banner image for Fall Extension Conference

Session 1 – 10:15-11:10 a.m.

Can I have your Attention Please? Let’s Get Physical!

Kristi Evans

Adding physical activity into your classes can help improve classroom behavior and increase participants concentration throughout your lesson. With this in mind, this workshop will give you tools and activities to help you add more physical activity into your youth and adult classes or meetings. If you attend this workshop, be ready to move, one of the best ways to learn is by doing it yourself! We will be going over techniques on adding physical activity to your everyday common lesson plan, as well as quick activities to fill 5 minutes of down time and finally some attention getters to use physical activity to get participants back on track after the classroom gets too loud. At the conclusion of the workshop you will leave with new ideas to help make Michigan Residents more physically active!

Climate change in Michigan: trends, impacts on stakeholders, and the new MSU Extension Climate Change Academy

Jeff Andresen, Julie Doll, and Brian Klatt

During this session, hear from MSU professor and Michigan State Climatologist Jeff Andresen on trends in temperature, precipitation, and other variables that Michigan is experiencing. We will discuss how these impact our stakeholders across all MSU Extension Institutes. We will conclude with an overview of a new learning opportunity for MSU Educators: an online Climate Change Academy offered through D2L. This academy, put together by MSU Extension‘s Climate Outreach Team, may be used to increase the capacity of educators and staff across Extension and pieces of it can be incorporated into programming for your stakeholders.

Climate Change Outreach Team

Climate Change Presentation

Food Safety for Food Fundraisers

Jane Hart and Lisa Treiber

If you often find yourself preparing food for the public or for a meeting, or if you use food as a fundraising, you can’t afford to miss this session! Learn about the importance of food safety when preparing foods for the public, especially for fundraisers. Food safety experts will cover everything from bake sales to hot items sold during 4-H and other functions. Leave this session equipped to safely prepar and serve food.

Genesee County’s Response to the Flint Water Emergency

Deanna East, Terry McLean, Cathy Newkirk and Erin Powell

A crisis can happen in any community and MSU Extension is positioned to be able to respond quickly to aid in acute and long-term situations. Genesee County staff will present on how they responded to the Flint Water Emergency.


Lead-Safety for Pets



Improving IPM Programming

Erin Lizotte and Steve Miller

During this session, we will discuss an evaluation effort aimed at determining the impact of IPM programming across cropping systems. This work by Dr. Steven Miller (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics) highlights areas of both successful program adoption as well as areas where improvements can be made. This information is critically valuable to our educators and specialists and provides us the opportunity to both recognize the significant contribution MSU makes to the adoption of IPM and also the areas where we can improve. Join us for this conversational discussion of results and brainstorming to improve our programs.

MSU Extension STEP Process: Planning for Promotions throughout your Career

Marie Ruemenapp, Jeannie Nichols and Matt Shane

The MSU Extension STEP Process is a career progression system that provides longer term, in–depth performance feedback, professional development and career guidance for all MSU Extension educators and other academic staff. This session will provide information about the three levels of the STEP Process - Step I, Step II and Step III; present the updated application guidelines and review procedures released in July 2016; share advice about collecting information and data; and help staff begin thinking about how they develop proactive behaviors that will help them in their submission of their Step II or Step III professional portfolio.




Program Implementation: Lessons Learned by My Horse University

Christine Skelly and Gwyn Shelle

My Horse University (MHU) was established in 2005 at MSU as an online horse management program for horse enthusiasts. MHU brings research and knowledge from experts to online courses, webinars, and products. Join us for a discussion focusing on how this program has evolved throughout the last ten years including successes and lessons learned. Topic areas will include funding/grant resources, development time for a variety of courses formats, organization of a multi-state online event, integration with campus faculty from MSU and other institutions, and the development of marketing/social media.

