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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Conducting Effective Performance Appraisals- Pre – Appraisal Process


An agent’s performance has a significant impact on The Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service capacity to fulfill its mission. However, the effectiveness of the performance appraisal conference is directly correlated to the preparation prior to the conference itself. If the Pre-Appraisal process is to be effective the Extension agent must …
  • Finalize monthly reports on the TeXas System.
  • Finalize all County Commissioner’s Court reports.
  • Submit annual outcome summaries
  • Review support materials provided to DEA in monthly reports.
  • Review interpretation materials that communicate programmatic outcomes.
  • Review County Media Efforts, such as program area newsletters, radio programs, news releases
  • Complete our Making a Difference Documents- out come and/or out put summaries
  • Review 4-H enrollment goals
  • Review your inter disciplinary programs
  • Review your Showcase Events(including participation of Elected officials)
  • Review Multi-County Programs, Result Demonstrations and tours.
  • Review Leadership Advisory Board and Youth Board Events.
Your Performance Reviews are being scheduled starting in December. Barbara Moretich will be giving you a call to schedule your PAS. I am going to complete this task this year by going to five locations in the District. I may conduct some of these confrences on LYNC.

 I will also send you an email this week in preparation for your PAS as to know what to prepare for. I truly appreciate all of you hard work, on my behalf it is great to get see all the excellent programs you provide to your clientele during the year. I am very fortunate to work with the best agents in the state.

San Antonio Livestock Exposition- Leadership Extension

The “Leadership Extension” program is designed to provide Extension faculty with an opportunity to develop comprehensive leadership skills.  Beginning in May 2012, Class X will consist of four, four day sessions held at six month intervals.  The sessions will be held at three different locations across the state and one session in Louisiana.  Each session will cover a wide variety of leadership topics.

 Extension faculty with at least five years of Extension experience who aspires to enhance their leadership skills are eligible to apply. I would ecourage  perspective agents to the SALE-LE website at http://sale.tamu.edu. Completed applications are due in our office by December 1, 2011.

District 11 4-H Events and Activities

Looks like we had a great District 11 Crossroads, a big thanks to those of you that assisted with the planning and implementation of the event. We now move on over to the District 11 Food Show and The Coastal Bend Classic both on December 3rd , Looks like we are getting good participation for both events. We still need judges for the food show please find judges and send the information in to Sharon.
Our focus needs to continue to be provide our 4-H members and leaders with the best quality experience possible. If we can remember to keep our focus among our many tasks associated at the end of the year these two events will be greatly successful.

Major Show Entries due December 1st. Those of you that are preparing your entries for the major stock shows, please be aware of the December 1st deadlines. It would be a good idea to review your validation information so no one gets left out. I know this is a process that can bring on much stress right before the holiday, however, please make sure you double check your entries and validations keep good documentation as every year problems always shows up. Cover your tracks!!!!!


District 11 Personnel News
This morning Refugio County Court approved Michael Donalson, as their new County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Michael will start on December 1st. Michael will start first step in San Patricio County. Michael comes highly recommended from Tarlton State University he will also be receiving his Masters Degree next month. Please help me to welcome Michael to District 11.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish our District 11 Extension family a Happy Thanksgiving.  I am fortunate to work with a great group of agents, specialists, and support staff in District 11 thank you for all you do.

Everybody looks forward to the thanksgiving feast. The turkey, the pies, and the celebration, football,shopping or even sitting in a deer blind.

However, thanksgiving is incomplete without a moment of reflection. Spare a moment, and say a prayer of gratitude for life's little blessings.

For, it is these little blessings that enrich our life. Here is a quote, that I was forwarded on Twitter, that I wanted to share.
If you learn to appreciate more of what you already have, you'll find yourself having more to appreciate. -Michael Angier
I hope you can send some quality time with your family and friends this Thanksgiving. If you will be traveling be careful on those busy highways. DM

Friday, November 11, 2011

2011 Outcome Summaries Due Dec. 1st

Telling our Story”. You will hear this as one of the most important jobs we do as employees for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.Accountability is central to the relevance of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. As a state agency, who receives funding from federal, state, local, and grant/contract sources, we must be good stewards of the funding we receive.
Accountability Framework
Accountability of our program is a high priority for everyone in Texas AgriLife Extension Service. It allows us to tell our story as well as make corrections in educational programs.
Interpreting evaluation results and marketing those results to stakeholders is very important. If the Extension educator does not interpret and market these results, how will the community and stakeholders know the results of the evaluation?
When interpreting program results, the Extension educator should address the “3 R’s”. These are: Relevance, Response, and Results.
  • Relevance – What was the relevance of the program?
  • Response – How did Texas AgriLife Extension Service respond to the relevant program?
  • Results – What are the results? What happened as a result of the educational program?
Answering the “3 R’s” provides the stakeholder with sufficient background and evidence of what the program was, how it was addressed, and what happened as a result of the program. Typically, the Extension educator would develop a one-two page summary revealing the “3 R’s.” This is the time to be creative and so something exciting that will draw the stakeholder in. It is important to use table, graphs, and / or pictures to reveal the impact of the program. The template that all County Extension Agents should use for their outcome summary and the county annual report can be found at:
http://agrilife.org/communications/resources/extension/documents/
Annual Report - CountyThe new templates including public value statements can also be found in the task bar on the right of the web site.

Most organizations have numerous stakeholders. Extension educators must decide who they should market their results to. Some examples include:
  • The Community – through media outlets if possible.
  • The County Committee
  • Program participants
  • Extension colleagues
  • Commissioner’s court and county judge
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service administrators / County Directors / District Extension Administrators / Regional Program Directors
  • Community and state legislators
Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s mission is to provide quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to the people of Texas. In order to this effectively, it is imperative that each Extension educator in the agency develop educational programs in a strategic and systematic way. Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s Program Development Model provides these steps to address when developing educational programs. The success of this agency is based on providing quality, relevant programs that have defensible results.

  • District 11 County Extension Agents Outcome summaries are due on December 1st, please send your document by email to me and cc Barbara Moretich. Your County Making a Diffrence Document (Annual Report) is due by December 15th.

District 11 County Judges and Commissioner Conference set for December 13th
Our annual County judges and commissioners conference is set for December 13th, at the San Patricio County Civic Center located on the grounds of the San Patricio County Fairgrounds in Sinton, Texas.  The conference has been developed by our District marketing and interpretation committee.  Topics of discussion will include, use of social media in the workplace, Economic implications of pipeline infrastructure within the Eagle Ford Shale, Rural Fire Emergency management panel, and updates on legislative issues.  Also in attendance we will have State Representatives Todd Hunter and Raul Torres both from Corpus Christi. Each County Judge and Commissioner in our District will be getting a letter of invitation to the conference. I expect for each agent to make personally follow up on the invitation and personally invite your judge and or commissioners to the the conference. The conference will provide 5 hours of continuing education toward their requirements.  Our members of the marketing and interpretation committee are: Ginger Easton-Smith, Shamaine St. Julian, Rhonda Cummins, Anthony Netardus, Kayla Kaspar, Becky Ham, JD Folbre, Brent Batchelor, Zach Davis, Kathy Farrow, Kelvin Neal, and Dianne Gertson.

