Office of Learning & Organizational Development


The Office of Learning and Organizational Development (OLOD) serves and supports functions of UGA Extension and the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. This support unit strengthens and enhances the academic and scholarly work of the entire Extension organization by focusing on overall program development, staff development and leadership development and provides training and support in all of these areas. In addition, this unit houses the expertise to manage and use data collected for reporting and impact demonstration. Employees will be administratively attached to the Office of the Associate Dean for Extension and will be supervised day-to-day by the Director of County Operations.

Program Descriptions

Program Planning is the process used by Cooperative Extension to assess needs, set priorities, and implement programs to meet these needs. Program planning week is a time to concentrate on internal program and professional development to nurture the overall success of the program development model. Program Planning week feeds into the county based program planning which kicks off late fall of each year. The overall program development model is a systematic, purposeful approach to program planning and incorporates the following components: Organizational Content, Needs of the Community and Society, Planning, Design and Implementation, Evaluation.

Georgia Counts is a database used by Cooperative Extension to capture educational contacts County Agents have with the citizens of Georgia. In addition to activity reporting, the GA Counts system includes programmatic outlook statements generated by the Extension Specialists and local issue plans of work developed by County Agents. https://secure.caes.uga.edu/gacounts3/

Impact Statements. The CAES impact statements system is a searchable database that shows the economic, environmental, and quality-of-life outcomes of Extension programs in Georgia. Reports include a description of the situation, response, and impact to the stakeholders. Impact statements are often used in quarterly reports, picked up by the media, and sent to local, state, and national elected officials. CAES Impact Database http://apps.caes.uga.edu/ImpactStatements/index.cfm National Impact Database http://landgrantimpacts.org

 “Foundations” is the formal title for the development program for new agents and is being expanded to include all newly hired employees. The Foundations program is a combination of institutional-directed and agent-directed activities. The Foundations program for county agents consists of an average of 13 days of out-of-county training, an online learning module, the assignment of a mentor, completion of in-county orientation checklists, and creation of a staff development plan. Other staff members follow the model with the exception that their out-of-county training is three days.

Continuing Education/Training is provided internally to faculty and staff. This model supports the effort of taking the expertise and research findings from research and instruction to the people in the state. Each year trainings are proposed by state and county faculty, approved through a review process, and offered to faculty and staff the following year. In 2015, over 100 trainings were offered (40% face to face and 60% online). These trainings range from an hour online session to multiple day formats. Considering agents are often expected to attend 3 to 5 sessions a year, these 100 trainings offer a wide selections of options to meet an employee’s professional development needs.

Extension Leadership System (ELS) in Georgia is a statewide network of county-based volunteers working to support, and advocate for, Extension programming at all levels. All County Extension Agents assemble and work with a Program Development Team (PDT) designed to support the work they do in their respective Extension program area (4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, and/or Agriculture and Natural Resources). In addition to the PDT’s, an overall county council serves to coordinate efforts for advocacy and support of the total county Cooperative Extension program.

Extension Academy for Professional Excellence is a professional development opportunity for up to 25 select early-to-mid career Extension faculty who are dedicated to fulfilling Extension’s mission and have demonstrated potential as future leaders of the organization. The program is open to both county and state faculty with a minimum of three years experience.

ExTEND Advanced Leadership Development Program is a follow-up to Extension Academy for 16 employees that offers a more specialized focus with six in-state and one international institute lasting over a sixteen-month time frame. Leadership development competencies include: Advocacy, Communication, Conflict Management, Expanding Extension Capacity, Interpersonal Skills, Strategic Management and Team Dynamics.

Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry (AGL) is an eighteen-month intensive leadership development program for professionals working in agriculture, forestry and allied sectors. AGL is offered as a partnership between the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication (ALEC), UGA Extension, and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. www.agl.caes.uga.edu

LEAD21 is a twelve-month national leadership program intended to meet the future needs for leadership development of leaders in land-grant institutions and their strategic partners who link research, academics, and extension. Each class has up to 90 participants. Leadership development competencies include: Communicating Effectively, Leading Change, Managing Conflict, and Fostering Collaboration. Applications are accepted annually between September 1 and November 15. www.lead-21.org.