Tag Archives: alan pilkenton

MSU Extension staff members receive NEAFCS awards

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues received awards at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) annual session in September, in Big Sky, Montana.

Individual awards:

Zelda Felix-Mottley won the Continued Excellence Award, which goes to an NEAFCS member of at least 12 years. It recognizes active involvement in professional improvement programs, promotion of professional development and leadership. This is the highest honor awarded to NEAFCS members. Zelda has been with MSU Extension for 23 years and is based in Berrien County (District 13). She teaches face-to-face nutrition and physical activity workshops alongside her staff. She recruits agencies and organizations to participate in MSU Extension programming and connecting. She also builds relationships and rapport with legislators, commissioners and community partners that in turn support MSU Extension.

Diane Fair and Shannon Lindquist both won Michigan and national Distinguished Service awards. These awards are given to members of 10 years or more to recognize Extension family and consumer science educators for leadership, outstanding programs, and personal and professional growth. Diana is a disease prevention and management educator in District 13, and she provides diabetes and other health-related programs. Shannon is a member of the social-emotional work team, making efforts to provide these important programs in the seven counties of District 6. She facilitates trainings with parents, childcare providers and youth.

Michelle Jarvie, food safety, nutrition and physical activity educator in the U.P., received the New Professional Award. The New Professional Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments of NEAFCS members within their first three years of employment. The award is to encourage the use of innovative and effective methods of conducting Extension programs.

Brenda Reau, senior associate director of the MSU Product Center, received third place in the central region for the Communication Award for Educational Publication. This award recognizes a supplementary educational information piece that is designed to inform, update and make the reader respond in a positive manner.

Financial and homeownership educator Erica Tobe received first place nationally and also in the eastern region for the Social Networking Award for her project Twitter Chats and Google Hangouts for Financial Education Outreach. The project is focused on improving financial literacy through innovative technology approaches and involves a multistate collaboration. The award recognizes innovative online social networking efforts.

Team Awards:

Health and nutrition educators Eileen Haraminac, Jeannie Nichols and Jane Hart received two awards: the first place and regional Food Safety Award and the third place central region Communication Award for Internet Technology Communication. The Food Safety Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families, school nutrition workers, food industry employees or managers, church workers preparing meals, home care providers, and other groups/individuals preparing and/or serving food. The Educational Technology Communications Award encourages excellence in communication through computer programs, web pages or computer-generated presentations.

Holly Brophy-Herb and MSU Extension team members Kendra Moyses, Carrie Shrier, Maria Millet, Kylie Rymanowicz and Alan Pilkenton won the first place national award and central region award for Human Development and Family Relationships for their Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES) Parenting Program. The award recognizes innovative human development/family relationship educational efforts focusing on child care, parenting, relationships through the life span, marriage enrichment, communications (parent/child), retirement, aging, stress management and related issues.

Lastly, Tracie Abram and Michelle Jarvie received the Family Health and Wellness Award first place nationally and in the central region. The award recognizes innovative programs that promote and improve the health and wellness of families in areas such as nutrition, fitness, family meals, meal planning, time or stress management, and healthy lifestyle.

Congratulations to all of our NEAFCS winners, and thank you for the work that you do for MSU Extension and the people of Michigan.

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Why BEES are important to early childhood development

Are you wondering why an insect is important in childhood development? Well, the BEES I’m talking about don’t have anything to do with insects. BEES stands for our Building Early Emotional Skills program that is taught over eight weeks and uses hands-on activities and group discussions to help parents reduce stress, increase children’s social and emotional competencies, and increase the quality of parental modeling. The preliminary data show that it’s making a difference: participants report a positive increase in their parenting skills and functioning. We’re seeing positive results and an increase in demand for these classes.

The BEES program was developed by Holly Brophy-Herb’s team in the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Human Development and Family Studies and adapted by our MSU Extension BEES team. Our team is made up of Kendra Moyses, Carrie Shrier, Maria Millett, Kylie Rymanowicz and Alan Pilkenton who all work closely with Holly.

The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) recently selected the BEES program to receive first place nationally and regionally in the Human Development and Family Relationships Award category at the NEAFCS 2016 Annual Session Awards. This influential program and these passionate educators are deserving of these awards. I hope you’ll take a moment to congratulate your colleagues in person when we all come together next week at Fall Extension Conference.

To learn more about the program and the award, read the press release on our MSU Extension website.

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eXtension awards grant for developing adaptive learning techniques

The eXtension Foundation has identified nine projects that will be funded as part of its 2015 Innovation Request for Proposals. Forty-eight proposals were submitted, and nine were awarded for the granting period of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. Grantees will be required to engage in face-to-face meetings with the eXtension Foundation to gauge impact, conduct at least one professional development session on the project, and make a presentation at the 2016 National eXtension Conference next March.

