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Dates: April 19, May 3, May 17, June 7

Time: 11 am to 1 pm, Eastern

Registration Deadline: April 11, 2011

Registration Link:



Is This Short-Course for You?


      Cooperative  Extension is being asked to do more with less.  Yet, given the long hours which Extension staff already work, it is impossible to ask them to do this by working longer hours or working harder.  New methods of developing and delivering programs which includes greater economies of scale and greater effectiveness are needed.  Some states have sought greater efficiency and effectiveness by increasing the specialization of their field staff.  They have done this by moving to regional systems rather than the traditional county or county cluster models.


   The overall goals of this short-course are to enable   

        participants to explore:

        1) the benefits and costs of Educator specialization,

         2) the regional policies needed to support specialization,

         3) the empirical evidence on specialization's impacts, and  

         4) force field analysis on controversial proposals.

Primary Participants:  Cooperative Extension Administration, including Extension Deans & Directors, Associate Deans, Assistant Deans, Program Leaders,  Regional Directors, and others as appointed by the Dean and Director.

Two-thirds of the past participants were from Extension administration (Associate Dean and Director (2), Assistant Directors (2), Program Leaders (3), Regional Director (2), County Director (1)). One state also included on its team Regional Educators (3) and a state Specialist.


Outline of the four webinar sessions:

April 19: "The Benefits and Costs of  Extension Educator Specialization"  What are alternative ways to defined specialization of educators?  Why do economist's claim it is a way to do more with less? What is the evidence that this works? 

May 3: "Regional Policies to Support Extension Educator Specialization"  What regional policies are other states using to encourage specialization?  How do these regionalization and specialization policies impact access to programs and specialists, program quality, collaboration between educators and state specialists, applied research, public value and funding?

May 17: "Force Field Analysis to Explore Proposals for Your State"  If regionalization and/or specialization is proposed for your state, how can you reach a consensus on potentially controversial proposals?  In this session, done individually by each state team, the team uses force field analysis to explore the pros and cons for their state of a funding policy that supports regionalization and specialization.   State teams can also explore other locally generated policy proposals. 

June 7:  "State Reports on Force Field Analysis"  While all state teams start with the same policy proposal, the use of force field analysis in session three results in very different and unique proposals that  better fit their state's context.   In this session each team makes a 15 minute Power Point presentation, followed by discussion. 

In November (to be scheduled): "Optional Follow-Up Session"  This optional session gives the teams a chance to compare notes about six months after the short-course. 

Location of the Course:   This "Basic Course" is delivered online and you can participate from your office.   You can use either your phone or VoIP for audio.  Alternatively, a state team can participate from one location by projecting the online presentations and using a speaker phone.  There are two other options, a "Customized Online Course," which is available to states individually and customized to their needs, and a "Customized Onsite Course," which is similar but done in a face-to-face mode on the sponsor's campus.  For the two customized options, email George Morse at

Homework:  To facilitate the discussion sessions, participants will be asked to do some advanced reading.  However, my five years as Associate Dean and Director for University of Minnesota Extension taught me how hard it is to find time for this.  Hence, only two hours of reading assignments are included (not per week but over the seven weeks).  While most state teams spend another one or two hours preparing for their final report, they also reported this was one of the most valuable parts of the course. 

Book:  The readings come from several Journal of Extension articles and from The Minnesota Response: Cooperative Extension's Money and Mission Crisis, iUniverse, 2009.  To see a free preview of the book go to   The price varies widely, ranging from $36.95 for hardcover or $26.95 for paperback at Amazon to $4.80 for an eBook from Barnes and Noble.   If you do not have a Kindle or Nook, you can download free applications to your PC or MAC for these and then order the eBooks. However, there is a trade-off since the formatting of some tables in the eBook is out of alignment.  While the eBook tables are still readable,  the authors find them ugly.

Instructor:  George Morse, Professor Emeritus, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. Dr. Morse served as the Associate Dean and Director for the University of Minnesota Extension from 2002 to 2007 and was part of the leadership team that developed and implemented the regional and county system used in Minnesota since 2004.  His faculty website is at:


Registration:   Registration is done by a state team rather than individuals.  The team can have three to five people.    The fee of $460 includes all five  webinar sessions but not the book.  The registration is done at 

Registration Deadline:  Registration closes on April 11, 2011.  However, space is limited to three state teams so sign up early.

Questions?  Write or call George Morse at or 207-799-1872.




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