(Photo by With Luv (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))
I believe everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher. That each of us has expertise of our own lived experiences, and that coming together to share those experiences helps us find patterns and co-create a way forward.
So it's not surprising that I was drawn to the work of Michigan State University's Julie Doll, Cheryl Eschbach and James DeDecker when I read their article, "Using Dialogue to Engage Agricultural Audiences in Cooperative Learning About Climate Change: A Strategy with Broad Implications," in the Journal of Extension.
Their use of the Fishbowl method (inspired by "Fishbowls in the Field: Using Listening to Join Farmers, Ranchers, and Educations in Advancing Sustainable Agriculture") to allow participants to drive the conversation about climate change demonstrates the potential of a more democratic approach to Extension work to address complex issues.
This is the last in a series of podcasts featuring the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.
In this episode, we hear from Bradd Anderson, State 4-H Leadership & Communication Specialist with Missouri University Extension. Bradd wrote 5 sections of the book, “Valuing Others’ Opinions,” “Be Loyal and Always Speak Well of Others,” “Be Virtually Professional,” “Present Simply & Establish Context,” and “Don’t Send That Emotional Message.” We'll also hear what role lead authors Paul Hill and Jamie Seger hope the book will play in Extension's future. The episode ends with a bit about "bumping the lamp."
This is the 3rd in a series of podcasts featuring the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.
In this episode, we'll hear from 2 co-authors talking about change. First, Michelle Rodgers, Associate Dean and Director Cooperative Extension and Outreach at the University of Delaware, talks about her section, “Be Flexible. Adjust to Change.” Then, Danae Wolfe, educational technology specialist with Ohio State University Extension, talks about the section, “Reach People Where They Are.” Danae talks about reaching people and setting them on a path of engagement.
This is the 2nd in a series of podcasts featuring the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.
In this episode, Some of the book's authors discuss being energetic, avoiding jaded colleagues, finishing what you start and collaborating. You'll hear from Hunter McBrayer from Alabama, Daphne Richards from Texas, Scott Matteson from Michigan, and Eric Stafne from Mississippi.
Paul Hill and Jamie Seger are the editors and co-authors of the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.
This conversation with Jamie and Paul kicks off a series of podcasts in which we'll hear from several of the book's co-authors and discuss some of the important themes the book addresses.
I found out about the "Get Engaged! A Guide to Getting Involved in Your Community" program on Twitter. Eric Walcott, a State Specialist with Michigan State University Extension’s Government and Public Policy programs, was sharing his experience offering the program in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Here are the 2 tweets that prompted me to reach out to Eric.
Our conversation for the podcast covers the "Get Engaged" program, but also Eric's work talking with local governments about real engagement. As we talked, I was reminded of this Gapingvoid illustration:
Eric referenced the Public Participation Spectrum from the International Association for Public Participation as a resource for increasing public engagement. I think it's a great resource, not just for governments, but for Extension programs. Eric wrote a series of articles on the public participation spectrum. This is the first article in the series: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/public_participation_beyond_public_comment_at_open_meetings and here's the last onewith links to all the prior articles: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/engaging_the_public_in_local_government_decisions_empower.
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The latest Working Differently in Extension podcast features a conversation with Dave Campbell, Community Studies Specialist in Cooperative Extension and associate dean for social/human sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California-Davis.
Dave says the goal of his work is "to deepen the practice of democratic citizenship in California communities." That goal speaks directly to my interests in equity, engagement and collective action. It also speaks to Extension's legacy of empowering citizens. We talked about whether that legacy still plays a central role in Extension.
We also talked about what Dave means by forming a "community of the problem." It's really about turning a private problem into a public problem. Can people faced with the same problem come together to define the problem and work on it together? Dave is looking at that possibilities around the issue of food waste.
Here's our conversation:
I had to hold back the tears in a small meeting room at Big Sky Resort. Jennifer Anderson, Montana State University Extension Agent in Rosebud and Treasure Counties, was wrapping up her incredible presentation, "Community Foundation and Extension Building Capacity Together: One Community's Story," at the 2017 NACDEP/CDS Conference. Her enthusiasm and sincerity had the room mesmerized. When she said, "We know our community foundation has saved lives," the emotion in her voice had people leaning forward in their chairs. At the end, she quoted Devine Carama. At our general session just a hour or so before, Devine had said, "We are arrogant to believe we will see the impact of our leadership while we are alive," and he challenged us to build a legacy that would live beyond us. As Jennifer ended her presentation, she said she knew this, the Community Foundation of Northern Rosebud County, was her legacy. I wasn't the only one moved to tears.
Please listen to Jennifer's inspiring story below.
Cooperative Extension is making a difference, but does it show?
I talked with Dena Wise from The University of Tennessee Extension about that very question. Dena authored the Journal of Extension commentary, "Evaluating Extension Impact on a Nationwide Level: Focus on Programs or Concepts?"
First, an apology. I'm sorry for the recent radio silence. The holidays and a family-wide cold/flu epidemic have me well behind. So far behind, that I am just now posting this interview that was recorded last month.
Cayla Taylor, a program coordinator at Iowa State University, talked with me about the Journal of Extension article, "Examining eXtension: Diffusion, Disruption, and Adoption Among Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Professionals," which she co-authored with Greg Miller.
I think it brings up some interesting discussions about eXtension and its current rate of adoption among Extension professionals.
What do you think? Is eXtension being used in your state? Do you think the number of Extension professionals using eXtension tolls is a good measure of its success? Share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!