Category Archives: Uncategorized

CANR announces new staffing

Ron Hendrick, Dean of the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, recently announced two new members of the college’s leadership. We are fortunate to have Dru Montri joining us as our new director of governmental affairs and stakeholder relations, and Quentin Tyler as our new associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Headshot of Dr. Dru Montri.Dr. Montri is coming to us from the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) where she has provided overall leadership to MIFMA through long-term strategic planning to achieve its mission. At MIFMA, she managed staff members and volunteers, developed and maintained sound financial practices, oversaw membership recruitment and retention, promoted Michigan farmers and farmers markets, and directed special events. You might remember Dr. Montri from her attendance at our Fall Extension Conference in Detroit – she received a Michigan State University Extension Key Partner Award on behalf of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. Her appointment will be effective Jan. 8, 2018.

Headshot of Quentin TylerDr. Tyler currently serves as assistant dean and director of diversity at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. In that role, he has provided leadership in strengthening workplace diversity, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, and building cultural competency, as well as monitoring assessment and reporting activities. He will begin in March 2018.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Montri and Dr. Tyler on campus with us in the new year.

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ESP receives Chapter of Merit – Platinum Award

Congratulations to our Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Michigan Alpha Psi Chapter who received the highest award – Chapter of Merit – Platinum Award – at the ESP National Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina, which took place October 9–12.

The Chapter of Merit recognition program was developed by the National Board to provide recognition for those chapters who have put forth an exemplary effort to forward the cause of the Extension system and to provide professional development opportunities for their members. Award efforts are scored on several criteria and each chapter receives an award category, Platinum being the highest. The Michigan Chapter received the highest award in the North Central region and nationally.

“There was a variety of criteria in which we were scored,” Shari Spoelman, Michigan State University Extension District 6 coordinator and ESP president-elect, said. “The ones that stand out for our chapter include Organization/Leadership, Awards and Recognition, Member Recruitment and Retention, and Professional Development.”

Shari stopped by yesterday and brought the award so that we can display it proudly in our office.

ESP Award Plaque Sits next to a poinsetta on a shelf in the Director's Office.

Please join me in congratulating the ESP board members on the recognition of their outstanding efforts:

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Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy, love, and laughter.

Cloth napkin with acorn tree napkin holder and a card that says "Thankful."

 

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Asking your help to grow our leadership and organizational culture

This year, we are working with the Michigan State University (MSU) Office for Survey Research to gather feedback about the leaders in our organization and our culture as a whole. You have received two emails from Karen Clark in the MSU Office for Survey Research, inviting you to take part in the 2017 MSU Extension Employee Feedback Survey. This survey is a combination of the administrative leadership feedback survey we’ve done each year and the culture surveys we began two years ago. From your responses, we hope to hear what you have to say about the people who hold leadership positions in our organization: institute directors, associate institute directors, district coordinators, the associate director and myself. How are we doing? What are we doing well? Where could we improve or grow? We also hope to continue to look at our organizational culture and grow the areas that you identify as needing growth. Just remember to submit your thoughts by Wednesday, Sept. 20. Thank you for investing time in building our organization and our future.

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Pre-college experiences and growth at 4-H Exploration Days

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Over 2,400 youth and adults registered to attend 4-H Exploration Days, which took place June 21–23 at Michigan State University (MSU). This fun MSU pre-college program for youth ages 11–19 is designed to help them develop important skills such as responsibility, independence, accountability, communication, problem-solving and more.

“4-H Exploration Days is the highlight of the summer for some youth,” MSU Extension educational events program coordinator Laura Potter-Niesen said. “They come to campus to get a taste of what college is like. They often are pushed to make their own decisions about time management, their preference for activities and choosing friends. It’s the first time some of the youth experience independence, and that is an important feeling for youth, especially at this age.”

Over three days, youth had the opportunity to take classes, navigate campus, stay overnight in dorms, eat in campus cafeterias and take part in activities of their choice.

This year, 4-H Exploration days featured some new courses. Laura told us that their new session on making root beer using science, technology, engineering and math skills was a hit.

“They were able to make their own root beer to take home and were able to learn about the chemistry behind the brewing process,” Laura said.

MSU Extension senior educator Debra Barrett wrote an article about another new, full session that gave youth the opportunity to create a resume and a portfolio for job interviews.

Before coming to 4-H Exploration days, youth attended a county orientation to prepare them for their experiences on campus. Kea Norrell-Aitch wrote an article about the new diversity and inclusion activity designed for these orientations this year.

Since the event “…attracts such a diverse audience, it was determined county orientations were the perfect platform to incorporate an activity that will provide 4-H members with an opportunity to increase life skills around diversity prior to attending such a large statewide program,” Kea wrote.

4-H Exploration Days hosts about 2,500 youth and adults annually, some who are new to the program and others who keep coming back every year. One participant from Luce County wrote in her evaluation:

“This is my seventh, and final, 4-H Exploration Days year. Seven years ago, as a new sixth grader, I signed up for a class and rode a bus where my toes didn’t touch the floor. Now, at the age of 18, I make my way back to MSU in the fall as a member of the class of 2021 – something 11-year-old me vowed never to do. Thank goodness for that human ability to change. I can’t thank 4-H enough. For hot, sticky nights in dorms. For the half a dozen overworn, faded T-shirts and for the friends I’ve made here. I believe in commitment. In seven years of dedication, I believe in 4-H Exploration Days, and – more importantly – I believe in myself and my ability to create change in the world.”

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our staff and volunteers for all of your efforts to put together an outstanding and impactful program for Michigan youth.

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Gearing up for Ag Innovation Day 2017

Our second annual Michigan State University (MSU) Agriculture Innovation Day is almost here. The event takes place August 24 at our Lake City Research Center. The theme this year is Focus on Forages and the Future. I hope that you’ll spread the word about this program, and I would like to invite you to join us as well. There’s a great line-up designed to deliver a cutting-edge, in-depth look at forages, livestock and the future to help farmers meet growing demands.

Here are the sessions that will be offered:

  • Making the Most of Reduced-Lignin Alfalfa in Your Operation
  • Precision is the Division in Silage
  • Expand Your Use With Double-Cropping
  • Precision Dairy Cattle Monitoring
  • Finding the Right Mix for Soil Health
  • Baleage Made Tight, Made Right
  • Creating Profitable Beef Operations by Managing Land, Livestock and People
  • Grass-Fed Beef – Research and Experience
  • Is Your Land Regenerating?

Another important element of the day is that MSU will send recruiters to the event to provide students with information about all of the degrees available through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. We want to engage our next generation of farmers and producers, and give them the tools they need to meet the challenges they will face in the future.

We’ll also have an opportunity to hear from President Lou Anna K. Simon and Dean Ron Hendrick over the dinner portion of the event.

The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end around 9 p.m. For course descriptions and to register for the event, visit the Ag Innovation Day website. I hope to see you there!

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Help us transform our new employee orientation

What do you remember about your first day working for Michigan State University Extension? Do you remember what type of orientation experiences you had and whether or not they were helpful? What do you wish would have been different? Anne Baker, our new learning and talent development specialist, joined us a little over a month ago, and has had her own experiences with our orientation program. One of her first projects in her mission to guide our training and development efforts is to work with us all to create meaningful orientation practices. Her first step is receiving your feedback on your orientation experiences. I hope you’ll find a moment to take her short, anonymous survey using this link: https://msu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0Uv1iZlit55mj09.

The more of us who respond, the better Anne can understand our organization’s strengths and weaknesses of welcoming new employees, so that we can transform that experience together. Thank you for your help.

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