Thursday, December 20, 2012

Developing a Mentoring Culture/ Honoring a Pioneer in Extension Programing

Developing a Mentoring Culture

A mentoring culture continuously focuses on building the mentoring capacity, competence, and capability of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has a very organized mentoring program as a part of our new agent on boarding program, but mentoring should be encouraged beyond our formal program and should permeate the entire organization. A mentoring culture with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service encourages the practice of mentoring excellence by continuously:

  • creating readiness for mentoring within Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service,
  • facilitating multiple mentoring opportunities, and
  • Building in support mechanisms to ensure individual and organizational mentoring success.

In a mentoring culture, six hallmarks build on and strengthen each other. All are present, at least to some degree; however they manifest themselves differently depending on the organizational expectations related to mentoring. When each hallmark is consistently present, the mentoring culture is more robust. As more and more of each hallmark is found in an organization, the mentoring culture becomes progressively more sustainable.

The Six Hallmarks of a Mentoring Culture

  1. Accountability.
  2. Communication
  3. Value and Visibility.
  4. Demand.
  5. Education and Training.
  6. Safety Nets.

A mentoring culture is an expression of an organization’s vitality. Its presence enables an organization to augment learning, maximize time and effort, and better utilize its resources. The relationship skills learned through mentoring benefit relationships throughout the organization; as these relationships increase, people feel more connected to the organization. Ultimately, the learning that results creates value for the entire organization.  Dr. Darrell Dromgoole Associate Director for County Programs contributed to this article.

Recently , we had three new mentors trained in the District at a special training last week,  Brian Yanta, Janice Pfeffer, and Kayla Kaspar, were trained as new mentors and will be assenting as we continue to onboard new agents into the district.  These three individuals have all conducted excellent programs in their counties and have established themselves as resource individuals in their field of expertise.  Congratulations!!! to Brian, Janice and Kayla as District 11 newest mentors.

Honoring a Pioneer in Extension Programing

Today we will be honoring Mr. Pete Flores,our retiring Information Technology specialist.  We will have a reception at the District office for Pete, and I am looking forward to the event.  Pete Flores in my opinion is one of our pioneers in Extension programing.

I am old enough to remember the times when we did not have computers in the Extension office.  Back in the mid 1980’s Extension offices were only just staring to learn how to use the personal and business computer in our programing and accountability efforts.  If the county office had a single computer it was usually in a common area so everyone could use it, or more often on the secretary’s desk.   We now carry our computers on our pocket.

Mr. Pete Flores was one of the first individuals as a county Extension agent to actively use computer technology in his programing.  He developed ways to incorporate the technology into his programs and was one of the first to use the computer to run a stock show and complete a  result demonstration report.  This may seem really elementary to some of you all, but back then it was a big deal to run a stock show on a spread sheet ( SuperCal ) for some of you all that might remember.  

Pete has been a leader in teaching agents on how to use the new tools we have not for outreach.  His willingness to provide tips and suggestions for using programs has been extremely valuable for agents over the years.

Pete Flores served Extension as a county Extension agent and IT specialist for over 30 years, and has been a great asset to Extension especially in training agents on how to use the technology to help them be more productive.  He is a true specialist working for the county Extension agent; he is always willing to drop anything he is doing to solve problems during the day. 

As you all know if your computer goes down, you might as well go home, Pete knows the work of a county Extension agent and identifies with their needs, I believe this is why Pete has been so valuable to our agency. 

Please join me in thanking Pete for his many years of great service to our agency, and wishing him well in his retirement.    Hope he finds things to do, and especially I hope he does not change his cell number.  DM

District 11 Personnel News

We have new Agent in District 11 , help me to welcome Dr. Kirsten Corda, our new Family ad Consumer Science agent in Aransas County. Kirsten , is currently in her first step role in San Patricio County and will start in Aransas County after the start of the new year.  Kirsten comes to us from the academic arena as she has extensive experience in grant work in Nutrition education.  Kirsten will move into assisting Ginger Easton Smith with her new role as an Extension agent in a diverse program in Aransas County.
Merry Christmas D11 
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas , please make time to spend with your family, and enjoy them during the best part of the year.  As we come to another close of the year, I am reminded how important our jobs are as we help people solve problems and you have truly have helped many people in your counties this year.  I am in the mist of updating myself prior to performance reviews and can see the great outcomes that you have accomplished. I am really lucky to have the opportunity to work with all of you in the District.  Happy Holidays and be safe on the roads, DM