eXtension Honors Outstanding Educators and Teams

eXtension recently announced its first national awards recognizing outstanding partners, as well as individual and team achievement.

Partner Award
My Horse University, a collaborator with eXtension’s HorseQuest community of practice, received the partnership award. Based at Michigan State University, staff from My Horse University worked with equine experts from other land-grant universities creating information, educational programs, national presentations and promotions as well as securing financing. The two organizations created monthly Web casts and an electronic newsletter of horse tips, developed a module for youth leaders, published and presented joint abstracts and papers, worked on federal grant proposals and secured Purina Mills as a sponsor.

Vermont and North Dakota educators honored
Elizabeth (Betsy) Greene, associate professor and Extension equine specialist at the University of Vermont, and Debra Pankow, associate professor and Extension family economics specialist at North Dakota State University, received awards for their individual contributions and leadership.

Greene is a contributor, collaborator, mentor and member of the HorseQuest community of practice. She has served as vice chair and chair of the equine eXtension group, delivered presentations at national and regional meetings, hosted web chats and webinars and mentored others on how to start and sustain a community of practice. Greene played a pivotal role in establishing HorseQuest and set high standards for other eXtension groups.

Pankow was honored for her achievement working with the Financial Security for All community of practice. As the first leader for the eXtension content on personal finance, Pankow motivated colleagues from across the country as well as devoted time and expertise to eXtension. She promoted the work of her community at workshops and conferences nationwide.

Communities of practice receive awards
HorseQuest and Financial Security for All were recognized for innovation and leadership in their respective areas of expertise. eXtension started in 2005 with eight content areas formed as communities of practice. These two were among the eight pioneer communities.

The equine group helped develop some of the initial eXtension processes and mentored other university experts in ways to reach the general public. The HorseQuest experts created information for the entire equine industry from new horse owners to professionals working to support the equine industry. Members of the leadership group included Kathy Anderson (University of Nebraska), Clint Depew (Louisiana State University), Betsy Greene (University of Vermont), Ashley Griffin (University of Kentucky), Nancy Valentine (National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA), Jennifer Whittle (University of Kentucky) and Carey Williams (Rutgers University).

As the financial crisis hit the United States, the land-grant experts in personal finance found their work on eXtension in high demand. The group focuses their research-based information on financial stability, financial literacy for children through young adults and information on achieving financial security for those close to retirement. Members of the group receiving awards included Erik Anderson (University of Idaho), Janet Bechman (Purdue University), Judy Branch (formerly with University of Vermont), Michael Gutter (University of Florida), Linda Kirk-Fox (Washington State University), Elizabeth Kiss (formerly with Purdue University), Jacque Miller (Colorado State University), Megan O’Neil-Haight (University of Maryland), Barbara O’Neill (Rutgers University), Debra Pankow (North Dakota State University), Nancy Porter (Clemson University), Jane Schuchardt (National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA), Sharon Seiling (Ohio State University) and Pat Swanson (Iowa State University).

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize these outstanding individuals and groups,” said Dan Cotton, eXtension director. “While eXtension represents the ‘best of the best’ in land-grant university content and informal education, the people we honor today represent the ‘best of the best’ working to achieve these high standards.”

Awards were presented on the final day of eXtension’s first national conference Oct. 20-23 in St. Louis.