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An examination of Illinois Extension's mission and the role of learning partnerships in natural resource management programming

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Title: An examination of Illinois Extension's mission and the role of learning partnerships in natural resource management programming
Author(s): Dolan, Mallory K.
Advisor(s): Flint, Courtney
Department / Program: Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline: Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Illinois Extension learning partnerships collaboration natural resource management programming
Abstract: The field of natural resource management increasingly focuses on including multiple stakeholders and different sources of knowledge through the use of collaboration, interdisciplinary, and social learning. One of the many institutions engaged in natural resource issues is the state Extension system. Extension is an education network designed to connect research, science, and technology to the needs of the public. In Illinois, the mission of Extension is to improve the well-being of individuals and community through the use of learning partnerships. This thesis assesses the effectiveness of the Illinois Extension mission to create learning partnerships from the perspective of Extension personnel and applies concepts related to collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and social learning from natural resource management literature to an assessment of five Illinois Extension case studies in natural resource programming. Findings from the research indicated an overall agreement and understanding of the mission across various perspectives within Illinois Extension. However, divergent perspectives were found on how Extension‟s mission and goals are expected to be accomplished and in terms of the challenges faced by Illinois Extension during a time of structural reorganization. Findings from five case study learning partnerships revealed varying degrees of evidence in how learning partnerships characteristics function in practice. For example, results suggest the context of the learning partnership and the overall purpose and goals of the partnership dictates the level of collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and social learning. Overall, this thesis provides managers, policy makers, and local stakeholders with an examination of how learning partnerships can be incorporated in an organization‟s overall mission and through the development and delivery of education programming and outreach within the natural resource management field.
Issue Date: 2011-08-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26161
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Mallory K. Dolan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-25
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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