Tag Archives: epsilon sigma phi

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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Epsilon Sigma Phi recognizes friends and employees of MSU Extension

There have been a couple of very exciting awards received recently! At the 2014 Epsilon Sigma Phi National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, two very notable awards were given to friends of Michigan State University Extension.

Epsilon Sigma Phi is a professional organization for Extension professionals, and as part of their yearly conference, they awarded Deanna East and Frank Ettawageshik for their contributions to MSU Extension.

Deanna East, district coordinator of MSU Extension District 4, was recognized with an administrative leadership award. Epsilon Sigma Phi presents the administrative leadership award to recognize Extension professionals who have shown noteworthy administrative enthusiasm, performance and accomplishment during their Extension careers. Deanna has been with MSU Extension since 2003, and during her time, she has been the county Extension director in two counties, has supervised several health and nutrition programs, and has worked with the Birth-Five Program as a parent educator.

In addition, Frank Ettawageshik was recognized as a key partner of Extension. With his assistance and support, the Building Strong Sovereign Nations Program is being offered again for the third year as a training prior to the United Tribes of Michigan October quarterly meeting. This has allowed Building Strong Sovereign Nations to continue on a consistent basis in conjunction with the United Tribes of Michigan quarterly meetings. This scheduling provides considerable savings of time and travel cost, and encourages tribal leaders to participate in both of these important meetings. This joint program ties traditional teachings with a contemporary government focus. MSU Extension partnered with the MSU Native American Institute, the Indigenous Law and Policy Center of the Michigan State University College of Law, and several Michigan Tribal governments in 2005 to begin developing an educational program tailored to newly elected tribal leaders as well as tribal citizens interested in running for tribal political office. The employees of MSU Extension currently involved in this effort include Emily Proctor, John Amrheim, Brad Neumann, Beth Prykucki, Julie Pioch, Elaine Bush and Ann Chastain.

The contributions from both Deanna and Frank are very important to all of us at MSU Extension. Congratulations!

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An exciting opportunity

By Patrick I. Cudney

A Michigan native, I grew up in the Traverse City area and attended Benzie County Central schools, graduating from Benzie Central High School. I attended Central Michigan University where I received a bachelor’s degree in community recreation and park administration as well as a Master of Science degree in administration. I have a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of our state and enjoy her abundant natural resources. My wife, Abigail, and I have three children, McKenna (18), John Patrick (9) and Kate (5).

Patrick Cudney will become MSU Extension associate director of operations on Sept. 1, 2014.

Patrick Cudney will become Michigan State University Extension associate director of operations on September 1, 2014. Photo credit: Katie Gervasi, July 2014.

My history with Michigan State University Extension began in 1996 when I became a 4-H youth agent assigned to Kalkaska County. A short time later, I became the county Extension director of Benzie County, making me at age 27, the youngest county Extension director in the state. Three years later, I became regional director of the MSU Extension north region. This gave me the opportunity to help direct the work of more than 150 Extension and county faculty and staff members in a 21-county region of northern lower Michigan. With the MSU Extension restructure in July 2010, I became district coordinator for District 3, serving nine counties in northwest lower Michigan. I’ll continue in this role until I take on the exciting opportunity in serving as associate director of operations in September.

In this new role, I’ll have the opportunity to oversee logistical and business operations for our organization, including supervising the field-based leadership team as well as providing leadership for the organizational development units of MSU Extension including budget planning and management, human resources, professional development, communications and marketing, program reporting and evaluation, diversity, technology and other essential program support.

I’m a member of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), the Extension professional’s fraternity. I’ve been honored to receive the ESP Meritorious Service Award and the ESP Administrative Leadership Award.

I’ve participated in the North Central NELD (National Extension Leadership Development) program in 2001-02 and then served on the NELD planning committee in the 2003-04 program years. I was a member of the inaugural graduating class of the LEAD21 (Leadership for the 21st Century) national land-grant leadership development program in 2005-06.

My education and experience has led me to an interest in community engagement in public-policy decision-making and the science of public administration. I plan to put that education and experience to work with all of you, as we reach out to Michiganians across the state to meet the needs of individuals, families, communities, businesses and industries. It is the content-rich, research-based educational programs that make Extension truly effective and unique, and it is only through meaningful partnerships that we are able to provide our greatest impacts.

