Tag Archives: joint council of extension professionals

Staff and leadership learn how to work with elected officials

Just recently, Michigan State University Extension colleagues Roxanne Turner, Phil Tocco, Holly Tiret, Ann Chastain and Bethany Prykucki, along with Mike Kovacic, director of stakeholder relations in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Katie Frey from the Director’s Office and I had the good fortune to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development conference in Washington, D.C. April 12‒15. This conference is hosted by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals.

We went to meetings, trainings and programs as part of the conference, which provided invaluable experience about how to communicate with elected officials. During our time in Washington D.C., we met with several elected officials and legislative aids, where we could put our skills to use in practicing good communication and advocating effectively for MSU Extension. I was very proud to see how each of our educators explained the great work they do for the Michigan citizens they work with. As a group, we also met Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, who is already a great supporter of MSU Extension.

Having strong, effective relationships with our elected officials is crucial for their continued support of MSU Extension. This program was a great step in helping some of our staff members learn the best way to get involved.

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MSU Extension staff members receive NAE4-HA national awards

At the Galaxy IV Conference Sept 16‒20 in Pittsburgh, Pa., two Michigan State University Extension staff members received National Association of Extension 4-H Agents national awards.

Extension program instructor Jan Wendland received the National Meritorious Service Award, a national award for staff members with 15 years of service in 4-H youth work. Recipients must previously have won the National Distinguished Service Award prior to being nominated.

Jan has been a 4-H volunteer for 50 years. She started working for MSU Extension in 1984 as a program assistant, eventually becoming program coordinator. Aside from encouraging volunteers and youth to attend training workshops and events, Jan has accomplishments ranging from event planning to hosting training sessions. Jan planned, organized and chaperoned three bus trips of more than 200 youth to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus in Washington, D.C. Through Jan’s leadership, many young people have experienced state exchanges. As part of The Academic Success Science work team, Jan has helped plan, organize and teach sessions at the Michigan 4-H Science Camp statewide science workshop for the last three years.

During her 4-H career, Jan has written and received several grants. One particular grant she worked on helped develop a 4-H in-school and after-school club with a focus on gardening, community service and entrepreneurship.

Recently, Jan helped 4-H youth in Saginaw County promote a community service project, raising poultry and donations for the Saginaw East Side Soup Kitchen.

Her commitment to quality 4-H programing has had an impact with many young people in Saginaw County.

Extension educator Betty Jo Nash received the National Achievement in Service Award, a national award for staff members with 3 to 7 years of service in 4-H youth work. Applicants are evaluated on professional attitude, improvement and accomplishments as well as personal attitudes and interests, community involvement and special honors received.

Betty Jo worked as the 4-H Extension educator in Cass County from 2005 through 2007, and in Ingham County from 2008 to the present. Betty Jo has played an integral role in helping the county 4-H program transition through staff downsizing.

She has had responsibility for overall program management and financial oversight for up to 60 clubs and committees, administering the volunteer selection process for new volunteers and maintaining current records on more than 300 volunteers per year, as well as communicating with club leaders and members.

She has helped recruit and secure funding for 4-H members to attend 4-H educational opportunities. She has also had responsibility for maintaining the local 4-H website and worked on a number of local educational initiatives.

Most recently, Betty Jo is a member of the Life Skills work team within the Academic Success area of the Children and Youth Institute. She has provided leadership to one of the major undertakings of the work team, authoring the work team’s educational curriculum.

Every five years, the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) sponsors and provides leadership for a Galaxy Conference for the Cooperative Extension System. The conference invites participation from all JCEP organizations, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and other partners critical to the Extension mission.

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Galaxy IV: Making connections with colleagues from across the U.S.

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have been in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this week, attending the Galaxy Conference IV. Galaxy is a conference that is organized and managed by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals, JCEP. It is held every five years and what is most remarkable about it to me is that it is put on by Extension colleagues representing all of the professional Extension associations. In the intervening four years, each professional association holds its own national conference, but once in every five years, we all come together to share presentations about the work and scholarship of Extension professionals and to hear from thought leaders in our work. I’ve just returned (early) from Galaxy myself and learned some valuable new lessons and developed ideas that can help us in our own advancement of Extension in Michigan. Rather than convey just one person’s reflections on Galaxy, I’d like to invite those of you who attended to share some of your insights from the conference as you reflect and return to your work in Michigan. Please use the comments box to share your reflections on something that you brought back from Galaxy and that you think may be of value to your colleagues in MSU Extension. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts in this way.


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Two Extension specialists honored for teamwork in eXtension

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals recognized Christine Skelly, associate professor of animal science and Michigan State University Extension specialist, and Karen Waite, MSU Extension specialist, with its Excellence in Teamwork award for their contributions as members of the eXtension HorseQuest Community of Practice (CoP). The annual award encourages and recognizes successful Extension team programs or projects that demonstrate effective performance and significant result impacts at community, area, state or multi-state levels.

The two were co-founders of My Horse University, a national online horse management program for horse enthusiasts based at MSU and created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU Global. My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest partner in the shared goal of bringing easily accessible science-based information to equine aficionados.

 Other members of the team and recipients of the award are Betsy Greene, University of Vermont; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Krishona Martinson, University of Minnesota; and Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland.

 Collaborating with national experts, the HorseQuest team has developed and maintained www.extension.org/horses, which provides information about horse health, care, management and training through interactive learning lessons, webinars, basic information and “Ask an Expert.”

 Congratulations to Christine, Karen and the other members of the HorseQuest team. This is a great example of collaborating between partners in education as well as the use of innovative technology to reach the goal of educating the public. Thank you for your leadership.

 Read more about the award and eXtension HorseQuest here.

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