eXtension’s mission is to help Extension professionals make a more measurable and visible local impact. We do this by identifying pathways and removing barriers to innovative thinking and programming.
The flagship program for this effort is the Impact Collaborative. It started in 2015 as the Issue Corps program. The preliminary evaluation results from the first cohort suggest that the Collaborative is fulfilling its mission.
- 93% believed the Impact Collaborative participation was a positive experience.
- 86% gained awareness of, access to, or training in the use of new tools.
- 83% were exposed to new or different ideas and/or viewpoints.
- 82% interacted with other Extension professionals outside their normal professional circle
- 68% feel they can influence either their institution and/or their professional field in new ways after participating in the Impact Collaborative.
- The majority reported improved ability to participate in professional discussions, developed confidence in sharing resources, gained comfort in recommending alternate approaches to ideas, and are working differently because of their Impact Collaborative participation.
Subsequent cohorts are continuing in various stages of the Collaborative experience. The successes and evidence base for adopting innovative methods and topics will continue to be added as they become available. You can read more about their successes on the extension.org blog.
eXtension has sponsored several fellowships for the purposes of exploring innovative topics, partnerships, and programs. The fellows spend a significant portion of a year to increase knowledge and explore pathways for Cooperative Extension professionals to adopt innovation in their programming.
Several fellows have worked with partner organizations. These include Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP), and Digital Green. These fellows are exploring methods to link research and Extension information in open, accessible ways, evaluation of Extension programming, and the applicability of a successful Extension model used in Asia and Africa to U.S. programs.
Since January 2017, a series of webinars have been open to all Extension professionals (and allied agencies). These have included topics such as evaluation, story mapping, social media branding, data visualization, land grant informatics, and much more.
- 99% of participants indicated that they gained at least some information they could use right away
- 57% indicated they gained a moderate amount or a lot of information they could use right away
For more, visit professional development.