District 11 Ag Retreat- El Campo, Texas

The District 11 Ag Retreat was held this past week in El Campo Texas hosted by Peter McGuill, Brent Batchelor, and John O'Connel. This was an excellent retreat including great tours of Prasek's Hillge Smokehouse and Green Leaf Nursery.  I want to thank Dr. Megan Domiguez for conducting the grass identification contest for agents and Dupont and Dow Agrisciences for providing the excellent prizes.  Congratulations to Phillp Shackelford for winning the pair of boots and 1st place, also Congratulations to Scott Willey for winning the rookie award.  Thanks to Dr. Larry Falconer , Dr. Monty Dozier and Dr. Roy Parker for attending and providing their updates for our agents. 

Agents that presented at the retreat were Clyde Crumbley, Brian Yanta, John O'Connel and Jeff Stapper. These agents did a great job in presenting result demonstration data, using relevance, response and results with in their outcomes.  Philip Shackleford presented a very good disucssion on how to develp a professional poster for professional meetings and other interprative events. 

The 2012 District Ag Retreat has been set for November 6th and 7th in Karnes County. There will be a clear expectation for all Agricultural agents to attend next year.  TCAAA will still provide leadership to this Ag retreat each year.  However all agents  members of TCAAA or not will be expected to attend. 4-H agents with agricultural appointments will also be expected to attend next year.   A big thanks goes out to the host agents for a great retreat and a great admosphere for fellowship.

Flip Video HD Cameras

MinoHD 8GB | 2 hrEach District 11 county will soon get a new Flip camera to use with your programing. These cameras are very easy to use in capturing just about anything associated with your programs and uploading the video to your computers, YouTube and your websites. The support of the Behmann Foundation provided an opportunity for Pete Flores to apply for a grant to supply all of our counties with the Flip Cameras. It will be required for each county to upload a total of four videos each year associated with all disciplines of county programing.


County Email Boxes
I was just made aware that some of our counties are not checking their county boxes since support staff have their own email addresses.  It is important that the county boxes get checked once a day. Information is still being sent to the county box. For example if a client requests information for you though your web site they may choose the county box email to request information. I want to remind all agents and support staff that our web sites are no different than our front door of our offices. We should be inviting and accessible to our clientele. Agents ---you are ultimatly responsible for checking the county box , please designate some one to do so or check it yourselves.  There are no plans that I know to do away with county boxes, till then we need to use our county boxes.


District 11 Personnel News:
More changes this month in our District.  Amy O'Brien-Glenn has resigned her position of FCS agent in Aransas County. Amy will help to run her parents business in Eastland Texas. We wish Amy luck in her future.

Sam Womble has trasfered to Bandara County as the ANR agent in District 10 and started his new role this week.  Shamaine St. Julian has accepted the position of 4-H agent in Harris County effective December 1st.  Sam an Shamaine have provided great leadership in their respective counties and to District 11, I know that District 9 and 10 will be getting very high quality agents and we wish them much luck in their new counties. 

 Joe Janak will be resigning after 34 years of service to Extension. Joe last day will be at the end of February. Please join me in congratulating Joe on his long distinguished Extension Career.
I will meet with the Refugio County (ANR) and Washington County (4-H) County Courts this month to approve agents,  soon these new agents will assume first step duties in San Patricio County and Austin County.  We are in the process of identifying a finalist for the Victoria County FCS position and interviewing for the open 4-H position in Victoria County.
Molly Grace ready to go home
We also have a new addition to the District 11 family, Miss Molly Grace McManus, she came into the world on Monday Nov. 7th,  8 lbs. 6 oz. and according to her dad , with a great pair of lungs.  Congratulations to Kyle and Jodi McManus for their great blessing.










Thursday, October 20, 2011

District 11 Agents Interpret Success of One Day 4-H

Agents Should Plan on Interpreting Success Associated with One Day 4-H

One of the keys to program interpretation is recognizing opportunities to communicate program success to stakeholders when they present themselves. Many times you as a County Extension Agent conduct very effective programming efforts which result in measurable outcomes, then move on to the next program without taking time to interpret the success of the program they just completed.
On October 8, 2011, Texas AgriLife Extension Service provided the leadership in conducting a very effective service project called One Day 4-H through our 4-H and Youth Development Program in all 18 counties in our District. There is no question that this activity will result in tremendous success and agents should make a special effort to interpret the results of their county project. 
The following is the type information that could be utilized in a effective interpretation effort;
  • Number of Projects in the county.
  • Number of 4-H Youth Involved.
  • Number of NON-4-H Youth Involved.
  • Number of Adults Involved.
  • Total Number of People Project reached/assisted.
  • Hours Took to Complete Project.
  • Value of Time Contributed (Independent Sector Value).
  • Number of lbs of food collected.
  • Value of the food collected.
  • Number of care packets made.
  • Value of care packets made.
  • Number of miles of road/beach/park cleaned.
  • Number of lbs of Trash collected or materials recycled.
  • Number of people reached by Educational Projects.
  • Money raised for other organizations.
  • Number of new 4-H members recruited because of One Day 4-H.
Please remember to step back evaluate and reflect on the successes of your programing and use this as the motivation to interpret to our funding partners and prospective supporters of our programs.

Superior Service Award Nominations Deadline Extended to November 15, 2011
 Agent/staff recognition is a tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes agents and staff create for our District/County. When we recognize agents and staff effectively, we reinforce the actions and behaviors we most want to see agents and staff to repeat. An effective employee recognition system is a powerful tool.

 One of the methods that can be utilized to recognize agents and staff is by nominating them for the 2011 Texas AgriLife Extension Service Superior Service Award.

Dr. Smith announced on October 4, 2011 that the nomination deadline for the 2011 Superior Service Awards Nomination has be extended until November 15, 2011.  Guidelines and the online application can be found at http://agrilife-extadmin.tamu.edu/SSA/.


District 11 Ag Retreat Call for Presentations- Due Oct. 28th

In preparation for the upcoming District Ag Retreat November 8th, and 9th   in El Campo,  I wanted to call for professional presentations from Ag. Marine, 4-H, and IPM agents planning to attend the retreat.  Each year we set time aside on the agenda for presentations by agents on information that would be useful to the group in terms of result demonstrations, new or innovative programing, and or results of your 2010 outcome programing.  The presentations may not be limited to Agricultural programing, topics may include 4-H leadership, community and or economic development etc.

The presentation should not be more than 15 minutes in length and must include some type of professional visual aids such as but not limited to a power point.  It is expected that if you have not presented in the past two years, you will present this year.   This would be an excellent opportunity to discuss a topic of your choice that would benefit others in the district.  This would also be a great opportunity to add to your dossier.

