Measuring and communicating impact

Three women stand in front of a projection screen that says "Welcome to the 2023 WSU Master Gardener Advanced Education Conference!" and has the WSU Master Gardeners 50th anniversary logo with the years 1973 and 2023 and the text "Master Gardener Program Anniversary Celebration."
I enjoyed seeing Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State President Tana Hasart (center), and Rep. Mari Leavitt (right) at the WSU Master Gardener Advanced Education Conference last week. (Photo courtesy of Mari Leavitt)

Whew! We avoided a government shutdown — for now! Let’s see what can happen in the next 40 days or so. With promotion and tenure dossier reviews, review of unit proposals that frame a CAHNRS programmatic vision, and extensive travel, the time is going to fly by.

Congratulations to all involved in planning last week’s WSU Master Gardener Advanced Education Conference! It was nice to meet David Gibby and hear his perspective on how the program came about. Likewise, it was nice to see Sharon Collman again, as well as numerous statewide volunteers whom I have met at various events and celebrations during this important program anniversary year.

I don’t know everyone in CAHNRS yet, but I am working on it. The upcoming roadshow of town hall events will help. A trip to the Wahkiakum County Extension office this week helped, too. Thanks to Carrie Backman and team for the invitation to learn more about local activities that offer evidence-based learning opportunities. I am eager to continue conversations about how we measure the difference our programs make.

Measuring and communicating impact is a theme of this year’s Extension conference, which continues through Thursday. There’s a need for impact assessment and incorporation into our storytelling across the CAHNRS missions of teaching, research, and Extension. I see this as I read through promotion dossiers and as I think about our messaging to partners and supporters. Impact is core to our brand and value proposition. I appreciate being part of the Extension conference conversations and look forward to next steps as we deliver on our CAHNRS mission. We know our work has impact. It’s a matter of gathering the evidence and sharing that evidence. We also know we can have more impact with more resources, and likely more impact with the same resources, if we focus our efforts.

It’s back to the west side of the state for the Puyallup Research and Extension Center tailgate on Saturday, as WSU takes on UCLA. Then I settle into nearly a full week of sleeping in Pullman starting Monday night. I suspect the Holiday Inn Express chain will miss me. I might need to buy milk and turn on the heat. I’m hoping I am still weeks from needing to put the snowbrush and elf-sized shovel in my trunk.


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