I am truly honored to be able to serve the state and MSU Extension in this new role. We are all stewards of this proud organization during the time we serve, and it is all of our responsibility to do our part to ensure it remains an essential and integral part of the fabric of communities across the state.

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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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Award nominations deadlines approaching

It’s that time of year ‒ to recognize colleagues or friends of Michigan State University Extension who make our organization great. We can honor them by nominating them for various awards.

Staff awards given by the MSU Extension director include:

  • Meritorious Service, Educator
  • Meritorious Service, Program Instructor/Associate/Assistant
  • Meritorious Service, Specialist/Program Leader
  • Meritorious Service, Support Staff

Staff awards given by the I-Team (MSUE eXtension Institutional Team) include:

  • Ask an Expert
  • Community of Practice (CoP)
  • Technology in Programs

Access the nomination form for these awards: Click on Complete Staff Award Nomination Information and scroll down.

The Key Partner award recognizes individuals, organizations, media, special MSU programs and government officials who have made significant contributions to creating, improving or promoting MSU Extension programs. The MSU Extension director grants the award. The award is determined based on nominations from staff, faculty, retirees and volunteers. Access the nomination form for the Key Partner award: Key Partner Nomination Form. MSU Extension employees should notify their institute directors of their nominations.

Submit all nominations for the above awards to Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu by Aug.16. The information will be combined and submitted to the administrative team for decisions by Sept. 10.

The John Hannah Award from the Michigan Council of Extension Associations is considered the most prestigious of the Extension awards as it recognizes superior Extension programs. All board-appointed Extension staff members are eligible. You may nominate programs conducted by a co-worker or yourself. Send nominations for the John Hannah Award by Aug. 16 to the current Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) president-elect Matt Shane at shanemat@msu.edu. For additional information on the award and a list of previous winners, go to http://esp.msue.msu.edu/awards/john_hannah

The State Friend of Extension Award from the Michigan Chapter of ESP recognizes individuals who truly have been friends of Extension. Their efforts may have been to help promote programs, represent us as lay leaders, serve as key program development persons, act as program collaborators or support MSU Extension in other ways. Past recipients have come from organizations, media, MSU, local government and private business. To submit a nomination, follow directions here. Nominations must be received by Aug. 16.

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Retirees honored at reception

Each year at a luncheon, Michigan State University recognizes faculty and academic staff who have retired in the past year. MSU Extension and Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) co-host a reception prior to the luncheon at the Kellogg Center. This year, the event took place April 2.

As I do every year, I’d like to share some brief information about each retiree.

 Extension educator William (“Bill”) J. Carpenter began his career in MSU Extension in 1981 as county Extension director for Luce County. He later became county Extension director for Berrien, Iosco and Montcalm counties. He also served for a year as the district coordinator in District 4 before serving as an MSU Extension educator in the district in MSU Extension’s Greening Michigan Institute. Early in his career, Bill took a leave of absence to serve for a year as a senior Extension advisor in Armenia working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He did exceptional work in community and economic development, particularly in land-use planning, working with nonprofit groups and building capacity in organizations and people.

Kenneth R. Geuns served as Extension specialist for livestock youth programs from 1978 to 2012. From 1984 through 1986, he also served as the coordinator of livestock programs in the Institute of Agricultural Technology. From 2007 through 2012, he served as the faculty coordinator of the MSU Purebred Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center. He taught courses in the Department of Animal Science, coached the collegiate livestock judging teams at MSU and served as faculty advisor to the MSU Block and Bridle Club. He received the Block and Bridle Club Honored Portrait Award, the Michigan Pork Producers Distinguished Service Award, the National FFA Honorary American FFA Degree and Outstanding Specialist awards from MSU Extension and the Michigan Association of Extension Agents. Other awards include the Black Hawk College Outstanding Alumni Award and Agriculture Merit Award, the Michigan Association of FFA Honorary Degree and Honorary Membership awards, and the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff Colleague Award and Team Effort Award.

