Program Development Committee
The local extension program is a partnership of K-State Research and Extension and residents of the county or district. Residents can become active partners by serving as members of a program development committee, or PDC. Serving on a program development committee is an opportunity for individuals who have an interest in helping their local communities and who would like to develop their personal leadership skills.
Program Formation and Structure
Kansas extension county and district laws require four program development committees, with six or more members serving on each committee. In counties, members of the committees are elected, and additional members may be appointed. Program development committees focus on four core areas:
- Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Community Development
- Family and Consumer Sciences
- 4-H Youth Development
Other committees may be appointed in areas such as horticulture, livestock production, nutrition or family resource management.
Each program development committee has a chair who plans the agenda with an agent and convenes the meetings. Program development committees are advisory in nature and meet at least four times a year. A PDC also serves on the board and reports the group's work to board members.
Planning Educational Programming
The members of each PDC work together with agents to develop local extension programming: a deliberate, continuing sequence of planned events, activities and strategies focused on a common outcome. Program participants gain knowledge, acquire skills, make decisions and change behaviors. Educational activities might include informal classes, presentations, workshops, experiential learning, websites, social media, group facilitation and volunteer efforts.
Working with agents, PDC members understand and promote the mission of K-State Research and Extension and serve their communities by:
- Expanding committee membership to ensure representation of important constituencies in local communities considering geographic distribution, age, gender, race or other factors.
- Identifying needs and issues of agricultural producers, communities, families and youth.
- Noting audiences in the county or district who are not being served and developing a proactive plan to engage them.
- Locating programming resources from K-State Research and Extension to meet local needs.
- Developing program action plans to address needs.
- Submitting action plans to the extension board and area director for review and approval.
- Implementing and practicing in educational programming.
- Evaluating programming outcomes and reporting progress to the board.
- Articulating to others the role of the local K-State Research and Extension program.
Best Practices for Program Development Committees
Active program development committees are essential to a strong local extension program. Below is a list of some other ideas for PDC members as they identify issues that might be addressed by extension programming.
- The PDC chair and agent should work cooperatively to develop the agenda for each meeting. Send it to members ahead of time so they have time to prepare for discussion.
- PDCs can be expanded by appointing additional members with interest and expertise in specialized areas of programming such as horticulture or nutrition. Expanded membership might include demographic groups not represented on the committee. The board must approve the expanded membership.
- Periodically have all PDC members meet to identify issues. Committees might organize the discussion around K-State Research and Extension's grand challenges - global food systems, health, water, community vitality and developing tomorrow's leaders. This can be done at the annual meeting or another time early in the program year.
- PDC members are encouraged to review and discuss demographic data such as census reports, agricultural statistics and related information as they identify local issues that might lead to extension programming.
- Have a PDC member report committee progress at each board meeting.