The Organizational Development team delivered their newsletter by email last week and among the many valuable resources it describes, I wanted to particularly call attention to the Tuition Assistance Program for academic employees who are pursuing their first master’s degree. Since October 2006, all academic staff hired in Michigan State University Extension were required to have completed a master’s degree prior to employment. The reason for the requirement was simply to recognize the advanced level of expertise that Extension professionals need to have in their areas of expertise and the advanced level of experience with research they need to be able to effectively translate research findings into practice for the audiences we serve. MSUE academic staff members who had not completed a master’s degree at the time the new policy was implemented are not required to complete a degree. However, we have encouraged staff to complete a master’s degree, and we have tried to provide support for individuals who are pursuing a degree while employed by MSUE. One support mechanism is the Extension Tuition Assistance Program, whereby qualified academic staff members can receive support for up to half of their tuition costs while pursuing their first master’s degree. An application process is open twice each year, and one of those times is now. If you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree and would like to learn more about the program, please go to this link. If you are ready to apply for the program, you can find instructions here. The deadline for the current application process is March 1.