 Gary L. Heilig has been an Extension Ingham County horticulture agent for 34 years. He has provided commercial and consumer horticulture programming for primarily the residents of Ingham County but he reached consumers around the state through his extensive live and taped television broadcasts. Gary is well known and highly respected for using multiple methods of teaching such as radio and television, video, online classes, audio files and fact sheets. He has provided relevant, substantive, well-developed, responsive educational programs throughout his career. He was part of the MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Team, which received the eXtension Working Differently in Extension Award for the creation of the Gardening in Michigan Web site. He also received a Communication Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and was a co-author of the original Master Gardener Manual.

Extension educator Linda Huyck began her work with MSU Extension in 1998 as a Montcalm County home economist. She secured funding to grow the Senior Project FRESH (Farm Resources Expanding and Supporting Health) programs in Gratiot and Montcalm counties, helped to develop the Family Living curriculum for Spectrum Health and updated the Building Better Bodies curriculum for volunteers in nutrition education in Gratiot County. In addition, she helped to plan the first ever Tri-FCS (Family and Consumer Science) Association conference for three family and consumer science professional organizations. Linda recently held a joint appointment in MSU Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute and Greening Michigan Institute, specializing in food safety and financial literacy education. Her exceptional work focused on family capacity building, reaching hundreds of people and establishing mentorship programs. She received national recognition numerous times from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) including the Distinguished Service Award, Regional Educational Technology Award, State Community Partnership Team Award, State Financial Management Award and the State Impact on Youth and Family Award.

Children and youth program leader Elizabeth (“Betsy”) McPherson Knox served as an Ionia County home economics educator and 4-H youth agent before moving to campus as an associate program leader and then program leader. Betsy wrote, developed and used a variety of curricula for the performing and visual arts, and the promotion of global, cultural and international understanding. She has also worked in the area of 4-H environmental and outdoor education and more recently in leadership and civic engagement. She has coordinated more than 1,750 4-H Exploration Days sessions in nearly 25 years on campus. She’s received recognition on numerous occasions including the John A. Hannah Award for Excellence for leading the Chengdu China Dance Troupe Project. Over time, this stellar program resulted in more than 11 different cross-cultural programs with China and reached more than 300,000 Michigan youth. The ongoing 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China is one of those programs.

In 1988, Extension educator Michael McFadden joined MSU Extension as an agricultural agent for Gladwin and Isabella counties. In 1994, he became an Extension dairy educator for Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties. He provided educational programing, problem solving and applied research in a variety of agriculture and animal agriculture areas throughout his career. Highly respected by colleagues, advisory groups and the producers with whom he worked for his exceptional competency in a wide variety of areas, Michael was well known for developing meaningful professional relationships with producers and others in the community. He specialized in conducting farm research to solve local problems. The community routinely sought him out as a valuable source of credible, relevant timely information. He found it important to reach underserved farmers and their families, and included the entire farm family when appropriate.

Senior Extension educator Norman (“Norm”) L. Myers began his career as a county agriculture Extension agent in 1982, serving for two years in Montcalm County. He then moved to Newaygo and Muskegon counties for five years, and in 1989, he became county Extension director for Oceana County. In 2009, Mr. Myers earned the advanced title of senior Extension educator. At the time of his retirement, he was serving as a regional vegetable educator in MSU Extension’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI). Norm was an active leader in animal and plant production, particularly in the areas of vegetables and Christmas trees. He developed strong working relationships and did significant work on behalf of many commodity groups. He developed the annual Oceana Asparagus Day, which has grown into the largest educational program for asparagus growers in North America. He assisted in advancing the Tom-Cast disease forecasting system and PCR testing of aster yellows infectivity as important pest management tools in asparagus and carrots. He demonstrated and promoted petiole sap nitrogen testing as a means of reducing nitrogen use and costs in carrots, and he promoted higher density asparagus planting as a means for increasing asparagus yields. He received numerous awards including MSU Extension’s Diversity and Pluralism Award, the Michigan Vegetable Council’s Master Farmer Associate Award, the National Association of County Agricultural Agent’s Distinguished Service Award for Excellence and the Michigan Christmas Tree Association’s President’s Award.

