Number CLVI The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi May 2021

 The First 207 Days
Peggy Compton, National ESP President

Last week we heard from U.S. President Joe Biden of accomplishments in his first 100 days in office. This got me thinking that I am more than half-way through my term as President of the ESP National Board, a good time, it seems, to pause, take stock, and report to you, my ESP colleagues and friends.

In the first 207 days as your ESP National President:

1) I have been humbled and motivated by the commitment and passion of the national leadership team of board members and the Executive Director. Together, we have embarked on a review of the structure and operational policies of our national board and committees. A process that has required additional meetings (with more still to come), an open mind and respectful dialogue. We are asking difficult questions and planning for an ESP that will be nimble and responsive to the changing times and needs of our members. Look for recommendations to be shared in the near future.

2) The work of the national committees is deliberate, thoughtful, and thorough. As committee members, YOU are ensuring that our association is strong and vibrant. Because of the hard work and diligence of our committees we have an improved chapter reporting and recognition process (Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee), useful, professionally designed state logos (Marketing Committee), forward-thinking stewardship of our organization’s funds (Resource Development and Management), international mentoring opportunities for ESP members (Global Relations Committee), a robust webinar series and more sessions and posters planned for the 2021 National Conference than any previous conference (Professional Development Committee) and many additional contributions.

3) Chapter leaders and ESP members have shown energy and enthusiasm for the work and the benefits of our organization. Chapters are engaged in developing new websites as part of the redesigned “Wild Apricot” national website platform, you (60+) enthusiastically participated in the 2021 Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP (including 8 members who volunteered to review abstracts), you have applied for open committee positions, and in record-setting numbers, submitted abstracts for presentations at our 2021 National Conference. Kudos and thanks to all of you for being AWESOME!

4) And finally, I have to admit that it has proven to be every bit as challenging as I had suspected it would be, balancing my Extension job here in Wisconsin, with my responsibilities as National ESP President and President-elect of the National JCEP Board. I could have taken an easier route and chosen not to run for a JCEP officer position or be a co-chair of the JCEP Policies and Procedures Committee. However, my respect for all of you and the honor of serving you, inspires me to offer my very best in leading ESP and in representing ESP nationally.

Thank you for a productive and rewarding first 207 days and I look forward to the next 178!


Professional Development After the Pandemic...Plan to Attend the 2021 ESP Conference!
Submitted by: Abbie Salmon and Jeannette Rea Keywood, Professional Development Committee

This past year has brought about challenges beyond what we could have ever imagined. We hope that the months to come will provide us with the healing and peace that we all need and the opportunity to gather together.

Georgia would like to provide you with a chance to leave the life we’ve all come to know lately and go back to find a simpler place in time. Now you don’t necessarily have to ride that “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but we do hope you will join us in Savannah, October 25-28 for the 2021 National ESP Conference.

While in Georgia you will experience some of the state’s great southern hospitality. You are invited to look forward to delicious home cookin’, seafood, and sweet tea as well as some great historical sites and beautiful landscapes that only the coastal waters of Georgia can provide.

The conference will provide an opportunity to network, attend sessions, and hear from some amazing speakers who will share about resiliency and the business of simply being happy. Conference speakers include:

  • Dr. Scott Angle, Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)
  • Dr. Dave Schramm, Associate Professor and Family Life Extension Specialist, Utah State University
  • Dr. Lorilee Sandmann, Professor Emerita, Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, University of Georgia

Plan to join us for a Sea of Opportunity Anchored in Extension October 25-28, 2021.


A word from the Resource Development and Management Committee

by Joanne S. Cavis, National RDM Committee Member

Head’s Up!!!  ESP National Conference registration opens on June 1st  We’re sure that you’ll want to have a Savannah, Georgia conference pin to put on your name tag . . . or perhaps add it to the collection on your lanyard?

You can be the proud owner of a conference pin by donating $100 (or more) to the Development Fund when you register for the conference, just follow the registration directions, and your pin will be waiting for you in Savannah.  

Remember, your contribution --- whatever the amount --- counts toward your cumulative Key Level Giving recognition.  Your gift helps support the professional development activities of ESP.  . . giving back $36,000 this year to our members.

So, please make a donation when you register.  It will be acknowledged at the Conference. Thank YOU!


PILD Scholarship Recipient
by Marlin Bates, Kansas Alpha Rho Chapter Member

PILD was certainly different this year, but I was able to extract several meaningful lessons that I intend to apply to my work as a County Extension Director and Community Development Extension Professional. Hearing from federal legislative aides was truly eye-opening - their advice on how to prepare for visits on the hill and their suggestions on how to make our time (and theirs) worthwhile was valuable. I also appreciated hearing some perspectives on how to craft local messaging to illustrate the impact of local public investments. We often hold our personal relationships with local decision makers for granted, but we need to remember that there are many more stakeholders to consider in this arena.

