Number CXLVIII The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi March 2019

Let's talk about the ELC, our Strategic Plan, and the National Board
Mark Blevins, National ESP President

What a great time at the Extension Leadership Conference in San Antonio! It was wonderful to catch up with some of you and learn from our members, folks on the board, and excellent Extension professionals from across the country. I get the opportunity to lead that conference for next year at the same location, so let me know what you think should happen in 2020 to "focus" (that's a 20/20 reference) on the Extension professional or fall in love with Extension - since it will be February 12-13th.

Our ESP National Strategic Planning process is underway. The national board has discussed our future and now we need to hear from you. Later this month you'll get a survey invitation. It will be online and won't take long. So please take a minute to help set the direction for the organization nationally. It would mean a lot to me, and your input will make a difference in the process. Thanks in advance.

Your national board is doing a great job. We usually agree on the issues that come before us, but when we don't, I can tell that your representatives put thought into their arguments, counter statements, and illustrations. Your leaders think through situations and implications that affect you and our other 5,000 members. You can be proud of them for the contributions they have made and the way each of them are serving as leaders. By the way, you can also get involved by applying to be on a committee or the national board - applications are due the first of April.

Thanks for what you have done and continue to do for the Extension profession and for the Extension professionals in your life and career. It is wonderful to be in a group like this at a time like this doing meaningful work and supporting others who do as well. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve on the national board and I can't wait to see you in Colorado Springs this fall!

Lifetime member Rita T. Wood provides exciting grant opportunity for ESP Members
Karen Reddersen, Scholarship, Grants & Recognition Committee Chair and Northeast Regional Vice President

There was a great deal of excitement this year at the 2018 National ESP conference, where Ms. Rita T. Wood was introduced and honored for her significant donation to ESP, which provides members with an exciting grant opportunity. The newly developed Rita T. Wood Grant is intended to energize the Epsilon Sigma Phi organization and its membership.

This grant is structured to fund projects that improve infrastructure at the national or state chapter level and support the sustainability and growth of Epsilon Sigma Phi organization; strengthen the ESP organization’s ability to carry out its mission and serve its leadership teams or members and propel the ESP organization forward at the committee, chapter or national level. Successful projects may also increase the organization’s visibility in the community, college, university or other professional associations; stimulate development of the Extension professional; and/or increase diversity in our membership and attract young and early career professionals.

Ms. Wood served as a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for 32 years at Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County. An innovator and inspirational leader, Rita has embraced the Extension with integrity and creativity. Her dedication to Epsilon Sigma Phi is evident in the significant impact she has had at the state and national levels. Rita joined ESP in 1975, and has served on the International and Global Relations Committees, as Vice-President for the Northeast Region, and as a delegate for the Alpha Xi chapter. Now a lifetime ESP member, Rita continues to be an ambassador for ESP, which for her represents: Enthusiasm, Selflessness, and Passion.

The grant project criteria and application process can be found on the ESP website Rita T. Wood Grant. Applications are due May 1, 2019. Award announcements are planned for the 2019 ESP National Conference in Colorado. The Board of Directors and the Scholarship, Grants and Recognition Committee thank Rita for this opportunity and challenge our membership to submit innovative projects that will grow, strengthen and sustain ESP for many years to come!


ESP Chapter of Merit Award - great tool, new form
Celeste Carmichael, Member - National Membership, Recruitment & Retention Committee

As you may know, two chapter level awards are available from National ESP - the Chapter of Merit and the Achievement in Chapter Membership. If your Chapter has been involved in applying for these awards in the past, you may recall that the application process is very similar – except that the Achievement in Chapter Membership award focuses on membership recruitment and retention.

The ESP National Membership Recruitment & Retention Committee recently met and discussed the value of these two chapter level awards, but at the same time had to work to wrap our heads around the difference between the awards – many of the categories were the same. A follow-up conversation with Greg Price helped lead to a streamlined approach to applying for both of these awards.