Gwyn Shelle, Alan Pilkenton, Dawn Earnesty, Ellen Darnall and Erin Powell submitted the proposal “Building Personalized Learning Experiences for Adult Learners Through Adaptive Learning Techniques,” for which they have been awarded the grant. This project will evaluate and pilot adaptive learning tools for future Cooperative Extension programming. Adaptive learning refers to a nonlinear approach to instruction that adjusts to student needs as they progress through course content – resulting in a customized experience for the learner based on prior knowledge.

The team of experts will research several existing adaptive learning tools and consult with experts in the field of online learning who are currently implementing adaptive learning into their programming. They will design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing Michigan State University Extension online courses through several selected pilot projects. Specific objectives of the project include:

  • Increase knowledge of adaptive learning tools through research and collaboration with leaders in the field of online learning who are investing in adaptive learning tools. Many adaptive learning tools will be assessed and ranked based on potential use within Cooperative Extension Services programming.
  • Design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing online courses through several selected pilot projects. Online focus groups will be administered to receive qualitative feedback on the effectiveness of the adaptive learning method.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptive learning activities through online evaluations, retention rates compared to traditional online content, and general course data.

This grant will go a long way toward helping MSU Extension reach our audiences in new ways, and we’re excited to see where it goes!

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MSU Extension OD team members considered on cutting edge

Michigan State University Extension was well-represented at the inaugural conference of the National Association of Extension Program & Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP) Dec. 6–8 in Atlanta. All seven of the MSU Extension staff members who attended the conference offered presentations: Cheryl Peters, Alan Pilkenton, Dionardo Pizaña, Michelle Rodgers, Beth Stuever, Lela Vandenberg and Bonnie Zoia.

 The theme of the conference was change.

 Dionardo conducted a 2 1/2-hour capstone session, “Navigating Your Emotions Through Change” that generated deep reflection, discussion and a lot of applause, as well as rave reviews from those who attended.

 Other sessions included:

  • Clicking to Successful Engagement with MSU Extension News (Stuever)
  • Facilitative Leadership Development (Zoia and Vandenberg)
  • Virtual vs. In-person Professional Development: Comparing Outcomes From Two Annual Extension Conferences (Peters, Rodgers and Vandenberg)
  • Tools and Training for Collaborating & Educating Online: eXtension, SharePoint, Adobe Connect (Pilkenton and Vandenberg)
  • Doing a Tough Thing Well…Re-building Trust at MSUE (Rodgers)
  • Utilizing an Assessment of Evaluation Competencies to Support Extension Professionals (Peters, Rodgers and Bruce Haas [research and development])

 “Hearing the stories of other states’ efforts to restructure and deal with shrinking budgets helped us realize that we’re not alone and that similar processes have been going on in Extension systems throughout the country,” said Lela.

 MSU Extension associate director Michelle Rodgers remarked that it’s been one of her goals to have the great work that MSUE is doing to be recognized by our peers. She recalled that she was delighted to have a couple of participants come up to her and share the sentiment: “Thanks for Michigan sharing these sessions…clearly Extension in Michigan is on the cutting edge.”

 Dr. Rodgers said, “This was a great time for members of the organizational development team to participate in scholarly activities around their area of specialization. Presentations were grounded in research and evaluation and modeled the scholarly work that we believe can occur across every part of our organization. MSUE has benefitted greatly from the synergy of efforts created through the teamwork of those in organizational development (OD). I was personally very proud of our MSUE OD team members.”

 Visit the association’s Facebook page to view photos and comments.

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Thanks for a great Fall Extension Conference!

Michigan State University Fall Extension Conference 2011 has come and gone. Integrating both the in-person and the virtual portions proved to be an exciting opportunity for all to gather and learn. As we attended educational sessions, institute sessions, association meetings, work team meetings and yes, even some individual meetings with colleagues we hadn’t seen in a while, we learned from the presenters and we learned from each other.

 The able and consistent effort of the Fall Extension Conference Team created a successful event. This year, those participating as members of the planning team were Betty Blase, Doug Brahee, Betsy Braid, Molly Frendo, Megghan Honke, Dave Ivan, Shannon Lindquist, Cheryl Peters, Alan Pilkenton, Luke Reese, Michelle Rodgers and Lela Vandenberg. Each contributed in his or her own way, from serving as MC of our lively events to providing support and logistics for our hosts and presenters to working behind the scenes to bring you a conference full of opportunity. A gigantic MSU Extension Sparty thank-you to all of them for their effort and creativity!

 Thanks to Julie Pioch, our MC for the important and meaningful Key Partner Awards Banquet. We appreciate and applaud the many others who made the entire conference run so smoothly. In addition, a special thank-you to the Organizational Development Team who reviewed all of the applications for individual educational sessions, selected those that would be presented and worked directly with the presenters in preparation for delivery as needed. It was an immense task as they reviewed nearly 100 applications.

 Thanks for a job well done! Go right through….

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