Criteria for Setting Program Priorities

The phone rings. “Hi, we’re starting a new project in the community and are inviting you to be part of the effort. We will be a group of agency folks who will explore new avenues of economic development for the community. This will be a multi-year project. It will involve monthly meetings and subcommittee work between meetings. We feel it is important to have Cooperative Extension at the table. The first meeting is next week. Can you be part of this effort?”

You let them know that you will give this invitation some thought and get back to them tomorrow. How do you decide if you can say yes to this invitation? Here are a few questions that might help you arrive at your decision.

Questions to ask when setting program priorities

  • How does the request/issue/need align with University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s mission? With my plan of work? If it does not, is it worth pursuing and why?
  • What would I need to defer or let go of in order to pick up this new activity? Or do I need to just let it go and perhaps refer the request on to another resource?
  • If there is POW alignment, do I have the time available to do this well? Are there others with whom I could partner in achieving the goals of the initiative or project?
  • What do I have to offer in addressing this public or organizational issue/goal?
  • Is there another resource, person, agency that could more effectively address the issue/request?
  • As an educator or specialist, how will I contribute to the building of others’ capacities to achieve the goals for this initiative?
  • How will I be able to account for my time allocated to this initiative and show impacts of my work in the short, medium and long term?
  • By Cooperative Extension becoming involved in this initiative, what do I bring to the table and how can I make this explicit in contracting with the client/audience/group?

After reflecting about these questions, use the following grid to make your decision: