Michigan State University Extension took on an initiative several years ago to develop an events management information system that would make it possible for someone to organize and manage a workshop, field day, training or other educational event in a way that economizes on staff time. We wanted something that was adaptable to the variety of programs we offer and that would allow participants to register online and pay their registration fee online if they desired. We wanted something that would mesh well with our financial system so that revenue would be allocated to the correct MSU account and expenses would be paid directly by MSU using funds in the designated account.
Colleagues in ANR Technology Services, particularly Bob Kriegel and Jim Brija, and in ANR Communications, particularly Megghan Honke, Betsy Braid and Katie Gallagher, have led the process of designing and implementing this system. The system went “live” in March 2012. In order to meet that target date, we agreed to start with a simplified system and then add functions and specialized applications as we gained experience with the system. I am pleased to report that, although the system is still being refined and further developed, and although challenges still need to be overcome, the system is working and MSUE staff are adopting it with greater frequency as their solution for helping to manage the business side of our educational program events.
From the beginning of April 2012 to Jan. 15, 2013, we had 117 events entered into the system. We served 3,589 participants in programs who registered in the system. And what’s particularly encouraging is that as we’ve attempted to balance the tension between statewide program priorities and more centralized support services with local program delivery, I see some sign that we’re managing that balance well. From these 117 events, we had people from every one of Michigan’s 83 counties enroll in the system. That even includes Schoolcraft County, where we currently do not have a partnership with the county nor an office nor staff in the county.
We have more improvements to make in the system, and as demand increases, we’re working to expand our staff dedicated to events management so it works as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you’ve used the system already, I hope you’ve let folks know about your experience. If you had challenges, please let the staff in ANR Communications know so they can address those in the system. If you’ve found it to be helpful, please let your colleagues know. The more we use this, the more we can make it relevant and efficient for all of our events management needs. Thanks to those who have helped to make this a reality and to those who have been pioneers in using the system. We CAN make the best better, and we’ll continue to work on this system with the 4-H motto as our driving principle.
The SERV (Sharing Extension Resources Virtually) program is intended to extend the professional development opportunities that traditionally have been concentrated at Fall Extension Conference to other times of the year, making use of online technology. The SERV Team has extended the deadline to submit proposals for the first round of online workshops. You’ll now have till Jan. 25 to come up with creative session ideas for the March 18 event. See my previous Spotlight article for details on the three types of sessions you can choose from to present.
If you have questions, visit the SERV website or contact any member of the SERV team: Doug Brahee, Megghan Honke, Cheryl Peters, Luke Reese, Matt Shane or Lela Vandenberg.
Submit your request for proposals on the SERV website.
Another Fall Extension Conference has come and gone, and I want to send my thanks out to all who helped make it a valuable and productive experience. I’m always overwhelmed by FEC as it approaches, worried not so much about how things will work – we have great colleagues who worry about that for us and their worry produces a well-run and cost-efficient conference – but more about how to make the most of this opportunity. In my comments on Monday and Tuesday, I tried to convey how grateful I am for the work this organization does and the people who work so hard to make it successful. I’m never satisfied that I’ve fully expressed how much this organization means to me and to Michigan. You are awesome, and I take great pleasure in each day that I get to work with you to help people improve their lives. You teach me a great deal. I hope you found the conference to be as nourishing (not only in food) as I did. And I thank you for being part of it.
The organizing team – Betsy Braid, Megghan Honke and Doug Brahee as co-chairs, and Julie Chapin, Dawn Contreras, Dave Ivan and Wendy Powers as steering committee members deserve many thanks and credit for making this as productive and meaningful as it was. I would also like to offer a special thanks to George Silva and Marilyn Thelen for helping develop the cross-institute session.
Watch your inbox for a survey to provide feedback on FEC 2012.
The Event Services Team now offers additional in-person and online trainings regarding the Events Management System.
The team will hold several 3-hour in-person trainings throughout November and December. Attendees will get a refresher on how to build an event in the system as well as learn how to develop an event budget, manage an event from start to finish and discover the value of templates. Current trainings take place in Harrison and Port Huron and on campus. Check online at http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/eventresources for dates and to register. Scroll down to “In-Person Trainings” and click on the training you’d like to attend.
The team is currently planning additional trainings for the Grand Rapids and the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek areas. If you know of a computer lab that might be suitable for these trainings, please send that information to the Event Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three 1 ½-hour webinars specific to one area of the system will take place in October. Learn how to create your event in the system; how to manage your event from start to finish, including pulling reports and managing your roster; and learn the value of templates in simplifying your event creation process.
To register for a webinar, visit http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/eventresources, scroll down to “ANR Events Management Training Webinars” and click on the webinar you would like to attend.
The Event Services team is here to help. Just shoot them an email or give them a call to get your questions answered. Contact Megghan Honke or Betsy Braid at 517-353-3175 or by email at email@example.com.
It’s that time of year to recognize colleagues or friends of Michigan State University Extension who make our organization great. We can honor them by nominating them for various awards including the following awards from the MSUE Director: Meritorious Service, Educator; Meritorious Service, Program Instructor/Associate/Assistant; Meritorious Service, Specialist/Program Leader; and Meritorious Service, Support Staff. In addition, the I-Team (MSUE eXtension Institutional Team) gives the Ask an Expert, Community of Practice (CoP) and Technology in Programs Awards. Access the nomination form for these awards here.
The Key Partner award is designed to recognize individuals, organizations, media, special MSU programs and government officials who have made significant contributions to creating, improving or promoting MSU Extension programs. It is granted by the MSUE Director and is determined based on nominations from staff, faculty, retirees and volunteers. Access the nomination form for the Key Partner award here. MSU Extension employees should notify their institute directors of their nominations.
Submit all nominations for the above awards to Megghan Honke at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 31. The information will be combined and submitted to the administrative team for decisions by Aug. 31.
The John Hannah Award from the Michigan Council of Extension Associations is considered the most prestigious of the Extension awards as it recognizes superior Extension programs. All board-appointed Extension staff members are eligible. You may nominate programs conducted by a co-worker or yourself. Send nominations for the John Hannah award by July 15 to the current Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) president-elect Brenda Reau at email@example.com. For additional information on the award and a list of previous winners, go to http://www.esp.msue.msu.edu/esp/john_hannah.
The State Friend of Extension Award from the Michigan Chapter of ESP recognizes individuals who truly have been friends of Extension. Their efforts may have been to help promote programs, represent us as lay leaders, serve as key program development persons, act as program collaborators or support MSU-Extension in other ways. Past recipients have come from organizations, media, MSU, local government and private business. To submit a nomination, follow directions here. Nominations must be received by July 15.
It is with great pleasure that I can announce this week that the new Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Events Management System is now live! After months of hard work by ANR Technology Services and ANR Events Services, the new system has come to fruition, and it’s ready for your use. We are also excited to announce that there are already four programs in the system and ready for use, thanks to Terry Gibbs, John Partridge, Natalie Rector and Diane Smith.
The ANR Events Management system is available online at events.anr.msu.edu. The initial version has a full array of features, and we plan to offer even broader service applications to the software as we continue in the months ahead.
In order to access the system, you will be required to log in using your ANR ID and password. If you have not already participated in one of the event management training webinars, I encourage you to attend one. It will provide you with an overview of the system and allow you to learn how easy it is to set up your events. View dates and times for upcoming trainings on the Michigan State University Extension Professional Development website.
I just want to take a moment to thank Bob Kriegel, Jim Brija, Megghan Honke and Betsy Braid for their initiative and dedication in designing and building this system.
