County Extension Director
University of Illinois Extension
P.O. Box 158
208 E. Main
Vienna, IL 62995
Office Support Assistant - Union County
University of Illinois Extension
515 E Vienna St., Suite G
PO Box 604
Anna, IL 62906
AJMPU Unit Council
PURPOSE OF THE COUNCIL
The Extension council is authorized by the University of Illinois Board of
Trustees, in accordance with state law, to be actively involved in the operation of
University of Illinois Extension. Extension councils cooperate with Extension
staff in planning, promoting, developing, implementing, evaluating, and
financing an Extension program designed to meet the needs, interests, and
resources of the local communities served.
THE COUNCIL’S ADVISORY ROLE
The Extension council is an advisory body. The council represents the local
partner in this multi-level relationship. The council participates in decisions
made about the educational program Extension will provide in their multi-county
Unit. Councils advise unit Extension personnel on a variety of matters, but
Extension personnel remain responsible for the final decisions necessary to the
development and administration of the local program. Cole and Cole1 list the
following tasks as being within the scope of authority of the council:
1. Assess the felt needs of the community and help set priorities for action.
2. Serve as a communication channel between the community and the
Extension office serving the community.
3. Stimulate public awareness of community problems.
4. Identify and utilize community leaders.
5. Assist Extension staff in planning or reviewing budgets.
6. Provide a forum where dissenting viewpoints can be discussed.
7. Turn negative criticism into positive programs.
8. Influence policies through proper channels.
9. Evaluate the council’s own work.
10. Help insure broad-based programs available to all people.
11. Legitimize Extension staff and programs.
12. Provide input and legitimization for Extension staffing selections.
13. Provide input into selection of new council members.
14. Activate needed resources.
15. Facilitate interagency collaboration.
Tasks not considered to be within the scope of authority of the council include:
1. Participating in the reporting processes required of staff.
2. Dictating to staff what will be done.
3. Independently hiring or terminating staff.
4. Seeking vested or individual interests to the detriment of the whole.
1Advisory Councils: A Theoretical and Practical Guide for Program Planners,
Jacquelyn M. Cole, Maurice F. Cole, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983
ROLES OF COUNCIL MEMBERS
Council members work with Extension staff to plan, implement and market
educational programs, secure financial resources, and recruit volunteers.
Members serve as liaisons between the public and Extension. Specifically,
members may fill the following roles:
•Participate in collecting and interpreting information about the Extension
service area and its needs by conducting interviews with residents, reviewing
demographic data, and studying survey results.
• Set program and audience priorities by comparing the resources available
with the needs of residents.
• Provide for the involvement of local people in developing programs that help
people in targeted groups achieve their goals. This may be accomplished by
developing committees and task groups of individuals who are concerned
about specific issues.
• Participate in program delivery and program evaluation. Attend educational
activities/events and provide information about participants’ reactions
through the evaluation process. Identify changes that are occurring because
of programs. Assist in collecting information regarding program impact.
• Provide credibility and linkages among the communities and Extension.
Identify and provide locations for meetings and workshops to be held.
Introduce Extension and its staff to decision-makers.
• Assist in budget development at the local level and in securing funds to
support Extension. Serve as spokespersons to funding groups.
• Support and advocate for Extension programs and services. Be an
ambassador in letting others know about Extension and how it can help meet
• Identify and recruit potential resources -- human (volunteers, leaders,
collaborators and agencies), financial (cash, in-kind, or shared), and physical
(office space or equipment).
• Sustain the council membership process by selecting a nominating committee
and reviewing council membership for representation of all segments of the
• Participate in providing advice on personnel selection and evaluation as
requested by the Extension organization, and in accordance with equal
• Insure that program outreach meets affirmative action guidelines.
It is probably not practical or effective for every council member to assume each
of these roles. In fact, such a list is rather foreboding. As volunteers, council
members should have been recruited for the talents and linkages they have, and
they should be directed to specific roles that are suited to those talents and
linkages. Likewise, council members probably had their own reasons for
volunteering, and the roles assumed should meet their needs for involvement.
People place greater value on their involvement and show increased commitment
to the task when well matched to their roles. To further clarify council roles in a
particular county/unit, the county director and council might develop a council member job description (see Appendix 1).
This information taken from Council Guide, pages 6-8.