Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Holiday Greetings!


2014 has been a most interesting year. eXtension as we have known it is undergoing major changes. As you will read later in this newsletter, the Extension Directors and Administrators nearly unanimously decided to stop the eXtension assessments that had been in place since 2004. They also nearly unanimously adopted the proposed member-based model. This week the membership poll was completed and we had a 96% response to the poll. About 80% of the Extension Directors/Administrators decided they would be members of the new eXtension. In 2015, 58 institutions will be members: 38 at the premium level and 20 at the basic level.

So we will begin 2015 with a new model and a vision that includes more innovation and more professional development for our Extension colleagues as they work to adopt new or emerging technologies in the development and delivery of extension educational programs. I want to thank all of you for the support you have given me and the eXtension staff over this past year and special thanks for your dedication and loyalty to eXtension. I especially want to thank the eXtension staff for their contributions to helping with the development and creation of the new model.

I am also announcing that I have agreed to extend my time leading eXtension to April 30 to help with a transition to a new Chief Executive Officer. During this holiday season I will be spending some quality time with family and friends and I encourage you do the same. Above all, take time for you.

Enjoy the Christmas Season!

Elbert Dickey, Executive Director, eXtension


eXtension Fellows Report on Progress

For the first time in eXtension history five individuals have held eXtension Fellowships concurrently. Michele Walfred, University of Delaware; Sue Hawkins, University of Vermont; Terrence Wolfork, Fort Valley State University, Billie Jean Elmer, Virginia Tech; and Travis Sondgerath, Colorado State University/Purdue University are the 2014 eXtension Fellows.


Each eXtension Fellow reported on his/her fellowship project at a meeting in Atlanta in early December. The projects were to focus on State and Local Value Enhancement this year. Projects included social media strategies, connecting eXtension with county and regional staff, connecting communities of practice with county educators, broadening the reach of eXtension within the 1890 institutions, and relating community of practice content with new users. Fellows updated each other on their status and shared their “next steps,” where they will share their findings and report to Cooperative Extension.

Terry Meisenbach and Jerry Thomas, advisers to the 2014 Fellowship program and Anne Adrian, eXtension associate directors, participated in the meeting with the Fellows.


CES Leaders Endorse New Model, 80% Elect Membership


Change is in the air! In 2015, eXtension will begin a new chapter with a vision that focuses on innovation, professional development, and strategic opportunities for Cooperative Extension colleagues. The New eXtension will encourage and lead adoption of new or emerging technologies and innovations in the development and delivery of extension educational programs.

This month, the Extension Directors/Administrators nearly unanimously ended the assessment funding model which began in 2004. They also, nearly unanimously, adopted a new member-based model for eXtension. Last week 96% of directors and administrators responded to a membership poll. Nearly 80% of the Extension Directors and Administrators will be members of the new eXtension: 38 at the Premium level and 20 at the basic level for a total of 58 total members. Nineteen institutions have chosen not to be members.

In January, a newly elected Board of Directors (elected from member institutions only) will take over from the current eXtension Governing Committee. This group will develop the position description and begin the recruitment and hiring process for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position will begin. Once a new CEO is named, recruitment for a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Innovation Officer will begin.

Don’t look for these changes to slow down eXtension while these processes are underway! The staff is already working toward a unified web presence by combining and Preparations are underway for presentations at USDA/NIFA, and the Ag Outlook Forum which will feature the Educational Technology Learning Network, Network Literacy, Wearable Technologies, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Oculus Rift, and Big Data. Stay tuned! 2015 is going to be an exciting year!


Virtual 3D Update December 2014

Pic for December Update

The holiday break is a great time to dust off your avatar and visit some of the seasonal creations in Second Life. eXtension is offering a skating party with fireworks and a huge snow globe with a reading of The Night Before Christmas. You will find this temporary installation on the lake at the center of the Morrill regions.

