Extension professionals at UOG selected for leadership program

Extension professionals at UOG selected for leadership program

Extension professionals at UOG selected for leadership program


WELD X Cohort
Assistant Professor LaJoy R. Spears, in red jacket, and Extension Associate II Kathleen B. Duenas, seated farthest right in the front row, from the University of Guam’s Cooperative Extension & Outreach program join extension professionals from the Western region at a leadership training summit in March in Bend, Ore.

L aJoy R. Spears and Kathleen B. Duenas from the University of Guam’s Cooperative Extension & Outreach program were selected to be fellows in the Western Extension Leadership Program X (WELD X) — a 15-month leadership program designed for extension professionals. The two recently returned from a seminar in Bend, Ore., which is one of four major parts of the program.

“I believe this leadership program is essential and critical to in-depth leadership preparation and education and has application across the land-grant system for extension’s future, but most importantly, for the leadership of our system in Guam and the Western Pacific,” said Sereana H. Dresbach, associate dean/director of Cooperative Extension & Outreach at UOG.

UOG’s Cooperative Extension & Outreach program, through the College of Natural & Applied Sciences, seeks to meet informational needs in the Guam community through free educational workshops and programs on topics like nutrition, growing food locally, and pest management.

The WELD program will support this effort by training Spears and Duenas on leadership development, organizational management, critical thinking, problem solving, and innovative learning tools to make the office’s extension and outreach efforts most effective. The 15-month program includes a personal leadership inventory, the leadership seminar, an individual innovative leadership project, and a capstone seminar to share their projects.

Spears, an assistant professor at UOG, and Duenas, an extension associate II, were selected by the WELD X planning committee as professionals who demonstrate leadership, stakeholder effectiveness, and contribution to the mission of education outreach.

"Traveling to Bend, Oregon, to participate in the WELD X seminar was a refreshing experience,” Spears said. “The opportunity provided an outlet for engagement and reflection on leadership development, future planning for extension, conflict management, as well as a plethora of networking opportunities.”

The two were able to meet with various extension agents and county directors from major universities in the Western Region.

“My knowledge of the Cooperative Extension system was expanded through a variety of topics, such as 4H youth development, urban and rural communities, governance, education, culture, and identity,” Duenas said. “The diversity and breadth of information within the fellow presentations allowed me a more translational perspective, to see how the system of extension works at a national level.”

Spears and Duenas are now attending conference calls and webinars as they start to plan their innovation projects. They will present their final projects in May 2020 at Montana State University.