Tag Archives: eXtension institutional team

Extension staff member wins national technology award

Many of our Michigan State University Extension staff members are busy earning advanced degrees while continuing to work full-time for our organization. MSU Extension 4-H associate program leader Molly Frendo has not only been pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology and educational technology (EPET) at the MSU College of Education, she has also won a national award while balancing both worlds. Molly has been selected to receive the National University Technology Network (NUTN) 2013 Student Recognition Award.

NUTN is a consortium of higher education institutions that provides a networking and professional development arena for the advancement of teaching and learning. The NUTN Student Recognition Award recognizes students whose use of distance learning has been both exemplary and impactful in providing opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Molly received the award because of her use of technology in contributing to her work and in advancing her own goals personally.

MSU faculty members Punya Mishra and Leigh Graves Wolf nominated Molly for the award, which she’ll receive Sept. 17 in Albuquerque, N.M., at Network 2013, the NUTN annual conference.

Molly has been at the forefront of advancing technology in Extension, lending her expertise in the area of volunteer management and administration.

She helped create a virtual community of AmeriCorps volunteers through Moodle. She’s led and co-led a variety of workshops on technology on topics such as creating effective and engaging webinars, facilitating effective conference calls and using social networking in a professional manner. More recently, the topics have included using virtual communities to support volunteer retention and using technology to build capacity in volunteer administration. Additionally, she was the closing keynote speaker for the 2013 National Extension Conference on Volunteerism, where the title of her speech was “Finding your Sense of Adventure: Technology and the 21st Century Volunteer.”

In addition, she used MSUE-developed curriculum to teach Grand Valley State University undergraduate social work students about setting appropriate boundaries on- and offline. She was a project manager for the recently published 4-H mentoring curriculum Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit. She also helped launch 4-H Tech Wizards in Michigan.

Active in eXtension, she’s co-facilitated online professional development on both the Learn and Campus sides of the Internet-based collaborative environment. She co-leads the eXtension Community of Practice focused on volunteer administration. She serves on the 2014 National eXtension conference committee, the MSUE I-Team (eXtension Institutional Team) committee and the I-Team website committee. She received an I-Team award last year at Fall Extension Conference for use of technology in programming.

Molly said, “My work here in Extension never was really meant to focus on technology (which is kind of the funny thing!), but I got started in the area of technology through running the AmeriCorps program and using Moodle to do an online community there. It was so successful that we thought about the ways that it could be helpful in other 4-H volunteer environments. In doing this work, we’ve been able to envision the role that technology can and should play on a wider level within the Cooperative Extension Service. There’s a lot of potential for us to innovate how we serve the public and partner together across the country – but the skill set to do that effectively is a new one and we’re working on equipping everyone to do it well. I’ve really enjoyed my work in this area; it’s what prompted me to begin my Ph.D. in this area to be more prepared to serve Extension on a broad level.”

Congratulations, Molly! And thanks for sharing your innovative spirit with MSUE!

Read more here: http://edwp.educ.msu.edu/news/2013/phd-student-wins-national-recognition/

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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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MSUE educators honored as distinguished academic staff

Two Michigan State University Extension educators received MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Awards at the annual University Awards Convocation Feb. 14 at the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center. The awards presentation followed President Lou Anna K. Simon’s Founders’ Day Address and discussion of the 2012 State of the University report. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources honored the awardees with a reception prior to the ceremony in the atrium of Agriculture Hall.

 The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of academic specialists and MSU Extension academic staff members who serve the university in advising, curriculum development, outreach, extension, research and teaching.

 Roger A. Betz, senior Extension educator, is the person Michigan agricultural producers go to for help in all things financial. Since 1990, Roger has served as district Extension farm management educator, using a variety of educational methods to effectively disseminate knowledge. Roger is dedicated to assisting farmers to successfully manage their operations through sound financial practices. Roger has worked face to face with several hundred farm families to make sound business decisions that assist them in managing their tax obligations. These decisions lead to growth of the farm businesses and contribute to economic growth at the local and state levels.

Roger Betz

Roger Betz, senior Extension educator, received an MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Award on Feb. 14, 2012.

 He’s used the University of Minnesota’s FINPACK financial management software to help more than 600 Michigan farms manage their finances. He created and developed a worksheet to supplement FINPACK’s financial analysis, which was incorporated into this nationally used software.

 Roger has provided leadership and coordination for the TelFarm accounting program. His work with TelFarm producers not only benefits the farm families but also provides valuable research data for MSU. He developed several electronic tools designed to help producers make very complex decisions about whether to take part in various USDA programs.

 For 18 years, Roger has conducted two, full-day financial training sessions a year for Extension educators. He also developed and taught an intensive three-year training program to build his fellow Extension educators capacity and confidence in working with producers in financial and farm management.