Throughout her 31 years in MSU Extension, senior Extension educator Natalie Rector has reached hundreds of farmers in south central Michigan as a widely respected crop agent. In that role, she helped producers coordinate the Innovative Farmers of South Central Michigan, conducting demonstration plots and on-farm tours. As MSU Extension’s manure nutrient management field specialist, she helped livestock and crop producers work together to make efficient and conscientious use of animal waste as fertilizer. Natalie worked with state officials to develop the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). She conducted research and outreach focused on helping farmers utilize manure in an economical and environmentally friendly manner. Her work helped farmers save money while conscientiously taking advantage of valuable resources. She has been a team player within Michigan as well as across the Midwest as coordinator of a 10-state grant project to bring Extension faculty and staff together on manure management issues. She has received numerous awards. Most recently, the Michigan Farm Bureau named her the recipient of the organization’s 2012 Distinguished Service to Agriculture (DSA) Award. She was also the 2004 MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Award recipient and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Pork Producers Association. Since retiring, Natalie has joined the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan as research coordinator.

Extension educator Carol A. Rosinski joined MSU Extension as a home economist in 1994, serving Cheboygan County. She later became an Extension family development agent in that same county. Her focus on programs affecting youth and families at risk through the Cheboygan County Juvenile Court proved innovative and successful. She continually evaluated her programs through data collection to make improvements and increase effectiveness. Her work empowered young people and parents, and strengthened families by providing needed services, activities and training. She effectively collaborated with area counseling agencies, law enforcement agencies, school personnel and administrators, Community Mental Health personnel and Probate Court judges. Carol developed and managed a collaborative program, the Straits Area Youth Promotion Academy, a successful partnership day treatment program between MSU Extension and the Cheboygan County Family Court. This treatment program served youth at risk of being placed out of their homes and assigned to residential placements. Parents and youth learned life-changing skills such as developing positive relationships as well as addressing drug abuse and violent behavior. Carol served as director, juvenile officer, case manager and licensed social worker for all young people ordered to the program.

Extension educator Patricia Waugh began her work with MSU Extension as a Lapeer County 4-H program assistant. She left MSU for a short time to work as a Head Start teacher and parent educator, and to coordinate the volunteer services for McLaren Hospice. She then rejoined Extension where she coordinated the Lapeer County 4-H youth program and served as a resource for positive youth development to others in the county. Patricia showed outstanding dedication and commitment to the youth and families of Michigan throughout her career. Adult volunteers and youth members often expressed their support and confidence in her leadership. She forged many collaborative efforts in the county she served as well as in neighboring counties. She received recognition for her work often throughout her career including a nomination for Lapeer Chamber of Commerce Female Citizen of the Year in 2009. Other professional awards included the Michigan Distinguished Service Award, the Team Effort Award for 4-H Afterschool, the Presidential Citation for the Club Read Program, the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff (MAE4-HYS) Presidential award, the MAE4-HYS Team Award for Take the Day on Diversity Program and the 4-H International Award.

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Extension educator receives ESP award

Michigan State University Extension educator Dennis Stein received an Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) North Central Region Distinguished Service award for the Alpha Psi Chapter at the 2012 ESP Conference that took place Oct. 6–10 in Mobile, Ala.

Dennis has been involved with technology training for clientele as well as Extension staff, Telfarm Microtel agricultural financial software, custom machine and work rates, wind energy, oil and gas leasing, Farm It Forward, Annie’s Project, recycling and preventive planting – just to name a few. His accomplishments have been excellent, extensive and far-reaching.

Congratulations, Dennis for this recognition by your colleagues!

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Award nominations deadlines approaching

It’s that time of year to recognize colleagues or friends of Michigan State University Extension who make our organization great. We can honor them by nominating them for various awards including the following awards from the MSUE Director: Meritorious Service, Educator; Meritorious Service, Program Instructor/Associate/Assistant; Meritorious Service, Specialist/Program Leader; and Meritorious Service, Support Staff. In addition, the I-Team (MSUE eXtension Institutional Team) gives the Ask an Expert, Community of Practice (CoP) and Technology in Programs Awards. Access the nomination form for these awards here.

The Key Partner award is designed to recognize individuals, organizations, media, special MSU programs and government officials who have made significant contributions to creating, improving or promoting MSU Extension programs. It is granted by the MSUE Director and is determined based on nominations from staff, faculty, retirees and volunteers. Access the nomination form for the Key Partner award here. MSU Extension employees should notify their institute directors of their nominations.