The new Chapter Recognition Program form is simply a checklist (no rubric), and allows for sample recruitment information to be uploaded – all in one form. The process is intended to be easier – baseline chapter questions (same as the Chapter of Merit Award) + National ESP review of membership metrics + sample recruitment info = application completion for both chapter awards without chapters completing two forms.

Value of the Chapter Award – The ESP National Membership Recruitment & Retention Committee also discussed the value of the ESP Chapter of Merit recognition as both a recognition program and a guide for chapters to succeed. The checklist that outlines the elements of this recognition, when included as a part of chapter management, can help a chapter become vibrant and successful as a fraternal organization. If your Chapter has not thought of doing this before, we would encourage your Chapter leadership to think through these categories and the listing on the application form. Our committee take-away was that a chapter that strives to achieve these elements is a vibrant chapter.


Professional Development Webinar Proposals
Mark Platten, National Professional Development Committee Chair & West Region Vice-President

On behalf of the professional development committee, we’d like to share that we had six really great webinar proposals submitted during the RFP submission period. We conducted a blind review and selected the following webinar proposals:

1. “Tips for Adding Some (Adobe) Spark to Your Extension Outreach,” by Erin Yelland, Kansas State University

2. “New Technologies in Outreach: AR, 360 images and VR, 3D printing & crowdsourcing,” by Angela Gupta, University of Minnesota.

We are looking to host the first webinar the early part of April and the second webinar the last part of May. Stay tuned for more details. We will record the sessions and make them available on our national website.

You still have until March 15 to submit an RFP for concurrent/poster/lightning sessions and research proposals. Please look over the RFP and consider submitting a proposal. The benefit is that there are stipends available for each area: concurrent sessions $250, poster sessions $100 for the top ten meeting minimal requirements, lightning sessions $100 for the top five, and research sessions $100 for the top six meeting the minimal requirements. It could be a good way to enhance your vitae and offset the cost of attending an amazing National Conference in Colorado Springs! Here’s the RFP link: Presentation Proposals 2019


"We're Almost There....The $500,000 Goal"
Joanne S. Cavis, Member - Resource Development and Management Committee

Visionary leaders in 1985 established an Endowed Fund Goal of $500,000 in donations, the earnings from which are to be used to sustain professional development grants, scholarships and stipends, to develop the Extension profession and future professionals, through a continuing funding source.

At the conclusion of the 2018 Campaign, ESP members and chapters have donated $443,663. That means we only need $56,337 to reach our goal! . . . We are sooooooo close. When will we reach it??? You and your chapter can help!

Many of you have been generous givers over many years, and we thank you for being a pace setter. Some chapters have also made contributions and achieved a Key Level of giving. “Thank You” to all for setting a good example for other individuals and chapters in supporting your profession.

Last year, ESP National was able to return $31,000 (money generated from the endowed fund) to its members and chapters in the form of professional development grants, scholarships and stipends because of the generosity of members and chapters over many years.

Now, the next step is to move up to a new Key Level Recognition by giving to the endowed fund called the “Development Fund”. You can review the status of your chapter on the Development page (see Donor Contributions by Level as of 8/2018). Some chapters are very close to achieving Key Level or moving up to the next Key Level.

Levels are: Key ($250-499), Bronze ($500-999), Silver ($1000-4,999), Gold ($5,000-9,999), Platinum ($10,000-24,999), and Diamond ($25,000).

Did you know that each chapter should have an “Endowment Chair” to raise money for a chapter contribution? There are many ways to raise money toward reaching the $500,000 goal. Your chapter contribution could honor a past Ruby Award winner, your national officer, or an outstanding chapter member. . . Ask your Chapter Board of Directors to take action during 2019. Volunteer to be the chapter’s endowment chair or suggest a fund-raising idea. Take action! Set a goal for your chapter to move to the next Key Level.

We want to recognize individuals and chapters for their generosity in the ESP Connections newsletter and at National ESP Conference in October. Will you and your chapter be recognized?

You can Donate online using the Donate button located at the top of the Homepage.


A Professional Development Grant was recently awarded to NY / Lambda Chapter. Celeste Carmichael shares their plans for utilizing this ESP award.

