In this, and subsequent, eXtension UPDATE articles, we be focusing on each of the nine Critical Success Factors/Metrics developed in late 2011. While there are some metrics on which we will not be able to report at this time, we will fill these gaps in 2012 as we move forward. Note that in some cases, data will reflect periods prior to 2011.
Critical Success Factor 2: eXtension fills gaps in disciplinary expertise that may not be available in individual institutions and can enhance existing programs.
Explanation: This Critical Success Factor/Metric focuses on how the collaborative cross institutional development of content fills disciplinary expertise gaps within institutions. It also includes how these gaps are addressed at the local level.
Metrics data: Much of the data for this Critical Success Factor/Metric will be collected in 2012 and beyond through the metrics identified as we focus more on engagement and use of eXtension at the state and local levels. However, some data has been collected to suggest that eXtension is achieving this Critical Success Factor/Metric.
In 37 interviews conducted with Extension professionals at various eXtension-sponsored events and state Extension conferences (see eXtension Voices at http://www.youtube.com/user/eXtensionInitiative?blend=1&ob=video-mustangbase), and through the eXtension Transformation Study conducted in 2010 (see the report at http://create.extension.org/node/3016), Extension professionals indicated that eXtension is filling gaps in disciplinary expertise.
Some specific comments included:
• “Both the idea of the Community of Practice and the physical representation of a single source on the Internet make it much easier to collaborate and to develop core content that can be used in multiple states.”
• “It’s enabled agents and faculty to fill gaps as far as content, and being able to to respond to clientele questions and being able to provide clients a source of information that we may not have in our state because of the lack of specialists in a particular area.”
• “It provides an opportunity to tap into expertise from across the country to solve a problem or deal with an issue at a basis where there might not be that expertise anymore.”