Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Dana Tarter, Regional Program Leader for Family and Community Health/4-H and Youth Development, Central Region, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Extension expects program area committees, task forces, coalitions and 4-H youth committees to provide a “road-map” to outline educational programs. More importantly, these programs should result in measurable clientele change such as behavior change, adoption of best practices or adoption of new technology.
This pressure on committees to assist in eliciting change is challenging. Therefore, it’s important to recruit and train advisory groups members that are visionaries. If these members are to be successful in developing innovative educational programs Extension educators must focus on the following:
The right people must be recruited to serve on these groups if the program is to be effective (Ripley, Cummings, Lockett, Pope, Wright, Payne, Kieth and Murphrey, 2011). So how can you recruit the right members to fulfill committee duties? Since effective members tend to attract other effective members, Extension educators should (Ripley et al., 2011)…
Additionally, planning groups members are usually a professional in the subject that the group is addressing, have a slightly broader view of the subject, and be willing to serve for a longer period (Ripley et al., 2011).
Program development in Extension is based upon a philosophy of social change (Boyle, 1981). In order to realize change Extension must mobilize and develop human resources in a manner that enables programs to be implemented most effectively (Boyle, 1981). When Extension educators are successful in mobilizing committee members, there should be purposeful orientation and training designed to ensure members are equipped to effectively serve on committees.
The primary functions of a planning group are reflected in the phases of program development (Ripley et al., 2011). The responsibilities of a committee, task force, or coalition are to assist the Extension educator in all phases of planning, delivering, evaluating, and interpreting an educational program (Ripley et al., 2011).
When training members of a committee, it is imperative that educators ensure the following (Ripley et al., 2011)…
Remember, training should not be a single time event. To be effective, a planning group should receive training and updates throughout the year. Keep them up-to-date regarding, subject matter updates, industry trends, new or emerging technologies in the field, and leadership advancement (Ripley et al., 2011).
To help you provide continuous training, here are some ideas on topics to update committee members.
The investment of time and energy into recruitment and training of planning group members will return substantial benefits to Extension programs (Ripley et al., 2011). These groups will be more engaged in all aspects of program development and will assist Extension educators in ensuring program success (Ripley et al., 2011). TO know if your committees are engaged, they will have ownership in programs, involvement in the groups’ activities, and willingness to advocate without being requested to do so (Ripley et al., 2011).
In our next installment of Next Step to Success blog, we will provide information related to recruiting and training for Leadership Advisory Boards members.
Boyle, P. (1981). Planning better programs. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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