It may seem far away in the future, but November is right around the corner, so planning for the Michigan State University Extension Fall Extension Conference (FEC) is well under way. This year’s event will take place November 5-6 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Registration is $100 for the entire conference or $50 for a single day, including the MSU Extension and Key Partner Awards Dinner Banquet. Registration will open tomorrow, so keep an eye out for announcements from the Events Management team or look for additional information on the Fall Extension Conference website.
The theme of FEC this year is “The Extension Organization in the 21st Century and Beyond ‒ Systems, Structures and Working Relationships.” Ever since I have come back into my role as director of MSU Extension, I have been impressed with how much our organization has embraced new and upcoming resources to help us do our work, and the presenters that we have chosen to speak will help point out even more ways we can continue on with that momentum.
With the departure of Nancy Axtell, Julie Chapin, MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute director, has been working very closely with Mary Slevin of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Event Services to help put together the program. This year, ANR Event Services Headquarters and refreshments will be located in the Kellogg Center’s Lounge rather than in the hallway. The Michigan Council of Extension Associations (MCEA) Auction, ANR Tech Room (to answer your questions about technology and social media), Ask an Expert and more will be located in the Centennial Room.
Lodging is available at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. A discounted room rate of $81 per night will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For reservations, book online at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center website, and when searching for rooms select, “Click Here for Special Rates”, and enter group code EXT101414. You can also call 517-432-4000, and mention the group code EXT101414 to get your discounted rate.
If you have any questions, you can direct them to ANR Event Services at email@example.com or 517-353-3175, or you can follow Fall Extension Conference on Facebook to stay connected.
Watch for registration information to come out this Friday!
Robert (Bob) Kriegel, systems analyst in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Technology Services, has been busy. At the request of Dr. Suzanne Lang, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) associate dean of faculty and administrative affairs, he’s preparing a PowerPoint presentation on the ANR Events Management System and future directions. He shared with me a couple of the metrics he gathered during his analysis for that presentation, and I will share some of that with you now.
As you may have guessed, results of his analysis clearly illustrate the seasonality of Michigan State University Extension event-based programming, with both registrations and revenue peaking in mid- to late winter. You may not be aware though that over the last business quarter, gross monthly revenue is growing at a year-to-year rate of 2 to 3.8 times, so system usage is expanding at a rapid pace.
The events management system has been up and running since March 2012. Nearly 500 events have been created in the system, and more than 300 staff members have accounts in the system. This includes events and staff in MSU Extension, the CANR and AgBioResearch. I’m happy to report that Bob’s analysis shows that on Oct. 11, the events management system passed the $1 million mark for gross revenue, reached in less than 20 months.
Thanks, Bob, for sharing the data, and to the whole team (both ANR Technology Services and ANR Events Management Services) for making this a reality! Thanks also to the faculty and staff members in MSU Extension, the CANR and AgBioResearch who are using the system to manage their events!
Michigan State University Extension took on an initiative several years ago to develop an events management information system that would make it possible for someone to organize and manage a workshop, field day, training or other educational event in a way that economizes on staff time. We wanted something that was adaptable to the variety of programs we offer and that would allow participants to register online and pay their registration fee online if they desired. We wanted something that would mesh well with our financial system so that revenue would be allocated to the correct MSU account and expenses would be paid directly by MSU using funds in the designated account.
Colleagues in ANR Technology Services, particularly Bob Kriegel and Jim Brija, and in ANR Communications, particularly Megghan Honke, Betsy Braid and Katie Gallagher, have led the process of designing and implementing this system. The system went “live” in March 2012. In order to meet that target date, we agreed to start with a simplified system and then add functions and specialized applications as we gained experience with the system. I am pleased to report that, although the system is still being refined and further developed, and although challenges still need to be overcome, the system is working and MSUE staff are adopting it with greater frequency as their solution for helping to manage the business side of our educational program events.
From the beginning of April 2012 to Jan. 15, 2013, we had 117 events entered into the system. We served 3,589 participants in programs who registered in the system. And what’s particularly encouraging is that as we’ve attempted to balance the tension between statewide program priorities and more centralized support services with local program delivery, I see some sign that we’re managing that balance well. From these 117 events, we had people from every one of Michigan’s 83 counties enroll in the system. That even includes Schoolcraft County, where we currently do not have a partnership with the county nor an office nor staff in the county.
