Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Apply to Lead a Deep Dive

To apply to be the WCMER Urban Green Infrastructure Fellow, submit the following to Brad Gaolach at

  • 2-page biographical sketch that demonstrates your skills and background related to Urban Green Infrastructure, grant development, applied research and Extension, and teamwork.
  • *No more than 2 pages detailing your plans for the fellowship, to include
    • Timeline for activities and deliverables
    • Generalized budget for use of the funds allocated for the fellowship.

Previous Deep Dive Fellows

More information coming soon

Best Practices for Policy Practitioners in Extension


There are over 1,000 documents, publications and/or journal articles that reference Best Practices for Extension Policy Practitioners. This information needs to be scanned and summarized to inform WCMER’s objective of training Urban Extension staff to help enact policy effectively. The project will

  1. Produce a best practices policy scan that assesses both successful policy enactment, as well as gaps and obstacles encountered in not-so-successful policy work.
  2. Perform a Meta-scan of the literature available in pre-identified databases, national publications, journal articles, and more.
  3. Focus will be spent searching specific terms that are important for WCMER, such as policy creation/adoption/enactment, urban policy work, successful policy, and more.
  4. Recommend additional data sets and sources to scan, then perform research accordingly.

Assemble the best practices found, organize them under common “themes,” then summarize the data as seen through a national lens.  Such work would enable a description of takeaways and next steps concerning the process of successful policy enactment, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of faulty policy creation.



Limited examples of best practices were found from existing published documents.  Focus has moved to developing the points along a policy development-implementation continuum where Extension professionals can be in involved, either directly or by partnering with others.

Reports, Publications, and Presentations

Manuscript for submission to JOE is under development.

Evaluating Urban Extension Programs: WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (Metro Center), and the WCMER


To establish a robust evaluation framework for the WSU Metro Center, based on qualitative and quantitative data, and determine the feasibility of the methodology to be used for evaluating the WCMER and each member metropolitan Extension program. Both the WSU Metro Center and WCMER’s ultimate impact is to elevate the stature of Extension and LGU’s to metropolitan decision makers.

The cornerstone elements of the evaluation will be:

  1. Quantitative data:  Extension programs currently collect numerous quantitative data across all their programs, whether they occur in metropolitan areas or not.  The goal of this element is to determine what metrics would be unique to Extension activities in metropolitan areas that can be or are already being collected.
  2. Qualitative Data: Qualitative data will be collected on two levels for separate purposes:
    1. State-level: Through Key Informant Interviews, data will be collected related to the target goal of understanding the impact of Extension within member states.  Key informants would be identified by WCMER Advisory Board members for their metropolitan communities. To be piloted at WSU.
    2. WCMER level: Through surveys and / or interviews, WCMER member institutions will evaluate the effectiveness and benefit of the WCMER and its activities.



Evaluation methodology for the WCMER:

  • 13 semi-structured, key-informant interviews were conducted with WCMER advisory board members and state Extension directors from member institutions.
  • Analysis of the social network structure of the WCMER advisory board members.
  • Review of WCMER meeting notes, reports, and presentations.

Evaluation methodology for impact of WSU Metro Center:

  • Conduct a comprehensive literature review to determine what, if any, quantitative metrics are being used to evaluate activities similar to those performed by WCMER Extension programs in metropolitan communities.

Reports, Publications, and Presentations

  • Publication of results are pending for evaluation of WCMER model
  • Metrics and protocol are being finalized for evaluation of WSU Metro Center projects as pilot for use in other states.

Extension Competencies in the City


This fellowship will conduct applied research related to Extension organizational models and professional development.

Research question – what competencies are unique for Extension professionals working in urban or metropolitan designated areas?

Research methods include a Competency Framework Development (CFD) process based on the DACUUM model; qualitative survey research; qualitative inquiry through targeted interviews. The research will include a review of existing literature and practice as a foundation from which to initiate the CFD.

Expected outcomes – Extension leaders can use the findings to improve Extension’s ability to attract, develop, retain, and structure competent talent. The competency model is a powerful decision-making tool for developing the capacity and competency of urban Extension educators, specialists, and administrators working with multi-stakeholder agendas.



A Competency Framework Development (CFD) project was completed with eXtension, Eduworks, and research participants from all of ECOP’s geographic regions. The framework can be used for additional classifications of urban Extension personnel.

Reports, Publications, and Presentations

Rebecca Sero Ph.D.

Rebecca Sero HeadshotResearch Fellow
Phone: (509) 358-7879

Rebecca Sero is the Evaluation Specialist for Washington State University (WSU) Extension. In this position, Rebecca leads a statewide evaluation effort for WSU Extension and is responsible for increasing WSU Extension’s capacity to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs and services. Primarily, Rebecca works closely with teams to conduct periodic, focused evaluations of major WSU Extension programs. Additionally, she also develops and disseminates evaluation best practices and tools for use by Extension educators and develops evaluation-related professional development opportunities.

Rebecca received a Ph.D. from Purdue University and a M.S. from Miami University. For additional information, please visit her website.

Fellowship Materials

View: Evaluating Urban Extension Programs: WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (Metro Center), and the WCMER.

