I enjoyed the opportunity to serve as the NAEPSDP/eXtension Program Planning fellow for 2018. This gave me the opportunity to gain an insider perspective of eXtension and help shape the future for this organization as it continually evolves in defining its purpose and form. Through this experience I also became more familiar with NAEPSDP as I participated in monthly board meetings to report on the fellowship. In addition, the fellowship gave me opportunities to further my professional development. I worked with one of eXtension’s consultants in the writing of a chapter to guide future impact collaborative and have also provided invited presentations.
Throughout the year I participated in numerous meetings of eXtension and their subject matter fellow. I also worked one-on-one with eXtension employees as they worked to resolve challenges associated with Extension philosophy and implementation of different components of the impact collaborative approach. I served as a key informant at the 2018 eXtension Impact Collaborative Summit which allowed me the opportunity to observe their process firsthand. I also provided a workshop on engaged program planning for the 1890 Leadership Academy which was being provided by eXtension.
One of the benefits I felt I provided was communicating my perspective and providing connection to traditional Extension programming to people working with eXtension that did not come from a background as either an agent or specialist associated with Extension at a land grant university. Much of the framework for the approaches of eXtension was coming from consultants and other sources that are not connected to Extension. While this is not a bad thing, I found it helpful to be able to help translate how some of those approaches might connect with today’s Extension organization. In some cases, what was proposed as new and different in Extension already existed so it was a matter of explaining how it worked currently.
At the conclusion of 2018 I was told that eXtension found my fellowship to be beneficial and was restructuring future fellowships to revolve around an area of expertise for the participant. This would allow the participant to provide deliverables that connect with their scholarship and work beyond the fellowship. They hope to have a fellowship with each professional organization within Extension. In addition they are making changes to help make the fellowship program more manageable. These include providing one point of contact for the fellows to streamline and clarify the process and reducing the number of internal meetings.
2018 NAEPSDP/eXtension Program Planning Fellow