I just wanted to confirm what I announced on the biweekly webinar last Monday, that the dates for Fall Extension Conference have been moved to Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30. The conference will begin with lunch on the 29th and end at 4 p.m. on the 30th. We were fortunate that these dates opened for availability at the Lansing Center after we had set the date for the 30th and 31st. Too many conflicts on the 31st left a number of staff concerned that they might miss the conference completely this year. Once we learned that the 29th and 30th had opened at the Lansing Center, we grabbed those dates and are now finalizing the contract for the facility. Lodging will be available in the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, and parking – well, it’s included in the costs and won’t be an extra charge this year. We’ll have more information on the program for FEC in future Spotlights, but I wanted to be sure you know to hold these new dates on your calendar. Thanks to Megghan Honke and Betsy Braid from ANR Communications for helping to create a great solution!
Get ready for Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week) scheduled for March 3 to 10. The event’s been in existence for more than 90 years – it’s the 97th – so sponsors Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch must be doing something right! Maybe it’s due to the wide variety of topics offered – from cheesemaking to birding and from grazing to climate change. And then there’s the expertise that knowledgeable scientists and educators disseminate. Click on each individual program for descriptions and registration information.
The ANR Week luncheon takes place March 6. Luncheon registration is open until Feb. 25. The event provides an opportunity to recognize individuals with awards for outstanding excellence. Register for the luncheon here.
For more information on ANR Week, contact Megghan Honke, program coordinator, at 517-353-3175 ext. 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a past Spotlight and on this week’s Michigan State University Extension Update webinar, I talked about the new events management system developed by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications and ANR Technology Services that will be a great online resource for planning your events. Events management training is now available for registration. Visit http://web2.canr.msu.edu/inservice/coursetitle.cfm and scroll down to “Personal & Organizational Development, & Conferences.” You’ll see 13 sessions offered from January to June called “ANR Events Management Training 101.” Click on the session title for the date you are interested in to register for the session. Each session runs an hour and a half. After you have been through training, you will have access to a training site where you can practice entering your events before using the live system.
These are training sessions to get you ready to actually create your events using the events management registration system after Feb. 1. There will be online tutorials available starting in February as refreshers to what you learned at the training.
The Event Management Team also offers specific trainings on negotiating contracts, venues and space, food and beverage planning and guarantees, working with speakers and communications.
In addition to the webinars and registration training system, the ANR Event Management Team is here to help. Just shoot them an email or give them a call to get your questions answered. Contact Megghan Honke at email@example.com or 517-353-3175, ext. 229, or Betsy Braid at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-432-1555, ext. 224.
In my last posting of 2011, I listed a lot of broad groupings of individuals whose work this past year was extremely valuable to our progress. One of those broad groupings was the Organizational Development Team, and that team includes the interim director of ANR Communications Kris Hynes and ANR Technology Services director Erica Ciupak. I’d like to highlight some of the work that came out of those two operations last year and that we’re pleased to see launch early this year.
As we anticipated reductions in support staff positions both on campus and off campus, we realized we would need to provide a more sophisticated system for managing events online by a wider array of staff and faculty. We have called upon our ANR Communications and ANR Technology Services to help develop just such a system. The new events management system will become available to all in late January. It will be a great online resource for planning your events, with features like tips and tricks from professional event planners, various templates, online registration and other resources. The initial version will have a full array of features, but we plan to add even broader service applications to the software as we learn from using it in the months ahead.
Megghan Honke and Betsy Braid, who work in events management for ANR Communications, gave an in-depth overview of the new system, including all of its features, during the Dec. 19 webinar. I encourage anyone who wasn’t able to be a part of the webinar to listen to it. The new events management system will be a great asset for Michigan State University Extension in the new year and into the future.
I wanted to thank those that helped create the system, including Megghan and Betsy, who brought a lot of great ideas to the table, and a special thanks to Jim Brija and Bob Kriegel with ANR Technology Services who did the painstaking work of building the site from the ground up and helped make those ideas a reality.