Monthly Archives: September 2014

How Reflective Are You?

We live in turbulent times and according to several authors, they suggest that organizations need to be: 1) aligned, 2) alert, 3) agile, and 4) adaptable to the changes and shifts in their programs and clientele. One of the challenges in Extension business is that we often lack the time (or have run out of time) to readjust programs so they keep pace or fit changing needs. Reflective practice is something more than thoughtful practice. It is a form of practice that seeks to review and question many situations of professional engagement so that the situation can become potential learning situations. During the process the practitioner continues to learn, grow, and develop in and through practice.

What are some tools that might be helpful? Use a reflective dairy or journal to keep notes and thoughts. Discuss with agents within the PD, DD’s, AD’s, national associations, and other trusted advisers. Examine other similar programs within the state and adjoining states.

What are some questions to energize the process? What was I aiming for when I held the program? What exactly did I do? How would I describe it precisely? Why did I choose that particular action/people? Who am I attracting to the program? Do I learn differently from my clientele? What was I trying to achieve? What did I do next? What were the reasons for doing that? How successful was it? What criteria am I using to judge success? What alternatives were there? Could I have dealt with the situation any better? How would I do it differently next time? How can I have more fun?

What are some helpful tools/thoughts that you have used to reflect to shape and readjust your VCE programs and to better address client needs?

Bobby Grisso

Extension Agent or Extension Educator?

As we celebrate 100 years of outstanding service to our communities, is it time to consider a name change for those people in our system who have the most direct contact with our clients, the Agents?

I argue that we should use a name that is more descriptive of what agents do–educate. Despite 100 years of existence, or maybe because it has been 100 years and our society has drastically changed over that time, the majority of people in our society don’t know what Extension is, or what an Extension Agent does.

So perhaps if we changed the title of those on the front lines, we would begin to create an image in society of what an agent does (educate) and what Extension is about (education).

What do you think?  Extension Educators for the next 100 years?

Joe Hunnings