Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Ag Outlook Forum, USDA-NIFA Venues for eXtension Showcase

eXtension featured six emphasis areas at both USDA-NIFA offices and at the USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum in February.

Victor Villegas demonstrates unmanned aerial vehicle.

Victor Villegas demonstrates unmanned aerial vehicle.

Unmanned aerial systems, big data, wearable technologies, virtual reality, and both the Network Literacy community of practice and the Educational Technology Learning Network gave hands on demonstrations or presentations to both national program leaders and administrators at USDA-NIFA as well as to nearly 2,000 attendees at the Ag Outlook Forum.

USDA's research, education, and economics under secretary Cathie Woteki tries out Google Glass.

USDA’s research, education, and economics under secretary Cathie Woteki tries out Google Glass.

“We had a unique opportunity this year at the Ag Outlook Forum,” said Elbert Dickey, eXtension Executive Director. “Our team of both eXtension staff and representatives from our premium members involved in these user communities really reached out to new and different people interested in technology, learning, and innovation.”

Paul Hill explains the educational technology learning network to USDA Radio.

Paul Hill explains the educational technology learning network to USDA Radio.

Paul Hill, Utah State University (Educational Technology Learning Network) Victor Villegas, Oregon State University (Unmanned aerial systems); Terrence Wolfork, Fort Valley State University (Network Literacy); Jerry Thomas, Ohio State University (Wearable technologies) joined LuAnn Phillips, Anne Adrian, Craig Wood, Beth Raney, Ashley Griffin, Terry Meisenbach, and Elbert Dickeyf, all with eXtension, at both the USDA-NIFA and Ag Outlook events.

Luis Tupas, NIFA's deputy director of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment tests out the Oculus Rift.

Luis Tupas, NIFA’s deputy director of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment tests out the Oculus Rift.

Participants were able to fly small unmanned aerial devises, test the Oculus Rift and Second Life, try on and use Google Glass, as well as learn more about big data and its applications.

“Our exhibit space at the Ag Outlook Forum was uniquely positioned outside the exhibit hall and along the main traffic area for the conference. We had hundreds of people stopping by to try things out, ask questions and inquire about what Cooperative Extension is doing in these innovative areas,” said Terry Meisenbach, eXtension Communications and Marketing Leader.


Rich Phelps Joins eXtension as Project Manager

Rich Phelps

The eXtension Foundation is pleased to announce that Rich Phelps has joined our engineering team as a Project Manager.

Over the course of his career, Rich has cultivated expertise in streamlining business practices and refining web-based products effectively. Rich has over 17 years experience in technology management, project management, information technology and strategic planning.

“My values and professional goals align closely with those on the engineering team, and I am impressed not only with the body of work the engineering group has established, but the culture of collaboration, trust, and respect among the team,” said Phelps.

Anne Adrian, eXtension Associate Director says. “We are very happy to have Rich join the eXtension staff. Rich’s talents in project management will be very instrumental as eXtension focuses on innovative opportunities.”


eXtension Seeks Chief Executive Officer

eXtension LOGO

The eXtension Foundation Board of Directors is seeking an exceptional entrepreneurial leader from educational institutions, government agencies or business and industry to set the pace and structure for a thriving 21st century organization invested in ensuring the Cooperative Extension System has a broad range of engaged learners.
Position Description:

Position Title: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Type: Full-time
Function: Executive leader and manager
Reports To: eXtension Foundation Board of Directors
Salary Range: Commensurate with experience

The eXtension Foundation is a member-based, non-profit 501(c) 3, designed to support Cooperative Extension and its strategic partners. The primary purpose of the eXtension Foundation is to generate value for its members and partners through the creation of innovative and effective Extension educational solutions. and provides more information on eXtension.

The eXtension Foundation is a virtual space where change is invigorating and people are enthusiastic about opportunities to create and contribute. The eXtension Foundation works with Cooperative Extension to support learning that fosters growth, leadership, competencies, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Cooperative Extension is a nationwide network available to all from land-grant universities and colleges across the U.S. and its territories.

Position Overview: The eXtension Foundation Board of Directors is seeking an exceptional entrepreneurial leader from educational institutions, government agencies or business and industry. The CEO will set the pace and structure for a thriving 21st century organization invested in ensuring the Cooperative Extension system has a broad range of engaged learners. Because the eXtension Foundation concentrates on innovation to enhance Extension Education, the CEO works closely with the Board of Directors to set a vision and align systems to accomplish its goals.

