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Using disruptive innovation to grow 4-H

Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   CCE,   New York,   video,   youth,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Portrait of Andy Turner

Andy Turner

If you follow business news – and specifically small, up-and-coming companies – you may have heard the term “disruptive innovation.” The theory, developed by Clayton Christensen from the Harvard Business School, describes how a product or process can leap ahead of established market leaders by reducing cost, increasing convenience, and bringing new customers to the table.  Could disruptive innovation help grow 4-H?

Andy Turner, head of the New York State 4-H Youth Development program (administered through and housed in the BCTR) of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) thinks so. He is applying disruptive innovation theory to 4-H.  His dissertation, published in 2016, documented disruptive innovation at Cornell Cooperative Extension and attempted to identify the factors and conditions allowing innovation to grow and be adopted more widely.

Turner was asked to present his work at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Virtual Town Hall Meeting in Orlando Florida earlier this year.  Turner and the other panelists discussed the challenges and barriers facing innovation adoption and responsiveness to emerging issues in CCE. The presentation reached a live audience of 300 and an online audience of an additional 500 extension staff from across the country.

Cooperative Extension has existed for more than 100 years with established programs and a track record of success, Turner said. But its approaches and organizational culture may not align well with changes in our culture, demographic shifts, and the impact of the internet on all facets of education.

“As a result, disruptive innovation is particularly relevant to Cooperative Extension as its work shifts to new ways of thinking and acting that will appeal to youth with new challenges, different approaches to learning, and markedly different expectations for engaging with educational institutions,” he said.

Dr. Turner is applying his work on innovation at a critical time for 4-H. 4-H offers an experiential learning approach to reach over 6 million youth annually, with programming in nearly every county in the nation.  However, like many large youth organizations, 4-H participation levels have not been growing, and there are many communities and youth that are underrepresented in 4-H programming.

In response, the national leadership of 4-H has embraced an ambitious growth vision, with the goal of using concepts like disruptive innovation and collaborative design processes to increase 4-H’s enrollment to 10 million youth by 2025.  Turner will be working with national 4-H leadership and private-sector 4-H supporters over the next two years to develop a blueprint for change based on identifying promising innovations already underway within state 4-H programs.

Dr. Turner leads a team of 8 program and administrative leaders at the New York State 4-H Office in the BCTR. You can reach him at ast4cornell.edu.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    Andy Turner    CCE    New York    video    youth   

ACT for Youth awarded new contract with NY State


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

ACT for youth logoA BCTR project that helps New York youth lead more positive, healthy lives will expand its work with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

The state awarded a new contract to the Assets Coming Together for Youth Center for Community Action (ACT for Youth), a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health. The project will receive $1.1 million in each of the next five years to develop training and resources, provide technical assistance, and evaluate youth intervention programs.

ACT for Youth has partnered with the NYSDOH since 2000. This is the project’s fourth contract with the state.

Headshot of Jane Powers

Jane Powers

“We’re thrilled to continue working with the New York State Department of Health, supporting their efforts to improve the health and well-being of adolescents in our state,” said Jane Powers, the project director.

ACT for Youth is currently working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, and Pathways to Success. As part of the new contract, ACT for Youth will now also support prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases for youth. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Adolescent Medicine Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Related:

ACT for Youth: Measuring positive youth development

ACT for Youth supports sex education and positive youth development at Provider Day

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    health    Jane Powers    sexual health    youth    youth development   

ACT hosts visiting scholar from Malaysia


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

This winter, the BCTR hosted a visiting scholar from Malaysia who shared information about youth development programs in her country.

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah is an associate professor and the deputy dean of research and innovation at Universiti Putra Malaysi.

Abdullah spent a week in Washington, D.C. at the American Evaluator Association conference, where she gave a presentation titled “Evaluating Trajectories of Youth-Adult Partnerships in Malaysia and United States” with Jane Powers, the project director of the BCTR’s ACT for Youth Center for Community Action.

Powers and Abdullah shared findings from evaluations of youth-adult partnerships conducted in the U.S. and Malaysia. Their research from both countries demonstrated that when youth and adults learn and act together as partners, they can produce high-quality and sustained efforts that endure over time.

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah with ACT for Youth Network members

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah (in red) with ACT for Youth Network members

Next, Abdullah visited Ithaca, where she met with BCTR staff for cross-cultural dialogue about youth development programs. And finally, she visited New York City, where she met with Cornell Cooperative Extension youth development practitioners and the ACT for Youth Network, a group of youth consultants who advise the NYS Department of Health and ACT to ensure their materials, resources, and research instruments are youth-friendly.

“It was a rich visit,” Powers said. “Malaysia is a very different society compared to the U.S. It was valuable to learn about the issues that young people face in another part of the world and the types of programming offered. For example, how they handle sex education in a primarily Islamic country.”

