Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
This time of year Extension educators will be participating in Program Planning Conferences to plan educational events that will be implemented in the future. Anytime there is a district or state Extension meeting, there is a considerable amount of discussion related to the PIE Program Change Model (figure 1). However, too many times this discussion gets reduced to discussion related to how many committee meetings we have, and not how to actually engage in the program development process.
Figure 1. PIE Program Change Model.
It is easy to quickly develop a mentality related to establishing a goal that a specific number of committee meetings must be conducted and when those meetings are conducted we have satisfied our obligation related to program development.
However, program development is much more than simply conducting a specific number of committee meetings. Committee meetings are the platform that is used to identify the issues and develop educational content to address those issues.
Remember programs are the method of delivering educational content and encouraging clientele change in knowledge gained, skills acquired, changes in behavior, adoption of practices, or adoption of technology.
According to Ripley, Cummings, Lockett, Pope, Wright, Payne, Kieth and Murphrey (2011), Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s product is educational programs and the process used to create educational programs is called program development. Committee meetings are critical venues used to implement this series of processes that enables Extension to develop relevant, high-quality educational programs (Ripley et al., 2011).
The hallmark of Extension programming has been our involvement of clientele committees in identifying issues, program planning, implementation of programs, evaluation of programs and interpretation of programs.
Volunteers of committees are fundamental to program development and Extension programming. At times, we tend to make the program development process too complicated and become “bogged down” by focusing on the number of meetings held rather than utilizing these meetings to ensure we are implementing the program change model.
Let’s focus our attention on more fundamental details of implementing the Program Change Model;
For selected programs, follow up with the program participants several months after they have completed a program to determine the level of adoption or behavior changes that can translate into economic impact. Even if you ask them for an anticipated economic benefit immediately after a program, consider taking the extra steps to ask them months later if they did benefit economically and if so, by how much” (Ripley et al., 2011, page 6).
There is no question that Extension programming is known for our involvement of committees in identifying issues, program planning, implementation of programs, and evaluation of programs and interpretation of programs. However, we can improve our programming capacity and committee effectiveness through conscious engagement of the PIE Program Change Model.
Ripley, J., Cummings, S, Lockett, L., Pope, P., Wright, M., Payne, M., Kieth, L., & Murphrey, T. (2011). Creating Excellent Programs. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Publication. E-345. Retrieved from http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/od/files/2010/03/E345.pdf