Frequently Asked Questions and Definition of Terms regarding the 2015-16 NERCRD RFP for Planning Grant: Regional Collaboration of Successful CRD Extension Programs

These questions address the Request for Proposals for a NERCRD-sponsored planning grant: Regional Delivery of Successful CRD Extension Programs.

What are the benefits of this award, particularly considering that we cannot use the funds to offset salaries?

  1. This RFP is a planning grant and provides a base for securing and leveraging a larger grant and other resources.
  2. The grant provides an opportunity to pilot programs that reach larger audiences and hence, generate greater revenue through participant fees or sponsorships by firms or institutions in the receiving state.
  3. Getting to know colleagues in other states is likely to result in future partnership and be helpful at promotion time.
  4. Sharing human capital and expertise from around the region can greatly enhance existing programs.
  5. Sharing programs with other states results in reciprocity, as recipient states may in-turn share programming and expertise back.
  6. This RFP provides Extension organizations an opportunity to broaden our impact across the region, which will be critical to demonstrating our work and impacts at the state, regional, and national levels.

When a university requires all grants to cover indirect cost (IDC), is it possible for the NERCRD grant to make an exception and cover some of these so we can participate?

"Grant" might have been the wrong label for this program. Maybe a better label would be "travel and meeting cost reimbursement program" for team members to find ways to trade established Extension or engaged scholarships between states. Some teams will use the funds to meet, if necessary, to develop a major grant proposal for USDA, another federal agency or a foundation. Others teams will be reimbursed for travel and meeting expenses for train-the-trainer programs or for doing pilot efforts. Because the funds will remain with the NERCRD until the faculty/staff are reimbursed for their travel, this typically will not need to be run through a university's sponsored programs office.

Can we charge fees or sponsorships to cover salaries?

Absolutely. We expect the state which has the program to be transferred will generally need to charge some type of fee to the receiving state to cover some or all of the time of the staff from the sending state. Without this possibility, there will be few states who wish to share their programs.

In some cases, the salary costs will be handed onto the participants with user fees. In others, the receiving state specialists and staff might help find local firms, communities, foundations, or agencies to sponsor these costs in full or in part. In some cases, it will be a combination of user fees and sponsorships. In some of the pilot programs, a sending state might be willing to gamble on less than full salary recovery as a means of expanding their longer term market.

The specific financial arrangements are up to the sending and the receiving state. There are no requirements for this proposal.

Do programs being transferred between states have to be established ones or can they be new ones?

This year only established successful programs are being considered. There were two reasons for focusing on established programs only. First, the timeline for sharing ideas was not adequate for teams from two states to start from scratch. Second, we wanted to ensure that we reduced the risk to teams of finding the project was not feasible. Exploring the feasibility is much easier with a known program than with a brand new one. After this year, this question will be addressed again.

The "pilot program method of transferring programs" gave me the impression that new programs could be proposed. Is that true?

No. The "pilot" label refers to a pilot effort to expand the market of a program originally offered in one state by specialists from that state to offering the same program to people from neighboring states. That is the reason, the label includes "of transferring programs." Here are a couple of examples of pilot programs for transferring programs.

How is engaged scholarship defined?

Engaged scholarship addresses important social, economic and environmental issues as does traditional academic scholarship. However, the engaged scholarship approach encourages the participation of non-academics in a reciprocal partnership to address the questions and integrates the teaching, research and outreach functions of faculty. Often it is interdisciplinary.

How is Community Resource Development (CRD) defined?

CRD is known by a variety of labels: Community Economics, Community Economic Development, Community and Economic Development, Community Vitality, and Rural Community Development.

All of these CRD efforts aim to help people make their lives better in some measurable way. Yet, this also is the case for the Agricultural and Natural Resource Programs, the Youth Programs, the Health and Nutrition Programs, and the Family Development Programs. Where is the boundary?