Submit all nominations for the above awards to Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu by July 31. The information will be combined and submitted to the administrative team for decisions by Aug. 31.

The John Hannah Award from the Michigan Council of Extension Associations is considered the most prestigious of the Extension awards as it recognizes superior Extension programs. All board-appointed Extension staff members are eligible. You may nominate programs conducted by a co-worker or yourself. Send nominations for the John Hannah award by July 15 to the current Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) president-elect Brenda Reau at reau@msu.edu. For additional information on the award and a list of previous winners, go to http://www.esp.msue.msu.edu/esp/john_hannah.

The State Friend of Extension Award from the Michigan Chapter of ESP recognizes individuals who truly have been friends of Extension. Their efforts may have been to help promote programs, represent us as lay leaders, serve as key program development persons, act as program collaborators or support MSU-Extension in other ways. Past recipients have come from organizations, media, MSU, local government and private business. To submit a nomination, follow directions here. Nominations must be received by July 15.

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Retirees recognized at reception

Each year, Michigan State University honors faculty and academic staff who have retired in the past year at a luncheon. Previous retirees are invited to the luncheon as well, so it fills the Big 10 room at Kellogg Center. We celebrated many careers at the luncheon held this week on April 10, and as always, we co-host a reception at the Kellogg Center with the Michigan State chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP). It was a full room, and it was great to see the newly retired as well as those who have worked for MSUE previously. As I do every year, I’d like to share some brief information about each retiree with you here in the Spotlight. When we have a large number of retirees, as we do this year, I like to spread them over several editions of the Spotlight, so I’ll feature half today and the other half next week.

 Cheryl (“Cheri”) Booth; state leader for 4-H Youth Development; interim associate director of Extension for Children, Youth and Families; and co-director of MSU Families and Communities Together (FACT) Coalition; joined MSU Extension in 1979 as a home economist. She served in various capacities and in 2001, she began leading 4-H Youth Development, the state’s largest youth development program in terms of both youth participants and volunteers. Dr. Booth has received numerous awards including the Epsilon Sigma Phi’s Administrative Leadership Award, the MSU Extension Diversity Award, the Governor’s Minuteman Award and the Distinguished Service Awards from both the Michigan and National Associations of Extension Home Economists. She was inducted into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2004 and into the Outstanding Youth Women of America in 1998.

 Mirjana Bulatovic-Danilovich, Extension educator, began her career with MSU Extension as a district educator specializing in orchard production management, tree and nut-tree fruit production, and marketing. As a highly successful educator in the area of fruit production, Dr. Bulatovic-Danilovich was instrumental in addressing the concerns and challenges of commercial and individual growers. She provided technical expertise around the USAID international program for Serbian fruit production, and she has successfully incorporated their growing approaches within Michigan.

 Claudette K. Byers, Extension educator, started working as an MSU Extension program assistant in Newaygo County in 1996, working on a school nutrition 4-H grant. In 2006, she became an Extension educator, delivering the Better Kid Care Program to seven counties in western Michigan. In her last year with Extension, she served as Extension educator, supervising the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as well as life skills programs for at-risk teens in Newaygo County. Claudette was masterful at managing and understanding complex granting processes and procedures. As an early adapter of technology, she incorporated it in many aspects of her programs and diligently documented and evaluated program effectiveness and outcomes. She taught very successful resource management, anger management and life skills trainings throughout her career and especially enjoyed her work with alternative education students.

 Roberta L. Dow, district Extension educator, began working for MSU Extension in 1995 as the northern district water quality educator. As a water quality educator, Dr. Dow has developed materials and provided agricultural and residential-oriented programming for the Michigan Water Stewardship Program. She taught groundwater technicians, volunteers, educators, farmers and homeowners and worked with grant groups. Dr. Dow has won numerous awards, including the John A. Hannah Award for Program Excellence, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Achievement Award and Distinguished Service Award, the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) President’s Citation, an NACAA Public Relations in Daily Efforts Award and the 2011 Northwest Michigan Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award. She also was the 2005 NACAA Public Relations in Daily Efforts national finalist, the 2006 NACAA Communications Award publication regional finalist and the 2009 NACAA Communications Award bound-book national finalist.

