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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