To be successful, the CEO must understand the Cooperative Extension System, how it functions within the land-grant system, and how it works with the US Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The candidate should have expertise in online learning, educational design, information technology and resource development.

As a hub for Extension innovation, the eXtension Foundation Board of Directors and the CEO implement strategies to achieve goals set by Cooperative Extension. The CEO will need to stay current on new and emerging technologies and professional development that are applicable to Extension education. The CEO will communicate to, set direction for, and motivate action among eXtension faculty and staff.

The CEO, Chief Operations Officer (COO), and the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) make up the eXtension Foundation Executive Team. The COO and CIO report to the CEO. The team operates with a unified purpose and meets ambitious performance goals. Skills of the Executive Team members will complement each other and at times be interchangeable. The CEO will establish decision making protocol and high quality work standards. The CEO will help select the CIO and COO who report to the CEO.

–Minimum of a master’s degree or equivalent experience
–5+ years documented experience leading innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and/or generating profits and value
–5+ years demonstrated ability leading change and forward thinking entity
–Evidence of successfully implementing a new business model
–Proven ability to direct a financially sustainable organization having multiple funding streams
—-Start-up experiences a plus, but not required
–Evidence of client- or customer-driven results
–Knowledge and experience in management and administration
–History of integrity and behavior that develops people, builds teams, and facilitates collaborative enterprises
–Ability to influence and enable others while managing continuity, change, and growth

The CEO is responsible for:
–Creating understanding, participation, entrepreneurship, and execution of the vision for innovation among the Foundation members;
–Presenting a common vision of the eXtension Foundation and Extension’s innovations, successes, and opportunities;
–Attracting, recruiting and retaining member institutions and strategic partners;
–Providing effective leadership that rewards and reinforces behaviors that lead to innovation;
–Leading with a proactive and performance orientation for cultivating an environment where people are enthusiastic about the opportunities to contribute;
–Building interdependent (self-directed) teams and relationships across the Cooperative Extension System and with strategic partners to achieve a high level of cooperation.
–Enhancing resource development to help ensure long term financial stability.

–Assure filing of all legal and regulatory documents and monitor compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
–Work closely with the Board of Directors to determine direction, monitor development and sustainability, communicate with members and partners, and establish priorities.
—Provide general oversight of eXtension Foundation activities and work closely with the Executive Team to keep pace with change and demands.
–With Executive Team, assure program quality and organizational stability is maintained through standards and controls, systems and procedures, and regular review.

–Assist the Board of Directors to articulate its role and areas of accountability.
–Strategize with the Board of Directors to identify, recruit, and engage partners.
–With the Board of Directors, develop an evaluation strategy that shows members the value of the eXtension Foundation.

–Advocate for programs and services that are produced in a cost-effective manner, employing economy while maintaining a high level of quality.
–Oversee fiscal activities and provide leadership in resource development.
–Assure effective revenue development that is aligned with existing and emerging needs.
–Reach out to people in academia and industry to create shared cost partnerships.
–Provide strategic oversight of community relations

Program Development
–Generate a high level of member engagement.
–Listen to members, partners and investors to identify and/or improve services.
–Along with the eXtension Board of Directors, serve as a spokesperson for the eXtension Foundation.
–Facilitate current and emerging program development priorities with the Board of Directors, Executive Team, members, partners and audiences.

Closing date for the position is 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday, March 16, 2015 or until a suitable candidate is found.

To apply for this position, please submit the following information to Michelle Giddens, Assistant to the Director, at
–Cover Letter
–Curriculum Vitae or Resume, including salary history
–Three professional references, including email and phone number contact

Direct questions to Dennis Calvin, Chair, eXtension Governing Committee and Elbert Dickey, Executive Director, eXtension Foundation.


eXtension Seeks Innovative Project Proposals

eXtension LOGO

Request for Proposal: Innovation Projects
eXtension Foundation, Inc.
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Due Date for Applications: 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Friday, April 17, 2015

The eXtension Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit foundation, is soliciting proposals for projects and programs from faculty at premium member institutions of eXtension that express innovation and creativity. These proposals should demonstrate futuristic thinking, ideation, and offer sparks of opportunity to multiply innovation for the Cooperative Extension System, the land-grant university system, and the citizens of the United States and ultimately the world.

Innovation is applied creativity: Using creativity and applying it to finding new ways to work and engage with clientele. This can include new uses of technology, new ways of organizing work, different ways of delivering program content, and experimenting with new tools and resources.

