Tag Archives: claire layman

JOE: A great way to share the knowledge

Our Michigan State University Extension staff members have a wealth of experience, expertise and efforts. Often colleagues may not be aware of the exemplary efforts and corresponding outcomes achieved by their peers. A great way to share the learning is to publish in the Journal of Extension (JOE).

JOE is the official refereed journal of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System, written, reviewed and edited by Extension professionals. Peer review is rigorous: currently, 27.8 percent of submissions are accepted.

The June 2013 issue contains an article written by MSU Extension public policy specialist Claire Layman, Kellogg Biological Station education and outreach coordinator Julie Doll and Extension evaluation specialist Cheryl Peters. “Using Stakeholder Needs Assessments and Deliberate Dialogue to Inform Climate Change Outreach Efforts” discusses the use of a participatory decision model “deliberation with analysis” to inform climate change programming around agriculture.

In that same issue, MSU associate professor Wynne Wright and research assistant Katherine Nault wrote about “Growing Youth Food Citizens.” The article covers the research done on involving youth in seeing themselves as food citizens capable of improving their food environment.

I encourage you to take the time to read the articles. You’ll learn from them. At the same time, start thinking about your own involvement in programming. Perhaps you’d like to write about it and submit your work to JOE.

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Extension connects on ballot issues

In an article in last week’s Spotlight, I drew your attention to Bulletin GE 49, written by Michigan State University Extension specialist Claire Layman. The bulletin supplies non-partisan objective information allowing Michigan residents to make informed decisions on the six proposals appearing on the ballot Nov. 6.

Besides writing the bulletin, Claire was busy using technology to educate further about the proposals. With help from ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans, Claire led two Adobe Connect sessions on campus with leading experts on the ballot issues. On Oct. 22, the group hosted fora, reaching out to four locations: Harrisville, Lawrence, Sault Ste. Marie and Wayne. On Oct. 24, the fora involved five locations: Clinton Township, Flint, Hastings, Houghton and Traverse City.

Attendees read over the bulletin and watched three pre-recorded video interviews with policy experts who covered both sides of the proposal issues. Afterward, they asked questions of the experts through Adobe Connect.

Experts included MSU Extension specialist and professor of economics Eric Scorsone, professor in the MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations Peter Berg, marketing economist in the MSU Product Center Bill Knudson and senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute Mark Wyckoff.

A total of 149 people participated in the fora with the most attending at Harrisville in Alcona County with 53 participants.

Extension educators hosting the forums included Darren Bagley, Ann Chastain, Terry Gibb, Ginger Hentz, Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Bethany Prykucki, Mike Schira, Bonnie Witchner-Zoia and Richard Wooten. Terry Gibb helped write Bulletin GE 49 and helped to organize the overall registration.

In addition, Extension specialist Georgia Peterson helped out by wrangling questions as they came in one evening from the four live sites. She quickly figured out the best method to do so within Adobe Connect.

Organizations that partnered with us in this endeavor included the League of Women Voters, the Lake Superior State University Political Science Club, the Northwest Council of Michigan Governments and the District 13 Extension Council. Partner organizations served to recruit and market the forums, and served as table facilitators at small group discussions.

Claire reports that all evaluations have not been tabulated yet but those that have come in so far have been generally very positive. In Alcona County, 82 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “Because of tonight’s event, I am better informed to make decisions on Michigan’s proposals in the upcoming election.” One hundred percent of Alcona County respondents agreed or strongly agreed that events such as the fora are valuable for our democracy, and 79 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that they’d like to be a part of similar events.

Associate professor Luke Reese has been instrumental in leading us in the use of Adobe Connect technology. He continues to offer monthly online workshops and is largely responsible for our organizational competency in Adobe Connect meetings and webinars.

Thanks to Claire for making innovative use of technology and to Luke and Steve for continuing to teach, lead and support us in technology efforts. And thanks to our Extension educators for hosting and our partners for their contribution to the events.

We have further signs that people look to us when they want to make informed decisions based on expert opinion. As of Oct. 31, we had more than 400 page views for the forum event listings and nearly 1,400 page views on Extension educator Terry Gibb’s article “November Ballot Issues Could Mean Changes for Michigan Residents.”

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Ballot issue bulletin allows informed decision making

When we go to the polls on Nov. 6, we’ll be faced with many decisions. Six policy issues on the ballot will require a YES or NO response from us. For many years, Michigan State University Extension has supplied the public with an unbiased review of all of the issues on the ballot.

This year, MSU Extension specialist Claire Layman wrote Bulletin GE 49, which we’ve posted as a free PDF download on the MSU Extension Bookstore site.

The bulletin supplies non-partisan objective information allowing you to make an informed decision on each proposal. Earlier this week, Claire and her colleagues in the Greening Michigan Institute held nine public fora around the state to assist voters in understanding the six proposals.

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MSU Extension to collaborate with GLISA to plan for climate variability

In one way or another, the extreme weather has affected all of us this past year. In particular, tree fruit growers lost more than 90 percent of their crop.

