Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Focusing on Texas Agrilife Extension's Vision

The last two years have been a little tough to say the least. Obviously we have focused much time and effort on budgetary challenges that have lead to county staff realignment. However , in the aftermath of recent county realignments it is important to focus on our vision which is "to be the premier 21st Century outreach and continuing education organization in Texas responding to the needs of the people."

During such times it is important that we reflect on this vision and focus our efforts individually and collectively on the efforts that will enable Texas Agrilife Extension Service to achieve a level of success that accomplishes this vision.

Some of the fundamental elements we need to continue to focus on in our outreach and continuing education roles include;
  • County Extension Agents must provide quality programs that address local issues and results in measurable outcomes. Remember, our programs are how clientele, stakeholders, and elected officials judge Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
  • Ensuring that Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs are visible in the community. Quality programs are of limited value if only a small number of people in the county are aware of the programs.
  • County Extension Agents must continue to stay currently competent and professional. Competency and professionalism is only accomplished through effective on boarding of new agents and on going professional development for more tenured agents.
  • Ensuring that our stakeholders and elected officials are aware of the impact of Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs. This is only accomplished through strategies that communicate public value to elected officials and stakeholders.
  • Your assistance in helping me to implement recruiting strategies that will provide Texas AgriLife Extension Service with a diverse, highly qualified workforce in the future. 
  • Working to implement strategies to diversify our funding. Some examples that should be explored regarding diversifying funding strategies include Partial Cost Recovery that is utilized to increase the capacity of the agency, partnerships with municipalities,grants to fund specialized programs, and/or partnerships with other organizations such as school districts or underground water districts to deliver specialized programming.

Our clientele, committees members, cooperators and volunteer leaders are looking to you in your county for Leadership! It is important to embrace the concept that our agency will continue to be as relevant as it has been in the past and for the future as or society evolves.

Upcoming District 11 4-H Spring Contests and Events
With our upcoming contests comes more challenges for me ,with out a District 11 4-H specialist, however we are extremely fortunate to have Sharon Thompson at the district office working to ensure that I don't forget something.  I am also looking to your leadership and commitment in insuring that we come together and provide the best possible experience to our youth people and their leaders during District 4-H Round Up, multi county judging ,ID contests, rifle match, CDM and many other events during the Spring and into the Summer. I want to remind all of you that you all are youth educators, and will be involved in some way with our contests and events. These dates have been on the calender form some time so please plan on doing your part to assit when needed.
I will be making round up assignments soon, as we process all of the entries that were finalized last night. It is unfortunate that we must have to check ages of youth after you have certified the entries. When you certify the entry you are just doing that which means you are checking that that participant is eligible for participation in the certain event. Also please try to get your 4-H members to register on 4-H connect early in the future.  We will stick to our deadlines. Some more deadlines will be coming up soon so make sure you stay current.
 I will be making most if not all of the 4-H Events this spring and summer so if you need me to haul something to you please let me know.

District 11 Spring Faculty Conference- May 22-23 Edna, Texas
You all should have the Spring Conference on your calender as we are now just asking for two administrative meetings a year. One in the Fall for programing and one in the spring.  I am currently working on the agenda. We will also have an early evening social, meal and award presentation on the 22nd.  Please plan on staying for the evening program.

Personnel Changes in District 11
Recently I was informed that Ms. Talma Benavides, Nueces County FCS agent will be retiring at the end of the month.  Talma has had a great Extension Carrer. For the last 34 years Talma has made a real difference in the lives of Texans in several counties.  Please join me in congratulating Talma on her great career accomplishment.
The RPD's and my self have been busy in filling positions.  Help me welcome Ms. Alyssa Smith, as she assumed her new role as the new Victoria County 4-H agent this week, Alyssa finished her  first step opportunity in Bexar County.
Finalists have been identified for Calhoun FCS , Jackson County FCS, and Washington County FCS and I will meet the courts starting next week.
The Austin County 4-H position has come open externally. I am also actively recruiting for the remaining internal positions. So if you know a good agent wanting to move give me a call we have a few spots to fill, DM

Monthly Reports

Some of you were reminded  that you were late getting in your monthly reports in last month. I have asked Diana Moglia at our office to remind you each and every month on the 8th that you are late submitting your reports on the Texas System.  It is important that you submit your report by the end of each quarter, however it is much easier to stay current on a monthly timeline. Diana will be compiling a data base on your reporting and forwarding it to me for use during next years performance reviews.  Please have your reports in to Texas by the end of the 7th of each month.  You are also reminded that you have a professional obligation to provide me with email copies of county commissioners reports , office confrences and travel. 

County Websites

I have also asked Velma Villalon at our office to monitor your websites for current information. She will be reviewing you websites for current information and also reporting back to me on a monthly basis. It is extremely important that our websites are current with the best quality information for our clientele. Our web sites are no different than our front door to our offices.  The only difference is that our Websites are open 24/7.  She will also be looking for video footage you have posted using your flip cameras.