Tag Archives: dionardo pizana

How Extension mentoring relates to sailing vessels

On Wednesday, March 30, I got the chance to meet our new Michigan State University Extension staff members at New Staff Onboarding. It was an interesting experience for me welcoming them to the organization, as I am just as new as they are to MSU Extension. As I reflect on their introduction to MSU Extension and my own, I think about the importance in having an organization program that provides guidance and help throughout an employee’s transition. I think that the new MSU Extension mentoring program is going to be the key element in ensuring that our new colleagues have the relationships, tools and resources that they need to have a successful transition.

On the March 7, 2016 all staff webinar, we talked about the importance of mentoring in our organization and ways that you can participate. Overall, we want to make sure that our new staff have a supportive onboarding experience. There is a need to help new staff understand Extension and our role within the university as well as our internal organizational structures such as district teams, institutes and work teams, and stakeholder relationships and interactions. Mentors will help new staff build an effective network of relationships between coworkers and clientele while helping them realize their potential. We also want to provide mentors for those that have been in the organization and are transitioning to a new role.

There are so many benefits to being a mentor. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back and build relationships and trust with others within our organization. Through mentoring, you will also learn from others as well as keep your skills and knowledge up to date. Ultimately, you will share in the success of a new employee and the organization as a whole.

Are you interested in learning more about the new staff mentoring program? The MSU Extension Mentor Work Team is hosting two information and training webinars on April 15 and June 7. I have added the training information at the end of the post, and if you have any other questions about them, please contact Dionardo Pizaña.

In thinking about the metaphor we use for our new staff “onboarding,” I am reminded of John F. Kennedy’s words, “. . . a rising tide lifts all boats.” To tie together both seafaring metaphors: we can lift our entire organization through mentoring and strengthening our new colleagues as we bring them on board.

MSU Extension Mentor Information and Training Webinar

Friday, April 15, 2016

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

https://msu.zoom.us/j/967402776

or

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

https://msu.zoom.us/j/893431729

 

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MSUE colleagues share their insights on working differently with technology

MSU Extension educator Holly Tiret, MSU Extension director Tom Coon and MSU Extension educator Carolyn Penniman attended the National eXtension Conference

Left to right: MSU Extension educator Holly Tiret, MSU Extension director Tom Coon and MSU Extension educator Carolyn Penniman attended the National eXtension Conference that ran from March 24 to 27, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif.

I was fortunate to attend the National eXtension Conference in Sacramento, California, this week, and was very pleased to see so many Michigan State University Extension colleagues there. Beth Stuever, communications manager, and Megghan Honke, event planner in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications, gave a whirlwind overview of the integration of the new MSU Extension website and ANR Event Services. Bert Cregg, associate professor of horticulture, showed how he has adapted social media to engage blog readers in the planning of a research project on tree transplanting. Extension educators Carolyn Penniman and Holly Tiret showed how the RELAX – Alternatives to Anger team has used technology to reach a broader audience. Extension Health and Nutrition Institute educator Linda Cronk assisted in the presentation of the recommendations from a national task force on health (co-led by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension associate dean and director Michelle Rodgers) to a national meeting of Extension directors and administrators. In addition, several MSU Extension colleagues who provide leadership to Communities of Practice attended for CoP program planning and development, including Extension specialist Dionardo Pizaña, program leader Bruce Haas and specialist Wayne Beyea. What I found most gratifying was to see how eXtension, which has been of great assistance to MSUE, benefits in so many ways from the contributions of MSUE colleagues. Thanks to all who attended and those who engaged through online and recorded presentations. We’re having an impact nationally thanks to these great efforts.

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Year’s end points to a promising 2014

When we mark our time in years, it seems as inappropriately scaled as documenting nutrition in units of feasts. Normally we don’t sit down to a meal with several varieties of meats, three different vegetable dishes and salads, four starches, and a smorgasbord of deserts. But that’s what many families have done over this holiday season. Compared with a holiday feast, the cold lunch we take to work on a Monday morning seems like an insignificant morsel, hardly worth considering. Yet by Monday noon, that morsel seems pretty important and filling. And by Monday afternoon, having consumed that meager lunch, we’re able to focus on whatever is important in our work life instead of being distracted by a growling stomach.