 Kathryn (“Kathy”) Stuever Foerster, senior program leader, joined MSU Extension in October of 1976 as a home economist in Alcona County and later served in that role in Branch and Calhoun counties. Kathy also served as Calhoun County Extension director, Extension council coordinator, program support coordinator, professional development program leader and interim family consumer sciences state leader. She has received numerous awards including the John Hannah Award for Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) housing program and Distinguished Service and Continuing Excellence from MAEHE/NAEHE. Awards also included the Guiding Star from the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, a national Epsilon Sigma Phi team award, a Commitment to Youth Award from the W K Kellogg Foundation and a Champion for Children Award from the Calhoun County Coordinating Council.

 Michael (“Mike”) Jensen, county Extension director, joined MSU Extension in 1986 as an Extension 4-H youth agent in Washtenaw County. He also served as an associate program leader, an Extension special reporting tech and a county Extension director in Baraga, Clare, Gladwin, Lake and Schoolcraft counties. While with MSU Extension, Mike helped research and refine the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) development and incorporated new technologies and social marketing to keep the community and partners connected to the process. Mike is currently the county Extension director, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida in Sebring, Fla.

 Patricia (“Pat”) Joyce, Extension educator, started working at MSU Extension in 1997 as a Kent County Extension educator, where she taught first-time homeownership and financial management classes. In 1999, she became the Food and Nutrition Program (FNP) regional coordinator in the West Central Region, serving 15 counties. In 2006, she became the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regional coordinator in the Central Region, serving 17 counties. In 2011, she became an Extension educator in the Improving Health and Nutrition Institute, working in Disease Prevention and Management (DPM) and Food Safety (FS). In 2000, she received the Florence Hall Award. In 2011, she received the Doris Wetters Travel Fellowship to participate in the Epsilon Sigma Phi-sponsored rural development study tour to Ireland. With the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, she was successful in creating an employer-assisted, down-payment housing program. In her role as SNAP regional coordinator, she helped identify match opportunities that generated more than $1 million.

 Allen Krizek, coordinator, joined MSU Extension in 1975 as an area Extension horticulture agent for Lapeer, Macomb and St. Clair counties. From 1980 to 1996, he served as the Eaton County Extension director. In 1996, Dr. Krizek became the Extension liaison for the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program, in which he and district staff coordinated the educational program for groundwater technicians and AmeriCorps members. He and his colleagues also developed educational materials that promoted nutrient and pest management practices that are protective of water resources for both agricultural and residential audiences. Dr. Krizek has received numerous awards, including the Epsilon Sigma Phi Administrative Leadership Award, the Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture and the 2010 regional Entomology Educational Project Award for the educational bulletin “Grape *A* Syst: Michigan Grape Grower Sustainability Assessment and Risk Reduction Tool.”

 Ira J. Krupp, Extension dairy educator, joined MSU Extension in 1981 as an Extension agricultural agent in Ottawa County. In 1995, he became Extension dairy agent in western Michigan and in 2005, he became an Extension dairy educator in southwestern Michigan. Ira has received numerous awards, such as the 1993 Epsilon Sigma Phi Extension Team Award for work on milk and dairy beef quality assurance programming. He received several national communication awards from the NACAA, including an award for developing a learning module, a video presentation on alfalfa production, and a second award for developing a fact sheet on using poultry litter as a protein supplement in dairy heifer rations. He was also a past recipient of the John A. Hannah Award and the 1988 Dow Study Tour Award. In 2005, Dairy Farmers of America presented Ira with the “Friend of Dairy Farmers Award” for 25 years of service to the dairy industry of western Michigan.

LaVerne Andrew (“Andy”) Norman, Extension educator, joined MSU in 1972 as an Extension horticulture agent in Genesee County. In 1974, he became an Extension agriculture and resource development agent and moved to Benzie County. In 1982, he became Benzie County Extension director. In 1995, Andy was instrumental in working with Dr. Clifford Jump, then director of the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT), to develop an IAT certificate program in applied plant science to be offered in northwestern Michigan at four colleges. Andy has coordinated the program since its inception. He received the NACAA Distinguished Service Award in 2001. He also received awards from Northwest Michigan (2004) and Benzie-Manistee (1999) fruit growers along with numerous other professional and community awards.

