We celebrated another iteration of our amazing democracy last week, electing officials to local, county, state and national offices and dispensing with local and state tax and policy issues as well. As a primary outreach conduit for Michigan’s land-grant university, Michigan State University Extension has a unique role in communicating the impact and relevance of our university to local decision makers and in assessing community-based needs that the university can address. With the election having been completed, we have an exceptionally large number of new elected officials who need to hear the story of our programs’ impacts in local and statewide settings. The strongest messages about our programs and their impacts always come from the stakeholders we serve. Toward that end, as you encounter stakeholders you work with, it’s entirely appropriate to encourage them to inform the newly elected officials, particularly county commissioners and state legislators, about the MSUE programs that they value.
In addition, if you have an opportunity to visit with newly elected officials, this presents a great opportunity to tell the story of your program impacts. With the changes we’ve gone through, it’s also a great opportunity to help them understand the principles that have driven our redesign process:
- offering more focused and specialized programs statewide,
- connecting more broadly with the full expertise of MSU,
- increasing our responsiveness to emerging issues,
- enhancing our accountability or impacts we generate,
- maintaining a program presence in communities across the state,
- reducing administrative overhead,
- adopting emerging technologies, and
- expanding the network of people engaged.