At the end of a year, the work that has happened over the course of the year, the events we’ve experienced, the insights we’ve gained, and the goals we’ve achieved are as overwhelming in reflection as the lingering effects of a holiday feast at bedtime. Rather than struggle to document the fullness of 2013, I’d like to select three memories that characterize the year for me. And just as memories of a delicious ham or those homemade noodles promise some fantastic meal creations from leftovers, these three memories give me reason to anticipate some outstanding opportunities for Michigan State University Extension in the New Year.

So among all that happened in 2013, I’d like to highlight these three events:

What’s Now? What’s Next?  Dean Fred Poston decided early on in his second tenure as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), that it would be beneficial for the college and for our stakeholders to hold a series of town hall events around the state. As he opened each of the 13 sessions we held, he explained that having come through a tough time of budget reductions, restructuring and leadership changes, it was important for the college leaders to reconnect with people across the state who care about the role of the CANR in Michigan’s future. Dean Poston asked Senior Associate Dean and Director of MSU AgBioResearch Doug Buhler, CANR Associate Dean Kelly Millenbah, and me, as Director of MSU Extension to join him on a panel that would respond to questions and suggestions from people who attended these sessions.

There’s a great deal for us to learn from the What’s Now? What’s Next? (WNWN) sessions, and I’m sure Dean Poston will be communicating some of those insights in the new year. For me, the most striking message from these sessions was the simple fact that they happened.  In MSU Extension, we’re accustomed to the idea that university leaders should be engaged with the public and seek out public thoughts on our mission and how we carry out our mission.  And in the CANR, that’s a common understanding as well.  Yet at each event, participants consistently voiced their gratitude that we cared enough about what they thought to ask them to meet with us and to share their thoughts, frustrations, and appreciation for the work of MSU and the CANR.  When you hear people express gratitude for showing them respect, it’s clear to me that they haven’t always felt that respect from us. It also tells me that they acknowledge that this isn’t something that they expect to experience from other institutions of higher education in the state.

For the year 2014, the lesson of WNWN is that we must continue to engage with the people we serve, asking for their thoughts on needs and priorities, and sharing with them how we’ve succeeded and how we may have fallen short in our expectations. One way that we will show respect to the people we serve is by asking them to celebrate the Centennial of the Smith-Lever Act by sharing their stories with us, stories that tell of their lives, challenges and successes, and in their telling, shed some light on MSU Extension as well.

2. 21st Century Extension Professional. During Fall Extension Conference, we were fortunate to hear from Dr. Chuck Hibberd, Dean of Extension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who described a study he led on what skills and attributes will be needed for effective Cooperative Extension Professionals in the 21st Century. I know some of the participants in the conference thought we had erred by asking Dr. Hibberd to address the full conference, reasoning that most people are NOT involved in selecting candidates for open positions. But the lessons of the study go well beyond decisions we make about whom to hire, and extend to include our current colleagues. It is as helpful to ask the question “how well do our skill sets match these needs today” as it is to ask how we can recruit new employees with those skills.

For me, the greatest insight from the 21st Century Extension Professional study was in reflecting on what makes an Extension professional unique.  When you take all of the skills and attributes that were identified as being of greatest importance in the study, I still think you can summarize them in two traits of Extension professionals that I admire and that motivate me every day:  First, effective Extension professionals are innately curious, motivated to learn more about anything they encounter, and especially those topics related to their area of expertise.  Their curiosity positions them well to remain up to date in their subject, and to incorporate new scientific findings as they develop.  Second, effective Extension professionals are compelled to teach. There is an inner desire among Extension professionals to explain things to people.  Put them in a group where someone asks a question, and an Extension professional will be quick to offer an explanation or to engage someone in the group who has insights into the question to get their explanation out for all to learn.

In looking ahead for 2014, one of our great opportunities will be to ask how we can better serve our staff and faculty with professional development opportunities that will stretch their skill sets, increase their effectiveness, and ultimately feed those twin motivations of curiosity and pedagogy that help each of us to succeed.