I need for you to submit your intent to present to me by email no later than October 28th, please include the topic of your presentation,  I will inform you if your presentation is selected for this year’s presentations by November 1st.  Give me a call if you have any questions. DM 

Program Planning Conferences as success on LYNC

The new process of using LYNC for our program planning conferences were a success. I believe we had good interaction with out having to travel to a central location for at times limited assistance for agents that have done a great job in establishing there plans for 2012. I would like to remind agents that if you have plans that need to be revised due to suggestions from our RPD's and 4-H specialist please complete these by November 1st.  These plans must be completed, submitted and approved by the RPD's by the 1st.  If you need assistance and can not get your plans approved by the 1st  we will encourage you to come to the Corpus Christi Center on November 14th for a face to face program planning conference to finalize your plans. Give me a call if you have any questions. 

County Coordinators please remember to forward me an updated job responsibilities form for my approval by December 1st. 


2012 Professional Development Contract

As you know we no longer have plans and or tasks in TeXas for your professional development activates. Please sign and forward me the contract for approval by the RPD and myself. Please review the contract and select the activities that you will be attending in 2012.  Please mail me a signed paper copy and I will forward to the RPDs for their approval and signature. I need these contracts in by your designated Program planning conference.

As you can imagine it is not easy to include all of the activities, so please add any other conferences , professional meetings , symposiums, workshops, etc.. that you plan on attending during the year.  I have also selected some of these activities and added them to our D11 Extension outlook calendar for your reference.  We can update unplanned activities during the year.

I also would like to remind you that this will be our contract and your investment in your Professional Development for 2012.  This contract will also be used by the RPD’s and myself as a tool to gauge your commitment in developing yourself as a professional educator in your county.Please refer to my email, on September 28th, 2011 for a copy of the contract.


Friday, September 30, 2011

District 11 County Judges and Commissioners Confrence Scheduled

One of the components of the County Programs “Making a Difference” Interpretation Initiative are District Judges and Commissioners Conferences that will be conducted in all of our Extension Districts .
  • District 11 Confrence - December 13, 2011- Sinton, Texas
These conferences provide a tremendous benefit for both our County Commissioner Court members and Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The following are some of the reasons that this component of our interpretation plan is critical;


  • Enables me to solidify partnerships with County Commissioners Court members in their District 11.
  • Demonstrates Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s commitment to county government.
  • Provides an opportunity for Texas AgriLife Extension Service to showcase effective educational programs conducted in the District.
  • Provides customized professional development for County Commissioners within a District.
  • Provides a venue for quality interpretation.
Agents should be reminded that District 11 “Making a Difference” Interpretation Initiative includes the following;
  • District Judges and Commissioners Conferences hosted by Marketing and Interpretation committee.
  • Utilization of the Extension Making a Difference Newsletters that communicates Texas AgriLife Extension’s public value. This newsletter will be published on an annual basis.
  • Utilization of the Extension Making a Difference annual reports that communicates Texas AgriLife Extension’s public value.
  • All Counties conduct formal interpretation events with County Commissioners Courts annually that communicates Texas AgriLife Extension’s public value.
  • All Counties involve elected officials in Extension “showcase” events.
Our marketing and interpretation committee will meet on Thursday October 6th, starting at 9:30 am over LYNC.  Individuals were contacted to join in the conference.  All agents can provide suggestions for programs and interpretation ideas for the the upcoming Judges and Commissioners conference.  Please give me a call if you have suggestions to share.

District 11 Professional Development Contract Due by your Desiganted Program Planning Conference

As you know we no longer have plans and or tasks in TeXas for your professional development activates. Please refer to the email I sent you this past Wednesday for the attached contract that you will sign and forward back to me for the approval of the RPD and myself. Please review the contract and select the activities that you will be attending in 2012.  Please mail me a signed paper copy  or use the (fillable form) version to make it easier to complete, you can sign electronically and then forward to me by email . I will accept them on paper or electronically signed , I will forward to the RPDs for their approval and signature. I need these contracts in by your designated Program planning conference.

As you can imagine it is not easy to include all of the activities, so please add any other conferences , professional meetings , symposiums, workshops, etc.. that you plan on attending during the year.  I have also selected some of these activities and added them to our D11 Extension outlook calendar for your reference.  

I also would like to remind you that this will be our contract and your investment in your Professional Development for 2012.  This contract will also be used by the RPD’s and myself as a tool to gage your commitment in developing yourself as a professional educator in your county.  Please give me a call if you have any questions. DM

Personnel News
Give Matt Bochat ,new agent in Bee County a call next week to welcome him to the District , he will start Monday October 3rd.   News comming soon on Washington County 4-H and Refugio County ANR.  Victoria County 4-H came open internally this week, help me recruit internally in bringing another great agent to D11.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Program Planning Confrences Scheduled


I believe we had a good productive workshop this week in Edna, some things have changed slightly but the process is still simple in that your plans are your contract with administration on how you are going to program in 2012.  You are in charge of your work calendar and it all starts with developing your plans. Remember you will be evaluated on your performance directly from your plans in 2012.  I wanted to thank all of the specialists that participated in the workshop. I would also like to thank Logan Respess, Director of the Texas Sea Grant program, and Jacquelin White , Interim Program Leader for FCS for the Cooperative Extension program for spending both days with us and supporting the agents they work with.  A big thanks to Mike Hiller and his support staff for hosting us at their great facility.
I also wanted you to know that because of this situation of TExAS being offline we will allow flexibility on the deadline once the system is up and running. It’s Important that you all continue in working with RPDs and local planning groups in developing program plans for 2012.

Program Planning has been around a lot longer than the TExAS System and the system no way influences how we work to develop the plans. It is simply mechanism that we utilize to publish and report to our plans with administration , stakeholders and supporters.  The key is that the plans are of high quality regardless if they are up on the system or hand written on a tablet. The importance is that they are developed before you ever sit down to type into the system. Computer Systems don’t dictate planning and they don’t identify issues that need to be addressed in our counties, that’s done thru committees and the issue identification forums that were done earlier in the year. I know that Scott and the OD crew will work hard to get the system up and running soon, and they have worked hard to make it better for our agency.
Scheduled Program Planning Conferences for 2012
Ø   Wharton County – October 7th, 2011 – 8:30 am - Lync Webcam Conference
Ø   Group 1 – October 11th , 2011 - 8:30 a.m. - Lync Webcam Conference – Aransas, San Patricio, Nueces, Nueces EFNEP
Ø   Group  2 – October 12th, 2011 - 8:30 a.m. - Lync Webcam Conference  - Washington, Colorado, Fayette
Ø   Group 3 – October 13th, 2011 - 8:30 a.m. - Lync Webcam Conference – Jackson, Matagorda, Victoria
Ø   Group 4 – October 14th, 2011 - 8:30 a.m. -  Lync Webcam Conference – Dewitt, Lavaca, Karnes, Goliad,
Ø   TBA – Bee, Calhoun, and Austin / Face to Face PPC to be determined depending on need

