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Purdue Pilots Training Sessions for County Extension Boards


by Steve Yoder, Community Development Regional Educator, Purdue Extension 


In April, Purdue Extension began piloting a series of training sessions for county extension boards across Indiana. The goal is to gather feedback on the effectiveness of new materials designed to help boards improve their effectiveness in advising and advocating for extension programming at the local level. The program has been developed by a team of ten extension educators, campus specialists, and administrators from throughout the state. 

The sessions include three modules based on the framework of the Board Development Cycle. Module 1 focuses on the recruitment of new board members. It provides information and activities to help board members cultivate a list of names from the community that could join them in their efforts to support extension programming. 

Results from the initial round of pilots have been promising. “(The board) meeting last night was probably the most productive one I’ve been to,” said Geoff Schortgen, County Extension Director for Wabash County. Geoff is one of the first educators to pilot the program. He added that “Lots of good names were given for potential board members who represent stakeholders not currently represented by the board.” 

Piloting efforts for Module 1 will wrap up this spring, followed by Modules 2 and 3 this summer. Those modules will focus on board member engagement and renewal, respectively. Once all the pilots are finished, the training materials will be updated and made available for use by all of Indiana’s 92 extension boards.

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