The boundary is related to the audience. CRD programs deal with groups of people, small non-profits, informal development groups, local government decision-makers, state government decision-makers. Generally, the other programs deal with individual decisions makers.

For example, a land use zoning question could be either a CRD, an agricultural and natural resources program or a youth program. In many cases, it might be all three. When the program addresses policy questions or what the zoning policy should be or does research on the impacts of zoning policy to inform those group decisions, this is the CRD component. Once the policy is adopted and educators are explaining to farmers what is allowed and the most economical means of dealing with the policy, this is an agricultural and natural resource program.

Some (but not all) of the specific Extension or engaged scholarship programs which are done in CRD are:

Community Economic Development:

  • Business Retention and Expansion - strategic planning for local leaders to work with existing firms.
  • Retail Trade Analysis - examination of retail trade data patterns to help communities understand their competitive advantages and disadvantages to see how they can strengthen their stores.
  • Economic Impact Analysis - applied studies to examine the multiplier impacts of sudden changes in a local economy.
  • Economic Development Academy - training for local economic development officials and leaders

Leadership and Civic Engagement

  • Facilitation of Group Meetings - to prepare local leaders to more effectively work on local issues.
  • Community Profiles and Visioning - to help citizens reach consensus on a local vision.
  • Broadband Training - orientation for community leaders on steps to improve their access
  • Community Needs Assessment

Natural Resource Policies

  • Land Use Planning Policy - educational programs for both the public and officials
  • Zoning policies - studying the impacts of alternative policies
  • Use value taxation - studying the impacts of alternative taxation policies and land use
  • Local Food System Policies - how to encourage greater local food production

Public Finance and Economics of Services

  • Public finance educational programs for officials and general public
  • Public finance applied research - to guide local and state policies
  • Public Value of public services - use of economic theory to understand why people fund services
  • Health Works - explores the economic impacts of health sectors in a community
  • Costs of Alternative Delivery Systems for Community Services.

Only a few of these do not involve multiple disciplines.

Can non-CRD faculty or staff apply for these grants?

Yes. But they should be a part of a team which includes someone with expertise on the group or community decision making process, economic development, public finance, or leadership and civic engagement skills.

What are the scholarship expectations for the pilot programs or the train the trainer programs.

Scholarship is the process of communicating your ideas, descriptions of your programs and their impacts, and discussion of lessons learned with your professional colleagues. Some of this scholarship is peer-reviewed and some is not but it is all done in the spirit of sharing what you have learned to help other colleagues work more effectively and efficiently.

Ernest Boyer describes five kinds of scholarship that are particularly important to Extension and engaged scholarship efforts:

  • The scholarship of discovery - the development of new knowledge
  • The scholarship of teaching - describes and evaluates classroom and outreach teaching and shares new approaches
  • The scholarship of application - examines how existing knowledge can be applied to current problems and in the process often identifies weak spots in existing knowledge.
  • The scholarship of integration - makes connections across disciplines or through the synthesis of individual research efforts.
  • The scholarship of engagement - uses one or more of the above types of scholarship and also encourages the participation of non-academics in a reciprocal partnership to address problems face by the public.

What type of scholarship is an expected deliverable for this project?

For this project, some form of scholarship of teaching is part of the expected deliverables. In all cases, the team should describe:

  • the goals of their program,
  • the activities undertaken in the pilot program to deliver programs in two or more states or to train-the-trainer, and
  • lessons learned.

How should this scholarship be delivered?

The manner of sharing these could be one or more of the following:

  1. Presentation at a national conference,
  2. Staff paper (internal review only) on the NERCRD website.
  3. Webinar available nationally through NERCRD or others,
  4. Peer-reviewed journal article, or
  5. Book chapters

Still have questions on the RFP?

Email or call George Morse, NERCRD's Special Project Advisor for this grant RFP.

George's email is: and phone is 207-318-1539.

George is a professor emeritus of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. As you can see from the area code, George now lives in Maine and is an Extension Faculty Associate with the University of Maine.