“But what was really enlightening to our team was discovering our similarities,” Powers said. “Because despite the differences, we learned that we share more than think.”

Abdullah said that she found the visit insightful, and hopes to continue collaborating with ACT.

“I find it interesting on how technology helps in term of promoting health-related programs organized by the ACT Youth Network,” she said. “And I learned about the reality of what it means for youth in New York to be involved with youth programs such as ACT.”

(2) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    international    Jane Powers    youth   

The new Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

stylized mountains and large sun shape with the text Youth Risk and Opportunity Cornell Lab

After more than a decade of research on self-injury, a BCTR laboratory is expanding its focus to include research on social media and adolescent sexual health as well.

The Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery has changed its name to the Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab, or YRO.  Laboratory director Janis Whitlock, a BCTR research scientist, said the name change demonstrates how the laboratory had broadened its reach in recent years.

portrait of Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock

“Our work on self-injury helped to establish a whole, and now robust, field of study. I am now happily returning to more fundamental interests related to technology as a context for social and emotional development, sexual health and development, and development of innovative interventions. I am excited!”

The Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab is involved in several new projects that inspired the name change.

Two projects are particularly good examples of the laboratory’s expanded focus. Whitlock is working with communications assistant professor Andrea Won and associate professor Natalie Bazarova to develop and test virtual reality treatments for people with self-injury or anxiety disorders. The concept is to create alternative worlds that will help people during moments of stress and encourage them to seek treatment with a therapist.

“The question is, can we transport people into a space that may take the edge off their self-injury desire or anxiety?” Whitlock said. “There are also larger questions of how this type of technology affects people,” she said. “What are the limitations of humans and what does that mean about how we use these kinds of devices?”

In addition, Whitlock has partnered with NYS Department of Health and ACT for Youth to lead an evaluation of a program for adolescent boys that aims to prevent them from becoming future perpetrators of sexual violence. The program is a strengths-based curriculum to help middle school boys learn relationship skills and build healthy relationships with peers and adults.

The lab is still focused on studying self-injury as well. Currently, they are surveying individuals who have self-injured in the past to inform the development of tools that will help professionals screen and better.

Learn more about the Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: communications    CRPSIR    Natalie Bazarova    technology    youth    Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab   

Talks at Twelve: Elizabeth Day, Thursday, April 19, 2018

 
portrait of Elizabeth Day

Bridging Policy and Social Science: How Legislators Describe Their Use of Research in Policymaking
Elizabeth Day, Cornell University

Thursday, April 19, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



Rigorous research and public policy ought to go hand-in-hand; if policymaking were based on hard evidence and dispassionate analysis, it could create the conditions for improving the lives of children, youth, and families. Yet a gap persists in the use of social science to inform public policy in the United States, which may be due, in part, to a lack of understanding as to how legislators utilize research evidence throughout the policy process. Based on in-depth interviews of over 200 state legislators, this presentation explores the uses of research in policymaking based on the unique perspectives of policymakers themselves, with a particular focus on youth and family issues. Implications for research and practice, as well as advice to academics, will also be discussed.

Elizabeth Day is a postdoctoral fellow for Cornell Project 2Gen in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Her research focuses on bridging research and policy, with a particular focus on adolescent well-being and family policy at the state level. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies and Graduate Certificate in Social Policy from Purdue University. Prior to joining the BCTR, Elizabeth was a Society for Research in Child Development Congressional Policy Fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).


Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Botanic Gardens lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCTR Talks at Twelve    children    Cornell Project 2Gen    Elizabeth Day    family    policy    youth   

Talks at Twelve: James Garbarino, Thursday, March 22, 2018

 
portrait of James Garbarino

Miller's Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us
James Garbarino, Loyola University Chicago

Thursday, March 22, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
Ten-Eyck Room, Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens



Are teenage killers doomed to a life of violence? The Supreme Court said “no” in the case of Miller v. Alabama, ruling they are “less guilty by reason of adolescence,” and thus exempted from mandatory life-without-parole sentences (except for the “rarest cases” of “permanent incorrigibility”). This has made thousands of men (and some women) eligible for re-sentencing hearings around the country. Garbarino explores the issues of education, maturation, psychological intervention, and spiritual development that drive the rehabilitation and transformation central to these cases. The presentation is based upon his work as a psychological expert witness in more than 40 “Miller” cases, as reported in his 2018 book Miller’s Children, in which he brings to bear developmental psychology and modern neuroscience.

James Garbarino holds the Maude Clarke Chair in Psychology and was founding director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. Since 1994, he has served as a scientific expert witness in murder cases. Among the books he has authored are: Miller’s Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us (2018) and Listening to Killers (2015). He has received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Service and the Paul Fink Interpersonal Violence Prevention Award from the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence, among other awards.