 Roger is an innovator and effective leader who is passionate about helping both farmers and co-workers. And if anyone ever doubted that, they would have been convinced by the four farm families who attended the ceremonies on Tuesday because he has meant so much to them.

 Lela L. Vandenberg, senior Extension specialist, has served MSU Extension for the past 18 years.

 Lela formed MSU Extension’s LeadNet team, a professional development group composed of multiple teams collaborating to develop curricula and materials, conduct workshops and encourage leadership development in strategic planning, conflict resolution and team building. Several of these curricula were adopted by other organizations and in other states.

Lela Vandenberg

Lela Vandenberg, senior Extension educator, received an MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Award on Feb. 14, 2012.

 In 2009, Lela assisted the integration of MSU Extension into eXtension, the nationwide collaborative Web presence for Cooperative Extension. As team chair of the MSU eXtension Institutional Team, she promoted and implemented this new technology, ultimately changing how technology is used within Extension.

 She created a training process that helped us successfully conduct two virtual Fall Extension Conferences, the first of which was a weeklong conference attended by more than 600 staff with more than 100 online meetings. She took the lead in developing an extensive training process to orient staff to use Adobe Connect Pro to teach, collaborate and assist online conference training.

 As part of a team who worked intensely to engage MSU Extension horticulture staff in “Ask an Expert” training and use, Lela was instrumental in expanding horticulture information to residents across the state. She helped design and coordinate numerous online “Ask an Expert” training sessions for staff and Master Gardener volunteers.

 Simply put, she’s a leader in leadership. Her contagious enthusiasm encourages others to get involved and take the lead. We’ve known that around MSUE and perhaps we’ve taken it for granted. What’s been fun to see is how others around the country have discovered the wonderful colleague we have in Lela.

 Congratulations to both of you!

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eXtension selected for Google for Nonprofits program

The single nationwide Web presence for Cooperative Extension, eXtension, is another way U.S. land-grant universities provide objective and research-based information and learning opportunities that help people improve their lives.

Since the time our Michigan State University Extension eXtension Institutional Team (I-Team) was formed in Oct. 2009, we’ve made a lot of progress in the increased use and adoption of this Internet-based educational network by MSU Extension staff members and faculty. I’ve reported on that progress and even awards the I-Team has won for outstanding work with eXtension. Educators, specialists and faculty are answering questions on Ask An Expert, leading and participating in Communities of Practice (CoPs) and offering many professional webinars nationally through eXtension.

Recently, eXtension gained additional resources to further strengthen the interactive learning environment as our national “front door.” The eXtension Foundation, which exists to support the work of the national eXtension Initiative, has been selected to participate in the Google for Nonprofits program. Participating in the program gives eXtension access to a free or discounted version of Google Apps (applications). Through the Google grants program, eXtension will get free Adwords advertising and appear as an advertiser on Google search results pages, and have premium branding and increased uploads on YouTube as well as access to other applications. These products and resources will allow us to reach more potential donors or partners, raise awareness and improve business operations. Read about it here.

 The initial CoPs involved in the Google grants program will be DAIReXNET; Families, Food and Fitness; and Just in Time Parenting. Other CoPs will be included as knowledge and experience in participating in the nonprofits program is gained.

 Read more about the Google for Nonprofits Program: http://www.google.com/nonprofits/.

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eXtension earns an ‘A’ on report card

We have some exciting news to report regarding one of our principles of the redesign, “enhancing technology.” While there are many ways to measure our use of technology in carrying out our mission, one metric is the use of eXtension, the Internet-based collaborative environment where land-grand university content providers exchange research-based knowledge solving problems in real time. The 2010 report is out, and we’re surprised and encouraged by the progress we’ve made since our eXtension Institutional Team was formed in October 2009. This progress is thanks to many of YOU who are answering questions through Ask an Expert, leading and participating in Communities of Practice (CoP) with colleagues across the country, and offering national webinars to colleagues and the public. Here are some of the highlights of the most recent report comparing 2008–2010 data.

Metric 2008 2009 2010
Total Site Visits (number of individual sessions initiated by visitors to eXtension from Michigan) 25,626 54,069 66,589
Total Pageviews (number of pages viewed while at the eXtension site) 59,708 116,248 138,505
Answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions) Published by MSUE (peer reviewed and part of CoP) 35 17 58
Total Number of Questions Resolved by MSUE 152 264 723
eXtension IDs (total number of participating MSUE staff) 30 131 188

 Additionally, Michigan State University is represented by 146 eXtension members in 29 of the 47 approved Communities of Practice. And there’s more! To see the total state and institutional report for Michigan for the year 2010, go to the following website: http://tinyurl.com/eXtensionreport

 Also note that the Ask an Expert feature is now on the new MSU Extension website and Lela Vandenberg and Liz Wells are training an increasing number of individuals to respond to questions that come in through this feature as well as the Ask an Expert feature on the national website.

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