Examples include:
–Using wearable technologies
–Online teaching
–Online collaboration
–Maker projects (including 3D printing, electronics, etc.)
–Citizen science
–Big data uses and partnering
–Reaching millennial audiences
–Internet of things (IoT) projects

We consider funding projects that:
–Propose new ways of working within Cooperative Extension
–Expand the scope of Extension
–Reach new audiences using creative, innovative engagement tools
–Identify and test new technology tools and their impact in Extension education
–Identify and create strategies for new engagement and working methods
–Create new sources of funding

We give priority to projects that:
–Are new, surprising, and radically useful
–Reflect innovation as broadly defined
–Promote multi-disciplinary, multi-state, and multi-institution collaboration
–Consider the international implications of innovation
–Serve as models for a land grant university system-wide application

The Grant Application Process

Request for Proposals

The eXtension Foundation invites proposals, under an annual competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and awards grants to strengthen the capacity of the land grant university system.

Eligible Requests
We support projects directly benefiting the Cooperative Extension System.

Applicant organizations must meet the following criteria:
–Must be a premium member of eXtension
–Must demonstrate administrative support
–Identify strong leaders and collaborators
–Have a proven track record of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-state engagement

The Proposal Review Process

Application Procedures
Submit an application containing all of the items specified below.

Application Contents
–Letter of support, signed by Director/Administrator
–Executive Summary (limit of 200 characters)
–Narrative (no more than five pages) that includes:
*Project Budget and Budget Narrative
*Statement of Work
–Brief statement of how this project will change or influence current and future CES programming
–Goals and objectives
–Target population
–Project activities
–Key staff
–Plan for measuring project impacts
–Plan for sustainability after the funding period

Appendices (Attachments)
–Key Personnel Curriculum Vitaes limited to two pages per person
–Consultant/subcontractor commitment letters (if applicable)
–Contract Information Sheet (attached)

Successful proposals will be required to:
–Provide quarterly and final reports, including financial report
–Work with the eXtension Foundation Evaluation Consultants
–Present progress and results at the NeXC2016 Conference
–Share methods, the model, and implementation broadly with the Cooperative Extension System.

Submit proposals electronically to: Michelle Giddens,

Submit questions about the proposal to Terry Meisenbach, or Jerry Thomas,


eXtension Seeks Proposals for Web Conferencing System

eXtension LOGO

The eXtension Foundation is seeking a premium member to provide a comprehensive and complete, reliable, versatile, and flexible web conferencing platform, facilitation (hosting) with solutions and support for web meetings and video conferencing, mobile webinars and virtual meetings, with integration of social media. The eXtension Foundation will use the web conferencing system to conduct virtual meetings and programs. The institution that supports and hosts the web conferencing system will be referred to as the Web Conferencing Provider.

Required attributes of the web conferencing system:

–support multiple browsers requiring only a meeting URL to enter the conference.
–recording of the webinar and video files that can be easily streamed and/or uploaded to social media channels such as YouTube and Vimeo.
–public and private chat for participants and presenters within the web conference.
–screen and application sharing, allowing participants the ability to view documents, Web sites and tools that presenters have on their computers.
–ability for participants to speak to webinar presenters and participants.
video integration so attendees can view each other and the presenter.
–file transfer/document sharing.
–multiple presenters (at different locations and connections).
–capacity for more than 500 participants in a webinar.

Web Conferencing Provider should be able to provide:

–Recordings and playback for archived recorded webinars.
–Self-Managed Accounts which can be managed by an eXtension staff member or partner who can create rooms, host meetings and provide first level support to participants. The Web Conferencing Provider will provide second level technical support to the account manager.
–Room ownership for frequent presenters or teams. A room owner can open the room, upload materials and prepare the room for the meeting. A room owner can assist presenters and others. Meetings that are managed by room owners will use (Voice over IP) VoIP. For most events, room owners will work with presenters and ensure presentations are uploaded and polls are created.
–Facilitated meetings using VoIP. The Web Conferencing Provider will ensure the presentation materials are available and assist presenters.
–Support to communities, teams, and members on initiating, facilitating, and managing their own rooms. This support includes training and online instructions and help desk support for the web conferencing system.
–Training and guidelines on how to conduct effective web conferencing.
–Work with the eXtension Foundation evaluation consultants.