My Horse University Presentation

Producing High-Quality Materials that Meet MSU Extension Brand Standards

Fran AdelajaRebecca Hulbert, Marian Reiter, and Beth Stuever

Are you putting together program-related materials but aren’t quite sure if they meet MSU brand standards? Are you wondering if you need assistance from an editor or designer? This workshop is for you. We’ll discuss when to use a template and when to seek professional editing and design. We’ll provide a demonstration so you can learn how to customize templates for your projects. We’ll also share an overview of the MSU Extension brand standards to ensure every staff member stays true to the MSU brand. ANR Creative editors and designers share the same goals as our authors: to produce high-quality, easy-to-read, audience-friendly materials that are MSU brand-compliant, reproduction ready and accessible, and that communicate as clearly and effectively as possible.









So You Want to be a Mentor?

Lisa Bottomley, Sheilah Hebert and Dionardo Pizana

Mentoring can be a very rewarding experience for both the mentor and the new employee.  It may also be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect or if you should even consider volunteering for this experience.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor or learning more about the MSU Extension mentoring program, join a panel of current and past mentors and mentees as they share their experiences, best practices and lessons learned.


Session 2  1:30-2:25 p.m.

Ed Tech Showcase: Find a Technology that’s Right for You

Gwyn Shelle

Have you been thinking about integrating technology into your programing but you aren’t sure where to start? Join us for this interactive session where you will see first-hand some of the creative educational technology related projects your peers are working on. Each project will be demonstrated by team members in short, ignite style presentations followed by time for you to reflect and think about how ed tech tools may be useful in your own area of expertise. Project/topic areas include:

  • Adaptive Learning
  • Event Capture
  • Online course
  • Blended course
  • Podcasts
  • Social Media

Top Tech Tools Presentation

Finding what you Need to Succeed: Research and Information Services Provided by the MSU Libraries

Suzanne Teghtmeyer

Even if you are far, far away from campus, the MSU Libraries can help you find and acquire the materials you need to educate yourself and to serve your clients. In this introductory workshop, MSU agricultural sciences and reference librarian Suzi Teghtmeyer will show how to find information via the library catalog and database systems, and how to utilize the many research guides to your advantage. Learn how to make interlibrary loan requests for articles, book chapters, and print-based materials using ILLIAD. The session will also cover other services the library can provide such as citation management training and 24 / 7 research assistance.

Library Presentation

High School 411: Confidence, Competence & Partnership

LaVendee Fulton

Supporting the success and health of high school aged youth is essential and challenging. This session focuses on building participant competence, confidence and familiarity with resources and best practice to engage diverse high school aged youth in learning opportunities. The workshop includes strategies, resources and participant involvement.

High School 411 Presentation

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Gail Innis and Holly Tiret

History and research clearly support laughter as a link to overall well-being. This workshop will explore benefits of mindful laughter, experience laughter for “the health of it” and learn ways to incorporate laughter into home and work life; all through short lecture, participatory activities and experiential learning.

Transitioning to Organic

Julia BartonJames DeDecker, Vicki Morrone, and Dan Rossman

This session will offer information on the organic transition process and explain the steps to obtain organic certification.  Organic certification is not for every farm but when there is the passion by the farmers combined with the market interest it can offer a winning combination of environmental friendly farming approaches and a value added product. This session will give you the lowdown from an organic certifier (Julia Barton with OEFFA), an organic farmer, and organic inspector (Dan Rossman, O farmer and organic inspector) about the process, challenges and benefits of organic transitioning and certification.  The extension educators (James DeDecker and Vicki Morrone) will provide valuable tools to help you as an educator better serve the interested farmers and community members about organic transition and organic certification and how it is obtained. Non certification topics will be discussed as well including soil health, building organic matter, and reducing pests through good integrated pest management. Each attendee will receive a thumb-drive filled with resources to assist in your position as an MSU Extension educator to assist farmers to grow food for Michigan and beyond.

Julia Barton’s Presentation

Dan Rossman’s Presentation

Using Logic Models for Program Planning, Evaluation and Reporting

Cheryl Eschbach and Paul Putnam

A logic model is a planning tool to clarify and graphically display what your program intends to do and what it hopes to accomplish and impact. A logic model summarizes key program elements and objectives, explains rationale behind program activities, clarifies intended outcomes, and provides a communication tool to share with funders and stakeholders. A logic model also expresses the thinking behind an initiative’s plan. At MSU Extension we utilize logic models for our program planning, evaluation, and reporting efforts. The Michigan Planning and Reporting System (MIPRS) is also built upon the logic model structure. Logic models are useful for both new and existing programs and initiatives. If your effort is being planned, a logic model can help get it off to a good start. Alternatively, if your program is already under way, a model can help you describe, modify, or enhance it.