 Janet Seitz, Extension educator, began her career with MSU Extension as an Extension home economist in Jackson. During her tenure, she served on three statewide assignments: statewide leadership development for Extension homemakers, statewide coordinator for homebuyer education for first-time homebuyers and statewide coordinator for the ServSafe education program. Janet provided vital leadership for MSU Extension’s food safety team for many years while also managing the Jackson County office as county Extension director, a role she assumed in 2002. In 2008, she began organizing a statewide effort to make ServSafe training available throughout Michigan. She received numerous awards throughout her career, but most recently, extremely special to her was receiving the Extension Meritorious Service Award in October 2011.

 Hannah S. Stevens, senior Extension educator, joined MSU Extension in 1981 as an Extension horticultural agent in Macomb County. In 1992, she became an Extension agricultural and natural resources agent and in 2010, achieved senior Extension educator status. Throughout her career, she developed and implemented meaningful educational programs to meet the diverse agricultural and horticultural interests of all residents of Macomb County. Her work as an innovation counselor with the MSU Product Center allowed her the opportunity to take part in an Ireland Rural Development Study Tour, where she gained experience in alternative enterprise development. Since 2005, she has counseled more than 200 food businesses and assisted in the start-up or launch of dozens of new enterprises. She has received numerous awards and honors including the President’s Citation and Distinguished Service Award both from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents and, on multiple occasions, the National Association of Counties Achievement Award.

 Kathy Surratt, 4-H youth agent, joined MSU Extension in 1978 as an Extension 4-H youth program assistant in Monroe County. Kathy became the Extension 4-H youth agent in Barry County in 1981 and worked in this position for 30 years. She was responsible for managing, developing and maintaining an MSU Extension 4-H program of 56 clubs and more than 900 members. She has received numerous awards, including the Michigan State University Diversity Award, Michigan 4-H Distinguished Service Award and the National 4-H Distinguished Service Award. She also received a Presidential Citation from the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth staff and an Exceptional Performance Award.


Van Virgil Varner, district Extension educator, joined MSU Extension in June 1978 as an Extension crops agent in Huron County. In 1981, he became the Gratiot County Extension director. He was a chair of the Greater Gratiot Development Organization, assisted the Gratiot County Renaissance Zones and helped found the Leadership Committee for a Countywide Strategic Plan resulting in the start of the Gratiot County Community Foundation. In March 1998, he served as the district farm management educator in southeastern Michigan until his retirement. He also served as the interim county Extension director of Livingston County for 18 months. Van has received numerous awards including the Extension Team Award for the Food System Economic Partnership, the NACAA Distinguished Service Award and an Extension Team Award for Gratiot County Extension.

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“Charting Our Course for Success” team wins ESP award

I’m pleased to congratulate the Michigan State University Extension “Charting Our Course for Success” team who has been honored by National Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) as the North Central Region’s team award recipient. The Michigan Alpha Psi chapter will recognize the group at the annual ESP meeting and joint association awards program at Kettunen Center in September.

 The team of Joseph Bixler, Shiawassee County Extension director; Mary Dunckel, Alpena County Extension director; Kathryn Stuever Foerster, senior program leader, professional development; Philip Kaatz, Lapeer County Extension director; Julie Ann Moberg, Delta County Extension director; Mary Bauer Robb, Muskegon County Extension director; Marie Ruemenapp, southeast regional director; and Matthew Shane, Lenawee County Extension director; was recognized for their work in conceiving and launching a distance education series for county Extension educators as well as other supervisory and managerial personnel.

 Every team member planned and facilitated sessions. Bixler, Foerster, Ruemenapp and Shane also served as instructors; Foerster and Kaatz tackled evaluation; and the team devised the marketing plan together. Resources included the Adobe Connect distance education system and expert presenters.

 “Charting Our Course for Success” evolved into a monthly series offered live via Adobe Connect and recorded for later viewing. Both leaders and participants have asked that the series be continued. The traditional model of face-to-face training can be a costly, time consuming, impractical and sometimes ineffective process. Online training is a cost-saving strategy in these difficult economic times that has proved to be an effective one. MSUE has proved it can lead the way with training that is award winning.

 The mission of ESP as a not-for-profit educational and charitable organization is to foster standards of excellence in the Extension System and to develop the Extension profession and the professional.

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