At the eXtension 2012 National Conference, Michelle Rodgers, associate dean for Extension and outreach in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, received the first-ever Working Differently in Extension Award. Michelle went to work in Delaware in April 2012. One of her first actions, even before moving to Delaware from Michigan State, was to meet with eXtension to begin the process of introducing her faculty and staff to eXtension technology and tools.
In a conference panel on the evolution of Extension, Michelle advocated partnering beyond government agencies. “Partnering with others can help us increase and achieve resource efficiency,” she said. “Private companies may invest more in research, but Extension is most effective in distributing the research.” She concluded by noting as universities partner with private organizations, they must also work to maintain the trust that is place in Extension as a non-biased source of information.
In 2009 Michelle and her Michigan State University colleagues attended the first National eXtension Conference. They came despite facing massive budget cuts BUT they learned the power of technology and eXtension’s tools and learned to work differently.
Today, Michelle is passing that same passion she embraced three years ago into her work at Delaware. She started an Institutional Team at the University of Delaware. She is changing how her faculty and staff work and committing herself and her organization to working online and in a national learning network.
The Working Differently in Extension Award recognizes either an individual or a team for their engagement with clients, co-workers and others in new and different ways. It lauds the demonstrable impacts made, both quantitatively and qualitatively as they do their work. And, finally this award provides an opportunity to show how these individuals or groups are working online and within a learning network…something to be truly held up in Cooperative Extension.