Strategic Opportunities and Measuring Excellence

An Initiative of the Extension Committee on Organization & Policy (ECOP)


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The Importance of Demonstrating Excellence and Impacts

Cooperative Extension is required to be accountable for the resources invested in the organization, and the managers of those resources are striving to continually improve the effectiveness of the entire organization. Key questions include:

• What constitutes excellence in an Extension organization?
• What are the criteria of excellence?
• How are these criteria measured?
• How do these criteria make Extension unique?

Cooperative Extension has advanced from merely reporting inputs and outputs to documenting outcomes and impacts of its programs. However, most of these measures are tied to specific programs. They are not generally assessed or considered at the organizational level.

Identifying criteria of overall excellence in Cooperative Extension is a valuable exercise for the Extension system as well as for individual institutions. This may be the first time that an effort to identify criteria of what constitutes excellence has been attempted at a national level. These criteria will enable the system to describe its strengths and differentiate itself from other agencies and organizations.

For more information, please contact Joe Zublena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Public Value Statements

  • Youth participating in 4‐H are more likely to enroll in higher education and explore career and entrepreneurship opportunities which result in increased wage earners that contribute to the economic stability of their communities. Those 4‐H’ers who attend UNL also contribute to the state by their enrollment dollars.  
  • Increasing medical costs are a concern for all of us.   In Nebraska, 9% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports as many as 11 million people in the U.S. have elevated blood sugar levels but have not been diagnosed with diabetes.  Diabetes education helps Nebraska by lowering health care costs and reducing work absentees.
  • Youth involved in 4‐H will be more active and make healthier food choices leading to a lower risk for disease and illness which increases disposable income for families (reduction in medical/pharmacy expenses, fewer days missed from school/work, etc) and eventually leads to lower long term medical costs for families and communities.  
  • Youth involved in 4‐H apply science engineering and technology (SET) to their 4‐H projects, develop related workforce preparedness skills and pursue careers in SET resulting in a workforce that will enable businesses to locate in Nebraska and result in community viability.  
  • American consumers carry an enormous amount of credit card debt.  Your support of the Credit Card Blues program helps students understand the impact and implications of credit card use and misuse, and learn ways to protect themselves from falling victim to identity theft. The goal of this program is to prevent young adults and families from spending themselves into financial challenges. Society benefits from the increased financial stability of youth, young adults and families.  
  • When you support the Parents Forever program, participating families implement positive parenting skills, which leads to a more stable environment and less risky behavior on the part of children. This benefits other community members by saving $200 per day for each child who stays away from risky behaviors.