Professional Development Grant to help Lambda Chapter Extend Professional Development Events with “Bite-Sized Learning”
Celeste Carmichael, NY Lambda Chapter, Member National Membership, Recruitment & Retention Committee

At a recent Lambda Chapter officers meeting, we discussed how pertinent professional development presentations could be useful beyond one event if the message were made available in bite-sized chunks for social media, e-mail messages and for our newsletter. This is based on the work of Dr. Richard Mayer around Multimedia Learning that indicates that learners are more likely to understand content when it is segmented and warm-up training is provided.

Our discussion lead to a project proposal to take professional development content and contract out to freelance writer/communicator to help us design messages and segment the content, making it useful for the full year to a greater audience. We were delighted to hear that the proposal was funded and will be moving forward with implementation.

The professional development that we will be working with was entitled: DIGITAL LEARNING - ENGAGING AND MOTIVATING LEARNERS IN ONLINE ENVIRONMENTS. This session included panel presenters that shared their experiences and a reflection on research about learning and teaching in a digital environment. The idea can be replicated with other content area, at another time, and the content shared beyond our Lambda Chapter.


2019 National Conference Update
Mark J. Platten, 2019 Conference co-chair with Jane Crayton and Rusty Collins

As we continue to move towards the 2019 National Conference, our executive team is beginning to fine-tune the details. We’ve set up what we believe will be an amazing opening ceremony at the Olympic Training Center(OTC). Here is the draft agenda for the Monday opening event (you are welcome to bring a spouse/significant other with you to the opening event in case you didn’t know). This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity since you don’t go behind the scenes unless you’re with a group event.

1) We’ll use the OTC visitor’s center from 6-6:30ish to view a movie in the auditorium, ask questions of a few athletes, grab finger food, open bar for beer and wine (two FREE drinks for the night) and visit the gift store.

2) From 6:30-7:00 athletes will take groups to tour the facilities. We’ll break into six groups and tour the campus with athletes leading the way.

3) From 7:00-7:45 we’ll open the rotunda for dinner and view an Olympic video on the 20 foot tall by 100 foot long screen.

4) From 7:45-8:30 we will have a pommel horse demonstration where we’ll have the chance for photo ops with the athletes.

5) From 8:30-9:00 This is our finale and you won’t want to miss the end to this evening. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but you’ll definitely want to stick around to the end.

This should be an amazing opportunity. Your ticket will be covered in the registration, but you will need to purchase separate tickets for the opening event for your guest(s), which typically run in the $75-80 price range. We’ll get clearer on that price as we continue to enter the numbers and look at registration numbers.

In the meantime, on behalf of the executive committee and the Colorado Zeta Chapter, we’re looking forward to a Gold Medal Conference!


Extension Leadership Conference: Engaging and Inspiring ESP Chapter Leaders
Peggy Compton, ESP Chapter Relations Committee, Chair

During the recent Extension Leadership Conference held Feb 6-7 in San Antonio, ESP Chapter leaders and members had the opportunity to network, hear about the work of the ESP’s National Committees, learn about chapter best practices and gain new leadership skills during the nearly four hours of dedicated ESP meeting time.

On Day 1, Success Stories garnered from the Chapter Reports that were submitted online were shared around the topics of life member engagement, attracting new professionals to ESP, gaining/maintaining administrative support for ESP, and member professional development. During small-group sharing, all attendees also had the opportunity to share their chapter’s best practices around these topics and to ask questions of others to gain ideas in areas where they would like to have more success in their chapter. A summary (from the Chapter Reports and the ideas gathered at ELC) is being developed and will be shared via the ESP website.

The following day, participants were introduced to leadership concepts from the John Stepper book, Working Out Loud. After a brief overview of the Working Out Loud approach, participants were challenged to use this approach in their ESP Chapter role. This included choosing a simple goal for themselves or their chapter, brainstorming the people related to that goal and thinking about what could be offered as a contribution to one or more of those individuals. A key point was that in “leading with generosity” one offers a contribution – even something as simple as a thank-you – rather than asking for something. There was time for individual reflection, small group brainstorming and large group sharing.

