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Showing posts from July, 2017

Evaluation Essentials: Needs Assessment

By Emily Becher, Research Associate

Do you have the appetite for another bite of evaluation jargon? Needs assessment is a phrase you may have nodded along with — and not fully understood. A common definition for a needs assessment is the process of identifying the state of how things currently are, and comparing that with how things could be. Needs assessed are usually centered around a gap that you in fact could fill or address. In our Swedish soup analogy, the needs assessment was the process of asking community members about their desire for a Swedish soup in a local restaurant and looking at other restaurants’ menus.

Protecting Baby Fruit and Planning for Efficiency

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs — Extension Center for Family Development

The past few weekends, my husband Steve and I have been installing a 7-foot fence around fruit trees we planted two springs ago on our farm in Winona County. We planted pear, cherry, apple, plum, and peach trees. Doesn’t just reading that variety make your mouth water?

We had great expectations about our fruit harvest. Last fall, on one weekend, the fruit was just about ready. So we anxiously waited for the next weekend to harvest — and found that our mouths weren’t the only ones watering. Our neighborhood deer got there first and had a fruit buffet! That’s when we committed to get a high fence around the trees.

Twenty-Five Years of Service: CYFC, the University, and Our Surrounding Communities

By Mina Blyly-Strauss, Graduate Research Assistant; Cari Michaels, Extension Educator; and Judy Myers, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

For the past 25 years, the Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) has engaged in collaborative interdisciplinary work within and around the University of Minnesota.

Over the years, our programmatic foci and strategies have shifted with the introduction of new leadership and staff who bring different disciplinary backgrounds and strengths to their work. Throughout current CYFC programming, we view the world through an ecological lens in raising awareness of the need to support mental well-being. One of our Advisory Board member’s, Antonia Wilcoxon of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, shared this about CYFC's programming:
I find that the Consortium is a wonderful gathering place for "all things" related to children, youth, and families. It supports communities, institutions, and paren…

SNAP-Ed Educator Takes on New Role in Anoka County

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

Andrew Doherty has taken on a new role with the Extension Center for Family Development (FD) as an Extension educator in Anoka County, where he is leading efforts to implement the county’s SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Partnership) worksite wellness strategies. Andrew’s new role, which began July 13, is a temporary assignment in which he can use his skills and education to benefit the community.

Guest Speaker to Share Rural Realities from Pakistan

By Sharon Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

Next Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., University of Minnesota Extension staff will have the unique opportunity to attend an online presentation from an expert in gender development and agriculture from Pakistan.

Extension’s Role in Promoting Mental Well-Being: Where Do We Fit?

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean — Family Development

Last week, a colleague posed an interesting question to me: What is University of Minnesota Extension’s role in promoting mental well-being in Minnesota? I didn’t have a ready answer for her and began to consider the question. What is and could be our role? I approached it as a puzzle with many pieces.

Parents Forever™: 2016 in Review

By Emily Becher, Research Associate — Extension Center for Family Development

If you’re new to Extension or Family Development (FD), you might not know that Parents Forever™ is the only FD program that satisfies a state mandate. Minnesota Statute 518.157 gives judges the authority to require parents with contested custody to complete a minimum of eight hours of parent education. And through Parents Forever™, an 8-hour course through Family Resiliency, Extension Center for Family Development provides just that!

This past year was a busy one for Parents Forever™. In 2016, Parents Forever™ (both in person and online) served more than 2,239 Minnesotans, up from 2,164 last year. The majority of our participants came from the online course (73%, n=1,639) with about a quarter coming from our in-person courses (27%, n=600).

Jam Those Data! (Jam Them Good): Qualitative Data Analysis and Data Jamming

By Emily Becher, Research Associate — Extension Center for Family Development

This spring, Extension Center for Family Development’s Applied Research and Evaluation (ARE) team applied a new data analysis technique to a typically unruly type of data. The new technique: data jamming. The unruly data: qualitative data.

For those of you unfamiliar with qualitative data, and qualitative analysis and coding, what follows is a brief primer. For those of you who are all too familiar with the struggle, jump to Data Jams: What Are They Good For?

FD in the News

Here’s the monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work of Family Development staff and partners.