Northeast Impact Indicators Learning Circle (2015-2016)

Extension Educators in all program areas are frequently asked to document the impacts of their programming in order to justify ongoing financial support. Community and Economic Development (CED) Extension professionals lack unified methods by which to measure their impacts and a consistent set of indicators. This problem is compounded in the Northeast by the small population of CED Extension staff in the region, and their lack of resources available to support the development of their own impact reporting methods.

In 2010, twelve North Central states successfully attempted to collect CED impact data and report it in a way that was verified by stakeholders to be an accurate reflection of their programs’ impacts. Using the North Central region’s process as a basis for going forward, the Northeast Center launched a Learning Circle whereby Northeast Extension staff could learn from the North Central staff. Under the leadership of Special Projects Advisor George Morse, the group explored practical ways in which they can collect credible data to evaluate the impact of Northeast CED programs. The Learning Circle team, which engaged 19 individuals, applied what they learned to analyze five Northeast Extension programs. They distilled their learnings from this year-long effort into a 40-page booklet which is freely available on the Northeast Center website. The booklet, titled The Impact Indicators Tips Booklet, provides practical and credible methods for using the “but for” rule to document CED programming impacts.

For more information about the Learning Circle, see the 2015 and 2016 Annual Reports.

Members of the Learning Circle:
Laura Brown, University of Connecticut Extension
Kristen Devlin, NERCRD
Charlie French, University of New Hampshire Extension
Stephan Goetz, NERCRD
Jane Haskell, University of Maine Extension
James McConnon, University of Maine
George Morse, NERCRD and University of Maine
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, Cornell University
Allison Nichols, West Virginia University
Mary Peabody, University of Vermont
Walt Whitmer, Penn State Extension
Master Learners:
Tim Borich, Iowa State University
Scott Chazdon, University of Minnesota Extension
Mary Leuci, University of Missouri
Scott Loveridge, NCRCRD
Rachel Welborn, SRDC
Guests of Learning Circle:
Don Albrecht, WRDC
Paul Lachapelle, Montana State University
Rebecca Sero, Washington State University Extension

Funding Agency: USDA NIFA via NERCRD's core funding

Principal Investigator: George Morse

Lead Institution: NERCRD and University of Maine

Accompanying Institution(s): See above

Start Date: January, 2015   End Date: December, 2016