I would like to start out by wishing you a happy new year and welcoming 2017. I hope you all were able to spend time with your loved ones during the holiday season and as 2016 came to a close.
2016 was an important year for me because in April I became the director of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension after serving as interim since January. I have had the privilege of serving MSU Extension and getting to know and work with so many of you. In 2016, we also welcomed Ron Hendrick as the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In reflecting on the past year, here are some takeaways that I would like to share.
- We can use our history, relationships, knowledge and expertise to develop new ideas, approaches and opportunities that to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Creative interventions and spreading the word about the incredible work that you do can help you to achieve your goals, open new paths of opportunity and enable us to do even more to serve people throughout Michigan.
- MSU Extension’s response to the Flint water emergency is a testament to who we are as an organization already in place to respond to community needs and emergencies. We need to continue to reach out and find ways to work together across institutes and to engage community, government and volunteer organizations to serve our constituents.
- Our organizational vision surrounding strategic connections is built on the premise that every member of our MSU Extension team has responsibility for maintaining positive relationships with legislators, stakeholders and media in his or her community and throughout the state. In 2016, we had a chance to learn about our colleagues’ efforts to connect strategically in Districts 1˗9.
- We have an outstanding team here at MSU Extension that is recognized by the university and at state, regional, national and international levels. We also serve incredible young people who are going out and changing their communities, already empowered to take on leadership roles and build new opportunities.
Lastly, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for welcoming me and taking the chance to get to know me during my first year with MSU Extension. I am committed to continue to open doors and build connections that will allow your reach and impact to expand. I look forward to where 2017 will take us.