Innovation and extension relevancy in the 21st century
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Type of Workx, 191 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Subjectscooperative extension service
diffusion of innovations
health insurance literacy
United States. Federal Extension Service
Agricultural extension work
Diffusion of innovations
Rogers (2003) cites the agricultural Extension Service as being the most successful organization in diffusion of research given the tremendous progress made in food production (165). However, he also acknowledges that Extension's diffusion work has been more effective in diffusing agricultural production technology to farmers than in diffusing other subject-matter content to farm and nonfarm audiences (394). Yet, as the literature review shows, there is not further theoretical understanding beyond what Rogers (2003) developed to help the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) understand how to mobilize its vast resources and expertise to respond to a national educational need. Without this understanding, CES relinquishes opportunities to serve the public as it was envisioned in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 and the land-grant universities jeopardize their contemporary relevance. Therefore, additional theory for CES needs to be generated that goes beyond the existing diffusion of innovations framework. The purpose of this research is to: 1) understand the experiences of Extension educators and specialists involved in the nation-wide Smart Choice Health Insurance™ program innovation and diffusion process and 2) generate theory that makes meaning of the processes and conditions that were present before and during the CES Smart Choice program innovation and diffusion process. This study is designed to add to the theoretical understanding of program innovation and diffusion in CES, which was Rogers (2003) initial reference point for the DOI framework. The research aids in understanding a program innovation that is in process as a result of a national policy innovation diffusion--the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148). A mixed-methods design allows a qualitative process to explore the processes, experiences, and situations of the people involved (Brower and Jeong 2008) while examining quantitative secondary data about the external environment. The benefit of this research is that Extension administrators and educators at the national, state, and local levels can better understand the experiences, conditions, and processes that occur if and when CES mobilizes to address a public educational issue, opportunity, or need. This understanding will contribute to Extension and public administration about what is needed to create a culture of innovation, make program or policy decisions about resource placement, and enhance program and/or policy development and diffusion.