Networks are the thing. Summary of our 2nd deliberative forum on campus

forum2wordcloud1On August 26th we facilitated a second deliberative forum here on campus at Cornell. During the hour and a half session a range of issues and focal points emerged. Some of these overlapped issues and ideas brought out during our first deliberative forum. But one of the strongest thematic areas to emerge from this forum addressed the idea of extension as a hub or networking lynchpin. This is a theme that is explored in depth in the publication “Extension 3.0: Agriculture Education and Outreach in the Age of Connectivity.” by Lubell and Niles.

Themes of funding, research (both on-campus and county based) and community were also strong during this session. County based deliberative forums kick off next week (September 10 in Albany county, September 12 in Broome) and will be continuing throughout the month. It will be interesting to track overlaps and divergences that arise as the forums move off-campus.

A few key highlights from the discussion:

  • Evidence based program – how much latitude does that give educators?
  • Reductive view of what an adult educator can do – how creative they can be – does this boxed them in?
  • Might lead to divisiveness between those who wrote the curriculum and those with local knowledge
  • Like the focus on impact
  • Established curriculum is helpful as a starting point – but not offering it robotically
  • My reality changes daily
  • CCE is trusted (and the university cannot get to the communities).  But is the trust going one way?
  • Sending rockets out into the world from Cornell University
  • Framing and interpreting rather than helping them figure it out on their own – need more freedom for engagement
  • Framing seems to be stuck in old model.  We now have a more collaborative approach to research.
  • We do need people who do research but needs to go in many different ways.  Who decides what gets to be researched?
  • Questions could start within the communities – that will inform research.
  • We need to be better at answering questions that people have right now.
  • Need big funding – and the sources of that funding based on the old model.
  • Fluidity – there is a self organize aspect which is scary – hard to manage, measure, replicate
  • Long term goal strengthen networks.
  • Need to think about regional programs rather that community based.  Funding is creating challenges to have communities be the focus unless through regional offices with long term view
  • Educators need to see their role more as networkers
  • This is the way of the future.

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