This Note describes five best practices for program leaders and/or supervisors of Extension field specialists on helping new field specialists achieve the benefits of specialization. South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Ohio recently adopted the field specialist model for some of their educators. Earlier Minnesota and Iowa started similar positions but called them “regional extension educators” and “program specialists,” respectively. All of these states have adopted more specialized field staff because specialization is a key for increased productivity. In this paper, the term “field specialists” will be used for all specialized Extension Educator positions that are: 1) located in the field and not on campus, 2) focus their work within an area of expertise, 3) work either throughout the state or in large multi-county regions and 4) are funded primarily from state and federal funds and/or grants rather than funded partially by counties. Many of the field specialists have very similar backgrounds and responsibilities as the M.S. level state specialists of the 1980s and 1990s.


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