What a Ride!!! Putting professional development and innovation to work

If it seems like I’m short of breath it’s because for the last three months I’ve been running a “Summer Sprint” (if you know me you’re laughing right now).  So named and led by Chris Geith, eXtension’s new CEO, the eXtension team, Board of Directors, and innovation partners nationwide who have been swiftly reimagining Cooperative Extension for the future.

eXtension’s Board has given us three imperatives:  to increase professional development for Cooperative Extension; to improve the Cooperative Extension System’s ability to co-create and disseminate programs and knowledge for their publics; and to expand the number of Extension innovations creating new tools and new methods to achieve local impact.  Quite a mouthful.  Yes?

In fewer words…in fact just three: eXtension will create new methods for addressing critical issues; explore innovations for application in Extension; and prototype and offer professional development to deliver fast, effective results (impact). Issues, innovation, impact.  We call them i-Three.

Exciting times are ahead!  We’re now entering our “Fast and Furious Fall”.  First we’re recruiting a pilot group of Extension professionals, 200 of the best and brightest individuals Cooperative Extension has to offer.  We’ll bring them together in a cohort to explore projects and ideas that will help to increase Extension professionals’ ability to deliver a visible and measureable impact, locally and system wide.

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Starting January 1 these 200, this i-Three Issue Corps, will work independently or in teams to identify projects with a focus on Climate or Food Systems.  Projects will feed into two other areas of eXtension:  the i-Three Innovation Labs and the i-Three Rapid Solutions.  More about those two aspects will come in future blog articles.

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But, as I said, all of this is a pilot.  This coming week we’re sharing these plans with Extension Directors and Administrators from across the country.  We’re hoping they’ll be affirming our ideas and concepts as presented by our Board of Directors and recommending their faculty, staff, educators, and agents to be a part of this first 200 Corps members.  In 2016 these 200 will set the stage for 2017 and an i-Three Corps of 2000 with more issues and more outstanding Extension professionals working with us!

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