Thank you for your support of my professional development. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to participate in PILD and bring this valuable information back to my local ESP chapter, my institution and my local unit.

The 2021 PILD Conference was held virtually April 12-14. This year's conference theme was "Building Our Future Together". Marlin Bates was a recipient of a PILD Scholarship from the ESP Development Fund.


Richard Angus Scholarship Recipient
by Mark Platten, Colorado Zeta Chapter Member 

I want to thank ESP for selecting me to receive the $1,000 Richard Angus Scholarship for “The Digital Course Academy,” a 12-week online course where I learned how to develop an online training program, including development, marketing, and best practices, all of which falls in line with my professional development plan. The goal was to use the training to develop online programs that our clientele can take at their leisure, and charge a price point that would produce passive income during these challenging financial times.

We had access to develop programs in Canvas, but there is a huge backlog of others who want to develop these courses as well so it takes a long time from conception to completion. In addition, the Canvas platform is not the most user friendly and when something needs to be changed, it can take days or weeks to update materials. The Digital Course Academy was focused on more nimble platforms such as Thinkific, Kajabi, and Teachable to name a few. The benefits of these platforms is we can develop as many courses as we want without having to rely on campus, they are more streamlined and easier for the user to navigate, and once they are developed, their shelf life is often years long.

I believe I will be able to develop local programs and then conduct training at the state level, thereby leveraging the scholarship to expand reach far beyond the local level. 

2021 ESP Conference Presentations
by Jeannette Rea Keywood, Professional Development Committee

Thank you to all the ESP members who submitted proposals for the 2021 ESP Conference! We received a total of 154 proposals for concurrent, research, ignite and poster sessions. This year, there were 33 more proposals submitted than in 2020. The largest increase was in research and ignite proposals.

The conference in Savannah, Georgia slated for October 25-28, 2021 will provide an opportunity to learn and engage through numerous professional development offerings. There will be 24 concurrent sessions, nine (9) research presentations, seven (7) ignite sessions, and 25 posters presented by Extension professionals in all program areas representing 19 states. Acceptance rates ranged from 30%-43% for concurrent, research, and ignite proposals. Notification emails will be sent by May 10.

Conference sessions will include a variety of timely Extension topics including inclusion and equity, virtual programming, leadership, collaborations and partnerships, civility, mentoring, balancing work and family, urban programming, evaluation, and finance. Plan to attend the conference and participate in outstanding professional development experiences.


The ESP 2021 Webinar Series continues the last Tuesday of each month

The  next webinar is scheduled for May 25, 2021.  Cindy Kinder, Idaho Theta Chapter will share Innovative Methods to Evaluate Higher Learning by Youth.  New evaluation methods show Extension programs have impact on higher levels of learning. Presenters will explain evaluation methods of Group Mapping and TAPPS Video Methods including how to structure programs to facilitate participants ability to apply knowledge learned.

On June 29, 2021, Jesse Ketterman, Maryland Tau Chapter will share Health Insurance Options for Farmers and Small Businesses. With high costs of health care and the negative impacts of COVID-19 with some farmers losing off-farm employment, farmers and small business owners struggle to identify reasonably cost health insurance. This workshop discusses various options and explores considerations when purchasing insurance.

Register for these and other webinars on the 2021 ESP Webinar Series page.

Past webinars can be found in the ESP Webinar Library on the ESP YouTube Channel under the Webinar playlist.


If you are interested in pursuing an international extension experience, the Global Relations Committee has an opportunity for you

Extension Educators provide science-based education for the masses. The beneficiaries of teaching in Cooperative Extension can be neighbors, friends, community members and beyond. Those who benefit may also span the globe. But how does one find international teaching opportunities? The Epsilon Sigma Phi Global Relations Committee has begun an Extension Training Mentor Program for International Extension Scholars.

The mentor program is designed to provide opportunities for ESP members to engage in international teaching and mentoring activities. Helping to solve problems is not new to Cooperative Extension workers. There are many ways to provide assistance for solving worldwide problems. Mentoring students at universities across the globe is but one way to do so.

The program is progressing. Two target countries were selected to begin the program--Cambodia and Senegal. To learn about the history and development of the program and the role of the ESP Global Relations Committee, go to

Thus far, the ESP International Scholars Program has had three students benefit from support provided by this program. The scholars were from Cambodia. Mentors provide assistance to students in defining their career goals and setting a path to achieve those goals. To learn more about the opportunity, check out the Position Description. Student participants have been excited to participate as International Extension Scholars. 

For those ESP members interested in the Extension Training Mentor Program for International Extension Scholars, be sure to take a look at the Position Description. It contains a list of expectations for mentors. You may email any questions about the program to

Please complete the application at

The Global Relations Committee is excited for future linkages between ESP members and International Scholars.


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

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