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What’s it Like to Work with the eXtension Foundation as an NTAE Project? - Bridging the GAPs


eXtension recently announced the opportunity for nominations for the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) for Year 2 projects. The nomination form will be available on June 15th until July 20th, 2020. Selected projects will receive wrap around services from the eXtension Foundation to support and amplify the project/program outcomes. Wrap around services include:

  • Project/Program advisory support from a Catalyst (current or past senior program or administrative Cooperative Extension Service (CES) personnel).
  • Support to compose a formal peer-reviewed publication of resources and processes used by the project which might be an eFieldbook or ePub publication.
  • Evaluation support
  • Digital engagement support for digital learning and instructing
  • Leadership support and training for adaptation to a digital environment 
  • Professional engagement and development by encouraging all projects to share their processes and products via
  • Optional Wrap Around Services for selected projects:
    • Marketing efforts with an outside firm 
    • Partnership development assistance 

What’s it like to work with eXtension Foundation as an NTAE project? We caught up with one of our Fellows that is leading one of our Year 1 projects.

Dr. Chris Gunter, Director of Graduate Programs & Extension Vegetable Production Specialist and Professor, at North Carolina State University, is leading a NTAE supported project called Bridging the GAPs. This project is a multi-state team with Virginia Tech, the University of Tennessee, Washington State University, and the University of Florida. Bridging the GAPs is implementing a free curriculum to help produce growers address on-farm water treatment pertaining to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This curriculum, Bridging the GAPS – Approaches for treating water on-farm, is a four-module curriculum designed for a producer audience. This curriculum has been piloted on a limited basis to make initial improvements to improve its effectiveness. This curriculum is ready for a broader implementation.

According to Dr. Gunter, “we have been able to access eXtension's services including the development of the web based eFieldbook.  I've also been accessing the marketing capability of the eXtension team. Though we have only started on this piece, the professional development team has been very communicative for the training development for Extension professionals.” The Bridging the GAPs team is taking advantage of optional marketing support from a third-party marketing firm provided by eXtension. This firm is both conducting market research of produce growers in the target region, and putting together a marketing/communication plan for the Bridging the GAPs program. 

Reflecting upon the value that the eXtension Foundation has brought to this project, Dr. Gunter shared “working with the eXtension team has brought another level of skill sets to the work that I am doing.  I would not readily have the capability to develop the online portion of the curriculum I have been working with.  I would have to hire someone with that capability and spend time explaining the target audience and extension mission.  With the eXtension team, they already get the Extension mission.” 

Reflecting back to right before he started working with the eXtension Foundation, Dr. Gunter stated “our development team did not have the intention to develop a comprehensive electronic tool for the curriculum.  Without eXtension's help, we likely would not have this material online in this highly interactive format.”

When asked about his overall experience working as an NTAE project with eXtension, Dr. Gunter shared “like everyone, this project is one of many that are going on simultaneously in my professional Extension work. Having the support of the eXtension team to reach out to reviewers and keep that process moving has been amazingly helpful. Just to have their team as a backup to keep things moving forward is a great help.”

Do you have an early stage, high potential project that you would like to nominate? Requirements of projects/programs to receive incubation are as follows:

  • Projects must be in early stages of maturity and have a high potential for making a significant local impact and providing a model for adoption by other Extension professionals regionally or nationwide. This means the project is likely to have objectives completed, audiences identified, outcomes identified and has had some early stage of implementation. 
  • Each nomination should identify a lead (a Fellow) for the project that will serve as the primary contact.
  • All nominations must have the support of the Extension Director/Administrator.

Learn more about the application and nomination process here

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