Epsilon Sigma Phi
The Extension Professionals' Organization

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(Reviewed and Adopted February 2020)

Role of the Public Issues Committee:

To build and strengthen political and public support for Extension through consistent, targeted communication with local, state and federal decision makers and agencies and to educate and inform Epsilon Sigma Phi members about public policy and emerging legislative issues affecting Extension programs and staff.

Public Issues are defined as matters of widespread concern that grow out of accumulated daily events and may involve controversy.(1) Legislative issues, regulatory issues (enforcement of), and funding allocations issues represent subsets of public issues.

Public issues education is a major component of Cooperative Extension Service activities and is envisioned as a vital and important resource. Public Issues Education (PIE) are educational programs that have the objective of enhancing the society's capacity to understand and address issues of widespread concern. The Public Issues Committee provides resources for Extension professionals to serve the role of "content experts" and/or "facilitator" around public issues.

(*1)Public Issues Education: Increasing Competence in Resolving Public Issues. Dale, D. D. and Hahn, A. J. (eds.). Public Issues Education Materials Task Force of the National Public Policy Education Committee and PLC and PODC subcommittees of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Extension, 1994, page 2


  • Contribute to planning, promoting, implementing, and evaluating the National Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD). PILD is a professional development opportunity designed to promote leadership, communication and cooperation among Extension professionals in the area of Public Issues Education.
  • Keep abreast of legislative matters and public issues that are of interest to Epsilon Sigma Phi members and to keep the membership informed of these matters.
  • Keep abreast of Extension federal funding allocations.
  • Encourage active participation in legislative and public issues as a private citizen.
  • Keep National Board informed about public issues and legislative issues.
  • Develop educational opportunities/resource materials on public issues that prepare members to facilitate active learning and discovery around public issues to educate citizens for informed decision making.
  • Encourage each chapter to designate a public issues committee or representative in order for communication to flow directly from the National Public Issues Committee.
  • Develop a plan for accomplishing the committee purpose and submit to the National ESP Board.
  • Submit annual report to the National ESP Board.
  • Prepare an article for each issue of the Epsilon Sigma Phi Newsletter, The ESP Connection, ESP social media platforms and/or educational opportunities related to matters that affect ESP members or their ability to address issues of concern to the public. Carry out any other responsibilities assigned by the National ESP Board.


Each year the partner organizations of the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) hold the “Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference” in the Washington, D.C. area. The National Committee Chair for the Public Issues Committee will represent ESP on the PILD Planning Team.  Because the planning of PILD starts in June, the incoming committee chair should start participating in PILD planning before officially becoming the Public Issue Committee chair.

ESP is also entitled to appoint one other representative to the PILD planning committee for a two-year term. This individual should also be a member of the Public Issues Committee. The national organization will support the two planning team members financially by providing registration and travel expenses as outlined in the reimbursement section. The PILD Conference is a professional development opportunity available to any member of a JCEP affiliated organization. Scholarships are available from ESP for first time participants.

Information about PILD can be found on the JCEP.org website.

PILD Conference Objectives

  • Broaden understanding of public policy issues that impact Extension and Extension clientele.
  • Enhance advocacy and public policy education skills.
  • Learn how the changing political environment affects support for Extension.
  • Build political and public support for Extension through consistent and targeted communication with decision-makers.
  • Strengthen existing partnerships and explore new linkages with local, state, and Federal agencies.
  • Visit with federal legislators and decision-makers to observe the political process in action.

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

55 Walton Place Drive
Newnan, GA 30263

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