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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Community > Leadership > Our Approach

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Our Approach

Strengthening Competence

Extension's leadership programs focus on what people need to lead in communities. Grounded in research conducted through the U of MN and other respected institutions, our programs help participants strengthen, grow and learn new knowledge and skills they can use to pull people together and solve problems.

Building Connections

Along with building individual skills and knowledge or "human capital", Extension leadership programs provide valuable settings to build new relationships and strengthened networks or "social capital" among and across program participants. These connections bring new resources, ideas and perspectives to leadership in organizations and communities.

Leading with Confidence

Extension leadership programs also focus on real-world application of information and principles taught through the offerings. Leveraging the new knowledge, skills and relationships gained through their learning , program participants are challenged to step up and work with others to serve and transform their communities.

About our offerings—the cohort approach

Extension leadership programs often take the form of cohort group offerings. Small groups and teams help adults learn. Peer groups reinforce knowledge, attitude and behaviors, resulting in a better learning experience for participants. A cohort is the same group of people (typically 20-30 participants) meeting regularly over a longer period of time ranging from 6 to 18 months. The cohort design process means that Extension Educators engage our program sponsor(s) in clarifying their program interests and needs, incorporate our leadership educational model and practices, consider multiple learning methods, and then finalize the offering in collaboration with these sponsor(s), all with with real-world application and transformation in mind.

Extension also offers face-to-face workshop sessions, workshop series, and online training sessions on relevant topics, all with an eye towards linking leadership learning to real, challenging tasks to be accomplished.

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