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     Strengthening Extension Advisory Leaders 


    The Strengthening Extension Advisory Leaders (SEAL) program has been a joint effort among Extension professionals and volunteers who work with Extension programming in an advisory leadership capacity.  The program is affiliated with the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP).



    • SEAL Mission

       The mission of the Strengthening Extension Advisory Leaders (SEAL) program is to share the best Extension research and resources related to building and strengthening advisory and volunteer groups engaged in community education.  Our target audience includes Extension professionals and senior-level volunteers who work directly with the volunteers that guide and support Extension-affiliated programs.  Accordingly, our focus is on providing educational opportunities in a train-the-trainer format.

      • SEAL Vision

        The vision for SEAL is a framework that facilitates engagement and leadership education in Extension advisory groups across the nation and serves as the leading source for Extension advisory group data and research.

        • SEAL History

          The history of the Extension advisory leadership working group started in 2000 with interested Extension specialists. The first Advisory Leadership Conference was held in 2001. The conference was planned to gather baseline data about advisory leadership, share resources and ideas, and learn how successful systems operate. The following deliverables were developed as result of the conference:  

          1. A pre-conference survey that identifies critical issues related to advisory leadership.
          2. Data related to the benefits of volunteer leadership and successful advisory models in Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, and North Carolina.
          3. Recommendations for successful operation of advisory leadership systems.

          During this conference participants identified a need for  training on how to lead an effective advisory leadership partnership. This group of Extension specialists and stakeholders continued to conduct SEAL Conferences in 2003, 2005, and 2009.  

          • Extension Advisory Resources

            The SEAL team has developed helpful educational materials to orient and train advisory leaders, as well as to create and develop successful advisory councils and individual leaders. This ready-to-use curricula is designed for face-to-face delivery with both faculty and volunteer advisory members.  


            INTRODUCTION: In this section you will find materials to prepare both potential advisory members and the Extension faculty advisee for the basics of advisory councils. Topics include: overview of Extension and Extension Advisory Councils;  orientation for volunteers and faculty; the relationship between Extension and advisory members; and how adults learn. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

            GETTING STARTED: In this section you will find more advanced materials for use at the outset of orienting and training your advisory council. Topics include: the role of advisory councils in programming; expectations of members; being an advocate for Extension; the roles of various actors within the advisory leadership system; and relationship marketing. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

            ORGANIZING MEETINGS: In this section  you will find materials to help you ensure advisory council meetings are productive, engaging, and beneficial for both you and the advisory member. Topics include: facilitating group discussion; planning effective meetings; parliamentary procedure; resolving conflict; and utilizing technology to augment the meeting. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

            SETTING PROGRAM PRIORITIES WITH ADVISORY COUNCILS:In this section you will find materials to aid you in utilizing the advisory council in setting priorities for your county program. Topics include: assessing community needs through attitude surveys, group sessions and key informants; interpreting data; and setting priorities in a group setting. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

            CAPACITY BUILDING: In this section you will find more advanced materials to help with continuing to grow and develop your advisory council into a highly functioning and capable proponent of your county Extension program. Materials are divided into four broad categories: advisory group development; advisory member development; principles of volunteerism; and communicating with decision makers. Specific topics include: leading teams; building sustainable advisory councils; creating a vision; motiving others; communicating with policy makers; role in the annual budget process; and social networking in Extension. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

            IMPACT: Finally, in this section are materials to help Extension faculty strategically plan to achieve impact, measure impact, and then communicate that impact to elected officials. Click here for lesson plans, Power Points, etc.

          • Ця тема

            SEAL Webinars

            Future Webinars: 

            To share your idea for a webinar, complete the webinar proposal form.

            Past Webinars: 

            Empowering Youth Voice on Extension Advisory Groups

            The webinar will discuss the benefits of youth and adults sharing power and responsibilities while working together in advisory groups. It will also provide strategy and best practices for developing and sustaining youth-adult partnerships, and highlights the benefits of youth-adult partnerships in terms of assets gained by individuals (youth and adults), organizations, and communities. Presenters: Roxanne Turner, Darren Bagley, Janelle Stewart, Jackie Martin, Sara Keinath, and Makena Schultz.

            Diversity & Inclusion Among Advisory Membership

            Looking to increase your success in attracting and retaining diverse volunteers for your Advisory Councils or Boards of Director in Cooperative Extension? From creating an inclusive environment to understanding volunteer motivations and barriers, we’ll explore special considerations for diverse volunteers and for potential decision-making volunteers. Look at demographics to understand your diverse community populations and find under-represented areas. Get prepared to welcome diverse volunteers into your committees and to keep them. Together we’ll consider some new approaches to recruiting all volunteers from the latest resources and from what you’ve learned recruiting diverse volunteers to Cooperative Extension.  Date: December 3, 2014.  Presenters: Eduardo Gonazalez Jr, Eric Kaufman, and Kimberly Fleming.

