Some clarification on teams

Before and since Fall Extension Conference, we have called our TEAMS in Michigan State University Extension many different names and by institute, they are titled differently. We hear them referred to as teams, work groups, work teams, AOE teams, expertise teams and other names. Perhaps it does not matter so much as long as we get the job done. But while we are in the process of updating operating guidelines, developing strategies for team input on performance evaluation and streamlining plan of work development, it’s a good time to consider consistency in what we call our teams.

Our administrative team took time to review this at our last administrative meeting and concluded that we would use the terminology of work teams to describe the primary operating structures within our institutes and work groups to identify subsets of the work team that may be needed to carry out the programming of the institutes.

Each institute will use work teams as the primary structure for developing, delivering and evaluating programs. Institutes will likely need from four to 15 teams to deliver their educational content. Some teams will find it necessary to break into work groups within the team to address content specialties or projects that the team would like to address. This would be more desirable than forming a separate smaller work team. Most work teams will need a critical mass of at least 10 to 12 members to develop and deliver programs on a statewide basis.

Using our current institute structures, MSU Extension would look like this:

Agriculture Agribusiness Institute (AABI)

Work Teams (work teams currently under redevelopment!)

Children and Youth Institute (CYI)

Work Teams:

  • Academic Success
    Work Groups:

    • Early Childhood Education
    • Youth Life Skill Development
    • Science Literacy Education
  • Leadership & Civic Engagement
  • Career Exploration & Workforce Preparation
  • Capacity Building

Greening Michigan Institute (GMI)

Work Teams:

  • Government/Public Policy
  • Community Food Systems
  • Natural Resources
  • Sustainable Communities
    Work Groups:

    • Tourism
    • Entrepreneurial Development
    • Leadership & Community Engagement

Health and Nutrition Institute (HNI)

Work Teams:

  • Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Disease Prevention and Management
  • Social-Emotional Health
  • Food Safety
  • Extension Health Research

As affirmed at our fall conference, MSU Extension has always valued teamwork and has used a variety of team structures over time to carry out program planning and delivery. Our focus in building a more “colorful future” for MSU Extension teams over the next year is determining how we can support our teams organizationally to become more effective and improve program outcomes and impact. Look for more to come in future Spotlights as we launch the action teams that were recruited at Fall Extension Conference.

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