Book signing in the garden shop on the first floor of the Nevin Welcome Center to immediately follow lunch

Lunch will immediately follow the talk. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

Metered parking is available in the Botanic Gardens lot.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCTR Talks at Twelve    incarceration    James Garbarino    youth   

PRYDE conference on social media literacy in youth


news-2017-prydeconf-inpost

front (l to r): David Dunning, Elaine Wethington, Kristen Elmore, Jutta Dotterweich, Jamila Simon, Esther Kim, Rachel Sumner. back: Chinwe Effiong, Paul Mihailidis, Kayla Burd, Josh Pasek, Jonathon Schuldt, Monica Bulger, Neil Lewis, Norbert Schwarz.

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

What does the research tell us about how young people use social media? And what can educators do to teach youth how to use social media in productive, positive ways?

These were the questions researchers addressed at the second annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). The conference, titled “Media Literacy and Citizenship Development in Youth and Emerging Young Adults,” was held from November 9 to 11 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It included multidisciplinary researchers and media developers from across the nation focused on youth, communications, misinformation, and media use.

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and sociology and an associate director of the BCTR, organized the conference. She is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on stress, protective mechanisms of social support, aging, and translational research methods.

Sam Taylor presenting

Sam Taylor presenting

“There are few topics more urgent to address than the relationship of increased reliance on social media as a means of communication and the impact of the new media on social and political institutions,” Wethington said.  “Our long-term goal is to develop new ideas about how to translate research on promoting productive social media use among youth into effective programs that engage youth and emerging adults and their development as informed citizens.”

In addition to invited talks from leading media, communication, and social and developmental psychological researchers, the conference included discussions and group activities about how to teach youth to become positive stewards of social media and the information exchanged on the web. Moving forward, those ideas will help to inform projects in the Cornell Social Media Lab, a PRYDE collaborator.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: conference    Elaine Wethington    PRYDE    social media    youth    youth development   

Preventing sexual violence by addressing boys


Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to evaluate a program for adolescent boys that aims to prevent them from becoming future perpetrators of sexual violence. Center researchers, coming together from across existing BCTR projects, will work together on the new Sexual Violence Prevention Project.

The partnership comes through the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), which was awarded a $1.8 million from the CDC over four years to investigate programs the prevent sexual assault. State public health officials are collaborating with the BCTR to conduct the research.

The team of BCTR researchers is collecting data from 12 sites in western New York who are offering the program over the next two years. In addition, the team is collecting data from 12 control sites, which are offering different types of youth programming for boys.

“We plan to enroll over 700 boys in the study, and our first groups launched this summer,” said Mary Maley, a BCTR extension associate for research synthesis and translation. “Participants complete questionnaires right before and after the program, and again three and six months later. We’re hoping to find that the boys in the intervention groups show improved attitudes and behaviors compared to the boys in the control groups. We’re very excited to be at the implementation phase of the project.”

Last month, the team visited the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to meet with CDC officials and other researchers across the country working on this issue for what they called a “reverse site visit.”

“This provided our team with a great opportunity to meet with a  number of CDC scientific officers and other researchers who are building the evidence base for effective sexual assault prevention programs,” said Jane Powers, senior extension associate and co-investigator. “We broadened our knowledge of the issues, learned about valuable CDC resources to support our work and expanded our network by meeting new colleagues and building partnerships.”

The program, Brothers as Allies, is based on the Council for Boys and Young Men developed by the One Circle Foundation. It enrolls boys ages 12 to 14 in small groups of 8 to 10 participants, which meet once a week with a male role model to focus on activities and discussions that define that it means to be a “real man.”  Boys in the program will learn how to step in when they observe bullying and work on developing empathy, communication, and relationship skills.

“The idea behind the program is entirely strength-based,” said Janis Whitlock, co-principal investigator and lead of the research team. “Boys are helped to build strong relationships with each other and with a positive adult role model as a means of understanding what positive relationships look and feel like. The male facilitators can then use these group bonds to encourage exploration and discussion of areas related to difficult topics, such as sexual violence.”

Many of the risk factors for sexual violence, such as hypermasculinity and endorsement of aggression, are based on attitudes and start to develop at this age through interactions with other boys and men, Whitlock said.

“This is a perfect time to be giving them a variety of models to choose from, because boys in particular face fairly narrow models of what it means to be a man,” she said.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Jane Powers    Janis Whitlock    Mary Maley    sexual health    youth   

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies

Tags: 4-H,   media mention,   youth,   youth development,  

By Stephen D’Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

news-2017careerex-inpost

Career Explorations participants synthesizing gold nanoparticles by using gold chloride and citric acid in hot water

More than 400 middle and high school students from 45 New York state counties and extension programs made their way to Cornell’s Ithaca campus June 27-29 to investigate the mysteries of the cosmos, perform physical exams on small and large animals, understand the intricacies of food science and learn to program robots.

