Tag Archives: ruth borger

MSU Extension Communications Team cleans house for ACE awards

Congratulations to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Communications Team! They will be given prestigious awards and recognition at the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) Annual Conference coming up in June in Memphis, Tennessee. The ACE Critique and Awards program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The MSU Extension Communications Team will receive three gold awards.

They will receive a gold award in the special reports category for their work on the MSU Extension and AgBioResearch Legislative Report, coordinated by Sean Corp. Others on the Legislative Report team who contributed to writing, designing and editing included Patricia Adams, James Dau, Katie Gervasi, Nichole Hersch, Cindy Hudson, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape, Jamie Wilson and Holly Whetstone.

In addition, the team of Nichole Hersch, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will receive the gold award in the issues management category for their work on Avian Influenza Epidemic: Managing Tough Issues Across Multiple Audiences. Others contributing to the avian influenza project include Patricia Adams, Alicia Burnell, Kraig Ehm, Leslie Johnson, Rebecca McKee, Samantha Proud and Marian Reiter. As a bonus, the project also won an Outstanding Professional Skill award, given to the entry that rises to the top of all the gold award winners.

Beth Stuever will receive the ACE Pioneer Award, which recognizes communicators who demonstrate exceptional leadership as well as technical skills, and make significant contributions to ACE during their first 10 years of ACE membership. Beth received the award for her service in many leadership positions contributing to the excellence of the profession, actively presenting at multiple conferences and engaging with ACE Learning Communities. Additionally, Beth supported colleagues and team members in their engagement with ACE and provided resources for them to participate at the annual conference.

The MSU Extension Communications Team is also highly engaged in the conference itself ‒ presenting three sessions. Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will partner with Iowa State’s Egg Industry Center to offer a session on avian influenza regarding stakeholders, timelines and actions. Beth will partner with her former supervisor, former MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications director Ruth Borger (now the vice president of communications at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) to present a session on time management. Mindy and Tom Cummins will present a session on keys to increasing productivity.

We are extremely proud of our MSU Extension Communications Team and and how the caliber of their work and the work of others involved is being recognized at a national level. Please join me in congratulating them on their awards.

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Welcome to the new director of ANR Communications

Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications has a new director as of Dec. 10. Doug Brinklow comes to the role with more than 25 years of communications and marketing experience. He has held leadership roles at Dow Chemical with responsibilities in media, publications, brand strategy, product communications, advertising, marketing, video publications and social media. Recently, he was director of global marketing and communication and corporate advertising for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and communication advisor to the president of ADM’s global corn processing business.

Doug is coming home, so to speak, as he obtained his bachelor’s degree here at Michigan State University in agriculture and natural resources communications.

Doug is very excited about returning to his alma mater.

“I half expect the theme to ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ to break out when I walk the halls of the Ag building. I have nothing but great memories about my time here and now I get a chance to help keep everything moving forward for the university, college, MSU Extension and AgBioResearch. How cool is that?” Doug said.

He’s looking forward to working with staff and merging his corporate experiences within the university framework.

Doug said, “The people I’ve met during the interview process are great. So I feel like I’m starting out with a fine team in place. I will really enjoy learning more about the differences and similarities between the corporate world and business side of the academic world. I know I will be able to bring a fresh creative perspective to our objectives here, and I’m ready to dig in and start climbing the new-job learning curve. I’m energized and ready to go.”

With the departure of former ANR Communications director Ruth Borger in November 2011, Kris Hynes, senior associate to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, generously took on the role of interim ANR Communications director. We appreciate Kris’ guidance and leadership during this past year.

As you may know, ANR Communications is now part of MSU Extension. I’ll be working closely with Doug in his role as we both work closely with CANR Dean Fred Poston and MSU AgBioResearch Director Steve Pueppke to get the word out to our stakeholders and the public about the difference our work makes in the lives of Michigan residents and communities.

Thank you, Kris, and welcome, Doug!

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Help us keep the new website’s soft launch from having a rough landing

If you listened to my April 2 webinar and read the email that went out immediately following its conclusion, you know that we’ve launched a temporary site for our new MSU Extension website.

 I know I sound like a broken record, but please DO NOT share this site with others or bookmark it. It’s just a temporary location for everyone to see and the URL will change to our standard msue.msu.edu when it is formally launched.

