Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) is a national program developed by Cooperative Extension’s federal partner, Cooperative State, Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). In collaboration with its federal partner and in concert with state extension systems across the nation, UVM Extension conducted an organizational change survey in 1998, 2000, and 2004 with a selected sample of UVM Extension professionals to determine the organization’s capacity to address issues of CYFAR. Findings from these three surveys showed that Extension had not substantively altered its organizational practices in alignment with the goals of the national program. In order to stimulate new strategic planning for the program, this study set about to assess the capacity of staff from UVM Extension to promote organizational learning. Grounded in the literature of organizational learning, this study administered a 43 item survey instrument called the Dimension of the Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ) to Extension employees. As a strategic planning tool, the survey identifies organizational learning opportunities at the individual, team, and organizational level. Following the Total Design Method, the web-based survey was launched September 2006, with a response rate of 68% (n=63). Findings from the new survey continue to indicate limited organizational capacity to meet national goals for CYFAR program. Interestingly, nearly 70% of survey respondents reported participation in programming for children, youth and families at risk, a percentage greater than those formally assigned to CYFAR activities. Regardless of formal assignment, however, CYFAR employees and non-CYFAR employees did not significantly differ in their survey responses across a variety of organizational measures. Prior training to develop organizational capacity in line with national goals appears to be falling short of expectations. Implications for these shortcomings are discussed and used to frame an action plan for development of this program.