Extension Forestry in the U.S.: A national review of state-level programs

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A presentation delivered in October 2013 at the Society of American Foresters convention in Charleston, SC. This is a brief summary of an article by the same name published in the Journal of Forestry.

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  • 52% of faculty capacity is specialists, 48% educators / agents
  • Increasing expectations and declining resources leave us with our hands full at times. We need to help learners squeeze every ounce of value out of the work we put in.
  • Extension Forestry in the U.S.: A national review of state-level programs

    1. 1. Extension Forestry in the United States: A NATIONAL REVIEW OF STATE-LEVEL PROGRAMS Eli Sagor, Amanda Kueper, Charles Blinn, and Dennis Becker 1 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    2. 2. Workshops 2 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    3. 3. Two-stage data collection Online survey Telephone focus groups Census of 50 state-level Extension Forestry program leaders One for leaders of large state-level programs: ≥9 FTE November 2011 – February 2012 One for leaders of small programs: ≤1.7 FTE Administered by phone, 90 minutes 100% response rate 4 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    4. 4. Survey results 5 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    5. 5. FTE Capacity
    6. 6. Audiences FTE capacity positively correlated with number of audience segments “specifically targeted” r = 0.590, P < 0.001
    7. 7. Content: Topics taught 8 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    8. 8. Left side: % states teaching topic LESS now than 5 years ago Topics Right side: % states teaching topic MORE now than 5 years ago 9 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    9. 9. Topics taught MORE now: 10 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    10. 10. Topics taught LESS now: 11 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    11. 11. Formats 12 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    12. 12. Formats 13 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    13. 13. Formats used MORE now: 14 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    14. 14. Formats used LESS now: 15 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    15. 15. Focus group results 16 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    16. 16. Funding Many report reductions in funds and FTE capacity: “…we’ve lost people significantly. We’ve lost three key Extension specialists, and three field agents with no money to replace any of those people. So, you know, the work has just been spread around among the people that remain.” 17 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    17. 17. Shift to competitive funding Increasing volatility from year to year Challenge for long-range planning Programs end when funding expires Benefit: Increased coordination, partnerships Challenges meeting needs of tradition-bound audiences 18 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    18. 18. Shift to competitive funding Transition more challenging for small programs Morale: “We’re one funding cycle away from real problems.” 19 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    19. 19. Shift to digital communications and peer learning “We feel like this is just… the wave of the future, this technology is how more and more people are communicating and getting information, and if we’re not a part of this game…, we’re just going to be left behind.” Opportunity and necessity 20 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    20. 20. Discussion 21 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    21. 21. Doing more with less Flickr: Morbuto (source) 22 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    22. 22. Changing content More instruction on forest health, climate, digital mapping. Few topics dropped: Expanding portfolio. 23 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    23. 23. Changing relationships between Extension and learners More efficient, more accessible, but less direct? More coordination across agencies, organizations. 24 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    24. 24. Opportunity: More targeting Focus on narrower audience segments most likely to produce positive impact. But… Tradition-bound audiences, public support? 25 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    25. 25. Conclusions Extension is a bridge between profession and public Expanding content portfolio and delivery toolkit Funding changes affect small and large state programs differently 26 © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
    26. 26. Eli Sagor esagor@umn.edu (612) 624-6948 Amanda Kueper Charlie Blinn Dennis Becker © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this PowerPoint is available in alternative formats upon request. Direct requests to the Extension Store at 800-876-8636. 27

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