To help farmers cope with climate variability, a team of Michigan State University Extension specialists and educators has received funding from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA). Extension specialists Wayne Beyea, Julie E. Doll and Claire Layman, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Mark Skidmore and senior Extension educator Dean Solomon will collaborate with GLISA researchers, relevant decision makers and stakeholders in two Michigan local governments units.

They’ll work to incorporate climate variability and change adaption strategies into local land use master plans and policies. They’ll also create an assessment tool that can be used by other communities throughout Michigan.

Read about this project in more detail in this MSU Extension News article.

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Extension specialist helps answer child labor law questions

Proposed rule changes by the U. S. Department of Labor to the federal child labor laws are meant to bring the safety rules applying to young farm workers to the same safety standards as those for nonagricultural workers. The changes have gotten some parents wondering. Would the changes apply to their own children working on the home farm? Would 4‑H’ers tending their animals be affected by these proposed changes?

 Michigan State University Extension public policy education specialist Claire Layman answered these questions and more when she laid the most significant proposals out clearly in “Proposed Rule Changes to Federal Child Labor Laws (GE-213).”

 This is just another example of MSU Extension providing current information when and where people need it.

 Read more here.

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CV-CAT will help Extension educators integrate climate change into programs

Excuse the pun, but climate change is a hot topic. Increasingly, our stakeholders and our funding partners look to Michigan State University Extension as a trusted source of information on how to slow down, adapt to and communicate about the changing climate. The long-term impacts of climate change and the shorter term effects of climate variability vary widely, ranging from changes in precipitation, pests, water and air quality to storm water runoff, forest ecology and species migration. And, as we’re all aware, the topic can be controversial. That’s why Julie Doll, MSU Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research Program outreach and education coordinator, and Claire Layman, public policy education specialist in the Greening Michigan Institute, embarked on a listening tour to discover what one group of stakeholders – those involved in field crop agriculture – thought MSU Extension should do to help farmers prepare for the changing physical and policy climates.

 Julie and Claire brought their focus group results to field crop educators in March 2011. They paired delivery of the focus group results with a workshop on climate science, led by Dr. Jeff Andresen, state climatologist and associate professor in MSU’s Department of Geography. At the conclusion of the two-day workshop, participants came to agreement that MSU Extension should increase the climate literacy of its educators and their clients.

 As a result, the Climate Variability and Change Action Team (CV-CAT) formed with members across all of our institutes and from other Extension affiliates. Current members of the team include Julie and Claire; Dr. Andresen; Jake DeDecker and Brian Wibby, Children and Youth Institute; Becky Henne and Brenda Long, Health and Nutrition Institute; Chuck Pistis, Sea Grant; and Dennis Pennington, George Silva and Marilyn Thelen, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.

 The CV-CAT has sponsored three fact sheets available at the MSU Extension Bookstore: (Greenhouse Gas Basics, Field Crop Agriculture and Climate Change and Frequently Asked Questions about Climate Change). In addition, they are co-hosting a face-to-face session at Fall Extension Conference on climate and water. Panelists and individual speakers will provide overviews of the water and climate systems, lead a discussion on how climate variability and change may affect Michigan communities, land systems and agriculture, and consider how to find common ground on this politically polarizing topic. Read the summary for the FEC11 session, “Climate and Water: Implications for MSU Extension Programs,” here. The live face-to-face session takes place Oct. 12 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

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Training provided to newly elected county commissioners

As part of the I Know MI Numbers initiative, Michigan State University Extension educators, specialists and faculty are helping our cities and towns succeed. MSUE has been doing this kind of work for years. In fact, we have been providing training for newly elected county commissioners since 1968. The MSUE State and Local Government Area of Expertise Team (now known as the Public Policy Work Group) in the Greening Michigan Institute most recently continued the tradition by providing six workshops in Big Rapids, Grayling, Kalamazoo, Novi, Frankenmuth and Escanaba in November and December last year.

Why is it important that we train county commissioners?

From maintaining records of property ownership to issuing marriage licenses to collecting and distributing taxes to providing a functional and effective justice system, county government is responsible for handling a diverse array of functions for Michigan residents. Every two years, the citizens elect county commissioners to develop policy and provide financial oversight to all aspects of county government. The role of a county commissioner is well defined by statute; however, understanding the relationships between the county board and other elected officials and department heads is very complicated. We are training commissioners so that they understand their roles within the complex system of county government.

There are 687 county commissioners in the state. Two hundred twenty-seven commissioners attended the workshops, which highlighted key aspects of county government as well as the roles and responsibilities of county boards of commissioners.

Evaluations showed that the training improved commissioners’ understanding of county finance and the structure and function of county government, and that they are now more aware of resources available to them as commissioners. Commissioners who attended previous trainings stated that this most recent team and curriculum update was the best they had seen.

 The team spent several months updating the curriculum and used a variety of teaching methods to present the material including lectures, group work and polling the audience throughout the lessons with the Turning Point audience response system.

 Team members who worked on the program include John Amrhein, Nicole Bradshaw, Claire Layman, Julie Pioch and Mark Skidmore. Follow-up trainings on effective leadership and budget and finance also included Eric Scorsone and Howard Wetters.

 After more than 40 years, we continue to connect with county commissioners, and they continue to depend on us for training of new commissioners.

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