Effective Community-Engaged Outreach: A WDinExt Podcast

Sara Axtell and Kari Smalkoski are two of the authors of the Journal of Extension article, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Effective Community-Engaged Outreach Practices with Immigrant Communities.” When I first read the article, I immediately connected it to my interest in collective action networks. Community-engaged outreach practices prioritize relationship building, reciprocity and two-way sharing of knowledge. All of those priorities have a place in a networked approach to problem solving as well.

Cooperative Extension needs to do a better job of engaging the public, not just as audience members, but as co-learners and co-creators. As Sara said in the podcast, we need to think about where the ideas for our programs come from, what issues we are trying to address and about “partnering with communities and engaging with communities way before a program starts.” Sara continued, we need to “remember that communities have their own priorities that might be different than our priorities.” When we create programs first, without including the community in that creation, it’s difficult to think of the community as anything other than audience, a group to be talked at and marketed to.

Photo credit: courtesy Ramsey County Minnesota on Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/9wsiYi 

Innovation in Extension: A WDinExt Podcast

Over the past several weeks I’ve talked with members Jamie Seger and Paul Hill, director Keith Smith about the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy’s (ECOP) Innovation Task Force.

When I spoke with Innovation Task Force members Bradd Anderson and Hunter McBrayer, I wanted to keep the conversation more general. Bradd and Hunter have really valuable insights into innovation in Extension. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Turning the Tables on Me: A WDinExt Podcast

When I was looking for a way to mark the 100th episode of “Working Differently in Extension,” I reached out to the readers of this blog and my Twitter followers.

Steve Judd first shared the idea of turning the tables and having someone interview me. I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m a bit of an introvert. On the other hand, I love to hear myself talk, as many of you know. It’s pretty hard for me to judge the final product, but I certainly had a lot of fun in the process.

Thanks to Connie Hancock and Paul Hill for volunteering to be the guest interviewers for this episode. Thanks to Julie Kuehl, my co-producer for the first 20 episodes. Thanks to all the guests who shared their time, their work and a bit of themselves. Most of all, thanks to each of you who have listened to and supported the podcast over the years.

Getting Growers to Go Digital: A WDinExt Podcast

Cooperative Extension has created many decision support tools in spreadsheet, websites and apps, but are people actually using these tools?

Wendy Johnson and Brian McCornack from Kansas State University looked into the acceptance of these kind of applications and shared their findings in their Journal of Extension article, “Getting Growers to Go Digital: The Power of a Positive User Experience.”

We talked about technology adoptions, especially among crop producers, in the conversation below.

Dr. Chelsey Ahrens: A WDinExt Podcast

We’ve been flirting with Snapchat at NDSU Extension Service. We’ve created some on-demand geofilters for events, but we don’t have ant NDSU Extension Snapchat accounts.

Dr. Chelsey A. Ahrens, Specialty Livestock/Youth Education Specialist with University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service,  has fully embraced Snapchat for her Arkansas 4-H Livestock program. I talked about how she is using Snapchat and other social media to reach 4-H participants and their families.

Dr. Keith Smith: A WDinExt Podcast

A few weeks ago on the podcast, I talked with Jamie Seger and Paul Hill about their experience on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy’s (ECOP) Innovation Task Force. On the latest episode, spoke with Dr. Keith Smith, who chaired that task force.

Dr. Smith is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University. He served as the director of Ohio State University Extension for more than 20 years.

It was great to get a former director’s perspective on innovation in Cooperative Extension. Dr. Smith is frank about Extension’s need to innovate. He referenced the Innovation: An American Imperative, the call by industry leaders for policies and investments to ensure the U.S. remains a global innovation leader, in asking if its imperative that the nation innovate, why should it not be imperatve for Extension?

Dr. Smith also mentioned the book Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Ken Lineback. He had his cabinet read this book while at Ohio State University Extension.

Dr. Smith is a respected leader in Cooperative Extension. Here’s hoping the system hears his call for innovation.

Citizen Science and Extension: A WDinExt Podcast

The increasing public distrust of science is one of the indirect threats to the future of Cooperative Extension. Obviously, an organization founded to diffuse research-based information and innovation would have an extremely hard time functioning in a country that had stopped trusting science.

Citizen science has the potential to rebuild trust in science by engaging people in the scientific process. It could also engage people in improving their own lives and communities, sharing in the work Extension often aims to do. Citizen science benefits Extension, and so Extension should be working to encourage it.

Katie Stofer, a research assistant professor at the University of Florida in the Agricultural Education and Communication department, has spent a year researching the state of citizen science in Cooperative Extension as part of an eXtension Fellowship. She shared some of what she learned on the latest episode of the podcast.

Innovation Task Force: A WDinExt Podcast

Jamie Seger, Educational Technology Program Director at The Ohio State University, and Paul Hill, County Educator and Extension Associate Professor (4-H) at Utah State University, co-lead the eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network (EdTechLN).

They join us periodically on the podcast to discuss the emerging technologies and issues in Cooperative Extension, and what’s going on in EdTechLN. In the conversation below, we focused on the Extension Committee on Orgaization and Policy’s Innovation Task Force, which Paul and Jamie both served on.

WDinExt 100th Episode Ideas

On November 3, 2016, I’ll post the 100th episode of the Working Differently in Extension podcast.

I started the podcast with my former colleague Julie Kuehl back in December 2010. The first 16 episodes featured Julie and I talking about technology. When Julie left NDSU, I re-imagined the podcast as an interview show with the first episode in that style, an interview with Dan Cotton, being posted in January of 2012.

Since then, I’ve recorded more than 75 interviews with Cooperative Extension folks across the country.

What do you think I should do for episode 100? Is there a guest you’d like to hear? Do you have ideas for a special 100th show?

I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks!

Shared Use Kitchen: A WDinExt Podcast

When I set up my interview with John Ivey, North Carolina Cooperative Extension agent in Guilford County, I was interested in the shared use kitchen he helped set up because it seemed innovative that Cooperative Extension would offer a facility where they might have only offered education.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. When John described how the shared use kitchen brought together much of what Extension has to offer: agriculture, entrepreneurship, community development and food safety. Add that to the impetus for the project, a finding that Guilford County was among the lest food secure counties in the nation, and you can see that Guilford County’s shared use kitchen is a much more significant innovation than I had thought.