WSU Extension

Extension Identity Program

Identity Toolkit - The "So What?" Factor

Traditionally, we in higher education have done a good job of articulating what we do – attended this many meetings, wrote that many articles, taught this many students, won that many grant dollars. What’s missing in our descriptions? The “so what” factor.

An Extension educator wins a $1 million grant. So what? He or she organizes a number of seminars for a specific audience. So what? More than 100 people attend each seminar. So what?

The results of those activities are what matter to those we serve. Was there an economic benefit to the community? Are people healthier? Is the environment better off? For every feature and benefit of every WSU Extension program we describe, we must also outline the outcome. For example:

  • “WSU Extension’s Rural Bridges program works with communities to evaluate and articulate their best attributes (the feature) to help them attract new, Internet-based businesses (the benefit)…and as a result more than 200 new, living-wage jobs have been created in rural Washington (the outcome).
  • “WSU Extension researchers (the feature) learned that traditional timing for application of a fungicide to control white mold in potatoes in the Columbia Basin was ineffective and shared new information about a better application schedule with growers throughout the region (the benefit)… and as a result, the mean number of fungicide applications was cut in half and the cost of an application decreased from $100 to $31.68 per acre, at an estimated annual savings of $7.6 million for potato growers in the Columbia Basin (the outcome).

Adapted from Washington State University Extension—Brand Toolkit™© 2007 Educational Marketing Group, Inc. All right reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

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