Urban Ag & Local Food Staff Exchange between OSU and CSU Denver Extension  


Brian Kleinke participated in an urban staff exchange program between Ohio State University (OSU) and Colorado State University (CSU) as part of the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER)’s formal Staff Exchange Program. Brian Kleinke visited Denver and met with the Denver Extension County Director, Rusty Collins, and the Denver Horticulture Agent, Dan Goldhamer. An urban ag tour was conducted where Brian met some of Denver Extension’s key partners in the urban ag and local food community including ReVision (a local coop), Denver Urban Gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Growhaus. Brian Kleinke shared the details of his roles and job at OSU and CSU shared information about the local food system, organizational partners, delivery of daily programs, and plans for the future.
Download Report (.pdf) Denver Urban Ag Tour Itenerary

Exchange Information


The exchange will take place over a two-three day period.

Host Program:

  • City: Denver Urban Agriculture/local food systems
  • Staff Name(s): Rusty Collins, Denver Extension Director, and Robert Franklin, Denver 4-H Agent


 Visiting Staff:

  • City: Columbus
  • Program Area: Urban Agriculture/local food systems
  • Staff Name(s): Brian Kleinke

Prior Exchange

Program Change

Taking away information from Denver, Colorado and how their urban ag/local
food systems programming works, will be beneficial to give new avenues for
thought and processes that can be implemented in Columbus, Ohio.

Before the exchange, Rusty Collins expected to network, establish avenues of collaboration and thought exchange on how the Center can work together to solve urban food system issues.

Objectives & Goals

  1. Expansion of colleague network
  2. New avenues for collaboration
  3. New avenues for thought exchange, program planning, and evaluation
  4. Learn more about Denver local food systems and CSU involvement
  5. Meet supporting organizations and non-profits

Post Exchange

Actions & Activities

Goal 1:  Meet with community leaders

  1. Engaged in conversation with grass roots non-profit organizations who are deeply engaged leaders in the community of urban agriculture.
  2. Exchanged ideas and conversation with Denver Extension


The outcomes from this exchanged are as follows:

  1. Learned about how a local food system is being assessed and implemented in Denver, Colorado.
  2. Met with various non-profit organizations to learn about their involvement, goals, and objectives within the local food system.
  3. Learned and compared the similarities and differences of urban
    agriculture between Columbus, Ohio and Denver, Colorado.
  4. Formed a deeper understanding for how Cooperative Extension operates in both states.
  5. Assessed and compared the similarities and differences of community
    members needs in the vastly different urban settings.

Resources Developed & Aquired

The sharing of resources has been discussed more post visit, then during the visit. Rusty supplied his CSU colleagues with portfolios that displayed his work, and the work of Franklin County as a team.


This was a very worthwhile experience. To have the ability to meet with
colleagues not just different extension services (i.e., state, county, etc.) but to
understand their constraints, strengths, and weaknesses with regard to
community challenges, environmental challenges, funding challenges, etc.
will allot the Center to begin to form a more “global” view of extension, the Western Center’s work, and how to best collaborate with colleagues.

Urban agriculture in Columbus, Ohio is booming with a lot of community interest and support. The food system in Columbus is building in to what is common place in Colorado. Local food systems in Colorado are the norm, seeing very few fast food restaurants, yet, an abundance of “slow food” restaurants.

Both cities working toward the same goal, to build resilient, sustainable, local food systems, but coming from two very different schools of thought. The OSU Extension Franklin County is the standard for fact based resource information and education to the urban farm community simply because OSU Extension Franklin County was the key driving force behind urban agriculture in Columbus.

CSU Denver Extension is in quite a different position. With aged grass roots organizations that have been around for decades and with the inherent tradition of local foods in Colorado, CSU Denver, is one of many
working urban agriculture education.

There is a lot that can be shared, learned, and collaborated on between the two extension services in the future.

Dayna Emmons

Dayna Emmons headhsotResearch Fellow

Dayna is an MPA candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, focusing on policy analysis and program evaluation.  Previously, she had worked in the nonprofit sector in the Seattle area for several years, most recently at the ACLU of Washington, providing support for their advocacy and legislative agendas.

Dayna received her Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Colorado in International Affairs and Political Science. With her Master’s degree in Public Administration, Dayna plans to continue working in program evaluation for governments, nonprofit, and research organizations.

Fellowship Materials

View: Evaluating Urban Extension Programs: WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (Metro Center), and the WCMER.

Julie M Fox, Ph.D.

Julie Fox HeadshotAssociate Professor; Associate Chair, Department of Extension; OSU Extension Urban Metro Program Leader and Central Regional Director
Phone: (740) 289-2071 x 225

As an Associate Professor with the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Julie serves as the OSU Extension in the City Program Leader, Central Region Extension Director, and Associate Chair for the Department of Extension.  Working with OSU since 1998, she holds a Ph.D. in Human and Community Resource Development and a MBA in Global Management.

Her background includes working in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Prior to working with OSU, she served as the executive director for an international trade association and a marketing manager for a worldwide nonprofit organization.

Fellowship Materials

View Extension Competencies in the City