The eXtension 3D virtual reality user community will meet Thursday, January 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET in Second Life. Paste this Second Life URL in your browser to navigate to the venue:

The agenda includes getting to know each other and setting goals and objectives for the group. We also will discuss eXtension’s upcoming demonstration of Oculus Rift at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum in February. New members are always welcome. Join by going to

The Avatar Fitness Club will host a live class each Wednesday in January at 8:00 pm ET. The series “Healthy 2015 and Beyond: Fresh Perspectives on Nutrition and Exercise” will offer research-based information about nutrition and exercise along with role modeling with participants’ avatars. Presenters for the series are Leia Kedem, Nutrition and Wellness Educator from University of Illinois and Australian exercise physiologist Jason Jarred.

As always, if you need any assistance email or instant message Thynka Little in Second Life.


eXtension Announces Enhancements to LEARN

eXtension is pleased to announce some enhancements to our professional development application, LEARN.


Learner Search
Users (or “Learners”) can now search other learners. When you enter a search term in the search field in the upper right hand corner you will not only get a list of events associated with that term, but also a list of learners.


Search Tags in Event Statistics
In addition to searching by date you can also add one or more tags to your search criteria in Note if you search multiple tags you need to separate the tag names with a comma.


MFLN Personal Finance Honored by National Group

The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Personal Finance Concentration Area has been honored with an Outstanding Educational Program award from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). The award recognized MFLN Personal Finance webinars.


Michael Gutter, University of Florida; and Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers University (Pictured above) and Molly Herndon, University of Florida provide leadership to the MFLN Personal Finance team and represent roughly 300 members of eXtension’s Financial Security for All Community of Practice, a virtual community led by Extension professionals from across the U.S. The MFLN seeks to build the financial management capability and educational background of Personal Financial Management program managers working with military families around the world. The webinars, including a 3-day virtual learning event, serve as educational opportunities and can offer continuing education unit credit to attendees.

AFCPE President Barry Wilkinson presented the award to Gutter and O’Neill at the group’s annual conference in Bellevue, Washington in November.


Journal of Extension Seeks Editorial Services


The Extension Journal, Inc. is inviting proposals to provide editorial services for the corporation’s flagship product, the Journal of Extension. Editorial services required range from initial review of all submissions, to writing advice for authors, to working with reviewers, to copy editing of all issues.

The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2015, with the contract to begin January 1, 2016. For the full RFP, Click Here. Questions can be directed to Terry Meisenbach, chair of the search committee, at


December 2014 Learning Opportunities!

Below are some of the 20 Learning events in December … Professional Development designed for you that can be experienced from the comfort of your home or office.

Check out the learning events listed at Learn ( These learning opportunities are for you or for you to share with your audiences! Extend your knowledge and keep more up-to-date on conversations in your areas of interest. Everyone is welcome to participate in the events listed at Learn as they match your interests. Please sign into Learn with your eXtensionID then Follow specific learning events to get notifications and plan to attend. Use each session’s unique URL to share links to online events in your area of expertise or interest so that others can learn with you. Encourage your customers to also sign in with their Facebook, Twitter or Gmail account to Follow, and plan to attend. Additional sessions may be added at any time, so check back to see what’s new, and please add web-based sessions you have planned to teach or at your institution.


Anatomy of an Award-Winning Photo
Are You Prepared for Winter?
Assessing the accuracy of remotely sensed data
By the Numbers – What the 2012 Census of Ag Tells us about Women Farm and Ranch Operators
Institutional Team Web Conference – December 2014
Introducing the New Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard for Assessing Lunchroom Successes
Youth Programs That Create Impact

