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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

April 30, 2024

Checking In: Delivering on the Promise

Submitted by Gregg Hadley

Earlier this month, our organization embarked on an initiative called, Delivering on the Promise.

This initiative includes three discussion sessions in 28 sites across the state. We reached out to local unit directors to host this meeting series. Thirty local units answered this call to host Delivering on the Promise. These local unit hosts include both county and district, single agent and multi-agent, and rural and urban local units.

The purpose of the conversations is to determine the extension and engagement needs across the state and how to better engage with these audiences and address their needs. Each location is hosting a conversation with our internal stakeholders, as well as unique conversations with non-users and users of extension and engagement across the state.

Also, extension board members from across the state contributed to the Delivering on the Promise discussions at the April 23 Partnership Meeting. The meetings are hosted by our trained K-State Research and Extension community facilitators and our partners at Roots and Legacies Consulting.

As of April 24, 31 sessions have been hosted at 12 sites across the state. Participants are generating ideas and innovative approaches to better enable K-State to engage with stakeholders and communities.

Many ideas and issues have been expressed at these early Delivering on the Promise meetings. The following paragraphs include just a small percentage of them.

Internal stakeholders are asking critical questions about what it means to “elevate” extension and the importance of strengthening internal communication. They point out the importance of developing more local partnerships to help expand and enhance our efforts. Additionally, they stress the importance of not taking a “one size fits all approach” to issues, favoring local solutions to local issues.

Non-users favor an approach that provides local solutions to local issues. They pointed to the need for skilled labor in their communities. They also show enthusiasm for initiatives that would support new professionals returning to or choosing rural and urban communities. They indicate interest in micro-credential programs, partnerships with trade and vocational institutions, and community-based educational options.

Current users of K-State’s extension and engagement programs and services indicated that a greater investment in extension and engagement resources was needed to further our Delivering on the Promise efforts. Community needs cited by users include healthcare, childcare, affordable and safe housing, and skilled workforce development and retention. They also pointed to how these issues were often interrelated and complex, and assistance requires the understanding of these inter-relationships and their local context.

The information from these and future meetings is being recorded and summarized. That information will then be analyzed by an advisory team made up of former and current extension professionals and external stakeholders. With their help, we will identify common themes and critical issues to address.

At our 2024 K-State Research and Extension Annual Conference, we will come together as a system to discuss how to best address these themes and issues so that we may become even better at Delivering on the Promise.

We are deeply grateful for the time and effort of the session hosts, facilitators, note takers and participants, and appreciate adding these tasks to your already busy schedules. Thank you for providing your work, connections, ideas and expertise to the Delivering on the Promise initiative.