Editor’s Note: Outreach takes on many forms. The goal most often is to understand the needs of a particular community. In this case, the goal was to improve Latino nursery worker educational materials. The results of the research can improve communication tools well beyond the nursery industry, OSU Extension, and Oregon State University. The “What Workers Think” project is one of 15 university outreach and engagement projects recognized at the 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence celebration on April 17.

 

"How to Control Slugs in Your Garden" bilingual publication published by Extension and Experiment Station Communications
“How to Control Slugs in Your Garden” bilingual publication published by Extension and Experiment Station Communications

Spanish-speaking workers make up most of the labor force in Oregon’s horticulture industries; however, few Oregon State University Extension publications and multimedia materials are designed to meet their vocational and linguistic needs.

 

A team at Oregon State set out to understand how instructional materials can be designed to improve the learning process for Latino nursery workers. The team consisted of Ariel Ginsburg and Dionisia Morales, publishing managers with Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC); Luisa Santamaria, Extension plant pathologist for nursery crops and bilingual educator, North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) and associate professor, Botany and Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural Sciences; and Gilbert Uribe, education program assistant (NWREC), now pesticide registration and certification specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

 

EESC translates into Spanish some publications from the Extension catalog. Feedback from Extension faculty working in Latino communities suggested that the choice of topics was not always well-suited to horticultural workers. Publications were often too technical, written at too high a reading level, or required a computer to download and print.

 

Dionisia Morales (middle) and Ariel Ginsburg (right) accept a Honorable mention for the WHAT WORKERS THINK: COMMUNICATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR LATINO NURSERY WORKERS project. Ed Feser (left), OSU provost and executive vice president, presents the award.
Dionisia Morales (middle) and Ariel Ginsburg (right) accept a Honorable mention for the WHAT WORKERS THINK: COMMUNICATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR LATINO NURSERY WORKERS project. Ed Feser (left), OSU provost and executive vice president, presents the award.

This feedback sparked a number of questions: Do workers want information to help them do better at their jobs. Do they want to learn key English vocabulary to communicate more easily with their employers? Are workers more interested in web-based training they can do on their own time, or in face-to-face sessions? Are they more likely to access information on their smartphones?

 

Using a $1,500 professional development grant from the Association for Communication Excellence, the team conducted three focus groups. They asked workers directly about their needs and interests. Integrating into existing, employer-supported worker training events allowed maximum participation. The three focus groups conducted thus far involved 21 community members. A final focus group will take place in spring 2017.

 

The findings have already started to shift how EESC delivers translated content. Latino workers want more photo-rich, mobile-friendly information and they want publications in which English and Spanish appear side-by-side.

 

In 2017, members of the team will write an article for the Journal of Extension. Findings will be presented at conferences to help other Extension and communication specialists learn how they can engage Latino community members to learn what education needs they have and their preferred learning formats.

 

Based on an abstract submitted for the 2017 University Outreach and Engagement Vice Provost Awards of Excellence.

 

Written by Gregg Kleiner and Tiffany Woods for Oregon Sea Grant (April 17, 2017)

 

Editor’s Note: This story is a great example of outreach and engagement work: co-creation of solutions, cross-disciplinary collaboration, applied research, building community capacity, partnerships, and more.

 

Crab fishing. Photo by Oregon Sea Grant.
Crab fishing. Photo by Oregon Sea Grant.

West Coast crabbers and faculty with Oregon State University and Sea Grant programs in Oregon and Washington have been exploring ways to reduce injuries at sea.

The effort is part of the Fishermen Led Injury Prevention Program, which was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“The ideas are generated by the fishermen, and the goal is that the solutions are voluntarily embraced and are not imposed,” said Laurel Kincl, the leader of the project and an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Gathering research

To gather the suggestions as well as build rapport with the fishermen, nine community members with ties to the fishing industry were contracted, including several fishermen’s wives. Kincl and others then trained them to conduct outreach, engagement and research.

As part of the project, in the fall of 2015, the nine community members surveyed 365 crabbers in Washington, Oregon and California about the types and number of injuries they may have experienced during the 2014-15 crabbing season. The crabbers reported 65 injuries, 36 of which required them to take time off work or change how they worked. Of those 36, sprains and strains were the most frequent, with 13 incidents. Out of the 36 injuries, hands, arms and shoulders were the most commonly injured body parts, with 17 reports. Nine of the 36 injuries occurred while handling gear on deck, and seven happened while hauling in gear.

