Tag Archives: organizational culture

Happy Holidays from the Director’s Office!

While many of us are settling into vacations after the inevitable flurries of end-of-the-year due dates, I wanted to send you all one last Spotlight for 2014. You have a lot to be proud of this year, as we’ve worked to transition through administration changes and at the same time focus on building an organizational culture that reflects the values we live by every day.

Coming back to Michigan State University Extension for these past six months has been an honor and a privilege for me. As I’ve said before, Extension has been part of my life for many years, and being asked to come back into the role of director was just like coming home.

A lot has happened in six months, but these are some of the things I’d like to highlight as the great work you’ve all done in that time:

  • Michigan 4-H received a grant to fund a volunteer recruitment campaign – the final numbers of new volunteers aren’t yet in, but the increased visibility for Michigan 4-H was a huge opportunity for MSU Extension. Thank you to everyone who helped push out the messages and handle additional intake in your offices – it was a team effort and your hard work across the board is what made it possible.
  • Leaders in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are feeling positive about food and agriculture in Michigan. The results of the recent Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI) reflect their optimistic outlook. In addition, their confidence in our state’s economy overall is climbing. The Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) as well as your consumer outreach is helping the producers feel like they have a bright future in Michigan.
  • As part of our Civil Rights review that took place over the summer, we proved that we are reaching the audiences in close demographic comparison in categories of race and gender, which is a step in the right direction toward our value of diversity.
  • We all contributed to an important conversation about what is strong and what needs work in the organizational culture of MSU Extension. I’m excited to see us all work towards the goals that we laid out in Fall Extension Conference this year, and hope that we can continue to add more “color” to our future.

Whatever holidays you’re celebrating as the year draws to a close, I hope that you’re spending them relaxing with your families and friends. Reflect on the great work you’ve done this year and the exciting plans you have in store for next year. I will be handing the reigns over to Ray Hammerschmidt as your new interim director on January 1, and I know that I am leaving you in capable hands. We have an extremely competent administrative team and you are all a very talented work force! It’s been a privilege to work with you all again, and look forward to seeing many of you in the new year as I transition into working with the District Councils. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Here’s your chance to shape FEC speaker’s message

I’m excited to let you know that Keith Smith, director of the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, OSU associate vice president for agricultural administration and associate dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has just agreed to speak on the organizational culture of Extension at Fall Extension Conference (FEC), which takes place Nov. 5-6 at the Kellogg Center.

This is great news, not only because Dr. Smith is an excellent speaker, but also because we have the opportunity to help shape his message specifically to Michigan State University Extension. How is that possible? As you know from emails sent out from my office and from human resources director Nancy Axtell, MSU Extension is working with the other states in the North Central Region to take part in the North Central Region Extension Organizational Culture Survey. Dr. Smith heads that very survey and he will use the keynote address at FEC to give us direct results on the Michigan portion of the survey. Our level of participation in that survey will influence the relevance of the talk. What we put in will determine what we get back. We need to do our homework to make sure the response is representative of a wide cross section of our state. Your responses will be very useful as we move forward. Don’t miss this opportunity!

We need your participation! This includes not only educators but also clerical staff, specialists, communication managers – anyone with a 25 percent or greater Extension appointment or equivalent responsibilities.

The survey takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. It presents a set of 60 statements that describe various aspects of an organization’s culture. Statements cover making decisions, working in teams, working with others across the organization and creating change, among other things. You’ll be given the chance to indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement by rating each on a scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” You can select “neutral” when you neither agree or disagree. You can also select “N/A” when an item is not applicable. When complete, you will have a chance to review your answers and make changes if necessary.

Look for another email on Friday from Nancy Axtell containing the survey link. The email will contain additional information about the survey.

The survey closes on July 30. Please take advantage of this exciting opportunity.

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