We begin the course by simulating a special task force formed by the Secretary of Education charged with identifying CLOUDS AND SUN

Preparing Issue Briefs

A major purpose of analyzing trends and events is to identify emerging issues that may affect research, education, and extension programs in land-grant institutions. Issues are composed of trends and events. Below are useful definitions for trends, events, emerging issues, and issues. 

Trends are a series of social, technological, economic or political characteristics that can usually be estimated and/or measured over time, such as the number of the number of U.S. land grant colleges & universities requiring computers of entering freshmen. Trend information may be used to describe the future, identify emerging issues, and project future events.

Events are discrete, unambiguous, confirmable occurrences that make the future different than the past. An event would be Congress cuts Hatch, McIntire-Stennis and Animal Health and Disease formula funds by half.

An emerging issue is a potential controversy that arises out of a trend or event that may require some form of response. For example, there is increasing discussion over the benefits and defects of a national curriculum in public schools. Elements to this issue include concern over the viability of public schools, global economic competitiveness, disparity between haves and have nots, etc.

An issue is a controversy with defined stakeholder interests that requires some form of action. An issue for public schools, for example, is the controversy over implementing a voucher plan.

Format of an Issue Brief

  • What is the issue?
  • What is the background/context of the issue?
  • What are the forces driving the issue?
  • Where is the issue going? What are its prospects?
  • What are the implications of the issue for research, education, and extension programs in land-grant institutions?
  • What should we do now to prepare for the issue?

The Hotel Roanoke has wireless capability, which will allow us an opportunity to do some quick (but not too dirty) research on the issue or emerging issue that your group elects to work on for the remainder of the conference. One reference page that you may find particularly useful is the Educational On-Ramp section of Horizon Home Page.