When asked what they thought contributed most to injuries, fishermen gave answers that included not paying attention, weather and sea conditions, inexperience, unsafe vessels or gear, a lack of training, and poor physical shape. When asked what they thought was the most important thing for staying safe, responses included having a good captain and crew, being aware, taking care of oneself, avoiding fatigue and having a well-maintained boat and gear.

Co-created solutions

Fishermen suggested the need for a fishing-specific first aid and CPR course. As a result, a wilderness medicine expert was invited to the Oregon towns of Newport and Astoria in the fall of 2016 to train fishermen on how to treat medical conditions and at-sea injuries such as cuts, broken bones, dislocated shoulders and hypothermia.

Another fisherman suggested looking at the design of banger bars, which are metal bars that are welded to the tables where crabs are sorted. Crab pots are hoisted over and slammed against the bars to force the crabs onto the table.

“Some say the bars make it easier on fishermen’s wrists and backs if positioned correctly,” said Kaety Jacobson, a marine fisheries Extension specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and a partner on the project. “But there’s not a standard design, so crabbers make their own – if they use them at all. We’re pretty sure someone has come up with the ideal banger bar, so we’re trying to find that design and share it with the community.”

The research team is considering using fishermen-focused Facebook pages, like the Oregon Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Facebook page, to ask for information about the use, design and benefits of the bars. With this information, she said, Sea Grant could create a publication on what a banger bar is and why fishermen use them. It could also include photos or schematics of designs that work better.

Also because of fishermen’s feedback, Jacobson and the nine community members will interview experienced deckhands and boat captains about what makes a good crew, how to size up a boat to see if it’s safe, and what safety-related language fishermen should look for when signing a contract to become a crew member. Jacobson and her team plan to share this information with novice or aspiring crewmembers.

“We’ll put these findings in an infographic or factsheet that we’ll post on social media or mail out so that fishermen looking for work can have that resource,” she said.

Importance to Oregon

During the 2015–16 season, fishermen in Oregon landed just over 14 million pounds of Dungeness crab, which they sold for a record $51 million, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dubbed the official state crustacean, Dungeness crabs make up the most valuable single-species commercial fishery in Oregon.

Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

Often times, it is not a high priority for seed companies to engage with or consider the unique needs and preferences of organic farmers and their customers during the plant breeding process. To ensure success, organic farmers need varieties bred under organic conditions in order to select for traits including weed competitiveness, disease resistance, organic nutrient management and stress tolerance.

 

Organic customers demand superior flavor and culinary attributes and have an appreciation for uniqueness, quality and novelty. Incorporating chefs, farmers, produce buyers and other stakeholders into the plant breeding process gives breeders deeper insight into preferred traits. It also promotes awareness and understanding of organic plant breeding to a broader audience.

 

In 2012, the Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) was formed to convene breeders and these stakeholders to discuss and identify traits of culinary excellence for vegetables and grains. The Variety Showcase is an annual CBN event. Its goal is to increase communication in order to develop more relevant and desirable cultivars for all parties. Attendees have the opportunity to taste commercially available cultivars, provide feedback on breeding populations, and exchange ideas and perspectives with breeders.

 

OSU faculty involved in CBN include:

 

  • Nick Andrews, Senior Instructor and Small Farms Extension Educator
  • Pat Hayes, Professor, Barley Breeding & Products, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jim Myers, Professor, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Heidi Noordijk, Education Program Assistant—Small Farms
  • Lane Selman, Faculty Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Alex Stone, Associate Professor, Horticulture Extension – Vegetable Cropping Specialist

 

Impact

 

Community partnerships are essential to the success of the CBN and the Variety Showcase. Partners include: Organically Grown Company, Oregon Tilth and The Sage Restaurant Group.

 

Event attendance has more than tripled from 2014 to 2016 and attendees have been exposed to more than 150 commercially available cultivars and 135 breeding lines of vegetables and grains. Seed companies report significant sales increases because of the Variety Showcase events. Creating a venue for the interactive exchange of specific needs has resulted in a greater understanding of what consumers want from breeders. For all other participants, the event creates a greater understanding of the important role breeders play in the food we eat.

 

Engaging with chefs and buyers through qualitative sensory evaluations like the Variety Showcase to assess cultivars and breeding lines sets this work apart from standard quantitative sensory panels.

 

The Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence Honorary Mention on April 17, 2017.

Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon. Photo: Ashlei Edgemon.

Designed to meet various community needs, Alternative Break trips meet community needs while providing compelling learning and civic leadership development opportunities for students.

 

In June 2016, nine students and one staff member worked with the Warm Springs Extension Office and nine community partners on several environmental, cultural, and health and well-being projects during a week-long Warm Springs-based learning trip sponsored by OSU’s Center for Civic Engagement.

 

The students participated in community-based service learning to gain increased cultural understanding and intercultural connections, complete projects that met community-identified needs, and explore policy issues impacting the Warm Springs community. In total, the group contributed 78 service hours and participated in 176 educational hours. Projects included assisting in landscaping work, invasive species removal, and grass planting.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper

“I have formed new relationships with incredible people, have been inspired to be more independent, walked away with knowledge about life on reservations, and a commitment to make a positive influence in my community.” Student quote

 

Through educational sessions, community events and direct service work, the group explored cultural programming and events, tribal policy and governance, community services and resources, education, healthcare, and hydroelectric energy that all impact the cultural preservation and celebration and health and well-being of the Warm Springs area.

 

“The trip reinforced my desire to work in public health and brought to light more public health disparities than I was aware of prior to embarking on the trip. [It also] increased my awareness of the health needs of tribal communities.” Student quote

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Clearing ground and planting grass seed at the Museum at Warm Springs. Photo: Julianna Cooper.

Educational sessions covered a wide range of topics related to tribal life, challenges, and solutions. The group discovered various factors impacting community health and well-being in Warm Springs by exploring elements of food sourcing, tribal ceremonies, community and cultural activities, and outdoor recreation.  The group visited extensively with faculty and staff at the Warm Springs Extension Office to learn about the services and programs put on by OSU Extension for the community and the role of OSU Extension in the Warm Springs community.

 

“I’ve been impacted immensely by this trip. I always knew I wanted to do community work no matter what field I ended up in, but seeing it with my own eyes really solidified my future plans for a career in activism.” Student quote

 

Students also learned about Native traditions, customs, the history of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Pauite tribes and the Treaty of 1855 through their conversations with tribal members and visiting the Museum at Warm Springs. By spending time with tribal members, trip participants explored and learned about the tribal customs and issues impacting tribal communities today through personal narrative and story sharing.

 

OSU units, tribal government agencies, and local nonprofits are all a part of this program to co-create environments for students to learn about social issues and contribute to addressing community needs each year. Partnerships are foundational to this program, the content is cross-disciplinary (public health, ethnic studies, environmental science, education), and the result is transformational learning for OSU students.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper.

“I am amazed, intrigued, and humbled. I will forever hope to continue to grow and open my mind in the way I did on this trip.” Student quote

 

Community Partners

 

Creating the Alternative Break program relies on community and staff partnerships to co-create experiences that are rewarding for the students and valued by the Warm Springs:

 

  • Carol Leone, Executive Director, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Tamera Moody, Education Coordinator, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Kacey Conyers, Community Health Dietitian, Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center
  • Alyssa Macy, Chief Operations Manager, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Jefferson Greene, Director of Youth Development, Warm Springs Culture & Heritage
  • Jim Manion, General Manager, Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises
  • Ken Kippley, Tribal Police Officer, Warm Springs Police Department
  • Frank Smith (Footer), Elder, Tribal member
  • Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement, Oregon State University
  • Rosanna Sanders, OFNEP Nutrition Education Program Assistant , OSU
  • Beth Ann Beamer, County Leader at Warm Springs Extension, Family & Community Health Coordinator, OSU

 

The Warm Springs Student Alternative Break Program will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence on April 17, 2017.

Based on a blog post by Hayden Bush

 

Editor’s note: Powerful partnerships are growing across Oregon’s landscape and the Partners for Rural Innovation Center is a prime example. Collaborations are focused on building community vitality in Tillamook County by supporting “innovation, entrepreneurship, job readiness and post-secondary degree attainment for citizens of Tillamook county. It is a shared commitment and investment in long-term economic vitality and the educational needs of Tillamook County.” (Source: Tillamook Bay Community College) As Scott Reed, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement and director OSU Extension Service, says: True partnerships create what cannot be done otherwise. The opening of the facility will be celebrated March 6, 2017.

