Characteristics and Motivational Factors of Effective Extension Advisory Leaders: A Summary of Research Conducted by Teresa Joy Spearman-Part 5

It is well established that Extension educators should stay up-to-date related to research associated with Extension methodologies to ensure we are implementing best practices related to Extension programming. One of the areas of scholarly inquiry that should be carefully evaluated is the characteristics and motivation factors of effective committee members.

In 2011, Teresa Spearman at North Carolina State University conducted a Delphi study to determine the characteristics and motivation factors of effective Extension Advisory Leaders. Committees, Leadership Advisory Boards, Coalitions, Youth Boards and Extension Advisory groups provide necessary input to ensure that Extension programs are relevant and responsive to local needs and/or issues.

The following questions were asked of the County Extension Directors (Spearman, 2011):

  1. What are the characteristics of effective advisory leaders?
  2. What are the motivational factors that cause individuals to be effective volunteers for Cooperative Extension?
  3. What are the best ways to recruit effective advisory leaders for Cooperative Extension?
  4. What are the best ways to retain effective advisory leaders for Cooperative Extension?
  5. What areas of training are needed to prepare effective advisory leaders?

The responses received for round one were summarized and developed into an online survey for round two (Spearman, 2011). The researcher summarized the participant’s answers and organized them into like categories (Spearman, 2011). During round two, participants the researcher asked the participants to review the list and rate listed responses on a five-point Likert scale with one being not important and five being extremely important (Spearman, 2011).

Round three was utilized to verify consensus (Spearman, 2011). When consensus was reached after round three, no additional questions were posed to the participants (Spearman, 2011).

In this installment of Next Step to Success, the results of round two and three associated with the research question related to training needs of volunteers (Spearman, 2011).  Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the ratings. The results for round two related to the question posed to State Advisory Council Members regarding training needs for effective advisory leaders are summarized in Table 1 (Spearman, 2011):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The researcher reported that mean scores of the State Advisory Council members’ rating of training needs for effective advisory leaders ranged from 3.79 to 4.63 (Spearman, 2011). A mean score of 4.5 to 5.0 was interpreted as extremely important and 3.5 to 4.49 interpreted as very important on a five-point Likert scale. Based on this interpretation, ‘advocacy skills’ was rated as extremely important as summarized in Table 1 (Spearman, 2011). The remaining 12 categories were rated as very important (Spearman, 2011). The lowest rated category was ‘understanding population demographics and trends’ (Spearman, 2011).

Table 2 provides a summary of how County Extension Directors responded to the question related to training needs for effective Advisory Leaders (Spearman, 2011):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mean scores of the County Extension Directors’ rating of nine training needs for effective Extension advisory leaders ranged from 2.63 to 4.26 as summarized in Table 2 (Spearman, 2011). A mean score of 3.5 to 4.49 was interpreted as very important and 2.5 to 3.49 as important on a five-point Likert scale (Spearman, 2011). Based on this interpretation, six of the training needs for effective advisory leaders listed were rated as very important by the County Extension Directors (Spearman, 2011). The rest were rated as important (Spearman, 2011).  The highest rated category was ‘orientation for volunteer leadership and role clarification’ (Spearman, 2011).  The lowest rated category was ‘public speaking’ (Spearman, 2011).

During round 3, the researcher asked The State Advisory Council members were asked to rank the importance of the identified 13 training needs for effective advisory leaders in Extension using a 13-point ranking scale ranging from one being most important to 13 being the least important. (Spearman, 2011).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mean of the State Council Members ranged from 3.63 to 11.21 as summarized in Table 3 (Spearman, 2011). The lowest mean reported was ‘advocacy skills’ indicating it was the most important training need for effective advisory leaders followed by ‘mission, vision, and scope of Cooperative Extension programming’ (Spearman, 2011).  The highest mean reported was ‘conducting effective meetings and parliamentary procedure’ indicating it was the least important training need for effective advisory leaders in Extension of the 13 items ranked (Spearman, 2011).

During round three the researcher asked the County Extension Directors to rank the importance of the identified nine training needs of effective advisory leaders in Extension using a nine-point ranking scale ranging from one being most important to nine being the least important.  (Spearman, 2011).

Table 4 provides the mean and standard deviation for County Extension Directors’ responses (Spearman, 2011):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mean of their responses ranged from 2.28 to 8.06 as summarized in Table 4 (Spearman, 2011). The lowest mean reported was ‘orientation for volunteer leadership and role clarification’ indicating it was the most important training need for effective advisory leaders followed by ‘building knowledge about Cooperative Extension staffing and leadership’ (Spearman, 2011).  The highest mean reported was ‘public speaking’ indicating it was the least important training need for effective advisory leaders in Extension of the nine items ranked (Spearman, 2011).

When comparing the ranked responses of the State Advisory Council Members and County Extension Directors some common themes emerged as important strategies by both panels. State Advisory Council Members and County Extension Directors viewed the following strategies as important in terms of training needs:

  • Mission, vision, and scope of Cooperative Extension
  • Building knowledge about Cooperative Extension staffing and leadership
  • Advocacy skills.
  • Orientation for volunteer leadership and role clarification.

In Future Next Step to Success more insights garnered from this research regarding motivational factors for effective Advisory Leaders will be reported.

Reference

Spearman, T.J., (2011). Characteristics and Motivational Factors of Effective Extension Advisory Leaders. Unpublished manuscript, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

 

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