3. An honoring ceremony for retired Congressman Dale Kildee. Following the closing session of Fall Extension Conference in October, I drove to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where I had been invited to attend a ceremony held by the United Tribes of Michigan (UTM). The previous night we had honored Frank Ettawageshik, Executive Director of UTM with the prestigious Friend of Extension award from the Michigan Alpha Psi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi in recognition of Frank’s support for our Building Strong Sovereign Nations program, and his leadership on the board of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy.

At the honoring ceremony in Mt. Pleasant, Frank was the first of many tribal leaders from Michigan who spoke of the contributions of Congressman Kildee on behalf of the sovereign rights of tribal members. Congressman Kildee became known in the Michigan Legislature and in the U.S. Congress as an expert and advocate for the rights of American Indian tribes within Michigan and the United States. It was a moving event to hear so many tribal leaders speak of his importance to the advances made in governance and economic development in Michigan’s tribes over the past 37 years.

What struck me most that night was to hear each leader speak to the value of the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver (MITW), a right established by legislation then-Michigan House member Kildee framed in the 1970’s and then led its passage in 1976. The MITW is “a program enacted by Public Act 174 of 1976, which waives the tuition costs for eligible Native Americans in public community colleges or universities within Michigan.”  Based on the high percentage of leaders in the ceremony who had used this benefit to achieve their own higher education goals, and given the success of tribal governments in creating new economic opportunities in their communities over the past 37 years, it seems clear that this single act of legislation has contributed greatly to enhanced prosperity for tribal members in Michigan.

I witnessed further evidence of tribal growth and transformation in a conference held in East Lansing in March, titled “A conversation about Michigan Indian Education and Michigan State University.”  Several of our MSU Extension colleagues participated in this conference, including Emily Proctor, Barb Smutek, and Dionardo Pizaña. Many of the participants in this conference were from a younger generation than those involved in the honoring ceremony for Congressman Kildee. Yet the impact of educational opportunity on the development of leadership among tribal communities was powerfully evident in the conversations that ensued at the conference.

Our popular culture sends mixed messages about the traditions and future of the descendants of North America’s native peoples. It’s difficult to find the positive outlook and promising future in our media that these two events showcased for me.  If you ever need a strong dose of hope for humanity and our country’s future, connecting with leaders in Michigan’s tribal communities will give you all you need.

For 2014, we have some great opportunities to build on programming that Emily, Barb, Dionardo, and other MSU Extension colleagues have pioneered with Michigan’s tribal communities.  Whether it is the workshops these three led on doing the work of Extension in tribal communities (they promise more in 2014), or programming partnerships with tribal governments in health and nutrition, tribal governance, and community food systems, we have tremendous opportunities to contribute further to the growth and development of Michigan’s tribal communities. And as we build on these opportunities, we will also challenge ourselves to address needs in other ethnically- and racially-distinct communities that have not been served as well by public institutions in the past. That challenge builds on the themes that have emerged from the What’s Now? What’s Next? town hall meetings and gives us tremendous opportunities to grow into the skills we all need to be effective Extension professionals in the 21st Century.

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Don’t miss this relationship-building opportunity

In the program Relationship Building for Better Partnerships: Anishinaabe Tribes and MSU Extension, Michigan State University Extension staff members Dionardo Pizaña, Emily Proctor and Barb Smutek facilitate trainings with members of the Anishinaabe Tribes. I’ve written about the program in the Spotlight on April 11 and more recently on August 8. There’s still space for the next round of workshops. The 3-part series provides a unique opportunity for the Bay Mills Indian Community and MSU Extension to learn from each other, build working relationships and plan some collaborative projects together. This series takes place in Brimley Oct. 10, Oct. 30 and Nov. 14. Register here.

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Learn more about building relationships with tribal communities

Several months ago, I wrote a story about a new program (Relationship Building for Better Partnerships: Anishinaabe Tribes and MSU Extension) developed by three of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues about building strong and lasting relationships with Michigan tribal nations. Extension staff members Barbara Smutek, Emily Proctor and Dionardo Pizaña have offered a three-session program in St. Ignace, are currently offering a second series in Hannahville, and are scheduled to offer a third session in Brimley later this year.

