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Washington State University Extension

Professional Research & Knowledge Taxonomy

4-H Professional Research, Knowledge and Competencies

Equity, Access and Opportunity
Ensuring that each young person has a chance to succeed

  • Understand my own cultural/social identity and communication styles and how they impact relationship building
  • Aware of and open to youth and volunteers who are diverse
  • Understand differing cultural values, norms, practices and traditions and how those impact potential programming
  • Value and incorporate multiple perspectives without prejudging individuals
  • Understand the historical impact of power and privilege and develop then apply program polices to promote and support diversity
  • Use non-defensive language and cross-cultural communication skills to prevent/minimize conflict in a cross- cultural setting
  • Apply active listening techniques in accordance with cultural context
  • Develop and conduct community needs assessments to gain meaningful input from diverse audiences
  • Apply program design strategies appropriate for the intended audience(s)
  • Recruits, supports and retains diverse volunteers and advisory committee members
  • Develop meaningful, constructive relationships with local, grassroots organizations and informal community-based groups to expand outreach to diverse audiences

Youth Program Development
Creating experiences for young people

  • Develop an effective advisory council
  • Use existing data sources to identify program opportunities
  • Obtain citizen perspectives through community forums, focus groups, interviews, or surveys
  • Set program priorities
  • Lead a committee or design team through the process of developing a local program
  • Use a logic model to represent how a program operates
  • Utilize knowledge of youth development and the learning process to create high quality learning experiences for young people
  • Teach effectively using basic principles of instruction
  • Design effective evaluations
  • Utilize quantitative and qualitative evaluation methodology
  • Analyze and interpret evaluation data

Preparing volunteers to make a real difference

  • Develop and apply personal and organizational philosophies of volunteerism
  • Apply societal changes to volunteer administration strategies
  • Advocate for the benefits of volunteerism through education and change management processes
  • Create and support a positive organizational environment through effective volunteer staffing models
  • Develop and conduct organizational and community needs assessments relative to volunteer engagement
  • Identify potential volunteer positions within the organization and develop
    or utilize existing written position descriptions in a comprehensive recruitment process
  • Implement appropriate selection strategies to engage potential volunteers for available position(s)
  • Develop and conduct new volunteer orientation programs and ongoing educational programs for volunteers
  • Develop and conduct ongoing educational programs for volunteers based on identified needs and organizational requirements
  • Recognize volunteers through appropriate intrinsic and extrinsic methods or strategies
  • Develop and conduct impact assessment of volunteer efforts and communicate to stakeholders

Uniting young people and adults for stronger communities

  • Assess the readiness of youth and adults to work together
  • Create environments which foster positive youth-adult interactions
  • Facilitate youth involvement on 4-H boards and committees
  • Understand and apply various models for youth action (organizing, advocacy, leadership, governance, and service learning)
  • Understand and apply principles of community youth development
  • Establish and maintain effective professional networks
  • Assess readiness for community alliances
  • Create and manage appropriate community alliances
  • Develop and conduct a community analysis
  • Apply community development tools and processes
  • Facilitate workforce development through 4-H youth development

Youth Development
Understanding how young people learn and grow

  • Understand and apply how youth grow physically and how these changes influence youth development programming
  • Understand and apply how youth grow cognitively and how these changes influence youth development programming
  • Understand and apply how youth grow socially and emotionally and how these changes influence youth development programming
  • Understand and apply the intentional process that promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing support, relationships, and opportunities
  • Understand and apply a model that demonstrates how multiple contexts have influence over the growth and development of youth
  • Understand and apply the theory that all youth are affected by risk and
    protective factors and how programming can maximize protective factors and minimize risk factors
  • Understand and create positive relationships with youth, families and community partners
  • Set up environments and programs to promote positive behavior while implementing strategies to deal with negative behaviors in appropriate ways
  • Demonstrate understanding of conflict management and resolution
  • Articulate and develop programs that allow youth the opportunity to practice life skills

Organizational Systems
Connecting people and priorities for the greatest impact

  • Understand the Cooperative Extension Service/4-H history and mission
  • Establish effective program governance and management structures (i.e. committees, boards, policies, etc.) in accordance with organization policy and procedures
  • Establish priorities and manage time, priorities, and resources effectively
  • Apply strategies to balance work/life issues in a healthy manner
  • Demonstrate effective and diverse interpersonal communication skills and strategies
  • Develop and manage budgets in accordance with organization/university policy and procedures
  • Secure and manage financial/human resources to support youth development programs in accordance with organization/university policy and procedures
  • Plan for and manage safe, inclusive program environments for all persons
  • Apply ethical standards of the profession
  • Apply strategies to enhance the profession through the integration of research practice
  • Advocate for positive youth development in all aspects and levels of work

Click Here for a complete copy of the 4-H Professional Research & Knowledge Competencies (2004)