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Definitions of CAFE Organizational Activity

Program – Extension Faculty Portfolio – Project – Initiative – Resource – Service

Purpose of These Definitions

The purpose of these definitions is to provide a consistent way of officially describing the work that we do and support in CAFE. By doing so, we can categorize and document the responsibilities, expectations, purposes and uses of each type of “unit” of work. (For example, for what kind of work will CAFE provide a service such as web development, or a printed product without charge? For what kind of work will it not? What branding requirements apply to what sort of organizational activity? What reporting requirements apply? Which activities will CAFE support financially? Which activities should be self-supporting?). A commonly held and understood set of definitions is a necessary foundation for developing documented policies and procedures for the organization.

Research and Outreach Interest Area

A Research and Outreach Interest Area is a category used as the highest and broadest level of programmatic organization to describe work within or funded by CAFE. A revised set of Research and Outreach Interest Areas will be implemented in FY17 and will consist of eight categories: agriculture; commercial horticulture; energy; nutrition; food science; environmental conservation; water; youth development and 4-H. Most of these Areas contain both research and extension outreach although some contain only research or only extension outreach. These categories are used as the broadest level of a hierarchical categorization of web content and are also used for organizing promotional information.

Program

A Program represents a sustained effort over time without a fixed termination date. It produces a series of activities and materials with a common goal and a consistent and defined audience/target group. It has a semi-independent organizational structure with a director who reports to the Director of CAFE. Programs are owned solely by CAFE. CAFE has an ongoing commitment to the work of Programs that is independent of the particular staff and faculty doing the work. While Programs are not everlasting and may be terminated, they operate with an ongoing agenda and continuing mandate.

A Program may:

  • employ staff
  • collaborate with faculty based in academic departments and be linked with Extension Faculty Scholarship
  • incorporate Sub-Programs
  • sponsor Projects and Initiatives
  • create and make available Resources (such as printed manuals, informative web sites etc),
  • operate an ongoing Service providing a particular action to the public for a fee.

Programs are funded by a combination of types of funds, possibly including federal and state capacity funding, grants, revenue, and gifts.

Extension Faculty Scholarship Portfolio (or “Portfolio” for short)

Extension Faculty pursue an ongoing program of work incorporating research, outreach, and teaching. This work, in a broad sense, can resemble that of a Program in that it has no fixed termination date, produces a series of activities and materials with a common goal and has a consistent and defined audience/target group. Unlike a Program, a Portfolio is not owned by CAFE but is the intellectual property of the faculty member and has sponsorship linkages with both CAFE and the home academic department. CAFE has a committed relationship of support with the Portfolio, but unlike a Program, the commitment is to the individual faculty member, not to a self-standing organizational unit.

As with Programs, the Portfolio may:

  • employ staff (via department or CAFE)
  • collaborate with other faculty be linked with CAFE Programs
  • incorporate Sub-Portfolios
  • sponsor Projects and Initiatives
  • create and make available Resources (such as printed manuals, informative web sites etc)

Project

A Project is a planned series of activities with a fixed termination date and structured goals, objectives, methods, and an evaluative component.  A project must be sponsored by either: a Program, CAFE administration or its units (especially the Mass. Agricultural Experiment Station). Projects are carried out by faculty and staff from Programs, departments or CAFE administration. They may employ faculty and staff independently through the Program or department which owns the project. Projects may be owned by CAFE, by an Extension Faculty member, or by a collaboration among CAFE, an Extension Faculty member and other organizational units internal or external to the University.

Projects may:

  • employ faculty and staff (via department or CAFE)
  • Be linked with other projects (see Initiative, below)
  • Eventually become Programs or Sub-Programs
  • Spin-off or become Resources or Services (see below)

Initiative

An Initiative is a cluster or series of Projects with a common overall goal. These Projects may be within one Program or across multiple Programs. Initiatives are not ongoing but may operate for a more extended period than a single project. Initiatives may terminate at the end of a Project or may become candidates for investment as ongoing Programs. Initiatives may be organized around commonly-held objectives (e.g. RiverSmart is an Initiative made up of three Projects: RiverSmart Communities; Farms, Floods and FGM; RiverSmart Communities and Federal Collaborators) or around a cross-cutting need or issue that forms a distinctive element of multiple and varied Projects (e.g. IPM or Nutrient Management). Initiatives, like Projects, may be owned by CAFE, by an Extension Faculty member, or by a collaboration between CAFE, an Extension Faculty member and other organizational units internal or external to the University.

Resource

A Resource is a tool made available to the public in furtherance of the goals of a program. Resources are of tangible forms, such as printed manuals, online references, sets of best management practices, curriculum guides, online calculators, or video-based instructional materials. Resources are “owned” by Programs or administration or Extension Faculty. They may be the products of ongoing programmatic activities or may be the products of one particular Project. Resources are made available to the public for a fee or free of charge. In general, fees should recover the cost of producing the physical product (such as printing a manual). Expenses related to the development of the data or content of the resource already covered by allocated budget should not form the basis of a fee.

Service

A Service is an action performed for a member of the public. It results in findings that are provided to the customer in written or online form. Services are generally performed for a fee. Current services include soil testing and plant disease diagnostics. Services may be “owned” by Programs or administration.