Catherine Rasmussen

"Catherine has been an Extension Educator in Leadership and Civic Engagement since 1997.  Along with her prior career as a secondary teacher, she brings over thirty years of experience in educational programming. Her work focuses on building leadership capacity and enhancing collaboration among communities to address public issues. She has co-authored a facilitation guidebook and is a trainer of leadership development workshops organizations and state and national leadership cohort programs." 

                                                                                       


Profession: Extension Educator, Leadership and Civic Engagement, University of Minnesota

Home State: Minnesota, U.S.

Career Summary: Catherine has been an Extension Educator in Leadership and Civic Engagement since 1997. Along with her prior career as a secondary teacher, she brings over thirty years of experience in educational programming. Her work focuses on building leadership capacity and enhancing collaboration among communities to address public issues. She has co-authored a facilitation guidebook and is a trainer of leadership development workshops for organizations and state and national leadership cohort programs.

Areas of Expertise: Emotional intelligence, personal leadership styles, communication and conflict, strategic visioning, team building, and effective group processes.

Education: MS, Continuing Studies, emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction BS, English and Speech, Minnesota State University, Mankato 

Language Spoken: English


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Rural Leadership Farmer-to-Farmer Program

Country: Morocco

SPSP Grantee: University of Minnesota Extension

Duration of Assignment: Program was conducted in three one-week sessions implemented over nine months during June 2014, October 2015 and February 2015.

Volunteer Assignment and Impact: The Rural Leadership Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Morocco included virtual and in-person trainings. The goal of the trainings was to increase the leadership competencies of rural farmers to enhance the development of local leadership in farmer-based associations in the Meknes-Tafilalet region. The completed work plan for the program was based on a three-tiered process. The first tier of the program involved volunteers from the University of Minnesota Extension (U of M) and the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) program. The volunteers worked together to prepare working drafts of agendas and activities   to present to the team of four faculty from the National School of Agriculture, Meknes (ENA). The second tier of the program included a training-of-trainer (ToT)   component on leadership of local farming organizations, which targeted the four Moroccan professors from ENA. The ToT included virtual and in-person working sessions. The third tier required the ENA faculty to teach leadership components to 22 farmers from 17 different associations across eight value chains (honey, milk, apples, olives, seeds, dates, medicinal plants and meat). The farmers learned processes to help their associations to set goals and strategies to achieve them. 
An evaluation of the Rural Leadership Farmer-to-Farmer Program revealed positive changes among farmer networks and an increase in leadership competencies. The evaluation data indicated a clear increase in the number of farmers and frequency they communicate with other members in their association and external to their association. Pre and post assessments of leadership competencies also indicated positive changes in increased knowledge of strategic planning, decision making and critical thinking, which were all key concepts taught in the training. In addition, the farmers showed a general commitment to ongoing learning and actions by self-organizing strategizing ways to continue the cohort because they all found value in learning from each other and from the ENA and Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteers.