by Steve Lovejoy, Michigan State University Extension associate director
Over the past few years, Michigan State University Extension has stressed three things: specialization, accountability and marketing.
As the information needs of our clientele become more specific, each of us needs to be more specialized to adequately meet those needs as well as answer their questions and concerns. Our success is reflected by the improved relations with stakeholders.
Accountability – organizationally and individually:
We have made great strides in being deliberate about our plans of work and measuring the impacts of our programs on the residents of Michigan. These efforts are reflected, in part, by the strong support from the Legislature and county boards.
The statistics on the growth of visits to our website are truly amazing. They are the direct consequence of the content that all staff write on a regular basis. This builds support for MSU Extension and greater knowledge about what we can contribute.
Each of us, as educators, specialists, and faculty, has a responsibility to:
- Develop our individual area of expertise.
- Assist in developing the plan of work (POW) for our work group; that is how we better ensure that ALL of the stakeholder needs in areas of our expertise are addressed.
- Assist in work group activities, including evaluation.
- Develop our own individual plan of work that is encompassed within the work group POW.
- Report those activities and impacts so that our funders will enable us to continue to assist individuals, families, businesses and communities in Michigan.
Keep up the great work. While Tom and I will not be here to guide you, remember MSUE is an organization made up of more than 500 staff members that are increasingly nimble and resilient.
Last week, I gave you a real-life example of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer another example.
Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF) assists youth mentoring programs in the training of new and existing mentors and other youth-serving organizations in training volunteers working with young people. Nearly 88 percent of sales of the curriculum came from outside Michigan. MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, the project’s director, attributes national interest to the multiple presentations presented by MSU Extension staff members at national conferences. These included the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Orlando, Fla., the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism in Frankenmuth, Mich., and the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition, staff members did a workshop at the 4-H National Mentoring Program grantee training. This year, Lisa will present a workshop and promote curriculum at a table at the training in January. Two out of the five hours she spends training will be on the curriculum. She and associate program leader Molly Frendo will also present two sessions on the curriculum at the National Mentoring Summit again this January.
Lisa found that articles she wrote for the MSU Extension website has drawn in interested customers. Articles such as “Why Boundary Setting Matters in Mentor-mentee Relationships,” contain Lisa’s contact information, encouraging readers to contact her for additional information or mentor training materials.
Some even have obtained permission to adapt some of the sections to their curriculum. The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) adapted material from Ready to Go for their twin Peer Mentoring guides, one for family support practitioners and one for family support volunteers. (See the section on boundaries in each guide.)
Next week, I’ll tell you about another curriculum and how two of our colleagues marketed it.
Has this happened to you? You may be getting ready for a workshop or sending out some information to the people we serve and you realize you need the proper Michigan State University Extension wordmark to insert in your newsletter or you need an MSU Extension PowerPoint template to prepare for a workshop you’re giving. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications website has the solution to your graphic identity crisis.
Visit anrcom.msu.edu. Using the dropdown box under the “Tools” menu item, choose “MSU Extension Graphic Identity.” On this Web page (anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/msue_graphics), you’ll find MSU Extension wordmarks with helpful descriptions indicating how and when to use various Extension wordmark file formats. You’ll find information on purchasing letterhead, business cards, name badges and apparel as well as templates for PowerPoint presentations, brochures, flyers and certificates – even a link to the MSU brand and graphic identity standards.
Note that high resolution MSUE wordmark files (large file size) are located within the “Logos and Graphics” area in the ANR Communications SharePoint site. You’ll also find samples of MSU Extension banner artwork stored in this location.
To find CANR, MSU AgBioResearch, Project GREEEN and 4-H logos, graphics, templates and brand information go to anrcom.msu.edu and click directly on the “Tools” menu item, which will take you to anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/tools. On this page, in addition to graphics and templates, you’ll also find links to media release forms, Web guidelines and a curriculum development guide.
If you know of other graphics or templates you believe would be useful to add to these collections, please contact ANR Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.