From the Editors
This special issue devoted to the Association’s 1998 conference continues the initiative begun last year of dedicating one issue of the Journal to a report of each year’s conference. Encouraged by the positive formal and informal feedback, the editorial board voted to produce the special conference issue again. We expect the publication to become a tradition of the Journal, serving as a historical record of one of the Association’s important scientific activities, as well as providing a vicarious conference experience to those members unable to attend.
This year’s conference was held in Tucson, Arizona, April 16-18. Over 100 persons from 12 countries were registered. The theme of the conference, “Sustainable Development Through Participatory Collaboration”, was the focus of keynote and invited addresses and paper and poster presentations. The Association conducted the annual awards function, and business and committee meetings. The University of Arizona arranged opportunities for the participants to attend educational tours to the state museum, Saguaro National Park, and the University’s environmental research laboratory.
The keynote address by Merle Jensen was sprinkled with examples of technology transfer between the United States and several developing countries in which the speaker had a role. This provided a good beginning to subsequent discussion and debate on the conference theme. An invited address by Niels Röling on the changing role of extension from agricultural production innovations to technology-ecology issues gave participants food for thought about the future.
In synthesizing authors’ ideas from the paper and poster presentations, the approach taken was to identify dominant themes, and attempt a synopsis of the significant issues presented and the conclusions/ implications. Over three-fourths of the paper and poster presentations have been included in these syntheses. Conference proceedings contain the full papers and posters, and are available for $30 a copy from Jack Elliot.
Six papers received outstanding presentation awards. They are reproduced as full articles.
The awards ceremony on the last day was the culminating event providing a fitting climax to the discussion, friendship and collegiality that are such engaging features of the conference. Bruce Lansdale regaled the luncheon group with a few gems from Hodja. Association awards were given for outstanding leadership, service, young professional, and paper and poster presentations. Larry Miller, who had the best paper presentation in the concurrent sessions, presented his paper to the full group.
An interesting idea suggested by Barbara Ludwig, Past President of AIAEE, and followed up by Cathy Hamilton, Davison Mupinga and Fredrick Nafukho, doctoral candidates at Louisiana State University, was to speak to a few first-time delegates and students about their impressions of the conference and AIAEE. Feedback from eight persons who were interviewed is included in this issue.
Davison Mupinga and Fredrick Nafukho were most helpful in putting this issue together. They tape recorded conference proceedings and delegate interviews, transcribed the tapes, and wrote the pieces in this issue which bear their names. Their help, and the competent assistance of Sandra Sanders, administrative assistant in the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, made the work much easier and enjoyable. We are indebted to them, and convey thanks from the Association and the Journal’s editorial board.
The South African Society of Agricultural Extension held its annual conference in East London, South Africa, May 19-21. Impressions of the AIAEE Journal Editor who attended that conference are also included in this issue.
Once again we present this conference issue and hope you will enjoy reading it. Your feedback will be appreciated.
We would like to end with the Journal Editor’s report to the Association’s membership at the conference. We feel it expresses what the Journal stands for and looks forward to in the future.
Journal Report to Conference
At the 1996 annual conference, a vision of the Journal in year 2005 was developed and adopted by the general body of the Association. It has been said that a vision without a strategy is an illusion. We believe that in the last two years the Journal has been moving to make its vision a reality, and not just remain a dream. Progress has been made on four goals. Contributions from Asia, Africa and Central/South America have been growing, diverse topics and issues are being addressed, meaningful collaboration has occurred with international journals in agricultural extension in Europe and South Africa, and the first step toward making the Journal a multilingual publication has been taken by translating into Spanish abstracts of the first three volumes. Two other interrelated goals -- achieving worldwide circulation, and enhancing interaction and electronic access -- are more complex and will require more time, thought, and work to realize.
The Journal’s progress is reflected in the following:
1. 1998 marks the fifth year of on-time publication. In 1997 (Volume 4), the number of issues was increased to three -- a special conference issue was published in the summer. This will now be a regular feature of the Journal.
2. Through spring 1998, 62% (84) of the 124 manuscripts received since the Journal’s inception were published, 18% (22) had been rejected or were withdrawn by contributors, and 14% (18) are under review or revision. Usually, it takes about 6-9 months from receipt to a final, publishable manuscript.
3. The opening of Commentary and Tools of the Profession sections is a means for expressing opinions and sharing technologies and practical applications of theory and research. More contributions to these sections as well as the feature articles section are always welcome.
Members of the Association and Journal subscribers and contributors may be interested to know the philosophy that guides the Journal. Quality and inclusiveness are the basic philosophical tenets motivating Journal staff. Quality, the intellectual dimension of this philosophy, means ensuring that the Journal maintain a high standard of the reporting of science, theory, and practice, and live by a code of ethics based on trust and integrity. Inclusiveness is the emotive aspect of the Journal’s philosophy. This implies establishing a climate of mutual influence, respect, and learning among all those who contribute to the Journal -- editorial staff and board, authors, reviewers, and readers. In practice, this suggests that (a) editors are not simply managers of manuscript traffic, but genuinely counsel and work with authors through reviews and revisions, and (b) the Journal’s reputation is not linked to a high rejection rate of submitted manuscripts but rather to quality of content, and a genuine effort not to be exclusive and elitist.
Satish Verma - Editor
Cathy Hamilton - Associate Editor, Tools of the Profession
Jim Long - Associate Editor, Commentary