We have more improvements to make in the system, and as demand increases, we’re working to expand our staff dedicated to events management so it works as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you’ve used the system already, I hope you’ve let folks know about your experience. If you had challenges, please let the staff in ANR Communications know so they can address those in the system. If you’ve found it to be helpful, please let your colleagues know. The more we use this, the more we can make it relevant and efficient for all of our events management needs. Thanks to those who have helped to make this a reality and to those who have been pioneers in using the system. We CAN make the best better, and we’ll continue to work on this system with the 4-H motto as our driving principle.
The Event Services Team now offers additional in-person and online trainings regarding the Events Management System.
The team will hold several 3-hour in-person trainings throughout November and December. Attendees will get a refresher on how to build an event in the system as well as learn how to develop an event budget, manage an event from start to finish and discover the value of templates. Current trainings take place in Harrison and Port Huron and on campus. Check online at http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/eventresources for dates and to register. Scroll down to “In-Person Trainings” and click on the training you’d like to attend.
The team is currently planning additional trainings for the Grand Rapids and the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek areas. If you know of a computer lab that might be suitable for these trainings, please send that information to the Event Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three 1 ½-hour webinars specific to one area of the system will take place in October. Learn how to create your event in the system; how to manage your event from start to finish, including pulling reports and managing your roster; and learn the value of templates in simplifying your event creation process.
To register for a webinar, visit http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/eventresources, scroll down to “ANR Events Management Training Webinars” and click on the webinar you would like to attend.
The Event Services team is here to help. Just shoot them an email or give them a call to get your questions answered. Contact Megghan Honke or Betsy Braid at 517-353-3175 or by email at email@example.com.
In a past Spotlight and on this week’s Michigan State University Extension Update webinar, I talked about the new events management system developed by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications and ANR Technology Services that will be a great online resource for planning your events. Events management training is now available for registration. Visit http://web2.canr.msu.edu/inservice/coursetitle.cfm and scroll down to “Personal & Organizational Development, & Conferences.” You’ll see 13 sessions offered from January to June called “ANR Events Management Training 101.” Click on the session title for the date you are interested in to register for the session. Each session runs an hour and a half. After you have been through training, you will have access to a training site where you can practice entering your events before using the live system.
These are training sessions to get you ready to actually create your events using the events management registration system after Feb. 1. There will be online tutorials available starting in February as refreshers to what you learned at the training.
The Event Management Team also offers specific trainings on negotiating contracts, venues and space, food and beverage planning and guarantees, working with speakers and communications.
In addition to the webinars and registration training system, the ANR Event Management Team is here to help. Just shoot them an email or give them a call to get your questions answered. Contact Megghan Honke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-353-3175, ext. 229, or Betsy Braid at email@example.com or 517-432-1555, ext. 224.
In my last posting of 2011, I listed a lot of broad groupings of individuals whose work this past year was extremely valuable to our progress. One of those broad groupings was the Organizational Development Team, and that team includes the interim director of ANR Communications Kris Hynes and ANR Technology Services director Erica Ciupak. I’d like to highlight some of the work that came out of those two operations last year and that we’re pleased to see launch early this year.
As we anticipated reductions in support staff positions both on campus and off campus, we realized we would need to provide a more sophisticated system for managing events online by a wider array of staff and faculty. We have called upon our ANR Communications and ANR Technology Services to help develop just such a system. The new events management system will become available to all in late January. It will be a great online resource for planning your events, with features like tips and tricks from professional event planners, various templates, online registration and other resources. The initial version will have a full array of features, but we plan to add even broader service applications to the software as we learn from using it in the months ahead.
Megghan Honke and Betsy Braid, who work in events management for ANR Communications, gave an in-depth overview of the new system, including all of its features, during the Dec. 19 webinar. I encourage anyone who wasn’t able to be a part of the webinar to listen to it. The new events management system will be a great asset for Michigan State University Extension in the new year and into the future.
I wanted to thank those that helped create the system, including Megghan and Betsy, who brought a lot of great ideas to the table, and a special thanks to Jim Brija and Bob Kriegel with ANR Technology Services who did the painstaking work of building the site from the ground up and helped make those ideas a reality.