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Transforming Lives Through Education

In transformational education, Extension staff make a conscious and continued effort to provide information in a way that will serve as a catalyst for individual and community change.

the transformational education process

Judith Larson of Adams County is all too aware that retirement can be frightening for farmers and ranchers. She and her husband come from multigenerational farm families, and both have parents near retirement age.

Then she attended an NDSU Extension Design Your Succession Plan (DYSP) program. One DYSP goal is to help families start their succession planning by determining their vision for the farm or ranch, whether that’s transferring a viable business to the next generation or dividing the farm or ranch assets
among heirs.

“I guess my expectation was to find out what Extension had to offer to bring back to my dad and my in-laws and my husband,” Larson says. “I got so much more out of it. It gave me some talking points, as far as family is concerned.”

DYSP is one of many examples of how Extension’s educational approach, called transformational education, empowers North Dakotans to improve their life and community.

“In transformational education, Extension staff make a conscious and continued effort to provide information in a way that will serve as a catalyst for individual and community change,” says Lynette Flage, assistant director, Extension Family and Community Wellness. “It’s really getting people to make that step to transform themselves.”

Transformational education also sets Extension apart from other information sources, such as Google.

“We’re local,” Flage says. “We have the expertise. We’re also neutral.”

Transformational education is a combination of four educational strategies in which Extension personnel provide:

  • Information or a service, such as insect identification or soil testing
  • Facilitation by serving as nonpartisan facilitators and organizing an event or meeting about a particular topic of concern
  • Content transmission by providing answers to people’s problems in person, on the phone or through newsletters, radio programs, media interviews, publications and social media
  • High-impact programs that help people solve identified, multifaceted problems

For more information:

Lynette Flage, 701-231-7782,

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