Logic Model Presentation

Logic Models - Community Nutrition Education Model

Logic Model Worksheet

Logic Model Worksheet - Excel

Logic Model Worksheet - Vertical Ark

Program Action Logic Model

Water Quality Program - Logic Model

Writing More Better

Sean Corp

Writing is hard for everyone. Whether you do it every day or only occasionally, there is nothing quite so terrifying as staring at a blank page. The more you care about what you write, the harder it becomes. This session will provide helpful tips to make your writing clearer, more engaging and easier – or maybe just less painful. We will discuss ways to generate story ideas, how to structure a story and things to consider when trying to write a story with mass appeal. Come for  the animated GIFs, stay for the insight from colleagues and friends.

Working with Hispanic/Latino Audiences in Michigan

Imelda Galdamez and Dionardo Pizaña

Diverse groups of Latinos and Hispanics continue to be an important part of Michigan’s communities and vitality. Latino and Hispanic individuals are reflected in our workforce and our program participants and as an organization, we have areas of growth to better serve this segment of our population.  How can we successfully reach this audience? What are the demographics and characteristics of this population? What is currently happening within our organization to reach this audience and what are some of the promising practices that have led to success? These and other questions will be explored in this professional development opportunity.


Breakout Session 3  2:45-3:40 p.m.

Accessibility and MSU Extension: Resources for Creating Quality Content

Gwyn Shelle

MSU is committed to ensuring that the diverse audiences we serve are provided with accessible websites and documents. In this panel discussion you will learn about the various resources that are available to help you create accessible online content. The discussion will include representation from the CANR Accessibility team including:

  • ANR Creative: Professional video and document requests
  • MSU Extension Communications: Adding content to your MSU Extension web pages
  • CANR IT Services: Making web sites accessible
  • MSU Extension: Webinars, online courses, lectures & DIY video

You will also learn about the basic elements of online content accessibility. Remember that you don’t need to remove courses or materials from your websites if they’re not accessible. We need to work toward accessible materials, not away from sharing content.

Building the Fourth Leg of the Stool, Grants, Partnerships & Collaborations

Ann Smith

This session is geared towards those individuals who serve as the principal investigator on grants or those who collaborate and partner with other departments, colleges, universities and community organizations.  Learn how to set up your profiles to have funding opportunities geared toward your interests be sent directly to your email opportunity; learn how to navigate funding opportunities; learn how to review funding opportunities to make sure it is a good fit, identify potential collaborators and experts working in your field and the grants and publications that they have; learn how to navigate the MSU Office of Sponsored Programs and Contract and Grants Offices processes, website and other tips to make the process more efficient.  Learn how to team with the MSU Extension Grants & Research Administrator and what she can do to help with increasing your grants and helping to identify potential MSU departments and colleges to collaborate and partner with on grant opportunities.

Grants Presentation

Communicating Through Conflict

Bonnie Wichtner-Zoia

In today’s polarized society and stressful workplaces, it is essential to develop skills you can use to help facilitate a comfortable approach to conflict, an approach that builds and maintains positive relationships. Communicating through Conflict workshops include relevant framework and discussion that provide participants with tools and techniques to manage conflict situations more effectively.

Participants will:

  • Achieve a deeper understanding of the continuum of conflict management options and approaches.
  • Gain conflict resolution skills designed to preserve relationships, create a safe environment for continued dialogue and develop a shared decision.
  • Learn approaches to active listening and how to choose strategies aimed at finding a mutual purpose.
  • Discern how to recognize interests behind strongly held positions.
  • Become aware of when to apologize and when to use a contrasting statement.
  • Receive a document with easy-to-follow steps for Communicating through Conflict.

