

  • Corinne Patterson, Lyon County – Outstanding Local Unit Professional

  • Farm Management Program Focus Team – Outstanding PFT

  • Nozella Brown, Wyandotte County – Diversity Award (one of three team members)

  • Marty Gleason, Edwards County – Outstanding Mentor

  • Kansas 4-H Impact Study Team – Outstanding Team

  • Southwest Kansas Starbuck Fire Team – Outstanding Team

  • Debbie Van Sickle, Lyon County – Outstanding Office Professional

  • Dale Lanham, Woodson County – 4-H Clover Award

  • John Forshee, River Valley District – PRIDE Partner

New PDC Orientation Video Available
This fall, many new volunteers were elected to local extension program development committees. Serving on a PDC is an opportunity for individuals who have an interest in helping their local communities and who would like to develop their personal leadership skills.

Providing an orientation for newly elected PDC members is important to their success. Not only does an orientation help new members understand their role, it also helps strengthen local extension programs. A new video has been developed for local units to use in orienting members. It is available on the PDC Resources webpage under Orienting PDC Members. Consider showing this video at a PDC meeting or sharing it with new members to watch before their first meeting.

Successful Strategies for District PDC Meetings
With the start of the new year, local units will begin planing for program development committee meetings. District agents and board members often express concern that getting PDC members together for a face-to-face meeting is more difficult because of the travel time. Here are a few ideas that have been tried by districts:

“This year, we scheduled a districtwide PDC meeting. We had a nice meal and broke into groups based on our focus area. Our board members took an active role and led the discussion in some of the groups while agents floated and led the other groups.”

“Last year, our district hosted a joint PDC meeting. This year, we met via conference call. The members felt this was a great time saver for them with their busy family schedules and wanted to continue meeting by conference calls along with regular email updates.”

“Early in the year, we met with our PDC members county by county, which resulted in higher attendance and increased comfort in providing feedback. Later in the year, we held a more formal district PDC meeting in a centralized location. We had great attendance at this meeting too. The participation and sense of ownership from the members was wonderful!”

Building Effective Board Member Skills
For the fifth year, K-State Research and Extension will be hosting a Community Board Leadership Series, four sessions designed to strengthen the effectiveness of community-based boards. Past participants have included board members from extension, churches, townships, service organizations, rural water districts, county commissions, and others.

The sessions will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on February 6, 13, 20, and 27. Topics will include roles of board members, strategies for effective meetings, fiscal responsibilities, conflict resolution, and strategic planning.

Host sites include Atwood, Belleville, Chanute, Colby, Council Grove, Garnett, Grainfield, Holton, Hugoton, Kansas City, Kingman, Macksville, Olathe, Salina, and Sebetha.

For more information see this webpage.

Financial Knowledge and Skills for Sound Financial Decisions
Health insurance choices affect all Kansans. Every day, 10,000 Americans become Medicare eligible, but many do not understand health insurance or Medicare.  Insufficient or inaccurate information can lead to late enrollment penalties, gaps in coverage, strained finances and delayed health-care treatment.

Last year, K-State Research and Extension professionals in 19 local units educated 7,482 Kansans through the process of Medicare plan comparisons and explanation of benefits covered. Participants who completed plan comparisons and changed prescription drug or Medicare Advantage plans to others that better met their needs, saved a total of $4,245,340.

On end-of-session evaluations, Kansans reached through these educational efforts reported that they increased their understanding of insurance terms, factors in plan choice, how coverage levels and deductibles affect premiums, and where to look for other resources in their communities.

Volume VIII, Issue 1 – Winter 2018
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Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
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