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August 29, 2008

What does building public value sound like?

This week, the Extension 2.0 web course is focusing on adding audio to our blogs by embedding podcasts. I searched through iTunes for podcasts that might be relevant for the "Building Extension's Public Value" blog, and I didn't find much. I did find podcasts for hearings held by committees in the MN House of Representatives, and I imagine some hearings that are related to Extension would be interesting to link to here.

I do think it could be helpful to include in the blog some recordings from public value workshops. People who have taken my online train-the-trainer course, but who have not had a chance to present a public value workshop themselves, might benefit from hearing some of the workshop modules presented by an experienced trainer. Perhaps, too, a recording of workshop participants delivering their own draft public value messages would be helpful here.

What other audio files would make this blog more useful?

August 18, 2008

What does building public value look like?

This week for the Extension 2.0 course, we were asked to explore images and videos for our blogs. I would love to include in the blog and the workshop curriculum some photos that illustrate "Building Extension's Public Value." However, "public value" is not an easy concept to capture in a picture.

Here is the definition of public value from the workshop curriculum: "In Cooperative Extension, we understand the value of our programs to participants. But 'public value' is the value of a program to those who do not directly benefit from the program." (Kalambokidis and Bipes, 2007). So, for an image to illustrate that concept, it would need to show people doing something (action shot!) as part of an Extension program that will benefit the greater community.

I searched on various tags in the online photo-sharing site, Flickr, including "Master Gardener," "4-H," "Cooperative Extension," and "Sea Grant." (As an aside, searching on "Extension" in Flickr yields great images for those interested in hair extensions or camera lenses, but little that serves my purpose.) I saw a lot of lovely photos of forests, crops, livestock, shellfish, and gardens. I also saw fun shots of people enjoying themselves, or getting hands-on training, without a clear connection to the public benefits they are generating.

Here is a nice photo of industrious Master Gardeners that I think conveys "public value." While it's not immediately obvious from the single photo, the rest of the photo set makes clear that they are working at a public garden, thus benefiting everyone who uses and values the space.

What do you think? Do you have any images that you think tell a story about Extension's public value?

August 13, 2008

RSS Feeds

For the UM Extension course, Extension 2.0, I signed up for the bloglines rss feed reader. I read many blogs, but I had never used a feed reader before. We'll see if it makes my life easier...

Do you think would be helpful to you to subscribe to this blog's RSS feed?

Who is writing this blog?

Hello! I am Laura Kalambokidis, a Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, where I teach Public Finance and do research on federal, state, and local tax issues. I am also an Extension Economist with University of Minnesota Extension. I created the "Building Extension's Public Value" workshop and accompanying curriculum, and I have taught the program in seventeen states. If you have any questions about the program or about this web site, please contact me at kalam002[atsign], or leave a comment on the blog. I look forward from hearing from you!

Mini Public Value workshop at 2008 Galaxy III conference

Are you attending the Galaxy III conference, September 15-19, 2008, in Indianapolis, IN? I will present a short version of the "Building Extension's Public Value" workshop as a "Skill Building Session" at the conference. Join me Tuesday, September 16, 3:30-5:00. If you've never attended a public value workshop, this will be a good introduction to the program. If you have attended one in the past, it can be a refresher course and a chance to see and use the new program curriculum.

Also, in the spring of 2009 I will offer the third online training for Extension professionals interested in learning how to use the "Building Extension's Public Value´┐Ż? curriculum to conduct workshops in their own states. Participants in the Galaxy III session will have enough information to decide whether they would like to attend the upcoming online training.

August 9, 2008

Public Value Workshop at University of Minnesota 2008 Fall Program Conference

Are you with University of Minnesota Exension? Would you like to learn how to use the public value approach to secure support for your Extension programs? Consider attending the session at the 2008 UM Extension Fall Program Conference that I will co-lead with Aimee Viniard-Weideman. The session is Tuesday, Oct. 21, starting bright and early at 8:00. Grab a caffeinated beverage and join us! Here is the session description:

Demonstrating Your Program's Public Value: The Key to Gaining Support from Stakeholders and Funders
Laura Kalambokidis, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
Aimee Viniard-Weideman, Asst Dean & Dir of Comm & Pub Relations

Given today's growing pressures to demonstrate accountability and attract scarce resources, it is more important than ever that your programs demonstrate public value. That's the benefit Minnesota communities receive because others are participating in your programs. If you develop, deliver or seek funding for programs, this workshop is for you! During this dynamic 90 minute session, you will: 1) understand public value and how it applies to your program, 2) discuss, develop and refine your program's public value messages, and 3) discover new ways to communicate your program's public value to get the support you need.

August 5, 2008

What is the "Building Extension's Public Value" workshop?

In Cooperative Extension we can readily provide evidence of our programs' private value to program participants, but we also create public value when our programs benefit others in the community. While direct beneficiaries of Extension programs have always been a source of crucial political support for Extension, demonstrating our public value can be the key to shoring up support from the rest of the population. Fiscal pressures on state and county governments make the need to demonstrate our public value increasingly urgent. More than that, by understanding and substantiating the public benefits our programs provide, we can be confident that Extension, as a publicly funded organization, is doing what it is truly meant to do.

The "Building Extension's Public Value" workshop was created to help anyone who develops, delivers, or seeks funding for Extension programs to recognize and articulate their programs' public value. The workshop has been conducted for Extension professionals in eleven states, and has been the subject of addresses at state, regional, and national Extension conferences.


Welcome to the "Building Extension's Public Value" blog, which is all about the workshop of the same name. I hope the blog will be a resource for people who are interested in or have taken the workshop, or for those who have taken the train-the-trainer course. I plan to share tips and ideas, and I hope others will do the same. Look for notices of upcoming workshops, new publications, and curriculum updates. Let's share our ideas for building Extension's public value in Minnesota and across the country!