Communicating with Farm Families under Financial Stress (Part 1)

Roger Betz, Adam Kantrovich, and Suzanne Pish

The program was specially designed for individuals that work with agricultural producers and farm families. This workshop will encompass a Part A & Part B (two concurrent sessions) that will:

  1. Briefly discuss the present financial situation facing the agricultural industry
  2. Roger Betz will discuss his experiences working with farm families that are under financial distress
  3. Conclude with Suzanne Pish presenting what stress can do to someone physiologically including bringing on mental illness. She will provide what to look for that can indicate signs of depression that can lead to harming themselves and/or others, and providing resources that can be provided to the farm families to assist with these types of issues.

This session is continued in Session 4. You must register for both sessions.

Farm Stress Management

Handouts from Presentation

MSU Extension Farm Stress Fact Sheet

The Effects of Economic Strain on Stress on Farm Families

Today’s Ag Situation

Working with Families Under Stress

Development 101 - The Development Process and How We Can Help You Find Critical Funds for MSU Extension

Tami Baumann

This session will provide an overview of the development process, the Empower Extraordinary Campaign and what it means to MSU.  Learn how to recognize potential donors and how to make introductions that can lead to future investment in MSU Extension.

Is Your County Fiscally Sound?

Eric Scorsone

County governments remain fiscally challenged even many years after the end of the Great Recession. Stagnant revenues and rising costs continue to place counties in a bind. This session focuses on understanding the fiscal health of county governments across the state of Michigan. Given the important of county funding to extension, it is critical to continue to monitor the fiscal health of county governments across time. Learn how to use some simple tools to determine the fiscal health of the counties you work in and live including their potential fiscal capacity and if they are fully using that fiscal capacity or provide critical public services.

Native American Representations at Youth Programs

Emily Proctor

Youth camps and programs have a long history of utilizing Native American imagery and concepts as a part of their camp programs and traditions. This practice can be offensive, harmful, and disrespectful of Native American culture. It is an outdated practice and therefore needs to be examined for change. This session will provide a brief overview of the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation and methods to adapt current camps programs that are culturally sensitive and still meet the needs of camp. Creating partnerships with tribal nations and communities, is one way to create enhanced understanding and more meaningful programs.



Road to Retirement at MSU

Sherry Van Kampen

The road to retirement is often filled with anticipation, but it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. This session will provide valuable information and tools for developing a successful strategy for retirement and will provide vital information about retirement benefits from MSU. This session will not cover the federal retirement system. If you fall under the old federal system and have questions or would like to learn more, please contact Gina Flores at 517-353-9251 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Terrestrial Wildlife Programming: Developing Increased Capacity by Working Across Institutes

Jordan Burroughs, James DeDecker, and Erin Lizotte

Abundant terrestrial wildlife resources enhance the lives of Michigan residents by creating opportunities for recreation, tourism, nutrition and more.  However, having wildlife close to home can also create conflict and increase the cost of living/doing business in our state.  Although MSU Extension staff across the four institutes currently touch on various aspects of human-terrestrial wildlife interactions in their work, a coordinated effort may improve our ability to educate clients on the interrelated economic, social and environmental aspects of this subject. Join a cross-institute group of MSU Extension specialists and educators to share information on wildlife research and extension programming already underway, followed by a facilitated discussion about program development to increase our capacity in this area.

Terrestrial Wildlife Presentation


Session 4  4-4:55 p.m.

Communicating with Farm Families under Financial Stress (Part 2)

Roger Betz, Adam Kantrovich, and Suzanne Pish

The program was specially designed for individuals that work with agricultural producers and farm families. This workshop will encompass a Part A & Part B (two concurrent sessions) that will:

  1. Briefly discuss the present financial situation facing the agricultural industry
  2. Roger Betz will discuss his experiences working with farm families that are under financial distress
  3. Conclude with Suzanne Pish presenting what stress can do to someone physiologically including bringing on mental illness. She will provide what to look for that can indicate signs of depression that can lead to harming themselves and/or others, and providing resources that can be provided to the farm families to assist with these types of issues.

This session is continued from Session 3. You must register for both sessions.

