Happy Holidays from the Director’s Office!

While many of us are settling into vacations after the inevitable flurries of end-of-the-year due dates, I wanted to send you all one last Spotlight for 2014. You have a lot to be proud of this year, as we’ve worked to transition through administration changes and at the same time focus on building an organizational culture that reflects the values we live by every day.

Coming back to Michigan State University Extension for these past six months has been an honor and a privilege for me. As I’ve said before, Extension has been part of my life for many years, and being asked to come back into the role of director was just like coming home.

A lot has happened in six months, but these are some of the things I’d like to highlight as the great work you’ve all done in that time:

  • Michigan 4-H received a grant to fund a volunteer recruitment campaign – the final numbers of new volunteers aren’t yet in, but the increased visibility for Michigan 4-H was a huge opportunity for MSU Extension. Thank you to everyone who helped push out the messages and handle additional intake in your offices – it was a team effort and your hard work across the board is what made it possible.
  • Leaders in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are feeling positive about food and agriculture in Michigan. The results of the recent Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI) reflect their optimistic outlook. In addition, their confidence in our state’s economy overall is climbing. The Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) as well as your consumer outreach is helping the producers feel like they have a bright future in Michigan.
  • As part of our Civil Rights review that took place over the summer, we proved that we are reaching the audiences in close demographic comparison in categories of race and gender, which is a step in the right direction toward our value of diversity.
  • We all contributed to an important conversation about what is strong and what needs work in the organizational culture of MSU Extension. I’m excited to see us all work towards the goals that we laid out in Fall Extension Conference this year, and hope that we can continue to add more “color” to our future.

Whatever holidays you’re celebrating as the year draws to a close, I hope that you’re spending them relaxing with your families and friends. Reflect on the great work you’ve done this year and the exciting plans you have in store for next year. I will be handing the reigns over to Ray Hammerschmidt as your new interim director on January 1, and I know that I am leaving you in capable hands. We have an extremely competent administrative team and you are all a very talented work force! It’s been a privilege to work with you all again, and look forward to seeing many of you in the new year as I transition into working with the District Councils. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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