 My thanks to ANR Technology Services (who developed the framework) and ANR Communications (the folks who are populating the site). They’ve done a great job.

 But I want to stress again that the site would not be possible without the work of our educators and specialists who identified the more than 80 categories that make up the site’s structure. They provided category descriptions and identified programs and resources. They’ve been delivering volumes of new content to the site every month.

 You’ll notice that since this site is temporary, certain features (like the search feature) are not functioning yet. Not to worry. We intend to have the search feature up and running in the final product. When I say “final,” I don’t mean static. This will be a dynamic website. We’ll regularly add up-to-date information from knowledgeable sources – our educators and specialists – that will keep bringing people back to the site. I’m confident reliable content coupled with ease of use will make this site one that’s visited often.

 Please share your ideas and information for the site with ANR Communications by April 16. Let ANR Communications know if there are any broken links or inaccuracies (such as in county contact information) or if you have questions or suggestions about the information that the site contains.

 Please send changes and comments to your institute’s representative within ANR Communications:

 Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute: Beth Stuever
Children and Youth Institute: Michelle Lavra
Greening Michigan Institute: Sean Corp
Health and Nutrition Institute: Katie Alexander

 You may also submit feedback or changes to this ANR Communications department email address.

 The site will close from April 16 to 23 for final adjustments. It will go live April 24. I hope that you are as pleased as I am about the outcome of all the work and looking forward to the positive comments from the folks who visit.

 I want to call out once again our colleagues from ANR Tech services and ANR Communications who helped keep us moving along: Dennis Bond, Kim Maida, along with Director Erica Ciupak from ANR TS and Sean Corp, Katie Alexander, Kathy Raphael, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Michelle Lavra, Steve Evans, Laura Probyn, Fran Adelaja, and Mindy Pratt (whose name I missed on Monday) from ANR Communications, along with former Director Ruth Borger and Interim Director Kris Hynes. Thanks to all of you for keeping us moving forward!

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ANR Communications director honored at reception

Dr. Ruth Hohl Borger was honored Nov. 16 at a reception in the Agriculture Hall Atrium on her last day as director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. Ruth has accepted a position as assistant vice president at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Borger led the department through restructuring during a time of financial uncertainty. She also took the lead on the development of a revamped Michigan State University Extension website and MSU Extension Bookstore, and launch of MSU Extension News. Kris Hynes, senior associate to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will serve as interim director. Kris will continue in her current responsibilities while serving in this interim capacity.

Congratulations to Dr. Borger! We’ll miss her enthusiasm, optimism and drive to innovate under challenging conditions. Thanks, Ruth!

Dr. Ruth Hohl Borger was honored Nov. 16, 2011, at a reception in the MSU Agriculture Hall Atrium on her last day as director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications

Dr. Ruth Hohl Borger was honored Nov. 16, 2011, at a reception in the MSU Agriculture Hall Atrium on her last day as director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. Photo by Katie Alexander.

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Michigan State eXtension shines nationally

Michigan State University Extension came off a winner at the 2011 National CoP (Communities of Practice) Workshop in Louisville, Ky., June 29, earning both a team award and an individual award for work with eXtension, the nationwide collaborative web presence for Cooperative Extension.

 The Institutional Teams from MSU and the University of Missouri received the first ever Be Grow Create awards for outstanding work in advocating for and integrating eXtension into their respective institutions. The award recognizes outstanding teams for planning, creativity, organized activities, web conference attendance, director interaction and institutional engagement.

 Team members are Wayne Beyea, Ruth Borger, Erica Ciupak, Kathe Hale, Michelle Rodgers, Chris Skelly, Lela Vandenberg and Liz Wells. Glenn Pape and Erica Tobe were also team members the first year the team was organized in 2009.

 The Institutional Team, known as the I-Team, has made significant strides in the two years since its inception. Most notable are the increases in eXtension IDs, Ask an Expert (AaE) resolved questions and CoP membership. An eXtension ID allows an educator or specialist to contribute to eXtension by answering questions or collaborating with CoPs. Given the strength and commitment of the team’s members and their ongoing effort to promote eXtension involvement, these increases should continue.

