For faculty and staff

Analyze: Exploration and conceptualization

The first step in the program development process uses exploration and conceptualization processes to identify the economic, environmental and societal issues that extension programs can and should address.

This process uses a variety of tools and techniques, including:

  • Needs assessments with engaged stakeholders:
    • Extension councils and other advisory boards.
    • City, county, state and national legislative bodies.
    • Community groups, commodity groups, partners (within MU and external), funding agencies, etc.
  • Situational analysis and environmental scanning using secondary state and national databases and literature reviews.
  • Market analysis to identify
    • Potential audience(s) that will participate in the program.
    • Potential revenue streams, as well as the likelihood that the audience or another funding source will be able to financially support the program.
    • Potential new partnerships and resources within the university, our external community partners, investors and stakeholders.
    • Potential competitors.
  • Resource analysis to identify
    • The research base or evidence base for the content that will be delivered through the educational program.
    • Current curriculum/publications/resource material/educational experiences available in-house, through partnerships or through purchase to support this program’s development or implementation.
    • The financial implications related to designing, developing, implementing and evaluating this program.
      • Total costs including faculty and support unit time, infrastructure, education resource development, ISE training costs, evaluation strategies, etc.
      • Revenue streams (grants, contracts, partnerships, core/cost funding, fees, etc.) to fund the program.
    • The intellectual property rights, i.e., who owns the content.
    • Priority ranking of the program fits in the priority list.

Extension administration, directors, faculty, staff and councils must work through an objective process to clearly define program priorities at all levels in the organization. It will be important that everyone involved continually evaluate each phase of the process and that adjustments are made to ensure optimal effectiveness and program impact.

The use of a standard program development process should result in a clear situation statement with a defined target audience; identified economic, environmental and/or societal issues; desired changes and/or outcomes for stakeholders and audience and all be clearly aligned with MU Extension mission, vision, and priorities. Once all of these items are recognized, it will then be important for all involved to determine if the need is adequate to commit the necessary financial resources.

Continue to the next step: Design