These activities were only a few of the many workshops taught by Cornell faculty, staff and graduate students during the 4-H Career Explorations conference, an annual event that exposes youth to academic fields and career exploration by delivering a hands-on experience in a college setting.

“Our main purpose of career explorations is to give young people a chance to get a feel for careers that they’ve never even heard of, or maybe never even considered for themselves,” said Alexa Maille, conference coordinator and New York State 4-H science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, a research and outreach branch of the College of Human Ecology.

“This is the first college experience for a lot our participants and we receive a good amount of feedback from these youth, both during the conference and after, saying that they are now interested in pursuing future studies or a career in one of the subject areas that they were exposed to here first,” Maille added.

Dozens of scholarships were made available through the New York State 4-H Foundation and Cornell University.

The conference’s 30 programs focused on healthy living, STEM, civic engagement and leadership and were facilitated by the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering and Information Science, as well as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Museum of the Earth. The event connected youth to academic fields including engineering, animal science, astronomy, environmental science, food science, nanotechnology and human development.

A program titled “A Tour of Human Development across the Lifespan,” organized by the Bronfenbrenner Center’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), introduced human development to students with interests in sociology, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, education, public health or social work.

“We really wanted to expose the youth to both the idea of lifespan human development, showing them that development continues at all ages, and to different research methods,” said Jennifer Agans, PRYDE assistant director for research on youth development and engagement. “For us, this was really an amazing opportunity to work directly with youth and teach them about social science, as well as to align to our mission in connecting 4-H programs with campus research.”

Students heard from professors about their research, visited the fMRI lab and saw how brain scans can provide insights into human behavior. They also participated in career-related activities including interviews and focus group to better understand research methods.

And students discussed academic directions and personal career pathways with graduate students, lab managers, program assistants and postdoctoral fellows, who shed light on the transition from high school to college to career.

Skyler Masse, 16, from Niagara County, participated in the human development program and is interested in a career in medicine and health.

“Working hand-in-hand with the professors and students allowed me to be able to see that it’s okay not to have a direct route to college; there are many options, and a lot more options, than you may think there are,” she said. “Interviewing graduate students and postdocs, and hearing directly from them, helped me realize that it’s okay to change what you’re doing, even in college. You don’t have to have a set major, and that they went through the same thing.”

Meghan Stang, 17, from Cattaraugas County, is considering physical therapy as a career. She said the experience has given her more confidence in her future academic and professional life.

“Just listening to all of the graduate students and undergraduate students who came and spoke to us, they were in a similar situation when they were my age, and now they are succeeding in life,” she said. “It makes me think that even though I don’t know exactly where I want to go or what I want to do around physical therapy, I’ll be okay. I will succeed.”

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    media mention    youth    youth development   

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth Center of Excellence at the BCTR is helping youth organizations across the state of New York launch a youth development program to help prevent teen pregnancy.

The Teen Outreach Program, or TOP, is a program for youth ages 12 to 17. It was developed for the St. Louis Public Schools in 1978. Since then, research has shown the program helps to prevent teen pregnancy and also improves academic outcomes such as increasing high school graduation rates.

With support from ACT for Youth, six agencies are funded by the New York State Department of Health to implement TOP.  As a replication partner, ACT for Youth staff will train facilitators, offer technical assistance and help the sites evaluate the program’s effectiveness. So far, one site in Long Island has nearly 300 youth enrolled.

2014 Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) portraits.

Divine Sebuharara

The program includes lessons about healthy behaviors and life skills including critical thinking skills, goal-setting, information about healthy relationships, communication, human development, and sexual health. TOP is unique because the curriculum component offers different levels for young people in different age groups, said Divine Sebuharara, an extension support specialist with ACT for Youth.

“Facilitators also have the ability to pull lessons from other levels,” she said. “So as they get to know the kids, they can tailor the lessons to their needs. They can provide more basic information for kids who need it, or they can provide more advanced information for students who are ready for the next level. This requires a skilled facilitator who really knows their youth. Skilled and caring facilitators are an integral part of this program’s success.”

In addition, the program includes a community service learning (CSL) component where students engage in at least 20 hours on a project, or projects, they decide upon and assist in planning and implementing. “By engaging in CSL while learning new content and skills, participants are able to apply their knowledge and develop a sense of self-efficacy,” Sebuharara said.

ACT for Youth was launched in 2000 to reduce risky sexual behavior among youth by advancing the principles of positive youth development. The program is a partnership between the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, Ulster BOCES, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. It receives funding from the New York State Department of Health.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Divine Sebuharara    health    sexual health    youth    youth development   
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