Heather Ware, New Coastal Comminity Development Agent
Logan Respess,  received a few questions from Agents and others who attended the D11 PPW in Edna regarding our newest hire Heather Wade. Heather is new to us and new to Extension. She is the first ever Coastal Community Development Agent in Texas. She fills a two-year soft money partnership position between the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (UT) and Texas Sea Grant (TAMU). Logan will be actively working to extend her position through grants and contracts beyond the two-year time frame.
Heather’s position will be similar in her geographic setup to our IPM agents. Her area of operation will be the counties bordering the NERR (Calhoun, Refugio, Aransas, San Patricio, and Nueces), but could potentially help others outside this area. Heather is an Urban Planner by training and will be working almost exclusively in the realm of CRED.
Attached you will find her hiring announcement. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Logan (L-respess@tamu.edu) or Heather (hbwade@tamu.edu).
Matt Bochat, New Bee County Agricultural and
Natural Resourse Agent
Matt Bochat will assume his new appointment in Bee County on October 3rd. Matt is a former Ag agent serving in our agency for 11 years.  Matt served in Gonzales, Jasper, Smith and Brazoria Counties.  We are fortuante to have Matt come back to Extension and bring his experence and energy to the Bee County Extension program.  I know that Kathy Ball our office manager in Bee County is eager to have an agent to work with. Please give Matt a call to welcome him to his new role. 

Monica Flores, New Refugio County office manger and
4-H program assistant
Today is Monica's first day on the job and after several months of having no one at the office it is great to have Monica ansewering the phones and helping clientele in Refugio County.
Monica is a native of Refugio, and a former 4-H member, she is also a graduate of Texas A&M University.  Help me in welcoming Monica to our District team.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Training Opportunities for TExAS Version 3

As plans for the roll out of TExAS Version 3 continue to move forward, Organizational Development has scheduled a series of online training sessions to provide agents with an overview of the changes. These sessions will predominately be conducted via Lync. However, there is likely to a be a few sessions that are Centra based to provide opportunities for those who do not have access to Lync. Each of the sessions listed below will be limited to 20 participants. The Organizational Development Unit will use an RSVP system to enroll individuals in a session. Below is a schedule of the training opportunities.
  • September 21st – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • September 22nd – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • September 27th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • September 28th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • September 29th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • October 4th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • October 5th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
  • October 6th – 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
Organizational Development has indicated that they will add sessions by providing concurrent sessions or new sessions if needed.   You are encouraged to participate and to RSVP for the session of their choice.

Major Livestock Show Calf Scramble Information

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo – January 13 – February 4, 2012
  • Purchase certificate value of $500
  • Certificates used to purchase a breeding beef or dairy heifer
  • Entry process
1. To obtain Calf Scramble entry applications by mail, you as CEA must contact the Stock Show Office prior to October 1 to make your request. Entry applications will be mailed on October 1 to all CEAs and ASTs who have requested the applications.
2. Entry applications will also be available on the Stock Show website fwssr.com on October 1.
3. Entries are sent directly to the show.
4. Entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. After all the positions have been filled, the remaining applications will be kept on file and used on an as needed basis.
5. Each County 4-H Program is limited to a maximum of six entries.
San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo – February 9-26, 2012
  • Purchase certificate value of $800
  • Certificates used to purchase an animal in these Junior Breeding Departments – Beef, Dairy, Swine, Sheep, or Goat
  •  Must show the animal in the 2013 San Antonio Stock Show
  •  Entry process
1. Entry Application and Release and Indemnification Agreement were e-mailed on August 25, 2011
2. Completed Entry Applications and Release and Indemnification Agreements must be returned to the District Extension Administration as a county group by September 19, 2011
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – February 28 – March 18, 2012
  • Purchase certificate value of $1,500
  •  Certificates used to purchase a breeding beef or dairy heifer or market steer
  • Must show the animal in the 2013 Houston Livestock Show
  • Entry process
1. Online entry applications will be available on the Livestock Show website hlsr.com from October 1 through December 1, 2011.
2. Entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. After all the positions have been filled, the remaining applications will be kept on file and used on an as needed basis.
Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo – March 9-24, 2012
  • New format for 2012 – Ultimate Scramble Championship
  • Purchase certificate value of at least $1000 while others could be awarded $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, or $5,000
  • Certificates used to purchase market steer, market lamb, market goat, market barrow, breeding heifer, or breeding goat.
  • Must show the animal in the 2013 Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo.
  • Entries begin January 15, 2012 directly to the show.
  • Entry fee is $25.
Monthly Reports Due September 8th, 2011 !!!!
  • September 8, 2011-  All reports for June, July, and August must be entered into the old version of TExAS.  An initial lock of the records will occur at this time. Daily compliance reports will be provided to DEA.
  • September 9 – 14, 2011- The old version of TExAS will be taken offline to convert to TExAS Version 3.  No activity in TExAS will be allowed during this time.
  • September 15, 2011- TExAS Version 3 will be online.  Entry of plans and reports will resume.
The 4th quarter of the 2011 fiscal year ends in August  (June, July, and August).  Agents should ensure that they have met their professional obligations of completion of Commissioners Court reports, Travel, Quarterly Legislative one page email, PCR monthly reports and of course reports on the TEXAS system before September 8th.

District 11 OUTLOOK Calenders
Two 2012 District Calendars on our outlook system are being developed , a 4-H Calendar, and an a Administrative/ Professional Development Calendar.  These calendars will  be ready to be shared with you on your email by our upcoming conference .

If you have any dates that you would like on the calendars for 2012 please send them to Sharon Thompson (4-H0 or Sylvia Falcon (ADM-PD ) calendar.

Some of the dates will certainly overlap and that’s ok. We are also planning to post the 4-H calendar on the web , the other ADM/Prf. Development calendar is only for staff internally. Trainings, district meetings, retreats, annual meetings, selected multi county programs, specialist trainings , Professional Development training series etc….. are items we will need.  These calendars will be shared read-only , updates will only be done by our support staff at the D11 office.  Please send in dates by Thursday September 8th

District 11 Personnel News:
I am currently in the process of identifying a finalist for each of these positions, Bee County ANR, Refugio ANR, Washington 4-H, Calhoun ANR.

Mandi Wallace, has resigned her position as Lavaca County FCS agent as of August 31st. I wish Mandi much success in her new career choice, and thank her for her service to Lavaca County and to our District.

Labor Day Holiday!
If you read this post before the Holiday, have a good safe time, If you are reading this after Monday, hope you had a good restful time off , but if you have not done so, you only have three days to finish up your reports before the lock down! Thanks for all you do to keep our programs strong in our Counties. DM

Monday, August 22, 2011

Program Planning-Back to the Basics

The Program Planning Workshop and Conferences are some of the most important meetings conducted our District each year. At times these meetings can become heavy with process and light in productivity. The reason this can be the case is that focus is on check lists and getting the program planning process finalized rather than attention to quality of the programs and detail.

