Mary supports Extension faculty, and other educators, in becoming more skillful in creating and conducting effective integrated pest management (IPM) and sustainable agriculture outreach programs through sharing the brain and learning research that accelerates application of evidence-based teaching and learning practices. Through the new Extension Learning Network she is leading a shift in the culture of doing Extension adult education development work in isolation, to cooperative approach where the benefits of collaborative efforts will create the desired impact and increase community engagement.
She also partners with Extension agents and other cooperators using a hybrid approach to engaged IPM Extension program development, incorporating both faculty and stakeholder perspectives and expertise. Through participatory processes with grower communities, faculty are able to identify the key challenges and opportunities where actionable information can contribute directly to achieving the intended outcomes. Implementing practical program evaluation plans provides valuable feedback on progress towards stakeholder-defined goals and learning about our own impact. Through this process she seeks to deepen the knowledge of the role that learner-centered education can play in fostering change and developing resilience to further sustainable agriculture.
She co-developed, with a national team of evaluation experts, the IPM Impact Assessment Online Toolkit
Over the past decade Mary has focused on the design of outcome-based education and the use of impact evaluation to improve the effectiveness of Extension outreach. The Adaptive Learner-Centered Education (ALCE) approach provides a framework for responsive education partnerships with stakeholders that integrate the latest science in novel ways. ALCE combines essential conceptual knowledge with skill building in the adoption of new forms of data to provide learners with the necessary experience to reduce uncertainty in their future choices and actions.