Preferred attributes of web conferencing system
–Combination of VoIP and integrated phone conferencing.
–Polls and surveys available during conferencing to solicit engagement and feedback.
–Integrated services for live streaming and social media.
–Optional webinar registration.

Proposals should address/include
–Describe the system that meets the above attributes.
–Establish price model(s) for the proposed service(s). The price model may include tiered information. For instance, host accounts may be price per account or the price model may include per use costs.
–Describe responsibilities of the Web Conferencing Provider and eXtension Foundation.
–Describe limitations of the systems, such as limits on number of rooms, self-managed accounts, and participants.
–Describe the attributes of the system.
–Letters of referral from 3 departments or outside vendors with similar contracts.

Application Contents
Your application must include:
–Narrative that includes:
–Bid for service
–Descriptions of services and tiered costs
–Project Budget and Budget Narrative which includes optional costs

Proposals are due by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time March 27, 2015. Submit proposals by email only to Michelle Giddens as a PDF document.

eXtension Foundation
183 S. W. Davidson Drive
Suite A
Centreville, AL 35042

Address questions to both eXtension Associate Directors–Anne Adrian, and Craig Wood


eXtension Membership Elects Board of Governors

eXtension LOGO

The 58 members of the eXtension Foundation recently completed the election of directors to represent them on the eXtension Board of Governors. The new directors and their institutions and regions are:

•1890s: Vernon Jones, Langston University
•North Central: Jason Henderson, Purdue University
•Northeast: Dennis Calvin, Penn State University
•Southern: Doug Steele, Texas AgriLife Extension
•Western: Fred Schlutt, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

The first face-to-face meeting of the Board of Governors will be March 5 & 6 in Washington, DC where the group will meet with the existing eXtension Governing Committee. Two members of the existing Governing Committee, Dennis Calvin and Fred Schlutt, have been elected to the Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors is currently working on the position description for the eXtension Chief Executive Officer. As the group meets in March, terms of office, officers, and other procedures will be decided.


eXtension at USDA/NIFA and Ag Outlook Forum, February 18-20


Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Wearable Technology, Network Literacy, the Educational Technology Learning Network, and Virtual Reality will all be featured by eXtension February 18-20 in Washington DC.

Wednesday, February 18, eXtension members and staff will present these topics at a workshop/demonstration at USDA/NIFA headquarters. National Program Leaders, program managers, and administration have been invited to see and discuss these interest areas.

On Thursday and Friday, February 19 & 20, eXtension will feature 6 exhibit spaces at the USDA Ag Outlook Forum in Crystal City, VA. The 2015 Forum Theme: Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century: A Discussion on Innovation, Biotechnology, and Big Data fits well with the direction eXtension is moving. These new user communities, learning networks, and communities of practice demonstrate Cooperative Extension’s movement into new areas.

If you’re at the Ag Outlook Forum please plan to visit the eXtension booths.


eXtension Changes Status of Some Communities of Practice

Thirteen eXtension Communities of Practice have been moved to the status of User-generated communities. User-generated communities will still be able to use Create ( and other applications provided by eXtension. The existing content of the communities will remain and will not be deleted. However, the community will not be listed on the current home page of

The Communities moving to user-generated status are:

Brand Value
Corn and Soybeans
Hogs Pigs, and Pork
Pesticide Environmental Stewardship
Precision Agriculture
Program Evaluation
Public Deliberation
Teen Leadership

“The new eXtension envisions learning environments that engage users with up-to-date science-based information, education via their preferred network communities. After careful evaluation of all our CoPs, we determined that these 13 communities would best serve CES at this time as user-based entities,” said Craig Wood, associate eXtension director.


Military Families Learning Network Meets with DoD/USDA


Synergy, collaboration, excitement, and progress were all outcomes of the recent meeting of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) in Washington, DC. The MFLN Leadership team brought together representatives from each of its Concentration Areas as well as Department of Defense counterparts. The group was addressed by Barbara Thompson, Director, Office of Family Policy/Child & Youth/Special Needs, and Betsy Graham, senior program analyst and DoD program manager for the Military Families Learning Network, both with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, and Brent Elrod, National Program Leader for Community & Rural Development, Division of Family & Consumer Sciences

The group included Network members from Valdosta State University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, University of Florida, West Virginia University, University of Minnesota, University of Florida, University of New Hampshire, Rutgers University, Virginia Tech, Cornell University, Fort Valley State University, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Auburn University.