 Lela Vandenberg, senior MSU Extension specialist, was one of three recipients of eXtension’s first Be Grow Create Outstanding Institutional Team Member award. The award recognizes her responsiveness and engagement with MSU on behalf of eXtension, her role in institutional team development and sustainability, and eXtension advocacy.

 As chair, Lela has been the driving force behind the eXtension I-Team. She created a series of how-to handouts that have been shared widely. Her online AaE experiential training has dramatically increased staff involvement. More than 150 people have taken the hands-on course. After training, staff members feel competent and excited to answer questions on AaE.

 Lela has shown herself to be a tremendous advocate for eXtension. She’s presented at professional association meetings and statewide conferences to introduce eXtension to the MSUE community, encouraging participation. Lela has worked with the marketing and promoting subcommittee to recruit faculty and staff involvement. Through her leadership, MSU eXtension IDs have gone from 30 in 2008 to 223 in the first six months of 2011.

 The I-Team with Lela at the helm is helping to carry out two of the principles of our redesign – increasing responsiveness and adopting emerging technologies. Clearly, we are doing both with eXtension and winning awards in the process.

 Read more about the I-Team’s win here: http://about.extension.org/2011/07/03/michigan-state-missouri-honored-as-outstanding-institutional-teams/

 Read more about Lela’s win here: http://about.extension.org/2011/07/03/hunnings-hurt-vandenberg-honored-with-be-grow-create-awards/

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FEC10 now in progress

As I write this, our Michigan State University Extension first-ever virtual fall conference is still in progress. We have another full day of concurrent sessions waiting for us today. I have received some great feedback about the online format, most of it positive, and all of it constructive. We’ve had record-breaking attendance. We’ve also had some technological glitches, which certainly are frustrating, but also come with the pledge to “learn by doing.” I’ve been overwhelmed by the examples I’ve seen of colleagues simply adapting and moving on with their presentations, just as they would if they were using a slide projector and the bulb blew out during their presentation. We have some pretty cool performers among us!

 Some people have been able to attend who have never before experienced our Fall Extension Conference because they were not able to travel to the conference site.

 There is a wealth of information being shared. I wish I could attend all of the sessions – and fortunately we can attend them “after the fact” by viewing the recorded session. Remember if you watch a recording that you can’t raise your hand or enter a question on the chat. Believe me, I’ve tried.

 District Day gave us a chance to meet and network in person. And the institute directors did a fantastic job yesterday guiding their institute members through some really important discussions about our logic models and their implementation. And don’t forget the fun activities offered up by the Inspiration Committee. Have you shared photos on the Facebook page, looked for Sparty on the Fall Extension Conference site, joined in discussion in the virtual lounge or taken part in the scavenger hunt? I’m still seeking a Twitter coach who specializes in introverts.

 I’m looking forward to Friday when we can view posters and find out who won the fun diversions. Associate director Steve Lovejoy will provide a wrap-up to the week – be prepared to share your reactions during that session AND in the survey that you’ll receive in the days ahead to help us learn what we can improve on as we apply this immersion experience to program planning for stakeholders and for fellow Extension professionals.

 Thanks to the many people who worked behind the scenes to make this virtual conference a success. Earlier this week, Associate director Michelle Rodgers observed that a year ago and even six months ago, we couldn’t have done this. We wouldn’t have had the Information Technology infrastructure nor the skills for so many of our staff to present programs on-line or to participate in on-line sessions. Many have contributed to our preparations, and particularly the FEC10 planning committee, our organizational development team (whom you met in the lead-in to Monday afternoon’s awards session), and particularly our ANR Information Technology staff, led by Erica Ciupak, and represented especially by Luke Reese and our ANR Communications staff, led by Ruth Borger, and represented especially by Megghan Honke, and our professional development staff, Kathy Foerster and Lela Vandenberg. We don’t have our IT infrastructure fully implemented yet, but based on what we’ve experienced so far, I’m really looking forward to what ANR IT has in the plans for us. Thanks to so many for helping to get us ready for this!

 As I said in my opening comments on Monday, borrowing from Jim Collins (Good to Great), we’re not looking for these technological skills and assets to create the changes that we need to implement, but we certainly hope that they can accelerate the changes that we are putting into place!

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