We all constantly talk about thinking “outside the box.” That’s fine, and we should certainly think outside the box. But here’s another approach that we had better not ignore – get back inside the box and get the basics right as it relates to Extension programming.Some of the basics that leads to success in Extension programming that should not be ignored during Program Planning Conferences includes;
  • Volunteer Management.
  • Clientele relations. Agents should ensure that our county offices are inviting and welcoming places for clientele to visit.
  • Effective communication with clientele.
  • Effective internal communication
  • Effective utilization of the Program Development Process- Program Planning, Program Implementation, and Evaluation and Interpretation.
  • Effective reporting.
  • Effective utilization of Program Specialists.
  • Effective utilization of teaching methodologies (result demonstrations, educational workshops, short courses, newsletters, news articles, etc.).
  • Mastery of subject matter.
  • Responsiveness to clientele needs. Remember that just because we can duplicate a plan from a previous year, does not mean it should be done. Agents should be challenged to provide fresh new programs , not just duplicate a plan from a previous year.
  • Effectively working with funding partners.
  • Appropriate professional development and career development. Quality time should be spent in discussing status related to career ladder promotion.
In order to focus on the basics in Extension Programming , agents should allowing program development to become a series of manageable steps. Here are some actions to take and points that County Extension Agents should consider when developing programs so that measurable outcomes becomes an integral part of the process.

1. Develop Goals for Programs Based On Need
Who are the audiences to be served? What are the outcomes to be sought? Are these outcomes attainable and measurable? Do potential programs fit local or clientele interests, and Texas AgriLife Extension’s state strategic plans?
2. Determine Priorities
Consider time and resources available. If choices must be made, which programs are likely to have greater impact on more people? Which ones are likeliest to grow? Which might be turned over to volunteers or advisory groups to maintain? Which might provide the greatest positive media attention and other forms of recognition for agents and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service? Which are likely to generate the most scholarly contributions for Agents? Which have the support of clientele and advisory groups?
Agents should involve stakeholders–people who have an interest in program results–in planning and decision-making whenever possible.
3. Determine Specific, Measurable Objectives for the Programs Selected
Agents should confirm that their objectives are measurable and attainable. If agents are unable to list their objectives in writing, they are probably not ready to plan or deliver the program. Agents should determine how they will know if the objectives are met (evaluation method).
4. Determine Extensions role in Public Value for every program.
5. These four actions above are made available directly from our grass root program area committees. The stronger our committees the better information we will have to prepare our yearly plans.

District 11 TEAFCS Retreat
I had the great opportunity to attend this years D11 TEAFCS retreat in Corpus Christi at Padre Island last week.  I want to congratulate the members of TEAFCS for a great professional development opportunity for their members.  I was particularly impressed with the professional presentations provided by Mandi Wallace, Sally Garret, and Jennifer Boening as agents in the Spot Light.  Agents also provided one pagers for the the idea sharing session.  Discussion after each presentation was productive for all at the retreat.  Thanks for allowing me to attend and for the great fellowship at dinner the night before. DM

This week in D11
  • August 25th, Deadline for State Fair Entries!
  • August 25th, CBC planning meeting , Victoria County Extension office 9 am. All committee members and species superintendents expected to attend in person or by Lync.
  • August 25th, CEA FCS Youth Strike Team Briefing  11:00 am , Lync

Personnel News:
Help me in congratulating Shamaine St. Julian as she was awarded her Masters Degree last week. Shamaine's commitment to her education and professionalism is clearly evident as she continues to provide high quality direction for the Austin County 4-H program. 
Great Job Superstar !

Thursday, August 11, 2011

TExAS Version 3 Upgrades

TExAS Version 3 is scheduled to be launched in mid-September. This version of TExAS has numerous upgrades and is designed to run more efficiently. Given the nature of these changes, a strict timeline must be set in place for the transition. This timeline is as follows;
  • Early August (prior to the 12th)- All planning functions in the current version of TExAS will be turned off. No entry of 2012 plans will occur in the old version of TExAS.
  • September 8, 2011- All reports for June, July, and August must be entered into the old version of TExAS. An initial lock of the records will occur at this time. I will be getting daily compliance reports on the status of the District 11 agents reports.
  • September 9 – 14, 2011- The old version of TExAS will be taken offline to convert to TExAS Version 3. No activity in TExAS will be allowed during this time.
  • September 15, 2011- TExAS Version 3 will be online. Entry of plans and reports will resume.
All  Extension agents need to be mindful of this timeline and make plans accordingly as it relates to program planning. 

District 11 Fall Faculty Conference and Program Development Workshop, will be held on September 13th, and 14th, at  the Jackson County Service Center, in Edna, Texas.  This conference will clearly set the stage for program planning and Monty, Elaine and I will communicate expectations for program development and plan submission for the upcoming year.
Program Planning Conferences will be held beginning on Tuesday October 11th trough Friday the 14th.   Counties will be assigned a time slot during this week, we will use the Lync system as to help reduce travel costs.  Please clear these days till further notice as we work through our DEA/RPD/4-H specialist scheduling in our region ,you will soon be assigned a time slot within the D11 program planning week for your Program Planning Conference.


New District 11 County Websites
District 11 has been selected as the next district in our state to transfer to the new website content management system and the AgriLife Communications Web Services Team is ready to begin moving your county Extension website into the new system.  All that you need to do is initiate the process and the Web Team will handle the migration of your existing content.

To initiate the process, please complete and submit the form on


I expect for your to complete this form and submit as soon as you can but no later than next Wednesday August 23rd, please let Sylvia Falcon at our District office know when you submitted the form.

Once your information is submitted, you will be contacted on a first-come first-served basis.  You will be notified as soon as your accounts are created and you will be directed to training resources, scheduled live training sessions as well as the login credentials for your new site.
The Web team is looking forward to working with each of our counties and we hope to minimize the amount the effort required for this transition.

Please inform your coworkers of the process and transition.

If you have specific questions, please contact...


or,


Thanks in advance for your attention to and support of this transition,  DM

District 11 Personnel News

I regret to inform you that Jennifer Janssen, CEA-FCS Jackson County and Sarah Brandes 4-H Agent Victoria County, have both resigned effective last Friday August 12th. I wish them both the best of luck in their new career choices and thank them for their years of service in Jackson and Victoria County and to the Texas Agrilife Extension Service.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Improving the Extension Program Planning Process?

Texas AgriLife Extension Service places a great deal of time and resources in conducting program planning conferences.  It is no doubt that program planning conferences is a critical component of Texas Agrilife Extension Service’s performance management system.  However, the program planning conference itself is only one component in a  series of related activities which includes the distribution of Program Planning documents that provides expectations for programming, Program Development Trainings and Workshops, Specialist Scheduling,  the Program Planning Conference, Plan review and feedback, Plan approval, coaching and feedback by District Extension Administrator and Regional Program Directors during the implementation of programs, and the Performance Appraisal.  The following graph illustrates Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s performance management system;
In today’s economic climate program planning must be focused on ensuring that Extension is efficiently allocating resources that results in the following;
  • Program excellence not just focused on approving a plan on the TeXas System.
  • Committed to developing better programs that result in measurable outcomes.
  • More efficient utilization of District Extension Administrator, Regional Program Directors and Agents time.
One of the methods that will be utilized to increase the efficiency of the program planning conference will be utilizing Lync to conduct the program planning conference.   We will utilize this distance educational communication tool to add value to pre- program  planning conference activities (distribution of program planning materials, program development trainings or workshops, specialist scheduling, etc.) by employing video conferencing capabilities that is collaborative, engaging, and cost effective.