Barbara and Emily presented an update on the workshop series on the MSU Extension Update Webinar on Monday, Aug. 5. Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties that made it difficult to hear Barbara’s portion of the presentation. She has graciously offered to record that presentation with the sound issues corrected, so I’d like to call this to your attention. You can hear a recording of her presentation at https://connect.msu.edu/p9sciguxeu1/.

Just as important, I would like to encourage you to seek out an opportunity to participate in this program in the future. Tribal partnerships have already served us well in reaching audiences we have not served in the past, and as more of us learn about the unique opportunities presented by working with tribal members, we can achieve even more impacts in their communities. The current workshop series in Hannahville has two sessions remaining, one on Aug. 21 and the other on Sept.18. And the next series, to be held with the Bay Mills Indian Community will take place in Brimley on Oct. 10, Oct. 30 and Nov. 14. Future series are in the plans for the Traverse City area and southeast Michigan.

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It’s all about relationships

Our colleagues in Michigan State University Extension are working to build strong and sustainable relationships with members of Michigan tribal nations.

In the program Relationship Building for Better Partnerships: Anishinaabe Tribes and MSU Extension, Extension staff members Dionardo Pizaña, Emily Proctor and Barb Smutek facilitate trainings with members of the Anishinaabe Tribes. Dionardo is an Extension specialist. Emily is an Extension health and nutrition educator, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band (LTBB) of Odawa Indians and a tribal liaison for MSU Extension. Barb is a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and an Extension Greening Michigan/Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) educator.

This three-part professional development series provides a unique opportunity for MSU Extension staff and several of Michigan’s Anishinaabe Tribes to learn from each other, build working relationships and plan collaborative projects together. The series takes place four times this year, with one series per tribe.

The first series took place with members of the LTBB of Odawa Indians.

Each session encouraged communication and engagement and helped foster reciprocal learning between MSUE and the tribal community, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

Participants had the opportunity to share in both MSUE culture and tribal culture to explore ways of creating effective partnerships.

At the close of the session, participants shared one thing that stood out for them.

One participant’s response: “For me, one of the things that stood out is the genuine efforts from both LTBB and MSU to reach out to one another, get to know one another and to find out what each of us has to offer. This is a healthy start to building a life-lasting relationship.”

The next series, scheduled for June and July, will engage MSU Extension staff with members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Registration for this session is open. Register online.

Other sessions will include the Hannahville Indian Community (July ‒ September) and the Bay Mills Indian Community (October ‒ December).

Support for continuing the partnerships will be available in the form of multicultural action mini-grants, valued up to $1,000. The grants are funded through the MSUE Diversity and Multiculturalism Office and the FRTEP. To apply for and obtain a mini-grant, you must have a Tribal/MSUE partnership and have attended the majority of the sessions. The competitive mini-grants enhance partnerships between MSUE and the tribal communities to build, strengthen and support the work started during the series.

The FRTEP, a federally funded program, enhances extension services and supports increased outreach to native communities. Initiated in 2007, the Michigan FRTEP is implemented by MSU Extension in partnership with Bay Mills Community College and the MSU Native American Institute. This short presentation gives a quick overview of the program.

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Extension program leaders create resource to address bullying in out-of-school settings

It’s evident when you listen to news reports, scan social media or just talk to folks – issues related to bullying, bias and harassment concern parents, educators, family workers and others who work with and care about young people. And, of course, these issues concern young people as well.

Schools have resources to address these issues, but few address bullying issues in out-of-school settings. As always in Michigan State University Extension, our staff members see a need and work to meet it. That’s why MSU Extension Health and Nutrition program leaders for social and emotional health Janet Olsen and Karen Pace created Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments.

BeSafe-Cover-BookstoreThumb

The two targeted the curriculum for use in out-of-school settings such as 4-H clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, scouts and after-school programs. Be SAFE helps young people aged 11 to 14 partner with adults to create physically and emotionally safe environments.

