Southern Region Program & Staff Development
August 1997
August 1997

Meeting Participants

Jerry Whiteside (Chair), GA Ronnie White, MS
Ron Shearon (Vice Chair), NC Bill Murphy, VA
Glenn Israel (Secretary), FL Roy Lessly, TN
Satish Verma (PLC Rep.), LA Paul Warner, KY
Margaret Johnson (PLC Rep.), SC James Smith, AL
Joe Waldrum (Past Chair), AR Howard Ladewig, TX
Bill Shimel, SC Chinella Henderson, AL
Leticia Colon-Orona, PR  


Officers for 1997-1998

Chair--Ron Shearon, North Carolina State University
Vice Chair--Glenn Israel, University of Florida
Secretary--Bill Murphy, Virginia Tech Administrative Advisor

PLC Representatives

Margaret Johnson, South Carolina State University
Satish Verma, Louisiana State University


Items for Information

Joe Waldrum will develop a listserv for the Program and Staff Development Committee.

Sharing Resources Across State Lines Discussion

1) What are examples where sharing resources across state lines has been successful and not successful? Successes include:

Leadership institutes - VA, NC, SC
Alabama Assessment Center
Prog. & Staff Development - resource directory
Rice Programming - Ark/Mo
Families First Institute, Ed & wellness curriculum - 1890s AR TX OK LA
Curriculum sharing within staff & program develp group (e.g., new agent/specialist orientation, management development, performance appraisal, county program review)
Publications copies, reproduced or adapted for another state's use

2) What are common barriers to sharing resources across state lines?

Turf protection and recognition of contributions
Organizational cultures
Familiarity or knowledge/ availability
Differences in laws, policies, climate
Red tape and uncertainty about interstate cooperation e.g., travel to work in another state on a project

3) What are needs that exist that could be effectively met through sharing resources across state lines?

Salary information
Publications online
Way of sharing videos, publications, human resources (expertise or skill)
Professional development, including graduate courses for place bound students
Sanctions/encouragement from administrators to share expertise & time /a protocol for sharing people/staff and/or positions among states
Identification of extension's needs in core competencies and developing training modules to address those competencies Ensuring adoption of new technologies/training for use

Joint session with middle management looking at core competencies

Barbara Stone (Texas A&M University) and Bill Murphy (Virginia Tech) presented. Advantages of focusing on core competencies include:

1) By creating an infrastructure that promotes continuous learning.
2) Competency development reinforces the link between the future and what we need to get there. Barabara Stone described two type of learning: iterative and generative (the latter builds new knowledge and new competencies). It has been suggested that people need to learn new knowledge and skills every 6 months, otherwise we run the risk of falling behind.
3) A competency focus can increase participation and enhance self management. This can lead to cost reductions and can create a shift from management functions to coaching functions

Extension Core Competencies

After the Program and Staff Development Committee reconvened as a separate group, Bill Murphy recommended that we ask the southern directors and administrators to sponsor a regional training on developing competency models for staff and program development, middle management and other appropriate members of a state team. Bill Shimel notes that we need to learn about the process of identifying, developing and implementing a core competencies program. Each institution can then implement a core competencies program as appropriate for them. Margaret Johnson encourage us to think about including the full range of institutions in the south in looking at core competencies. Bill Murphy notes that there is very likely much overlap over the core competencies in the region and that there should be ample room for regional collaboration. Howard Ladewig provided a brief overview of the core competency approach to staff development. He noted that getting everyone involved (staff, customers, administrators, etc.) and invested in the competency process is critical to making it happens. Ron Shearon noted that the American Society for Training and Development is doing a lot of work in this area. Howard Ladewig noted that most of the work is being done in the private sector, Shearon also the vocational education people have been doing competency training for years (such as the center at Ohio State). Bill Murphy suggested that the training could contribute to multi-state collaboration. Ed Osborne notes that a number of needs assessments of county agents have been done in recent years and it should be linked to the competency process. The committee approved the proposal. Bill Murphy suggested that the proposal include a recommendation about the budget - getting the directors on record supporting sharing the cost of registration for the workshop.

Diversity Workshop Proposal

Pat Ganter-Sobrerro discussed having a regional workshop on diversity training. Joanne Bankston, Director of the National Center for Diversity met with the program and staff development committee to discuss a proposal for a diversity workshop. The center functions on a fee for service basis and is charged with becoming self-sustaining. The center is proposing a regional workshop of recruitment and retention (see Action Items above, submitted by: Joanne Bankston, Paul Warner, James Smith and Margaret Johnson) under the auspices of the Program and Staff Development Committee. Previous workshops have received good evaluation scores (based on a 5-point self-report scale). Pat Ganter-Sobrerro mentioned that several persons from Tennessee recently went to a diversity training and were "electrified" by the workshop and have started some projects upon their return. Jerry Whiteside says that they have a real need in recruiting and retaining African-Americans and that he liked the focus of the proposed workshop. Paul Warner concurs with the need for a focused workshop and suggested that objectives 1 and 3 be the focus of the workshop. Pat Ganter-Sobrerro noted that the description of the evaluation needs to be fleshed out and that the costs need to be specified. The committee voted in favor of approving the proposal to have a diversity workshop. James Smith and Paul Warner volunteered to help with the workshop proposal and planning.