Microsoft Lync can provide the following benefits for Extension;
  • Control costs – District Extension Administrator, Regional Program Directors and agents can effectively communicate among geographically dispersed County and District offices without long distance charges. Integrated audio, video, and Web conferencing will reduce travel costs, as well as the cost of third-party teleconferencing fees.
  • Improve productivity- Applications available with Lync assists District Extension Administrator, Regional Program Directors and Agents communicate within a more productive format. Instead of e-mailing documents back and forth for approval, Middle Managers and Agents can rely on real-time collaboration through desktop applications such as sharing plans and reports on the TeXas System, power point presentations, Word documents and utilization of  a virtual whiteboard.
  • Gain operational efficiencies -By integrating Lync  in program planing and conferencing  delays can be reduced or eliminated. For geographically dispersed county and district offices, group chat can enable efficient, topic-specific, multi-party discussions saving time and money.
  • Enables Extension to be more responsive to clientele- By reducing the number of face to face meetings that require travel time for Agents allowing them to be in the county to respond to clientele needs and conduct educational programming.
Whenever any change is implemented some are reluctant and have questions related to the change. The following are some questions that have been posed related to the use of distance education in program planning conferences;

Question- Will Lync be utilized for conferences with all agents?
Answer- All agents may be involved with a Lync conference, but agents who need additional assistance will be required to attended a face to face program planning session.  The District Extension Administrator and Regional Program Directors will identify those agents who need to participate in a scheduled face to face session which include agents who are not prepared for their Lync session, new agents, agents who have plans that do not contain required elements, agents who have performance issues, etc.

Question- What happens if the system does not work the day the Lync session is scheduled?
Answer-This system has proven to be very reliable, however it is always advisable to have backup plans in the event a technical problem arises.  However, this is really no different than if an agent or middle manager has car trouble on their way to a meeting– we need to have a backup plan to accommodate unexpected situations!

Question- Will this diminish the effectiveness of the program planning conference?
Answer- No! The program planning conference is only one component of the performance management system and if we conduct quality program development trainings or workshops and conduct an effective program planning conference via Lync our program planning should be even more effective.  It should be emphasized that Lync provides face to face interaction, capacity to share documents, provides opportunity to utilize power point presentations and many of the same elements that have been utilized in the past during conferences except middle managers and agents are saving time due to reduce travel and reduced down time for agents who have traditionally had to wait for their individual conference. 


Question-Will Lync be utilized for other conferences and meetings?
Answer- Yes!! Middle managers and Agents will utilize Lync for planning meetings, mid-year reviews, cluster meetings, involving specialists in program area committee meetings, collaboration of development of educational materials, etc.

It is expected that District 11 agents be recognized as visionary leaders who embrace change and aggressively implement new management processes. As Texas Agrilife Extension incorporates Lync in our management processes the most important element that will influence the success of this process in our District is our mindset and attitude. 

Your Outlook Calendar 
As we continue to explore the many new effective tools associated with our migration to the Microsoft Exchange Outlook system I wanted to encourage you to use your Outlook calendar. Your calendar is inter-graded into your email account and to the Lync system.  When you are invited to a meeting via email or to a online meeting through Lync you will be asked to accept or decline the invitation. If you accept the invitation the system will automatically add the meeting to your Outlook calendar. You will be getting many emails in the future from me and others with invitations to meetings etc. It would be beneficial if you would use your calendar to keep track of important dates and deadlines. We are also in the process of initiating a District 11 Extension Calendar and a District 11 4-H calendar that will be shared with each one of you and your support staff.  You will be able to view the calendar from your Outlook email account and will have the availability to post county events to the District calenders. There will be much more to come on the use of your calender in the future. I have used an electronic calendar for the past two years and have become accustomed to the calender very quickly. There is also much value in sharing your calendar with your support staff, once your calendar is shared with support staff they can add appointments and reminders to your professional calender and you can also do the same. I understand that not all of you have mobile devices that will incorporate your calendar to your device, however you still have the option to print your updated calendar. 

D-11 4-H NEWS
HIPPOLOGY CONTEST – JUST FOR FUN!!!
District 11 will be hosting an invitational Hippology Contest at the Fayette Co Extension Office (LaGrange, TX) on Saturday, August 13, 2011.  This contest is being offered as a fun, friendly opportunity for youth with an interest in horses to test their knowledge and skills of the horse industry.  Many of the competitions will be participating in Hippology for the first time so don’t hesitate to come and learn more about this FUN contest!  Thanks to JD Folbre, Kara Matheney, Tina Kallus (volunteer from Fayette Co) and the Fayette Co staff for working together to make this possible.  For more information, rules, and registration deadlines, visit the link on the District 11 4-H website at http://d114-h.tamu.edu.

District 4-H Photos Available
More photo galleries have been added to the District 11 4-H website:
·         2011 Junior Leader Lab (thanks to photographer Scott Willey)
·         2011 Leadership Lab
·         2011 Texas 4-H Roundup – District 11 Photos (these are candid shots, professional photos can be found on the Texas 4-H website)

All these photos and more from other events can be found by clicking on ‘D11 4-H Photo Galleries’ on the right hand menu of the District 11 4-H homepage (http://d114-h.tamu.edu/)

 Please feel free to download any of the photos for your own use, newsletters, publications, etc.  Please share the link with 4-H families in your county too!

WANTED:  Photos from the District Horse Show!  If you or any of your 4-H families have photos from the District Horse Show, please let me know…I would like a copy!


Texas 4-H Volunteer Conference

We are excited about the upcoming first ever Texas 4-H Volunteer Conference to be held in San Antonio on July 29-31, 2011.  There are over 250 volunteer registered statewide.  District 11 will be represented by 15 volunteers, 1 agent, and 1 workshop presenter. 

Volunteers registered from District 11 include: 
ARANSAS – Elizabeth Beebe & Ada Owens,  AUSTIN – Monica Eskew,  BEE – Candace Kovar, COLORADO – Katie Kunz & Barbara Weishuhn, DEWITT – Monica Carson, FAYETTE – Carlette Drabek, Jennifer Miksch, & Jennifer Zapalac, KARNES – Corina Venable,  NUECES – Linda Johnson, VICTORIA – Henry Wood & Karen Wood, WHARTON – Stacie Williamson.

Shamaine St Julien and Jodi McManus will also be attending.

