Each year, we have the opportunity to recognize our colleagues and partners for their outstanding work at our Fall Extension Conference. Industry, businesses, local government, media and specialists outside of our organization are just a few examples of effective partners that help us better serve the people of Michigan. It is important that we acknowledge the work and outreach that we are able to accomplish because of these powerful partnerships. Also, internally making time to appreciate each other and our work is an important part of our organizational culture. We have a grand-scale opportunity to acknowledge each other’s efforts. We hope that you will find time to team up and work on a nomination or two for this year’s Fall Extension Conference awards.
The following is a list of awards. You can find their descriptions and accompanying forms on SharePoint here.
- Diversity & Multiculturalism
- ESP Friend of Extension
- Gordon Guyer Cross-Institute Team
- Innovative Technology
- Institute Team
- Key Partner
- MCEA John Hannah Award
- Meritorious Service
- Outstanding Service to MSU Extension
You’ll need to submit your nomination and any required letters of support or documentation (refer to directions on each form) by Wednesday, June 1 to Katie Nicpon at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact her with any questions.
The Fall Extension Conference Awards Committee will meet in June to decide on award recipients who will be notified in early August. We look forward to honoring our colleagues and key partners with you in the fall.
Each year, our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension associations choose a representative to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference held in Washington, D.C. This year, April 10 through April 13, a large Extension crew attended. MSU Extension educators Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and me.
On Monday, we took part in several sessions focused on the conference theme ‒ Innovation: The Story of Extension. One thought that I really want to share is that MSU Extension is an agency that helps people across the lifespan from the cradle to the grave. We have an impact on our communities and our neighbors throughout their lives. It is such a powerful imprint that we are privileged to impart. Through our work, we as individuals and as an organization leave our legacies in the communities that we serve.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet with our senators and congressional representatives, and their staff members and thank them for their continuing support of MSU Extension. MSU Extension receives federal funding through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established the Cooperative Extension Service, and every year we say, “thank you,” and share the great work that we do because of their investment.
Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler, Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Gary Peters.
A final important highlight for me personally was the opportunity to get to know my MSU Extension colleagues and learn about the work that you’re doing and the outstanding impact that you’re making. In a world where we’re wearing so many hats and sometimes only see the faces of those we share offices with, it is so important to have opportunities to meet each other and get to know each other from all over the state.
This is the second in our series of articles about how our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension colleagues are connecting with stakeholders, if you have a story that you’d like to share, send an email to Katie Nicpon at email@example.com. We hope these stories will honor the efforts you are making, encourage you, and give you ideas on the strategic partnerships and connections that are in your area.
This month, I’d like to highlight the strategic connections and partnerships that MSU Extension program assistant Maria Millet is making in Saginaw County. Maria took on MSU Extension’s Early Childhood program and implemented the new 8-week parent workshop Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES). MSU Extension educator Gail Innis shared that Maria had a plan for making new contacts, rebuilding existing partnerships and staying open to possibilities. In the past year, she has developed relationships with multiple individuals and agencies that are helping unite Extension’s BEES program with interested participants.
Because of Maria’s efforts, agencies such as Early Head Start and Head Start offered space for Building Early Emotional Skills classes. Health Delivery Inc., the Saginaw Housing Commission and the Housing Resource Center are recruiting participants for upcoming classes they will be hosting together.
The Commission on Aging partners with Maria and MSU Extension. They agreed to aid BEES by providing supervised activities for the children of parents who are attending the series. Maria partners with Foster Grandparents, and individuals over the age of 55 who qualify are eligible to provide supervision for the children.
Maria also built a unique partnership with Dawn of a New Day. This local coffee shop provides catering services weekly for one of Maria’s parenting series. Dawn of a New Day also provided a connection that allowed her to bring WNEM TV 5 to MSU Extension on the day of the program’s open house. The local TV coverage allowed them to air on the morning show about every 15 minutes over a 2-hour period.
From agencies partnering to provide space and recruit participants, to catering and TV spotlight, Maria’s strategic connection building has caused the BEES program to flourish.
As this is my last Spotlight, I thought I would spend a little time reviewing all that we (meaning ALL of us – and especially you) have accomplished in the last year or so. At the 2014 Fall Extension Conference, we set out to make some adjustments in Michigan State University Extension that we felt would help improve the organization. We set up a series of committees and task forces including strategic connections, issue identification, MI PRS (Michigan Extension Planning and Reporting System) improvement, mentoring and several more. It was great to see how many of you engaged in these committees and proved without a doubt how much you care for MSUE. I was also really pleased to see very thoughtful work that each of the teams in each institute put into strategic and staffing plans. These forward-looking documents, along with the information gathered through issue ID, will help guide MSUE toward that more “colorful future” that interim director Maggie Bethel asked us to move toward in fall 2014. As we have talked about, teams are an important part of MSUE and that is how we “get things done.”
One team that has proven to be invaluable to me has been the administrative team that also consists of the institute directors, district coordinators, and budget and human resources leadership, along with associate director of operations Patrick Cudney and me.. I can’t thank them enough for all of the work that they do on behalf of MSUE. Patrick, in particular, has been invaluable in helping me navigate through the many issues that face the Director’s Office and the organization.
Equally important has been the outstanding support that I have received from Terri Badgley, Julie Delgado and Katie Nicpon – the folks that really run the Director’s Office. Just saying thank you very much hardly approaches the deep appreciation I have for all that they have done for me. These three folks also provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all who visit the office here in the Morrill Hall of Agriculture – and this is the sense of welcome that radiates throughout all of MSUE.
It has been a real privilege to serve MSUE over the last 18 months, and this time has been one of the most rewarding of my 35-year career at MSU. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know more of you and learning more about what MSUE does across the state. I also know that I leave you in very good hands with the new interim director Jeff Dwyer, Patrick and the entire administrative team.
As I look ahead, what I see for MSUE is perhaps best paraphrased from a Timbuk3 song – “MSUE’s future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.” Best wishes for the future and thanks for all of your great work!