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What Readers Are Saying



Here is what readers are saying about "The Minnesota Response".....


"As land-grant universities seek to rebuild programs based on "best practices," this book contributes valuable, experienced-based insights into the choices available as Extension programs continue to evolve and respond. The Minnesota model as presented here should prove informative to many others." Michael V. Martin, Ph.D. Chancellor of Louisiana State University and Cooperative Extension's 2007 Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award winner.


"This is important work at a critical time for land-grant universities and 
cooperative extension services. George Morse chose to release the information 
about Minnesota's response to the crises they face quickly through iUniverse 
rather than through the slow process of a university press...This book is timely,
 carefully researched, and well written." Cornelia Butler Flora, Ph.D. Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University, in Rural Sociology, 75 (2), June 2010. Available as an ejournal through most university libraries. 
"We always hear about the "teachable moment." George Morse's book 
The Minnesota Response is released at the "Extension moment." Most states 
are currently experiencing a severe money crisis and are or will be facing the 
crisis Minnesota Extension faced in 2004. In my opinion, this is a must read 
for all extension workers in states facing a budget crisis and/or
considering restructuring." Gerald Doeksen, Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University

"Morse's book is very interesting and well-crafted. I haven't read the whole

thing cover to cover, but my copy is getting quite dog-eared." Robert Sams, Director and Chief Information Officer, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

"I'm quite impressed by the thought that went into the changes you've made,
and equally impressed (and thankful) that you took the time to document
your lessons." Timothy W. Kelsey, Ph.D., State Program Leader, Economic & 
Community Development, and Professor of Agricultural Economics, Penn State 

"I've been using your book with my students and in Extension work here at

Virginia Tech. Thank you documenting some important insights about the

changing nature of Extension." Nancy K. Franz, Ph.D., Professor, Extension Specialist Program Development, Virginia Tech


"I really enjoy your book and the questions you ask about our entire 
extension system." William C. Kleiner, Regional Director - Southeast Region, 
Penn State Cooperative Extension
"We are reading with interest your recent book on Minnesota's Cooperative 
Extension system." Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., Hazel E. Reed Professor of Human 
Development, Cornell University, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, 
College of Human Ecology

Extension's Money and Mission Crisis

Chapter 1:

Even though Cooperative Extension has been one of the most successful outreach institutions in the USA for nearly 100 years and has been widely copied by other nations, it has a mission and money crisis now.  This is documented in Chapter 1.

Updates since the book:

Fischer, Karen. "Economy Forces Land-Grant Universities to Reshape Extension Work" The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13, 2009.

This article does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the "do more with less" dilemma. It provides examples from Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Louisiana, and Minnesota.

The article describes two important features of the Minnesota regional system: county choice of additional local staff and the program business plans.  Note, however, that the business plans were done by each program on a state-wide basis, pulling in faculty from all of the relevant campus departments and regional educators in a given area of expertise, rather than by regional centers.

While these two features, local choice and business plans, were two critical elements to the model Minnesota adopted in 2004, there are at least eight others which are closely connected to these.  They are: authentic specialization by regional extension educators, new funding arrangements for regional educators versus county ones, state-wide program teams on most programs, supervision of all field educators by program specialists rather than by geographic supervisors, new approaches to needs assessment and market research, new regional support systems, new external relations approaches with increased use of public value statements and regional director networks, and new scholarship and promotion expectations for field staff.

As shown in "The Minnesota Response: Cooperative Extension's Money and Mission Crisis," each of the above elements has been crucial to the success of the Minnesota model.

Questions and Comments:

What is happening in your state?  Is your state facing a mission and money crisis in Extension? Are there articles which document the increasing demands and fewer resources?  If so, please share these in the comments section. 

New Book Available:

George Morse, Jeanne Markell, Philip O'Brien, Adeel Ahmed, Thomas Klein, and Larry Coyle. The Minnesota Response: Cooperative Extension's Money and Mission Crisis. iUniverse, Bloomington, October 2009. 428 pages.

Available from and in soft cover or hard cover.

Google Books: you to read some of the book. To find the book easily, enter the full title.

The Minnesota Response explains how Minnesota Extension responded to its mission and money crisis in 2004 with a sweeping reogranization.  Breaking with 95 years of tradition, Minnesota Extension shifted from a county based delivery model to a regional/county delivery model.  Regionalization, however, is the tip of the iceberg. Several other policies define Minnesota's new approach, including changes in funding sources, degree of specialization of the regional educators, more statewide program teams, development of business plans, increased use of market research, supervision of field educators by program specialists rather than geographic supervisors, and new scholarship and promotion expectations.  The Minnesota Response details these policies and reports on thier initial impacts on program quality, scholarship, access to Extension, and public support for Extension.

The book discusses a number of the economic concepts which were the foundation of the Minnesota regional/county model.  However, it is written for a general audience rather than for economists. 

For a better picture of why it was written, read the "Preface." 

In later blog entries, specific aspects of the book will be discussed and comments will be welcomed, especially from Minnesota stakeholders and those in other states with regional systems.



Authors of The Minnesota Response

About the Authors


George Morse is a professor emeritus of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Morse served as associate dean and director, University of Minnesota Extension. He provided statewide leadership for Extension program staff and for some of the teams that restructured Minnesota Extension in 2004.

Jeanne Markell is the Ralph H. Tabor Fellow with the National Association of Counties in Washington, D.C., during 2008 and 2009. Previously she was associate dean and director for external relations for University of Minnesota Extension and part of the team that developed the new Minnesota model.

Philip O'Brien is a financial analyst with the University of Iowa.  From 2000 to 2005, he was the chief financial office and assistant director for finance of  the University of Minnesota Extension.  He holds an M.A. in economics (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago) and and M.A. in pulibc policy analysis (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Adeel Ahmed is a regional extension educator in community economics, University of Minnesota Extension, and is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He earned an M.S. from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Thomas K. Klein is associate director of the Minnesota Council on Economic Education. Earlier, he worked for University of Minnesota Extension for nine years as chief financial officer, director of the resource development unit, and director of marketing. He earned an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Larry Coyle is an Extension Professor and distance education specialist with University of Minnesota Extension. As CIO of Minnesota Extension from 2004-2006, he led the Minnesota's implementation of the regional center technology plan. He holds an M.S. degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University.


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