Please make sure to thank these volunteers for taking the time to learn more about supporting the 4-H program and see if they can share information at an upcoming Club Manager or 4-H Volunteer training in your county.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Customer Satisfaction- Required for Some Counties

Customer satisfaction is the degree to which there is match between the customer’s expectations of the product and the actual performance of the product. Expectations are formed based on information consumers receive from promotions, family, friends, opinion leaders, research, and past experience with the product.
Customer satisfaction is an important measure of the ability of an organization to successfully meet the needs of its customer. It also helps demonstrate an organization’s worth and effectiveness to its stakeholders which is critical in maintaining their support.

The concept of customer satisfaction is easily transferred to Extension programming – with the product being an “educational program.” To assure continued relations with our clientele in the future, we need to ask basic questions:
  • How satisfied are they with the product they receive?
  • Are we meeting their expectations?
  • What are we doing right? Wrong?
  • How can we improve to keep their support?
  • Did the product help them make a decision about their own situation?
The customer satisfaction program within Texas AgriLife Extension Service is designed to address these basic questions to help ensure the agency continues to provide timely, relevant, and effective educational programs to the citizen of Texas.

It is also a state-mandated performance measure for our agency. Counties need to give attention and care to this data collection effort as its critical to our agency’s continued existence and programmatic success.
Organizational Development has designed two sets of scan forms (standard and with client change) that counties can choose from to meet their customer satisfaction reporting requirement
Counties required to participate in customer satisfaction reporting for FY 10-11 are listed below:

District 11
Aransas
Jackson
Karnes
Wharton

What a Required County Must Do to Comply
  1. Each agent within a required county must use any version of a standard or customer satisfaction with outcomes scan form (click here to download forms http://od.tamu.edu/evaluation/scan-forms/download-forms/customer-satisfaction-scan-forms/)  for at least two program events within the fiscal year (September 1 – August 31).
  2. Submit the scan forms from step 1 and a completed cover sheet to Organizational Development for processing (click here for mailing instructions http://od.tamu.edu/evaluation/scan-forms/sending-your-forms/). Also, to ensure agents meet the outcome summary reporting deadline (typically in early December) they should not sit on their completed forms; send them in ASAP as processing volume around the deadline is heavy and takes longer than usual.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 must be done by each agent within a required county for each fiscal year (FY10 & FY11)
http://od.tamu.edu/files/2010/03/Texas-Counties-FY11.pdf
 Failure to comply with  performance measures, such as customer satisfaction, can severely impact appropriated funding. Compliance with this performance measure should be treated as a significant part of Agents professional obligations.

Excellent Drought Resources available from the EDEN Network

A severe drought continues  to have a grip the Coastal Bend of Texas and is forcing ranchers to liquidate their herds, farmers to fear for their crops and municipalities to restrict residential water use. Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed and compiled some  very useful drought materials that has been posted on the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). These resources can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/droughts.php

The Basics of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law on February 5, 1993, and became effective on August 5, 1993.  Since its inception, County Extension Agents have had questions regarding this federal law.  FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable leave for certain family and medical reasons.

FMLA provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job protection and continuation of benefits coverage while on leave due to certain family and medical emergencies. Employees are eligible for FMLA if they have completed 12 months of state service (does not have to be continuous) and have worked more than 1250 hours within the past 12 months.

State employees are required to use all available paid leave before using unpaid leave. FMLA coverage runs at the same time as paid and unpaid leave used for the FMLA-qualifying event.
FMLA qualifying events includes;
  • Birth of a child.
  • Placement in employee’s home of a child for adoption or state-certified foster care.
  • Employee’s serious health condition (illness, injury or pregnancy)
  • To care for employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
If an employee is using leave due to the birth of child, adoption of a child younger than 3 years of age, or placement for foster care of a child younger than 3 years of age and the employee is not eligible for FMLA than Parental Leave coverage is used.  Parental Leave provides up to 12 weeks of job protection only.

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA), Pub. L. 110-181. Among other things, section 585 of the NDAA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to permit a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.”  The NDAA also permits an employee to take FMLA leave for “any qualifying exigency (as the Secretary [of Labor] shall, by regulation, determine) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.”

For more information regarding the Family Medical Leave Act contact Human Resources or refer to the System Regulation, 31.03.05 Family and Medical Leave at http://policies.tamu.edu/31-03-05.pdf

District 11 Personnel News:

Sarah Womble, County Extension Agent FCS in Victoria County will assume her new duties as the District 10 4-H Specialist starting September 1st. Please join me in congratulating Sarah on her new appointment. We have had the great fortune to have had Sarah in District 11 for many years and I know she will do a great job providing leadership to the District 10 4-H program. On behalf of the District I would like to thank her for her service to our District and to the Victoria County Extension program.

Julie Ketelson, County Extension Agent FCS in Washington County will be resigning her position effective July 29th, Julie will be moving to New Mexico, to pursue her advanced degree. Join me in wishing Julie much luck in her future endeavors, and thanking her for her service to the Washington County Extension program and our District. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Establishing goals and objectives at the county level

Establishing goals and objectives at the county level is an important and ongoing role of every effective County Extension agent. One of the processes utilized by Texas AgriLife  Extension Service is  strategic planning. John Campbell (1995) described strategic planning as the “…hallmark of progressive organizations. It deliberately and methodically addresses missions, goals, emerging needs and opportunities as it determines institutional priorities” (p. 194). Campbell emphasized that “an important prerequisite to strategic planning is strategic thinking, the process of consensually acknowledging, articulating, and achieving vision of future values and institutional missions” (p.194).

As a result of strategic planning County Extension Agents along with their Leadership Advisory Boards can establish clear and concise goals and objectives for educational programming efforts. Boone, Safrit and Jones (2002) reported that “ the goals/objectives of the organization and the desired impact they define have their origin in the contemporary needs of its current and emerging public's and constitute the framework within which all decisions and actions about the organization’s program must be linked” (p. 101).
John Campbell (1995) in discussing leadership requirements for the Extension component of the land-grant University system stated the following:

•    Leading involves vision and effectiveness.
•    Leadership is about prioritizing, innovating and initiating.
•    Leadership is about creativity, adaptivity, and agility.

Leadership looks at horizons and the long-term big picture, not merely day-to-day activities and the bottom line. As County Extension Agents you provide leadership to County educational programs in the future it is essential that you, as Campbell described, look at the horizon and the big picture, not just focusing on the day-to-day activities.  In order to establish a vision for the future it is imperative that we utilize a systematic strategic planning strategy in order to validate the issues that Extension programs are addressing through Extension educational programming.

In last weeks email from Dr. Smith, our new marching orders are in place in form of our 2011 Issue Identification Summary‒the results of local issue forums and online surveys that recently involved more than 10,000 people representing every Texas county. Thanks to the District 11 County Leadership Advisory Boards and all of you who carried out this important effort.

Locally identified and prioritized issues give direction to all of us in AgriLife Extension. In my opinion this is what keeps up relevant, as we are still just one of the few agencies that are grass root driven. They guide our agency’s strategic plan and the development of our programs, curricula, and resources, as well as our planning with partners and stakeholders.

