- Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop
Problem and Justification: The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has many new agent, educator and specialist staff, some hired to replace retirees and some newly created positions. Many of these new staff have not worked for Extension in the past.
In addition, many of our new and existing staff are experts in their field but have limited knowledge in the principles of adult education, particularly on how farmers learn.
Solution and Approach: Pairing a new Extension professional with an experienced Extension Professional can help foster and promote the development of new Extension staff. Through team building workshops the primary investigator and the two co-primary investigators will identify experienced staff to pair with the new Extension hires. We will provide "mentoring" guidelines to these pairs to suggest ways in which these pairs can keep connected and communicate and provide each other with support.
Furthermore, this program will also host a series of workshops that will bring experts in the field of adult education to Delaware to teach our Extension educators methods, approaches and principles of adult education.
Performance targets from proposal:
This program will pair 5 new Extension educators with experienced Extension educators in a "mentoring" relationship. These new educators will gain confidence to improve their outreach to 50 Farmers. We will measure the results of the mentoring process.
20 extension educators will implement adult education strategies in their outreach to Farmers and measure how the new strategies result in gained knowledge for 100 Farmers.
20 extension educators from University of Delaware and Delaware State University will help coordinate tour stops to educate participants utilizing adult education principles that they have learned.