            Is It Educating or Lobbying? — How to Communicate Programmatic Impact to Stakeholders 

            Communicating the impacts and accomplishments of your Cooperative Extension programs is vital to its continued support by state legislatures, local governments, community leaders, clientele, and the general public. This webinar will address the differences between educating and lobbying, as well as provide an overview of strategies to build relationships and effectively engage with stakeholders.  Additionally, webinar participants will be asked to share their own experiences and best practices as part of a forum-style moderated discussion.  Date: September 29, 2014.  Presenters: D. Adam Cletzer and Bradley Burbaugh.

            Engaging the next Generation of Extension Leaders

            PPT Slides

            Extension personnel and volunteers are challenged with engaging four distinct generations of clientele.  During this webinar, generational differences are explored to become more understandable.  In the context of advisory council leadership, presenters will discuss the learning preferences, communication styles, and ways of managing self-development inherent to each generation.  As a result, participants will be prepared to develop tailored learning, engagement, and communication approaches to recruiting and retaining generationally diverse audiences in advisory capacities. Date: March 3, 2014.  Presenters: Megan Seibel and Bradley Burbaugh.

            The Value of Public Policy Engagement Programs

            Wilson Majee and Beverly Maltsberger will discuss their research findings on the impacts of Great Northwest Day at the Capitol. GNW Day is a spin-off project of Leadership Northwest Missouri, a regional leadership program that covers 19 counties. This legislative event takes the people to the legislators for one special, and very focused day of sharing regional needs and desired outcomes. The benefits to the region have increased and education/effectiveness of citizen contact with legislators and state agencies has become apparent. Date: February 10, 2014Presenters:  Wilson Majee and Beverly Maltsberger.

            Planning for Extension Leadership Councils

            An Extension Leadership Council (ELC) is a key ingredient for success in developing, implementing, and evaluating Extension programs that serve the local community.  This webinar will offer practical guidelines and resources for successfully engaging a local ELC.  Contents include council responsibilities, criteria for membership, a sample position description, focus topics for regular meetings, and a template for meeting agendas.  Date: December 16, 2013. Presenter:  Eric Kaufman

            Building Capacity for Productive and Meaningful  Advisory Experiences

            Whether you are enhancing your existing advisory committee, jumpstarting a long-inactive one, or forming for the first time, this webinar offers direction on the critical tasks of attracting quality advisory members and engaging committees in meaningful work. By focusing relentlessly on the “Why?” of Extension’s mission, we will learn how to appeal to an individual’s inherent need for creating meaning from their involvement. We also explore both new and time-tested best practices for engaging committee members — beyond the quarterly meeting — and keeping them coming back.  Date: October 25, 2013. Presenters:  Adam Cletzer and Bradley Burbaugh

             Sharing the Best Advisory Leaders Have to Offer

            Previous SEAL webinar identified relationship marketing roles and steps for increasing public engagement. This panel session will highlight panelists' experience with and appreciation for Extension advisory leaders. Panelists include Dr. Ed Jones (Virginia Cooperative Extension), Dr. Tim Cross (University of Tennessee Extension), Ms. Karen Ramage (Kentucky Cooperative Extension). Date: May 20, 2013.  Moderator: Eric Kaufman

            Engaged Advisory Committees

            Handouts | Evaluation

             This SEAL webinar will focus on successful public engagement. During the webinar, we will explore a framework to ensure we are intentional and realistic in incrementally increasing the level of engagement of our advisory committees and the public. The discussion will include steps (Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower) to increase engagement. The discussion will also draw on the experience of webinar participants to identify additional tools resources and strategies for successful engagement. Date: February 11, 2013 Presenters: Holli Arp & Allisen Penn 

            Relationship Marketing: Roles for Extension Advisory Leaders  

            Relationship marketing is the process of attracting, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with key people.  This webinar will offer guidance and resources related to the different roles that make up relationship marketing within Extension, how Customer  Retention Marketing (or CRM) serves as the foundation and ultimately, how you can strengthen the relationship with your target audience.  Date: September 24, 2012. Presenters: Jeff Ripley, Kristina Ricketts & Eric Kaufman

            • Related Research and Publications

              Are you aware of related research and publications on Extension advisory leadership? We have a reference list with over 30 publications and we would be glad to have your additions. 

              In addition to our reference list many state-level Extension services have their own websites with resources to guide Extension advisory leadership. Here are some that you may find useful. If you have others to add to the list, please let us know:

              • More Opportunities

                For more resource sharing opportunities, we encourage you to join the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP).  If you have questions related to SEAL, you may contact Eric Kaufman.