The MFLN Concentration areas are: Personal Finance, Community Capacity Building, Nutrition & Wellness, Transition Support, Family Development, Military Caregiving, and Network Literacy. Additionally, Family Development will support a new concentration area in Early Intervention Special Needs, and Military Caregiving will support a new concentration area in Lifespan Special Needs.


Learning Opportunities Abound!

2015 has begun with some very interesting and useful learning opportunities by extension! Here I’ve included upcoming ones on various topics as well as recent learning events in January and early February which have a recording available. New events have recently been added to so check there as more related events are included. These learning events are open to all who are interested… check each event listing to see if there is registration needed before the event. Share with your colleagues, clientele, etc. since participation is online from a home, office, etc.

Popular Upcoming Learning Events
February 15, Labor Pool vs Talent Pool: Gathering Industrial Skill Requirements in Rural Areas, at
February 17, Machinery Sharing: Scaling Up Production for Small-Farm Growers, at
February 17, Blasting the Competition Away: Air-propelled Abrasive Grits for Weed Management in Organic Grain and Vegetable Crops, at
February 18, Part III Medicaid and Military Families: Adults with Special Needs, at
February 18, Mobile Slaughter Units (MSUs): An International Perspective, at
February 18, Low cost plant and soil health measurements using PhotosynQ, at
February 18, Getting started with value-added agriculture, at
February 19, Sight beyond sight: the power of near-infrared imagery for mapping, at
February 19, Building a Public Health Partnership to Assist with your School Nutrition Program, at
February 23, Getting started with farm food safety, at
February 23, Malting barley and hops production in Michigan – Michigan State University Extension Field Crops Webinar Series 2015, at
February 25, Migrant, Seasonal and H2-A Visa Workers Webinar, at
February 25, Public opinion of landscape water use, at
February 25, How to Facilitate Difficult Conversations, at
March 3, Health problems with the poultry skeletal system, at
March 4, Working to Balance Life, at
March 5, Latino Military Families: Current Issues & Implications for Clinical Work, at
March 5, Childhood Obesity Indicators: Capturing the National Impact of Extension, at
March 6, 2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Fire Ant Management Using Baits, at
March 17, Investing With Small Dollar Amounts, at

Recent events with Recordings
Health problems with the digestive system of poultry, at
Innovation/Institutional Team Web Conference – January 2015, at
Building the Capacity of Small Meat Processors: Successes and Lessons from North Carolina, at
January 2015 CoP meeting for small and backyard flocks, at
Developing a Personal Asset Allocation Strategy, at
Systems Organic Management Suppresses Cabbageworm Outbreaks: Evidence from 4 Long-term Organic Farms, at
Quality of eggs from different production systems, at
Part II Medicaid and Military Families: Children with Special Needs, at
Troubleshooting Design-Based Cow Comfort Issues, at
Unmanned Aerial Systems for Mapping, at
Mobile Manure Apps, at
Marketing Your Products – Turning Samples into Sales, at
Rotational No-Till, Mulching and Conservation Tillage for Organic Vegetable Farms Webinar, at
The Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard App: LunchScore, at
Health concerns with backyard poultry flocks, at
Managing Bad Stink Bugs Using Good Stink Bugs, at
Interdependence: The 9th Critical Element of Positive Youth Development, at
Using New 4-H Career Exploration Curriculum: Build Your Future, at
The New Faces of 4-H Volunteers: Changing and Retaining, at
4-H Teens as Mentors: Developing Positive Role Models for Youth, at
Land Grant Impacts Database Informational Webinar, at
4-H Healthy Club Challenge, at
10 Free Online Tools to Create 4-H Learning Activities, at
Growing Conifers for Homeowners Using IPM, at
Developing, Implementing & Sustaining Healthy Food Incentive Programs at Farmers’ Markets, at
Community-Level Indicators for Positive Youth Development: Identification and Collection within Existing Data Sets, at
Enlivening Biosecurity and Quality Assurance Training, at
Evaluating Disaster Insurance Needs for Rural Homes & Agriculture, at
Calculating What to Save for Retirement, at
Growing Apples for Homeowners Using IPM, at
Health problems with the respiratory system of poultry, at
Introducing the Smarter Lunchrooms Technical Assistance Providers’ Handbook, at
2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Pesticide Strategy – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, at
Housing for small poultry flocks, at
Handling Manure with Gypsum Bedding, at
Communication Killers, at
Avian influenza and backyard flocks, at
Biosecurity in backyard flocks, at
Health concerns for egg layers, at

Go to Learn ( to see more sessions in 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!