Coaching a 4-H Avian Bowl team on Dec. 11.
Intersections of Resilience and Vulnerability: A Study of over 1000 Youth in Military Families* on Dec. 11.
Parenting and Childhood Obesity Treatment/Prevention on Dec. 11.
Using Protective Factors to Inform Work with Child Maltreatment on Dec. 11.
Work for Extension? What Librarians Can Do for You on Dec. 11.
Reaching the Next Generation Through Fun and Interactive Activities on Dec. 12.
A Certified Organic Winter Nursery for Corn Breeding on Dec. 16.
Farm Financial Planning “Give Yourself a Financial Check-Up” on Dec. 16.
Financial Recovery After Disaster: Family Financial Toolkit Videos on Dec. 16.
Heart of the Farm: Why Women’s Unique Family and Farm Business Roles Matter on Dec. 16.
Question Wranglers’ Meet-Up – December 2014 on Dec. 16.
Treatment and Prevention of Subclinical Hypocalcemia on Dec. 16.
Why Cooperative Extension? A New Century for Food and Ag Engagement on Dec. 17.
Easy as PIE Webinar: December: Public opinion of food safety on Dec. 17.
Learning from our observations of pastures and livestock: preventing problems on the organic dairy on Dec. 18.

Go to Learn ( to see more sessions in 2014-2015, and to add learning opportunities being offered by you or your institution so you may include more for participation and learning! Questions and Comments? Contact Beth Raney at If you have web-based events for which you would like more participation, please add them at for others to join in!


Educational Technology Learning Network Launches


Announcing eXtension Educational Technology (Ed Tech) Learning Network engagement opportunities!

As the new resource and support network for all things Ed Tech in Cooperative Extension, there are multiple online engagement opportunities available now to members.

To join and receive information from the Learning Network, visit the “Join” page on the blog:

OR –

Browse the blog and subscribe to the newsletter:

Why?: The blog will serve as the content hub for information resources such as helpful tools, tips, case studies, Learning Network member profiles, and program spotlights.

Follow on Social Media – Choose whatever tool you use most:
-Twitter: #EdTechLN

Why?: Stay current with up-to-date news, blog posts, questions for members, and helpful information will be shared via social media.

Participate in twice-monthly Twitter Chats by following the #EdTechLN hashtag
-Mark your calendar! The first #EdTechLN Chat will take place November 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET!
-Future #EdTechLN chats will be held the first and third Thursday of each month at 2:00pm EST.

Why?: #EdTechLN Twitter chats will allow members to frequently interact with each other by asking and answering questions, sharing success stories, offering insights and support for others trying to integrate tech into their work, and so much more.

Join the Learning Network eXtension Community Page:

Why?: To browse the list of Learning Network leaders and members, their contact information, and also receive updates.


DOD/USDA Award Goes to Military Families Learning Network

The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN), has been selected to continue and expand its work serving military family service professionals around the world, receiving a DOD/USDA grant that will further its success.

Kyle Kostelecky, Project Director, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Elbert Dickey, Principal Investigator on the current project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced here today that the new award will be housed at the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education on the University of Illinois campus. The current MFLN originated as a special project of eXtension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010 and work will continue at the University of Nebraska until completed.

“The University of Nebraska and eXtension were the perfect place for this project to form and grow into the tremendous resource it is today. The Center for Wounded Veterans at the University of Illinois is a fantastic next step, bringing the innovation of eXtension to a new educational effort serving one of our nations most important resources – our wounded, ill, and injured veterans. The current and new programming the MFLN will develop will be a great fit for the Center as it works with transitioning service members and their families into the next stage of their lives,” said Kostelecky.

The MFLN currently serves to increase the availability of research- and evidence-based educational resources to connect with and educate military family service professionals. These professionals currently serve military families and communities in the areas of Personal Finance, Family Development, and Military Caregiving, supported by work in in Network Literacy.

“We are excited that our new funding will allow us to expand our work to include providing online professional development, educational programming, and engaging communities in the areas of Community Capacity Building, Families with Special Needs, Transition, and Nutrition and Wellness,” said Sarah Baughman, Project Leader, Virginia Polytechnic University.

In addition to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech, the MFLN includes Cooperative Extension faculty at Auburn University, Cornell University, Fort Valley State University, Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, Rutgers University, Texas A&M University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Minnesota, University of Nevada-Reno, University of New Hampshire, Valdosta State University, Washington State University, and West Virginia University.

The MFLN was created through eXtension, an initiative of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System, in partnership with The Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP), and the United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).