Image Enhancement

Pat Ganter-Sobrerro also discussed the need to address Extension's image, and especially the need for information on program success stories from joint research and extension efforts for web-based publication. The process of producing this has been difficult and they are looking to see if program and staff development will have a representative help with the development of these success stories. The directors want the PLC to help get better representation of the South's accomplishments in the national accountability publications. The committee members asked for more information about what the task involved before anyone volunteers. Joe Waldrum will provide this information to everyone via the listserv.


Howard Ladewig provided an overview of his presentation for the general session on GPRA and accountability. He noted that the Program and Staff Development Committee should take the lead in plan a training workshop and the content that are needed, including:

1) training people how to do something differently
2) management systems that are used in accountability (evaluation must fit the timeline for the sponsers) - coordination among units
3) changing the culture on reporting -- there are all kinds of barriers to meeting accountability requirements

Howard Ladewig stated further that evaluation is different from accountability (the latter is more of a contract, e.g., plans of work and what is reported). Stakeholders are asking for short pieces to tell the story of relevance, quality and impacts.

The Program and Staff Development Committee discussed what the committee's role should be and whether we should do a regional training. Margaret Johnson suggested that training on getting baseline and progress data. Bill Shimel suggests that we look at what is needed a year from now. Glenn Israel suggested that we need to deal with the culture of planning and accountability, that is if our dean asked how can we change the culture, what would we offer? Ronnie White indicated that we probably have not done all the training for county agents to meeting the requirements for the new accountability environment. Paul Warner suggested that we use the accountability task force's framework of relevance, quality and impact to reassess what training we do. Bill Shimel noted that we need examples of successful and effective accountability tools/products. The concensus was that no specific workshops or training was needed at this time.

Agenda items for 1998

2. Competency Models (Texas experiences)
3. Diversity - selection, recruitment and retention
4. County Extension Agent orientation
5. Outside Training Program
6. Joint session with middle management (e.g. competency models, diversity)

State Sharing

Margaret Johnson shared a packet on the programs of South Carolina State. Howard Ladewig conducted on 32 participants, SELD in Alabama; in two weeks will be in Charleston for the follow up seninars; SELD is one of the best examples of sharing resources and collaboration across state lines. SELD in a regional version of NELD; a number of states have been doing it and it represents a tremendous savings. Nearly 600 people have gone through the program across the region. Bill Shimel described how they are keeping nonduplicated data for participation numbers to respond with GPRA. They are requiring people to keep rosters and someone is responsible for reporting that number. Concern of agents is that outcome measures reflect team accomplishments and not individual accomplishements (including the participant numbers) and they're still figuring out how to deal with this. A number of states are looking at unifying their extension systems or implementing court-order unification plans (1862 and 1890). James Smith indicated that a Kellogg sponsored program on what progress the merger of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Auburn and Alabama A&M) will be held. Administrators from the region will be invited to the "showcase." James reports that they will show their case. The focus will be creating a unified culture, trust, as well as build leadership (Ladewig will conduct the MAP program), and to implement a mentoring program for specialists. James Smith can share info on the mentoring program. Alabama is also shifting from plans of work to projects. Bill Shimel suggested that PLC may want to have a session on the unification of the systems. Ronnie White reported where Mississippi is going in their programming and how GPRA relates. Leticia Colon-Orona reported that they were working on GPRA, staff training but budget cuts have created a number of challenges. Leticia indicated that PR has offered to host the PLC meeting in 1999. The committee is in favor of meeting in PR. Bill Murphy reporting having a week-long on-campus training for county agents. 70% of the training was focused on subject matter, 30% on "core-competencies" Also bringing in secretaries for 4 days of training. VA is working on revising their program development materials that will lead to a 3-credit hour college course. The intent is to provide a cognate area of 18 credits (recognizing that students will opt for fewer) related to programming for student in the ag/natural resources graduate programs in order to qualify them for extension positions. Jerry Whiteside shared copies of two papers. These could be listed for reference of members if they want more information. They are: "Report on ECOP - Personnel & Organizational Development Committee (PODC) activities" (Since this is our committee's counterpart on the national level, we normally have a report on their activities. James Smith and Jerry Whiteside are currently members.) and "Foundation Program for New County Extension Agents" (A description of Georgia's revised orientation and staff development program for new County Agents.).

Training & Development Presentation

Brenda Pope, Director Shands Healthcare at the University of Florida shared information with the committee about its staff development trainings. With over 9,000 emplyees, Ms. Pope's team of 5 has focused on competency training and "performance consulting." The latter is conducted with supervisory and management level staff to address unit level needs, such as enhancing customer satisfaction. Brenda Pope also described how she integrates expertise of outside consultants with that of her staff to provide a range of staff development opportunities and services.