The University of Florida IFAS Extension, Internationalizing Extension Training Project (IETP) focused on the development and implementation of capacity building and institution building in international extension. University of Florida IFAS Extension and important partners; locally elected county commissioners and graduate students and teaching faculty of educational departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) collaborated to assist in Internationalizing Extension in Florida.
The Internationalizing Extension professional development project, developed during the 2003 – 2004 program year, was unique in that it brought representatives of local government, teaching faculty and graduate students together with county extension faculty to explore international extension possibilities in a collaborative manner. Federal, state and local county governments fund extension in Florida. The boards of county commissions are critical partners with University of Florida IFAS Extension, as they contribute over 30 million dollars annually to the overall extension budget. In addition, commissioners make recommendations and decisions related to the local extension financial contribution.
Results from this study revealed a positive change in knowledge of international issues and effects of globalization of communities by the participants of the training program. The University of Florida IFAS Internationalizing Extension training program was enhanced by including partners of Extension, demonstrating the importance of involving extension agents, local elected officials, teachers and graduate students. The IETP’s professional development and institution building activities, materials developed and papers/reports are posted on a special web site to use as an informational tool for participants and extension to use to teach future faculty and clientele.
Keywords: Local Officials, Internationalizing Extension, County Commissioners, Training Programs