The Third Street corridor of Tillamook has a different landscape, thanks to an exciting partnership of community groups.  The Partners for Rural Innovation Center is an 11,000 square foot, multi-use facility housing OSU Open Campus, OSU Extension Service, Tillamook Bay Community College’s Agriculture and Natural Resources degree program, the Small Business Development Center, Tillamook County Economic Development Center, and the Visit Tillamook Coast tourism team.

The project was funded by a matching bond from the Oregon state legislature, a variety of grants, and local community donations.

The Partners for Rural Innovation Center will help small businesses in Tillamook County thrive by fostering a more deliberate team effort between the Small Business Development Center, OSU Open Campus, and OSU Extension. Business owners who are seeking technical advice and assistance with growth opportunities, and help with agronomic and production practices will be able to find answers and support in one location.

Central to serving citizens will be a large classroom space for students in 4-H youth programs, community education, and post-secondary learning. Additionally, the space will serve as a community convening space for after-hours activities. The facility boasts a computer lab designed to assist students completing distance education though OSU.  The Open Campus education coordinator mentors citizens striving to further their education.  In addition, the Juntos program offers new and unique opportunities to serve our county’s Latino population.

Read more about OSU Open Campus  the by visiting the Open Campus blog and website.

Scott Reed, OSU Division of Outreach and EngagementVideo and photo credit: Jill Wells

Working in partnership with communities is essential to the mission and goals of University Outreach and Engagement. So essential, in fact, that three of the Division’s five strategic goals mention community. A prize awaits the first person to correctly identify and post them in the comments below. But more than that, what are new ways to engage our communities that we should begin planning for in the next legislative biennium? Scott wants your ideas.

Adapted by Ann Marie Murphy

 

cc-graduation
Left to right: OSU President Ed Ray, Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Elfering and Association of Oregon Counties Executive Director Mike McArthur. Photo was taken at the 2013 County College graduation ceremony that took place at the AOC annual conference.

The Oregon State University Extension Service, in partnership with the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC), once again has put together a series of courses to assist Oregon’s commissioners, judges and other elected officials in learning the ins and outs of county government.

County College is a bi-annual continuing education opportunity for county commissioners and other county elected officials. Beginning in 2006, OSU Extension and the Association of Oregon Counties have designed the program to help newly elected and experienced county officials successfully navigate government systems, issues and programs.

Developed at the request of commissioners wanting a comprehensive curriculum dealing with county issues, the course is voluntary and participants receive a certification of completion. The practical outcomes are a better understanding of the responsibilities and legal obligations of elected officials, professional development, increased effectiveness as a leader, and building a network of experts.

County College consists of 18 instructional blocks, each four hours long. At least fifteen blocks must be completed over the course of a year to receive certification. Each session focuses on a different aspect important to the success of county government. Subjects range from the structure of county government, government ethics law, managing and avoiding risks, leadership and management, human services, public safety, county finance and community development to learning about how counties work in partnership with the OSU Extension Service to better serve residents.

The first three-day session will be held at Oregon State University beginning January 19-21. Five additional sessions will to be held throughout the year tentatively scheduled for Salem, Yamhill County and Wasco County.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy

 

seed-to-supper
Photo by Lynn Ketchum

Many OSU Extension programs expand community capacity to help address a critical local or statewide need. A prime example of this is the Seed to Supper program, a partnership between OSU Extension and the Oregon Food Bank.

 

The poverty rate in Oregon – 16.2% – remains above the national average and more than 600,000 Oregonians lived below the poverty line, an official definition that some believe is outdated and underestimates what it takes to truly make ends meet. Personally, I can’t imagine a family of four making ends meet with a household income of $24,230. According to a 2015 Oregon Center for Public Policy fact sheet, poverty is higher than in the 2007–2009 Great Recession. Children and communities of color are more likely to live in poverty.

 

The goal of Seed to Supper is increased food security of low-income audiences by providing training in beginning vegetable gardening. In other words, helping people learn to grow their own food to stretch limited budgets and increase access to healthy, low-cost foods.

 

Seed to Supper is a series of five or six free vegetable gardening classes offered in English and Spanish and taught by Extension-trained Master Gardeners or those with a strong horticultural background. The number of people attending Seed to Supper classes is well on its way to reaching 1,000. Course topics include garden site and soil development, garden planning, planting, garden care, harvesting, and container gardening. Participants learn where to get free and reduced-cost soil, compost, seeds, starts, trellis materials, mulch, tools, garden space and OSU Extension gardening publications.

