The role and procedures of local advisory councils in planning educational programs within the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This study was undertaken to determine the differences and relationships between current and ideal advisory councils of the Cooperative Extension Service in Alaska, as perceived by council members and Extension agents. Responses to a written questionnaire were compared to determine differences in perceptions between the groups, with conclusions generalized only to the population of council members and agents in Alaska.

Data were gathered and analyzed on both current and ideal advisory councils in three areas; roles of councils, operational procedures affecting councils, and attitudes of members and agents. These areas were divided into a total of 12 categories based upon information from a review of the literature.

Council members and agents differed in their view of current councils, however, both agreed that orientation and training of councils was limited, as were resources allocated for council use. Members revealed a need for clarification of roles and authority of current councils. Agents indicated a division of opinion in attitudes about current Extension advisory councils, with less than half of agents having positive attitudes.

Advisory council members and agents perceived ideal councils encompassing all categories covered in the study. Attitudes about ideal councils were positive with both groups.

When matched against a model council drawn from the literature, current Alaska Extension advisory councils fell short. Alaska CES councils were seen as functioning, but not as closely to the ideal as perceived by members and agents, or as suggested in the literature. An improvement in council/staff shared decision making in all roles and operational procedures identified in the study would lead to more positive attitudes and to increased involvement in program planning by advisory councils.



University of Alaska (System)