Epsilon Sigma Phi
The Extension Professionals' Organization

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BUILDING STRONG EPSILON SIGMA PHI CHAPTERS

Epsilon Sigma Phi is both an honorary and educational organization, with about 5,000 committed career professionals, representing 41 annual state/territory chapters.

The strength of the national Extension Professionals’ Organization rests largely on the strength of each respective chapter. Epsilon Sigma Phi is the only Extension-wide professional organization. Its primary purpose is that of building and maintaining a strong profession.

The National ESP Board of Directors has identified the following factors that seem to contribute to the success of strong chapters.

This list could serve as a basis for chapter assessment by your board of directors and committees:

    • Elected officers, who are imaginative, committed, dedicated, and hard working in support of Epsilon Sigma Phi.
    • National ESP Board members who provide strong two-way communication between the chapter members and the chapter board.
    • Chapter goals that are carefully defined, planned, evaluated, and updated by the National ESP Board members annually, and take into account the National Epsilon Sigma Phi goals and objectives.
    • Annual committees that make use of the national Chapter Handbook. (Each chapter officer should have a copy, and relevant pages distributed to appropriate committees.)
    • Programs that emphasize recognition of outstanding leadership and program accomplishments of agents, specialists, supervisors, administrators, lay leaders, and secretaries.
    • Annual scholarship and grant programs that have been established for furthering professional improvement.
    • Epsilon Sigma Phi officers meet with the leadership of the Extension professional associations periodically and jointly with the state administration at least annually.
    • Retired/Life Epsilon Sigma Phi members are actively involved in all phases of the chapter activities.
    • Chapter Board meetings are held regularly and all committee reports submitted promptly.
    • An annual statewide chapter meeting with a recognition banquet, initiation of new members and other special features.
    • A regular chapter newsletter as one important means of keeping all members informed.
    • Active participation in regional and national activities: members on the National ESP Board of Directors and committees, participation in national/regional conferences and professional improvement workshops, and participation in national/regional/state award programs.
    • Membership dues in an amount that will financially support an aggressive chapter program.
    • Major chapter accomplishments are shared with all other Epsilon Sigma Phi members nationwide through articles submitted for inclusion in the ESP Connection.

STRATEGIES FOR EXCELLENCE

National Epsilon Sigma Phi discussion groups have made the following recommendations that can be a starting point for planning new or renewed directions for chapter planning:

Strategies for Increasing Individual Excellence:

    • Be committed to professional excellence.
    • Define excellence in personal terms.
    • Develop individual "objectives for excellence" and implement.
    • Set short-term and long-term professional goals and periodically assess them.
    • Develop a plan for continuing professional growth, including academic degree or course work. Actively participate in professional organizations that promote excellence.
    • Commit to the standards as well as the goals of Extension and the University system of which we are a part. Focus should be on those that are most important.
    • Learn to describe Extension (its philosophy, work, and impact) in terms understood and appreciated by the audience being addressed. (For example, community leaders, decision makers).
    • Be part of a mentoring system for new staff.
    • Build a coalition dedicated to the entire organization--not based on "we" and "they".
    • Share knowledge and expertise with other professionals through professional association work, presentations, and written articles/publications.
    • Increase evaluation and accountability skills.
    • Recommend capable co-workers for positions, committee appointments, elective office, and recognition/awards.
    • Positively market Extension--its faculty/staff, programs, potential, and impact.
    • Promote not only individual excellence but also excellence through teamwork and interdisciplinary efforts.
    • Focus on similarities rather than differences when communicating or working with others.


CRITERIA FOR CHAPTER SELF-EVALUATION

"How well is our chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi doing in a sincere effort to achieve our present and future goals and objectives?" Chapter officers and/or evaluation committee should ask this question every year. A thorough and objective self-assessment can help your present and future membership interests and make maximum use of limited financial resources.

The National ESP Board, with valuable input from several Epsilon Sigma Phi members, recommends the following criteria as a guide to follow in this important and challenging task:

    • Nature and scope of educational program, e.g., chapter objectives defined in writing, program of activities in published form, newsletter, recognition of member achievement, nature of annual meeting, etc.
    • Support of professional improvement program, e.g., scholarships to members, recognizing professional achievements, seminars, workshops, recruiting new staff, orientation training, etc.
    • Pattern and scope of chapter organization to actively involve all members in policy decisions, assigning and accepting responsibility, etc.
    • Nature and extent of involvement of retired members, e.g., percent of annual members becoming life members, participation as officers and on committees.
    • Percent of eligible faculty/staff members that are Epsilon Sigma Phi members.
    • Percent of increase in ESP membership in past three years.
    • Nature and extent of recognition program, e.g., outstanding life members, achievement of members, Friends of Extension, both state-wide and nationally.
    • Membership records up-to-date, dues and other reports submitted promptly.
    • Members serve on state/regional/national committees/board, host national recognition banquet, and participate in Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP and National ESP Conference.
    • Other pertinent criteria associated with your chapter.
    • A weighted score might be assigned to each criterion, as determined by your officers, as a measure of numerical progress each year.
    • Most of the criteria listed above coordinate well with the National goals and objectives.

Take a look at these goals when planning your chapter activities and projects. How well is your chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi doing in providing services and information to your members?

A thorough and objective self-assessment can help your present and future membership feel that Epsilon Sigma Phi makes a valuable contribution to their professional career. Please check those where you feel you are meeting the criteria.

Criteria

    • Chapter objectives have been defined in writing and communicated to all members.
    • National goals have been reviewed with Chapter Board members and some goals included as part of the chapter plan of work.
    • A newsletter is mailed regularly to all members.
    • A newsletter is mailed annually to all Extension staff members as a way of informing them about Epsilon Sigma Phi.
    • Letters (personal contact) are mailed to eligible staff members encouraging them to join.
    • Letters (personal contact) are mailed to all retirees encouraging them to become life members.
    • Follow-up letters (personal contact) are mailed to any staff members who did not initially join and to retirees who did not initially become a life member.
    • Our chapter has had members receive mini-grants.
    • Our chapter has had members receive a scholarship.
    • We fulfilled our commitment to support the Development Fund.
    • Awards are provided for our members.
    • Nominations are made by our chapter for the various national awards.
    • Our chapter nominated people to serve on national committees.
    • Our chapter dues were paid by February 1.
    • Our chapter was represented at the National ESP Conference.
    • Our chapter was represented at the Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP.
    • Our chapter will have at least one participant at the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD) in the spring.
    • We hold professional improvement workshop/seminars for our annual and retired members.
    • We have an annual chapter meeting.
    • The National Chapter handbook (all or parts) has been given to all chapter officers and committee chairs.
    • Epsilon Sigma Phi officers meet with the leadership of the Extension professional’s associations periodically and jointly with the state administration annually.
    • Board meetings are held regularly and all committee reports are submitted promptly.
    • Membership changes are reported to the National ESP Executive Director promptly.
    • Committee contacts are reported to the National ESP Executive Director promptly.
    • Newly elected officers are reported to the National ESP Executive Director promptly.
    • Please indicate the number or percent for the following questions:
      • We have life members serving on a state committee or as a state officer.
      • Of the eligible Extension staff, we have percent as ESP members.
      • During the past year, percent of our retired members who were eligible became life members.
      • Our membership has increased percent or decreased percent during the past three years.
    • Please list one goal that you will implement in your chapter between now and the National ESP Conference.
    • Please list one or more items that you feel need attention by the National ESP Board.



Epsilon Sigma Phi is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization.


55 Walton Place Drive
Newnan, GA 30263
470-347-0394

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