Several Michigan State University Extension staff members shared their knowledge and expertise with the national 4-H community at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) Conference held October 26‒30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This was a great opportunity for MSU Extension to expand our reach to a nationwide audience of our peers.
Deb Barrett, Frank Cox and Janice Zerbe presented on the Career Exploration and Workforce Preparation work group’s National 4-H curriculum “Build Your Future: Choices… Connections… Careers.” Health and nutrition experts Janet Olsen and Karen Pace presented “Be SAFE” – to help addressing bullying in 4-H and other out-of-school settings. Judy Ratkos and Jennifer Weichel joined a panel conversation on using data to creatively make the case for 4-H, and Kendra Moyses, Betty Jo Nash and Jodi Schulz presented “Back to the Basics” – life skills curriculum packages to help 4-H leaders increase their impact. Three staff members, Christine Heverly, Glenda Kilpatrick and Janice Zerbe, were also recognized at the event for their service to Michigan 4-H.
Fifteen Michigan State University Extension academic staff members have made use of the tuition assistance program initiated in 2007 to help them complete a master’s degree while working for MSU Extension. In October 2006, MSUE changed the criteria for employment as an MSUE academic staff member (educator, specialist or program leader) to include a minimum educational requirement of a master’s degree. Staff members already employed by MSUE who did not have a master’s degree were not required to complete a degree, but MSUE initiated a tuition benefit program for those who decided they did want to complete a master’s degree while working full time for MSUE. Staff members are free to choose any accredited institution and graduate program that aligns with their role with MSUE, and many have found online or hybrid online and face-to-face programs that adapted to their work and family responsibilities. The first graduates completed their degrees in 2009, and we still have colleagues making use of the program. Listed below are those taking part in the program, grouped by the year in which they have or will complete degrees:
2009: Lisa Bottomley, Kendra Moyses, Jodi Schulz
2010: Beth Clawson, Diane Smith, Donna Turner, Janice Zerbe
2011: Laura Anderson, Eileen Haraminac, Rebecca Henne, Gail Innis, Stephanie Marino, Jackelyn Martin
2012: Janis Brinn, Kendra Wills
For more information on the tuition benefit program, please contact MSUE HR manager Nancy Axtell. You can find more information on the program in our administrative handbook at http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/revision_id.595847/workspace_id.282708/Tuition%20Asst%20Procedures_01_2011.doc/