The ESP sessions at the ELC conference were planned and delivered by the Chapter Relations Committee – which consists of the four Regional Vice Presidents, with input from the entire National Board. Next year we will be back in beautiful San Antonio, TX. Hope to see you there!


Quotes and Comments from Extension Leadership Conference 2019
Mike Knutz, National ESP President Elect

“Enjoyed the icebreakers that mixed us up, a comfortable way to liven up the group and meet new people. I Really enjoyed the Leadership planning tools that were shared.” - Carole Smith, Oregon.

“I really enjoyed the walking tour of the River Walk. The BBQ place was awesome-- really enjoyed the family style meal and chatting with other ESP members.” – Arlene Wilson, New York

“I did enjoy the evening out as I got to meet several from other states and we talked about programming and success stories.” Melinda Hill, Ohio

“I gained a greater understanding of how ESP works on the national level. The meetings and dinner were a great opportunity to connect with Extension professionals from other states.” - Laura Hendrix, Arizona

These are just a few of the comments from ESP Members who attended the 2019 Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP. The conference was held on February 6 - 7, 2019 at the Wyndham Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. This conference is open to all Extension Professionals (not just the chapter officers). The conference included a keynote speaker, presentation from Bill Hoffman, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) representative, peer poster sessions, and nearly 30 concurrent presentations related to some aspect of leadership. There is a lot to learn in just two full days of the conference. In addition, ESP has two sessions to meet with members to discuss chapter related topics and national updates. We also have a night out. This year, 40 members and a few guests gathered at the County Line Texas BBQ Restaurant on the River Walk. It was an evening of networking and enjoying the comradery that ESP is known for.

Don’t miss out next year when it returns to San Antonio, February 2020. The Extension Leadership Conference is open to all Extension Professionals and not just chapter officers. National ESP provides $500 for each Chapter that has representation at each of ESP Sessions.


Communicating Extension to Elected Officials
Mandel Smith, Public Issues Committee

Strong community connections are key to building successful Extension programs on local, state and national levels. The first step to developing these connections is to learn who the stakeholders and legislators are in the communities you serve. While policies for contacting and interacting with legislators vary among state extension systems, it is still important that legislators learn about major programs and events offered through local extension offices. Both state and federal legislators should know the mission of extension and understand the benefit of the national land-grant system. Communicating with legislators is a process that begins with defining ways to inform legislators about the mission of extension and keeping them informed about key issues affecting those we serve.

Many extension services have statewide procedures in place for directing contact with state and federal legislators. It is important to work with district, regional or state extension leaders to understand what role you play in helping legislators appreciate the benefits extension can offer their constituents.

The mission of Extension is to provide non-formal education and learning activities to people throughout the country — to farmers and other residents of rural communities as well as to people living in urban areas. It emphasizes taking knowledge gained through research and education and bringing it directly to the people to create positive changes. Legislators and other community stakeholders should be aware of this mission. Help legislators see this mission in action in local communities by offering them a first-hand view of what is going on in their district. Social media is one way to reach legislators and/or their staff members. Find them on Facebook or Twitter in order to share local information.

Often, when we have face-to-face contact with legislators, time is limited. You should have an elevator speech ready for these situations. Educators at University of California, Davis give this definition of an elevator speech, an elevator speech is a clear, brief message or “commercial” about you. It communicates who you are, what you’re looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. It’s typically about 30 seconds, the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator. Make sure to develop an elevator speech that you can use to quickly introduce yourself and tell what Extension has to offer in your local area.

Another tool that you can use to communicate Extension’s mission with legislators is an impact statement. Impact statements can be used to report successful program results to elected officials. A well-written impact statement shows public accountability, your response to an issue and collaborations with other agencies and organizations. These types of statements can also offer a brief update on an issue or project and show return on investment and support future funding requests.

Retain strong relationships with legislators by periodically inviting them to visit programs and events where they can develop a better understanding of local Extension impact. Keep in mind that they often have very busy schedules so begin and end programs on time and thank them for supporting Extension.


This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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