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We are NDSU Extension: Our Purpose and Vision (3/13/2015)

This is the first in a series of blog posts to highlight key information about our Extension organization’s culture. “An organization’s culture is the beliefs, values, and behaviors that a group has adopted over time as a way to survive and succeed. Simply put, ‘culture is the way things are done around here.’ (Denison Consulting).”

This blog highlights our Purpose and Vision.  Purpose describes why we exist.

Our purpose is to create learning partnerships that help adults and youth enhance their lives and communities.

More simply, our purpose is to deliver transformational education. It’s captured in the tag line: Extending knowledge, changing lives. Our goal is to have transformational education that reaches beyond level 2 outcomes to levels 3 or 4 (remember the four levels of the Kirkpatrick model? ). Transformational education is relevant, valuable, impactful, and life changing. We know a single touch (a single event, workshop or email reply) will not be life changing. However, Extension’s sustained connections and education with people will make a difference.

Vision goes deeper and defines the desired future of our organization. Our vision is:

To be the premier lifelong education network that helps North Dakotans improve their quality of life.

To achieve that vision, we will strive to be innovative, adaptable and willing to take risks to create new ways of thinking, learning and addressing issues.

To improve their quality of life, North Dakotans seek our programs to learn new knowledge and skills. They gain a private value from Extension in doing so. This outcome is very good. However, Extension’s programs provide even greater value when we consider the public value of these outcomes to the state of North Dakota. Public value is the benefit that is gained by people who don’t even attend an Extension program in person. For example, when people gain confidence and skills from Extension leadership training, they step up and support their entire community. When farmers learn and adopt sustainable crop and soil management practices from our Extension programs, the public value is clean water. Everyone wins from these programs. This is the outcome of our vision.

Next up: Strategic Direction

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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