Table Of ContentsNext Page

APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

What Could APEN do Differently/Extra to . . .

Name of Leader:

Greg Cock

Names of Participants:

Lucia Boxelaar, Heather Shaw, Katie Bowman, Lee-Anne Mintern, Patricia Murray, Rosemary Currie, John James, Colin Holt, Amanda Miller, Terry Reid, Galina Barrett, Nicole McLennan, Chris Anderson, Katherine Boon, Mike Bramley, Mande McLoed

Main points of discussion

Greg provided some information from the recent survey of APEN members, including most of the 120 respondents were members of APEN for networking and professional development opportunities. Many members see these functions as very important, and were generally satisfied with APEN’s involvement in providing these services. Respondents want to be involved in relevant activities run at the local level.

Questions/Issues raised during discussion included:

  • What things would or will engage you in APEN activities?
  • As a new APEN member, what does APEN do for me?
  • What do the chapters do?
  • What chapter am I in and who is in the chapter?
  • For me to take notice I need direct information to come across my desk?
  • Many people do not have a clear understanding or description of what APEN is and does. APEN needs to look at ways to promote (sell?) itself to others.
  • APEN seems to be focussing on Australia and not the area described in its name. – Australasia.
  • Everyone is busy but we need people with passion to champion activities at the local level.
  • Only heard about APEN by word of mouth.

Greg described what APEN does which presently includes:

  • Organising and running conferences to discuss opportunities and challenges faced by Extension professionals working with rural and regional communities.
  • ExtensioNet quarterly newsletter.
  • Policy formation and influence
  • Local support through local Chapters.
  • BROCHURE??????

Suggestions to address some of the questions and issues above include:

  • Welcome letter to APEN for new members describing what APEN does and step by step description of how to access the website, newsletters, other products or services etc.
  • A system to engage people at the chapter level.
  • Chapters need to be more active, have clear focus and direction, forum for challenging what we do in extension, pushing boundaries, exploring limitations, involving others sectors such as health, transport, private enterprise, people involved in change management etc
  • Clear documented description of what APEN is and what it does.
  • Promotion for people to join APEN at events organised by chapters.
  • Have a broader focus in practice and not just in name – Australasia Pacific Extension Network, not just Australia.
  • People to be regularly contacted by chapter contacts.
  • Virtual conferencing not restricted by national boundaries, time and cost (eg. week long online conference)
  • Assistance with setting up chapters, especially international chapters.

Suggestions for professional development activities to engage people at the chapter level include:

  • Cross cultural professional development
  • Travelling roadshows that provide a service and opportunities to promote and market APEN. Suggestions include:
  • Experiencing and running Open Space.
  • Internationally recognised person visiting each chapter (funding may be available through RIRDC).
  • People from outside traditional extension fields given presentations and workshops about relevant activities, such as recruitment, staff development, promotion and publicity etc. May include, Australian basketball association, road safety association.
  • Writing skills workshops to write papers for publication.
  • Workshops to help people realise that they do Extension, and describe support available.
  • The Rural Extension Centre is willing to provide resources to assist this concept get off the ground.
  • Mentoring system.
  • Collate information into categories such as process tools and techniques, and make it available through the web.
  • Negotiating with members’ job managers for members to be involved in APEN as part of their work project activities.

CAUTION: Keep focussed on what APEN is trying to achieve, especially as membership diversifies.

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page