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;


Franz, N. (2011). Advancing the Public Value Movement: Sustaining Extension During Tough Times. Journal of Extension [On-line]. 49 (2) Article 2COM2. Available at:
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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2012 County Budgets Requests

Summer time for many county commissioners courts and county auditors start to ask Extension offices to review their budgets for those counties on a fiscal year of October - September. District 11 has 9 counties on a Oct-Sept. and 9 counties on a Jan-Dec. fiscal year budgets. Each county handles this a bit differently.

D-11 County Coordinators: 

Again, we will follow the process that you have used in the past. I request that you give me a call or e-mail and let me know of your needs / requests prior to presenting them to the court. I want to be informed of each county request and the process for submitting the request to the Judge / Court. The better informed I am, the more supportive I can be when speaking to courts regarding county budgets.

For those of you who are new to the role of county coordinator, please give me a call and I'll be happy to walk you through the budget development process.

I look forward to working with you through the budget development process.
As counties look at their expenditures and future budgets there can be some challenges to over come.
Please be frugal in your requests and make sure that if you are going to ask for more funds that they are warranted. Proper documentation of items such as travel in extremely important if asking for an increase in travel. County travel does not have to be equal to be equitable for each agent.

Summer Work Schedules 

4-H Round Up, association meetings,  leader lab, horse shows ,crop tours, validations,  etc, these and many other work duties will take you out of the office for a big part of the summer. At times you will be away for as much as a week at a time. It is important that if you leave the office for a work related task, please inform your support staff of where you are going, for what reason , and let them know when you will come back to the office. Much of this can be discussed at weekly office conferences, however things come up and it is necessary to be at many places in preparation for an event.

When clientele call the County Extension Office or come by asking to see the agent, it is important that support staff  know where you are and when you are coming back.  Of course many of your clientele can call you on your cell phone, but it is good business for new clientele and those not communicating with you often to expect a timely response to their needs. Our clientele expect for our offices to be open when they need to visit with us, please make sure that proper communication is in place if for some reason your office must be closed for a short time period. DM

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Career Ladder Timeline

Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Cooperative Extension  Program agents implement innovative and contemporary programs that meet the needs of local clientele and communities.  These programs result in measurable outcomes that truly “Make a Difference”.  One of the methods agent are recognized and rewarded for effective programming is through the County Extension Agent Career Ladder system.
The purpose of the career ladder is to provide a system for measuring and documenting the progress of Extension Agents in their profession and to reward their professional accomplishments. Recently on June 1st, we had our annual South Region Training in Victoria, with 25 agents present and 8 speakers. The training was a informal workshop assisting agents in understanding the process in applying for promotion. In depth training was also provided in completing the dossier as agents seek promotion. D11 agents present were Charles Seely, Makenzie Wyatt, Dianne Gertson, Ginger Easton Smith, and Mike Hiller. I would also like to thank some of our Level IV agents for contributing to the training as presenters, Kathy Farrow, Jeff Stapper, and Diana Weise.

The following table provides a timeline from June through September for managing promotion in the Professional Career Ladder System for County Extension Agents;

Legislative Quarterly Reports 

Most of the Legislative Quarterly Email one page reports have come in and again the information is an excellent way to keep our state legislators and their staffers updated on our programs. I want to remind each of you that these reports were established specifically for state legislative contacts certainly they are appropriate for your county judges, commissioners and key leadership in your counties, but please make sure that this communication is sent to all your state representatives and senators contacts. 

Attached is a video that Jodi McManus created on "ANIMOTO" highlighting our recent spring meeting in Sinton last month.  Thanks to Brent Batchelor for being our official photographer and sending these photos to us. We are in the process of sending the pictures to you of the award presentations.  However, if you would like any of these pictures in the video, email Jodi and she will send them to you.

This simple video is an example of how we can use social media as a tool to interpret our programs such as in your Quarterly Legislative Email reports and other quick media updates enhancing our programs. If you want to see the video on the Animoto site click on the link below.

Click here to view 2011 D11 Spring Meeting Video

State Summer Association Meetings

I want to encourage you to attend your respected professional association meetings this summer. These meetings can be excellent ways to develop yourselves professionally.The meetings provide inspiration, great tours of the region , recognition, and fellowship among your peers. I also encourage you to become engaged in your associations as officers and through committee work.  The meeting also provide opportunities to involve you family and share valuable experiences of a county Extension agent.All of you have included your professional association annual meetings as a task in your individual development plans, I look forward to reviewing your reports involving your participation in your meetings.

Contact your District 11 directors, and or alt. directors for more information on the meetings and registrations. 

July 16-20  TCAAA, Wichita Falls
July 18-20   Texas Extension Specialists Association, San Antonio
July 26-28   TEAFCS  Fredricksburg
Aug 3-5       TAE4-HA  Beaumont
District 11 Personnel News

Mr. Jerry Gray, has resigned as County Extension Agent ANR in Refugio County, effective this week.  Jerry has accepted employment out of Extension. I want to thank Jerry for his service with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service in Matagorda and Refugio Counties, and wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.