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October 17, 2011

It's all in the timing

I've taught "Building Extension's Public Value" workshops varying in length from all day to 90-minute concurrent sessions at conference. A couple of weeks ago, I presented a "mini" workshop for University of Minnesota Extension that was only one hour long...and that was with interruptions for fire alarm testing!

That varied set of experiences, together with recent conversations with Extension staff who are gearing up to teach workshops in their own states (shout out to New York and Georgia!), made me think that we could benefit from an exchange of ideas about timing.

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I have experimented with a number of different structures for the BEPV workshop, but the most common takes about four hours, including a couple of short breaks. Of course, in that amount of time, I can't teach all of the modules in the BEPV Presenter's Guide. But, we can usually complete the content and activities for the modules shown below:agenda.JPG
Note that the last goal is "have considered next steps," and not "have completed a public value action plan." A four hour workshop may not give us enough time to complete the action plan module. Depending on the audience's objectives, I sometimes replace the full module with a large group discussion about next steps.

As I teach in the BEPV Train-the-Trainer course, I use caution when I skip workshop modules. Each of the optional modules was added to the curriculum, because I repeatedly fielded questions on that topic. So, when I skip a module and the associated exercise, I spend at least a few minutes talking about the issue that the module is intended to address. For example, if I don't cover module 9, "Maximizing Public Value," I lead a short discussion about the different types of program characteristics that are responsible for public value outcomes.

If you have taught a BEPV workshop, how much total time did you use? What were you able to cover in that amount of time? If you've participated in a workshop, how long was it? Did it seem like the right amount of time? Rushed? Did it drag on? Would you preferred a different schedule?

May 17, 2010

ExTEND-ing public value in Georgia

Across the country, Cooperative Extension organizations are adopting a variety of strategies for training their staff in the public value approach. University of Missouri appointed an "MU Extension Public Value Education Team," who subsequently offered "Building Extension's Public Value" training to all of MU Extension. Some states introduced the training to a particular program area (Family and Consumer Sciences in North Carolina, and Community Resource Development in New York and Pennsylvania). Nevada, in contrast, introduced it in selected regions.
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University of Georgia Extension has chosen to introduce public value training as part of a professional development program for the organization's leaders--and future leaders. Last week I taught the BEPV workshop for Georgia's "ExTEND" group: participants in an advanced program of the Extension Academy for Professional Excellence. I look forward to seeing how the ExTEND group chooses to use the training--how they plan to extend their organization's public value.

What approach do you think will work best to build support for public funding for Extension programs? BEPV training for everyone? For Extension leadership? Rolling out the concepts by program area or region? Or another approach?

April 26, 2010

Evidence Based Living Blog from Cornell

Looking for ways to support your public value message? Spend some time exploring the Evidence Based Living Blog, written by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Karl Pillemer, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, and Rhoda Meador, Associate Director of Outreach and Extension in the College of Human Ecology as well as the Associate Director of the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center. Cornell.jpgThe blog highlights research on the outcomes arising from all kinds of programs and interventions, particularly in the areas of youth development and health and wellness.As the authors say, "The blog is based on one key principle: Now more than ever, people need help separating the good scientific information from the bad. We are all about assessing the scientific evidence on human problems and looking at how to use it every day." Does that sound familiar? Does your extension program make an effort to "separate the good scientific information from the bad"?

Consider adding the Evidence Based Living Blog to your blog reader, so you can see when the authors post about the latest research or media stories on youth behavior and health. Take a stroll through the archives and read the discussions and evidence assembled therein. You may come across ideas for new research projects or findings that you can use to make the case for your own programs. If you find something that you find useful, go ahead and share that in a comment on the Cornell blog or here.