Minnesota Extension's Mixed Regional/County Model: Greater Impacts Follows Changes in Structure
The Cooperative Extension Service has as its mission helping the public use the research generated at land-grant universities. Since 1914, most states have used a county-based Extension model, with educators in every county and campus-based faculty supporting local educational efforts. This paper outlines why and how the Minnesota Extension Service has replaced this model with a mixed regional/county model, the major features of the new delivery model and the employment consequences of the shift as well as the non-financial advantages of the new model. The structural changes in Minnesota are of interest to Extension stakeholders in other states who are facing similar challenges and want to learn more about the benefits and costs of Minnesota's new model. Within Minnesota the public is beginning to ask a much more important question: What are the impacts of the programs being delivered? Structural change is only valuable if it results in increased programming and greater impacts than would have happened without the change. Although this paper starts to outline some of the changes in program impact, the bulk of that discussion will be reserved for later papers.
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