Cooking Matters for Teens

Renee Stacer

Cooking Matters for Teens is a program designed specifically for teens to learn about healthy eating and cooking. This program consists of 10-12 one-hour lessons, which can be condensed into 6 two-hours lessons, depending on the class time availability.  A nutrition professional and chef team up to provide interactive lessons to help teens build skills and confidence in making healthy meals. The program includes:

  • Participatory food preparation that provides cooking and food safety instruction
  • Engaging nutrition activities and discussions
  • Practice with food budgeting
  • Recipe book for use at home
  • Cutting board
  • Certificate of completion

Developing Strategic Connections

Eric Walcott

Does your job depend upon decision-makers in your communities, county or at the state level? Do you often have to seek funding for your programs from county commissioners or grant funders? With the organizational emphasis on strategic connections through “Expect to Connect”, this workshop will give you a firsthand experience on building, strengthening and maintaining your connections within the communities you serve. Learn how to develop and fine-tune an effective elevator speech. You’ll leave this session with the tools you need to feel confident in building relationships with decision-makers at all levels. If you are attending this session, you need to register for the Developing Strategic Connections tour on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 9:30- Noon.

Effective Search Committee Strategies

Adam Koivisto and Dionardo Pizana

This session will be most helpful for employees who will chair, serve, or intend to serve on search committees.  We will explore strategies and best practices for search processes and techniques to avoid bias and ensure a fair and legal search, and expectations that every MSU Extension search should follow.

Growing Crops in Controlled Climates

Collin Thompson

Season extension allows farmers to produce food throughout more of the year by  manipulating the growing environment. Hoophouses, low tunnels, and plastic mulches all provide protection from frost, wind, and other challenges to fruit and vegetable production. This session will offer an introduction to the tools and techniques used by growers to extend the growing season throughout Michigan.

MIPRS Training

Cheryl Eschbach and Bruce Haas

The primary audience for this training is educators and other staff required to report into the Michigan Planning and Reporting System (MIPRS); however, all staff are welcome to attend.

Objectives of the course are:

  • Increase your understanding of the planning process that ultimately creates the MSU Extension State Plan
  • Increase your ability to integrate information from Issue ID Process in Plans of Work
  • Increase your ability to enter a plan using the MIPRS wizard and connecting to a Institute Work Team plan
  • Increase your ability to edit a plan (prior to final submission to Institute Director)
  • Increase your ability to integrate evaluation, professional development, Diversity and Multi-Culturalism plans into your Individual Plan of Work
  • Improve your reporting through the use of tip-sheets and reporting templates
  • Increase your ability to run individual and Work Team reports
  • Increase your ability to use information from MIPRS to improve programming and community impacts
  • Increase your ability to better plan in the future

Putting Your Best Foot Forward – A Media Relations Boot Camp

Sean Corp

MSU Extension is full of brilliant people who know their expertise area inside and out. Our staff members are less confident, however, when the media contacts us looking for a source on a story. Often, this isn’t because we have the information that helps tell the story and more a lack of confidence. This session will cover the how-to’s of dealing with the media and cover the basics that will help ensure the experience is positive for both MSU Extension and the reporter. We will talk about spokesperson preparation, message development, delivery techniques, personal presence and discuss the good and the bad of dealing with the media.


Tips for Holding Effective Meetings

Ann Chastain

By attending this fundamental workshop, participants will learn the twelve secrets of successful meetings, including critical mechanics of meeting room setup. Participants will better understand the importance of effective interaction skills and will learn the seven steps of decisionmaking. Participants will also learn basic meeting facilitation skills that will help groups move towards consensus driven decisions.  Finally, we will discuss the one aspect that no one likes to talk about - CONFLICT - and how to deal with this inevitable aspect of meetings when diverse opinions are connected to strong personalities.

Effective Meetings Presentation

What Zoom Can Do for You

Alan PilkentonLuke Reese and Gwyn Shelle

Join us for an interactive discussion on how you can use Zoom (webinars and meetings) as a tool for increasing the reach of your programs and interaction with target audiences. In this session, learn how MSU Extension staff have been using Zoom in creative ways through a panel discussion. The panel members will share their experiences and best practices for using zoom in program delivery. You will also be provided with tips and strategies for designing high-quality online meetings/webinars that are fun and engaging.

Resources - What Zoom Can Do for You