eXtension Names Four eXtension Fellows and First eXtension/GODAN Fellow

The eXtension Foundation proudly announces the four new Fellows in its seventh annual eXtension Fellowship program and the first new eXtension/GODAN Fellowship. eXtension Fellows come from eXtension Foundation Premium Member Institutions and spend one year advancing knowledge on applied innovation in their topic area for the benefit of all Cooperative Extension professionals.

The 2016 topic areas focus on new approaches to Makers, Social Media, and Big Data. Following are the 2016 eXtension Foundation Fellows, their projects, and the focus of their plans.

2016 eXtension Fellows

Dave Francis, Extension Associate Professor, Utah State University
“Maker Movement, Horticulture Fusion”

Within the Maker Movement, there is a new trend developing with a tie to agriculture and gardening. Known as “geek gardening,” it refers to gardening enhanced with technology-focused methods to increase the production of plant products or to solve issues such as irrigation or pest control. Dave will identify and showcase this movement and a variety of these makers and their innovations for awareness throughout Cooperative Extension.

Daphne Richards, County Agent and Educator, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
“Expediting Social Media Campaign Management with Evergreen Content Development and Distribution”

Most Cooperative Extension professionals have tried one or more social media platforms, including videos, infographics, and webinars. A good deal of duplication is now developing among these offerings that might be addressed with a single “evergreen” product applicable for a broad geographic area. Daphne will investigate topics ripe for creation from an “evergreen-content” perspective and provide guidance for Extension professionals and teams considering this approach.

Christian Schmieder, Qualitative Research Specialist and Lecturer, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension (Program Development and Evaluation Unit)
“Responding to the ‘Data Imperative’ in Extension:  Developing a National Online Qualitative Analysis and Analysis Software Learning Platform”

Increasingly, Cooperative Extension and its partner organizations are expected to produce strong, data-driven insights for a variety of audiences from Big Qualitative Data–ever larger, more diverse and complex data sources. To meet this need, Extension needs to build capacity to analyze large amounts of qualitative data in a consistent, methodologically sound way. Christian will assess the scaleability of analysis-focused Qualitative Data Analysis Software training and develop a working prototype for Extension, including online materials and teaching modules that might be disseminated for national use.

Laura Thompson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension Educator, Cropping Systems and Agriculture Technologies
“Data Visualization in Publications, Live Presentations, and Recorded Data Videos”

Big Data has expanded exponentially our ability to generate and collect data in all sectors of Cooperative Extension. In addition to the challenge of storing and processing this data is the challenge of how to make it meaningful for Extension’s many audiences. Data visualization is an important communications tool for distilling and presenting data so audiences can interpret it, remember it, and apply it to change behavior. Laura will examine data visualization and presentation techniques and develop recommendations and guidelines for their use in Extension.

First eXtension/GODAN Fellow

Justin G. Smith, PhD, Director, Mason County Extension and Assistant Professor, Community Economic Development, Washington State University
“Unified Knowledge Translation Framework for Integrating Interdisciplinary Research and Scholarly Activity Related to Climate Resilience and Food Security”

For Cooperative Extension, a pressing Big Data challenge is the need to address issues supported by a collective ability to organize, link, retrieve and translate cross-disciplinary data, research and action. Working with eXtension and GODAN leadership, Justin plans to develop a prototype “Unified Knowledge Translation Framework” that will present a model for integrating interdisciplinary research and scholarly activity related specifically to climate resilience and food security. This work is a first step toward developing a metadata-labeling protocol and production-level indexing system that can organize and link relevant information from diverse domains of knowledge, institutions, and other sources for use by Cooperative Extension and its partners.

About These eXtension Fellowship Programs

The eXtension Fellowship program is offered in partnership with USDA-NIFA and dedicated to developing projects on applied innovation in U.S. Cooperative Extension settings. The eXtension/GODAN Fellowship is offered through a partnership with Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), and it focuses on testing and demonstrating protocols, including the use of competency frameworks, to make eXtension and Extension information more open, accessible and linked to open research and data.

Please contact Jerry Thomas, Director of eXtension’s Innovation Lab for more information on eXtension Fellowship programs. Find more comprehensive descriptions of the Fellows’ projects.