Now we’re challenged to address these critical issues while adjusting to reduced financial and human resources. In reference to Dr. Smith's email form last week, if you have any questions or concerns to the current budget and staffing situation, status of Partial Cost Recovery Initiative, and how we are staying the course, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

I want to commend you for staying the course during a very busy spring and summer. As we move toward these next 6 month period I can only be more positive in the out look of Extension in Texas and District 11. It is up to us to keep Extension programs strong and relevant in District 11 for the benefit of our valued customers.

References
Boone, E.J., Safrit, R.D. & Jones, J. (2002). Developing programs in adult education: A conceptual programming model. (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

County Programs Vision 2011, Dr. Darrell Dromgoole,  Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Dropbox
www.dropbox.com
I recently discovered a Internet application, http://www.dropbox.com/features, suggested by another DEA , that would help to sync files form my desk top computer to any other of my devices in order  to have access to them when needed either on the road or at home.  This is a free service up to 2 GB, for me that's a lot, since I delete files after I have placed them on my drop box not needing it any more. Files that I put on my dropbox are assessable on my home commuter, notebook and even my blackberry. I also like the feature that is works as another drive on my computer, all I have to do is drop files into the drive, its is very simple use.
Most useful item on my phone is that I can upload pictures to my drop box and the pictures are there to use when I get to any of my computers. I don't have to upload them using any cord or sync process.  You can even share your files , pictures, videos etc.. with others very easily if you want.

Recently there are many other Cloud computing applications to use such as on Amazon Cloud, ICloud, etc. I just thought this was useful enough to share with you as many of you work form different work stations as it is becoming more frequent for County Extension Agents.  I am pleased that may of you have taken advantage of the our new LYNC program and some of you have created ANIMOTO videos to share with your stakeholders the videos shared only add value to our programming, keep up the great work, DM

Monday, June 20, 2011

District 11 Spring Faculty Confrence Follow Up

In reference to our my presentation and our exercise in understanding public value conducted at our recent Spring Faculty Conference in Sinton last month, I want to follow up with this post summarizing an April 2011 Journal of Extension Article.  We had much discussion contributed from our exercise on how to write a public value statement . It will be important that we use this concept to include in our outcome, output plans and our Making a Difference documents in the near future. 

During challenging economic times, the value that decision-makers place on Extension from a public value stand point is critical. In a recent Journal of Extension article entitled Advancing the Public Value Movement: Sustaining Extension during Tough Times, Nancy Fraze suggested several steps necessary to advance this movement.  Some of these steps that are fundamental in advancing  public value outlined in this article include (Franz, 2011);
  • Understand the differences between Public and Private Value- Many Extension faculty and administrators have difficulty envisioning and communicating how Extension work translates to public value for non-program participants.  The goal becomes not simply changing clientele behavior, but showing how this behavior change leads to outcomes that benefit the general public by generating public value (Kalambokidis & Bipes, 2007)
  • Create the Case and Urgency for Public Value- Extension faculty and staff must embrace that we can’t continue in a “business as usual” mode. Extension must recognize that it is imperative to be able to demonstrate and communicate that our program benefits more than the individuals participating in the program.  One of the methodologies that could be utilized in assisting staff to think in terms of continually thinking about how this program has public value is to have agents provide public value stories during annual performance reviews.
  • Move from Embracing Private or Personal Value to Embracing Public Value- According to Franz (2011), Extension faculty, staff , and administrators should reexamine the way they describe Extension programmatic outcomes. The table below shows several examples of reframing learning.
Comparing Extension’s Private and Public Value (Franz, 2011)

Private or Personal Value
Public Value
Youth and Adults develop leadership skillsIncreasing civic participation
Homeowners conduct tests for septic tank leaks.Decreasing water pollution or drinking water contamination
Youth and adults increase their intake of fruits and vegetablesDecreasing health care costs
ServeSafe certification by restaurant workersReducing food-borne illnesses and related health care costs
Youth serve on teen courtReducing juvenile recidivism and court costs
Reduced use of pesticidesImproved water quality

Embracing the public value of Extension means repositioning the manner that Extension faculty describe what clientele learn/behavior changes/ adoption of technology (programmatic outcomes) to what economic, environmental and social condition change as a result of  programmatic outcomes.
  • Develop Public Value Story Telling Template- If Extension is successful in enhancing public value in Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s interpretation efforts thru the incorporation of public value statements templates must be created for utilization in interpretation documents (Making a Difference Quarterly email stakeholder updates, Making a Difference Animoto videos, Making a Difference annual reports, etc.).   These templates include a title describing the public value gained from the educational effort, information on the relevance of the issue being addressed, Extension’s educational response, and results which include the public value of the program.

Lessons Learned from Public Value Work

According to Franz (2011),  Extension programs embracing the public value movement have discovered that changing the culture of a Extension system to embrace public value isn’t easy, but is possible and effective.  Franz (20110 reported that the following may be helpful in implementing public value;
  • Be proactive with public value stories rather than waiting until decision-makers cut Extension funding or programs.
  • Start the movement with early adopter, and nurture the mid-adopters.
  • Build urgency with faculty and staff by using real stories about lack of understanding or misunderstanding of Extension work.
  • Provide a wide variety of professional development opportunities for Extension staff to enhance their public value thinking, skills, and story development.
  • Secure public value champions in the organization at all levels to help catalyze change.
  • Don’t underestimate the ability of clientele to determine, measure, and share public value of Extension programs (Franz, 2009).
  • Encourage researchers to conduct research and share results connecting the private value of Extension with public economic, environmental, and social condition changes.
  • Create a strong statistical base for the relevance section of public value stories to make them more convincing and make it easier to measure actual change due to Extension programs.
  • Bridge field and administrative visions and actions around public value efforts through middle managers.
  • Determine which programs should be supported solely by public funds and solely by private funds by determining the public value of each program.
  • Involve economist, program evaluators, communications staff and stakeholders in developing public value stories to more deeply and authentically tell the story.
The public value steps outlined in this article and piloted with several Extension systems and national work groups can be informative for District 11 agents as we begin to determine how this concept can be utilized to enhance current interpretation efforts.

District 11 Agents  received some preliminary training related to Extension public value at our 2011 Spring Conference. Agents are encouraged to review the following articles and websites to become more comfortable with this concept;

http://www.joe.org/joe/2011april/a1.php
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/kalam002/publicvalue/

References

Franz, N. (2011). Advancing the Public Value Movement: Sustaining Extension During Tough Times. Journal of Extension [On-line]. 49 (2) Article 2COM2. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2011april/comm2.php.
Franz, N. (2009).  Promoting organizational sustainablity: Engaging volunteers to tell the program impact  story. The International Journal of Volunteer Adminstration, 26 (3), 3-11.
Kalambokidis, L. & Bipes, T. (2007). Building Extension’s public value: Presenter’s guide.  St. Paul: University of Minnesota Extension.

Dr. Darrell Dromgoole, Associate Director-County Programs, Texas AgriLife Extension Service.