What our Team Does

The roles of specialists, educators and assistants/associates are continuously evolving. While there are distinct responsibilities tied to each of these roles, there also is an increasing number of overlapping responsibilities especially between specialists and educators. Teamwork and communication are significant responsibilities of everyone in this overlapping effort and it is essential to have dialogue among specialists, educators and assistant/associates about their program goals and accomplishments.

Faculty and staff have responsibilities for addressing the growing diversity of needs of Nebraskans. While it is expected that specialists assume lead roles in developing curricula, development of curricula is evolving into more of a partnership with educators. Educators are key to the determination of appropriate delivery modes because of their familiarity with constituents and are increasingly responsible for teaching locally delivered programs. There will be venues where specialists and educators (and in some cases assistants/associates) will team teach. Assistants/Associates, in their specifically targeted roles, will work with their supervising specialists/educators to deliver programs. The chart below describes both the distinct yet overlapping responsibilities of Nebraska’s Extension faculty and staff.

Role of Specialists

Role of Educators

Role of Assistants/Associates

Program Scope

Provide state-wide, multi-state and national programs addressing critical needs of adults and youth identified in Extension Action Plans.

Provide multi-county, regional and state (in some cases multi-state) programs addressing critical needs of adults and youth as identified in Extension Action Plans

Locally deliver programs (research-based) developed by specialists and educators or in conjunction with specialists and educators as identified in Extension Action Plans.

Issue Identification

  • Work across state, region, nation, and the world.
  • Seek input from stakeholders, educators, assistants/associates and others to identify and prioritize extension educational issues.
  • Work across multi-county, region, and state (in some cases multi-state) to identify and prioritize extension educational issues.
  • Seek input from stakeholders, specialists, and assistants/associates to identify and prioritize educational issues.
  • Work with specialists and educators and local stakeholders in the identification of critical local issues.
  • Provide input to specialists and educators.

Issue Educational Curriculum

  • Educational program curricula and resources (research-based), including appropriate curricula dissemination venues.
  • Facilitate curricula development teams.
  • Provide training & information to educators, assistants or associates.
  • Provide formal, in-depth, and professional development opportunities.
  • Contribute to development of educational curricula and resources ( in some cases lead), including appropriate dissemination venues.
  • Increasingly focus efforts on local and regional teaching and delivery (add local value to educational programs), participate in curriculum development teams.
  • Work with specialists to identify professional development opportunities.
  • Teach subject matter curricula identified by or in conjunction with their supervisor.


  • Lead evaluation strategies to determine impact of programs.
  • Work with educators to develop templates and instruments to measure impact and summarize results.
  • Partner with specialists to determine appropriate measure of success and expected outcomes.
  • In some cases assume leadership for impact assessment studies.
  • Provide and gather needed information.
  • Use evaluation strategies and instruments developed by specialists and educators.
  • Provide and gather needed information.

Grants & Program Support

  • Seek grants and other program support to address priorities of extension action plans.
  • Develop and deliver grant-based programs.
  • Increasingly use grant funds and fees to support programs.
  • Partner with educators and other faculty as appropriate.
  • Partner to write, receive, develop and deliver grant-based programs.
  • Seek local and regional program support.
  • Increasingly use grant funds and fees to support programs.
  • Seek grants in appropriate areas for the action teams.
  • Assist specialists and educators with the development of program support.
  • Work with supervisor and seek program support when the opportunity arises.

Stakeholder Interaction

  • Interact with national and state organizations, policy makers, directly involved in issues specific to specialist priority issues.
  • Interact with state and county policy makers community groups in prioritizing local extension programs and partners in program implementation.
  • Assist educators in working with local stakeholders in developing priorities and partnerships


  • Lead research, interpret research results and evaluate implications of research for priority needs of the state.
  • Disseminate research-based education.
  • Solicit input from educators and assistants/associates and involve those interested.
  • Disseminate research-based education, be involved in applied or adaptive research as appropriate.
  • Conduct appropriate demonstration research and provide input to specialists.
  • Contribute to applied research as directed by supervisor.

Teach in Informal Settings or Program Delivery

  • Lead teaching of extension curricula for appropriate state and multi-state programs.
  • Support educators in teaching regional and other teaching venues.
  • Lead teaching of extension curricula within areas of expertise in county and regional venues.
  • Teach local extension programs as directed by supervisor.

Public Issues

  • Provide leadership for development of public issues education programs, using research-based information on critical state and national issues.
  • Provide local and regional public issues education programs priority issues (alternatives and consequences).
  • Assist educators with the logistics of local public issues education.