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...


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.