 

Seed to Supper classes must be offered free of charge to all participants and program guidelines indicate classes should be hosted by community-based agencies that serve primarily a low-income audience.

 

s2s-web-page-banner_2-525x149Started in Linn and Benton counties, the program has expanded around the state and most recently was adopted by Yamhill County. Survey data from the first cohort indicates that 92% reported a reduction in their food bill and an 80% increase in consumption of vegetables. Having developed a garden in a 12-by-12-foot community garden plot, I know how empowering it is – accompanied by a great sense of satisfaction – to create a meal from the fruits (so to speak) of my labor.

 

“I absolutely loved this class! It is such an amazing resource . . . It gave me confidence and know-how to really give a vegetable garden a go for the first time and I plan to continue it.”

 

“Almost every meal has had food from our garden.”

 

“My granddaughter and I now do some gardening together . . .”

 

“[Seed to Supper] gives people a sense of control over their food sources.”

 

Have you grown your own fruits and vegetables?

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
spark-reception_deans_header-1
Leaders of the units supporting SPARK, including University Outreach and Engagement, Colleges of Science, Education, Liberal Arts, Honors College and the OSU Library and Press.

Outreach and engagement work connects the university with communities to find ways to address wicked problems. By their nature, wicked problems are not easily solved. Making progress requires innovative thinking and different ways of looking at an issue. Many perspectives are necessary. Because people learn in different ways, conveying to stakeholders and community the work that needs to be done and the desired outcome in relevant and meaningful ways requires creativity and open minds.

“There is no one approach to solve the urgent problems of today and tomorrow. They demand the inspiration and genius of multiple disciplines and multiple perspectives. Collaboration across the arts and science directly advances [OSU’s] strategic goal to create transformative learning experiences for all Oregonians” (OSU SPARK initiative website).

University Outreach and Engagement is one of six units – along with the Colleges of Science, Education, Liberal Arts, Honors College, and the OSU Library and Press – supporting SPARK, a year-long collaborative initiative to celebrate arts and science. “Through SPARK, OSU hopes to elevate the relationship between the arts and science, their critical interplay with each other, and the rich partnerships and collaborations that make it possible.” Charles Robinson, who has a joint appointment with University Outreach and Engagement, College of Liberal Arts and Graduate School, is leading the SPARK initiative.

An approach to increase success with wicked problems might be “design thinking.” Ask, imagine, design, create, evaluate, refine, and share is the model. Sound familiar? This is art and science at work.  Watch this engaging design thinking video (below) created by OSU’s College of Education. Even though the video is focused on helping teachers help students be successful in the classroom, the approach is applicable in many aspects of outreach and engagement work. It is 17 minutes well spent.

Have you used design thinking in your outreach and engagement work? Do you think the design thinking model would work with community problem solving? Share your comments below.

See photos of SPARKS opening reception here.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy

ad_league-or-cities_sponsorship_ad_080416An Outreach and Engagement partnership is being built one step at a time with the League of Oregon Cities (LOC). LOC is a governmental entity formed by an intergovernmental agreement by Oregon’s incorporated cities (a direct quote from the LOC website).  Founded in 1925, LOC works with its member cities to help local government better serve the citizens of Oregon. Introduced to LOC by Vince Adams and Lena Etuk through their work on the Rural Communities Explorer, Scott Reed, Lindsey Shirley and Patrick Proden, metro region administrator, continue to deepen the relationship.

 

The results so far? Sponsorship of the League of Oregon Cities’ 2016 conference and an article in the October 2016 issue of Local Focus, their monthly magazine. The issue focused on how universities – Oregon State University, Portland State University and University of Oregon – are helping Oregon cities. Proden and Maureen Quinn, Extension Family and Community Health Program, attended the late-September conference on behalf of University Outreach and Engagement, both indicating it was well worth their time to attend.

 

osuarticle-oct2016localfocusedited_page_1_outline The article, titled “OSU Extension Service: Helping Communities Envision and Create a Better Future,” was collaboratively written with Patrick Proden. It was an exercise in squeezing the substantial, 100-year story of Extension and its impact in Oregon into a mere 1,500 meaningful words (plus a few pictures and a graphic).

 

Read the story here: osuarticle-oct2016localfocusedited. Reprints of the article are available by contacting Jill Wells (jill.wells@oregonstate.edu). Or, here’s a link to the magazine if you have an interest in reading about PSU and UofO.

 

Help us hone the outreach and engagement story. Tell us how it can be improved by commenting below.