The overall goals of Be SAFE include promoting social and emotional learning and development, addressing and reducing bullying, preventing bullying behaviors by tapping the wisdom and assets of youth and adults, and developing positive relationships with peers and adults.

Research shows that young people benefit from time spent in positive and safe settings with adults and peers. Adults can use Be SAFE as an important tool to help young people to create those safe, affirming and fair environments. The resource helps adults to help young people be resilient when facing challenging situations such as bullying, bias and harassment.

As true of all MSU Extension curricula, this publication draws from extensive research, and Karen and Janet also drew from evidence-based bullying prevention programs. A number of their MSU Extension colleagues also contributed to the development of Be SAFE by serving as reviewers and as liaisons to the nine sites across the state that piloted the material. These included staff members from the Health and Nutrition Institute (Tracie Abram, Denise Aungst, Carolyn Penniman, Suzanne Pish, Erin Ross, Olga Santiago and Holly Tiret), the Children and Youth Institute (Kendra Moyses and Jodi Schulz), and the Organizational Development Team (Dionardo Pizaña). Former Children and Youth Institute staff members Andrea Caron, Sandra Griffin and Julie Scislowicz were also involved with these efforts.

Janet and Karen are currently working to assist MSU Extension staff members in providing education around issues of bullying, bias and harassment. It’s not too late to register for a June 4 train-the-trainer opportunity in Gaylord. You’ll receive a copy of Be SAFE and learn how to incorporate the curriculum into your program. You’ll also explore current research on bullying and learn key strategies to address bullying issues. Click on this link to learn more and to register.

Download a free PDF of the Introduction section of Be SAFE or order a copy of the 224-page guide, designed and edited by ANR Communications, at the MSU Extension Bookstore.

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MSU Extension staff receive diversity award at awards convocation

The Michigan State University 2012 Excellence in Diversity Awards were presented at the All-University Excellence in Diversity 2012 Recognition and Awards Convocation and Reception Feb. 17 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. One college, five individuals and three groups who have exemplified diversity and inclusion in extraordinary ways received awards.

 MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and Provost Kim Wilcox presented MSU Extension staff members Janet Olsen, Karen Pace and Dionardo Pizaña with the Sustained Effort toward Excellence in Diversity award.

 This Dec. 15 Spotlight article describes the terrific work that the team is involved in, developing and delivering programs and curricula to help reduce the incidence of bullying among youth and providing training in multicultural diversity.

 It’s always great to have MSU recognize the achievements of our colleagues, especially with an honor that recognizes persistence and quality. Even better, parents and family members able to attend and witness the event. Thanks to Karen, Dionardo and Janet for their leadership in helping us all to be more effective in our work. Read more and see photos here.

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MSUE colleagues honored with diversity award

Congratulations to Michigan State University Extension staff members Janet Olsen, Karen Pace and Dionardo Pizaña for winning the 2012 Excellence In Diversity Award (EIDA). The three were nominated in the team category, “Emerging Progress – Excellence Within Community,” and the team is one of the 2012 EIDA cash award winners.

 The team members are recognized for their work in developing and delivering programs to help reduce the incidence of bullying among youth and to counteract the effects of bullying on those who experience it. Janet, Karen and Dionardo have been innovative in developing curricula in addition to their work in providing training on multicultural diversity and its value in organizations such as ours.

 EIDA is an award program that recognizes outstanding efforts of faculty, students and staff members at MSU who are committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and who actively engage in activities that demonstrate their commitment to these principles.

 MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and Provost Kim Wilcox will present the team with the award Feb. 17, 2012, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

 When asked to talk about the award, all three team members expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn from and work with each other and in partnership with communities. All three are honored by the recognition, but realize the work would not be possible without the support and trust of staff and community partners willing to commit to justice and inclusion.

 I am honored to work with Dionardo, Janet and Karen. They are great leaders in helping MSUE to become more effective in addressing the challenges that face Michigan and to help us all realize the potential that we can tap when our programs are inclusive of Michigan’s tremendous diversity.

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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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