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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


After watching the lunar eclipse on Monday, I learned a new word: syzygy. Syzygy (pronounced “siz-i-jee”) has a dual definition:
  1. An alignment of three celestial bodies
  2. “Yoked together”
This word had me thinking of the multiple events in the news this week and how they are “yoked together.” Three things come to mind: new data on income inequality, Pope Francis’s U.S. visit, and FD’s regional discussions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Listening to the Music — and Our Environment

Daughters Sophia (9) and Josie (6).
Two of my daughters have taken Suzuki violin lessons for the past five years. One main tenet of the Suzuki method has resonated with me over the years and is applicable to the ways we work in Extension.

At the center of the Suzuki method is the tenet, "All people can learn from their environment.” Recently, my daughters’ violin teacher Susan shared the importance of environment. She said that every time she is in an orchestra practice or performance, she learns from those around her. It is not only about listening to the music around her, but rather the nuances of the piece and the roles of different instruments throughout the song. She emphasized that it takes practice to become a good listener to those around you and that the more you put yourself in that environment, the better your listening skills become.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Learning from 9/11 and Regional Visits

My heart is heavy as I write this on Friday, September 11, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
I was asked to write my reflections on the Family Development regional visits to date, and with 9/11 on my mind, I reflect on the importance of the expansion of our work to incorporate policies, systems, and environments as we plan our programs.

Word Matters: Uncle Sam Wants You to Fight Gobbledygook

Did you know that Congress passed the Plain Writing Act in 2010? The act — and subsequent executive orders — require that federal publications are written in a way "the public can understand and use." Among other things, official communications must use the active voice, avoid double negatives, and eliminate jargon and clunky coined words like "incentivising."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meet the Team: Applied Research and Evaluation

Editor's note: For the most up-to-date information about the Applied Research and Evaluation team, please see this page of the FD Intranet: Meet the Team: Applied Research and Evaluation.

The heart of Family Development educators' work is educating families and those who serve families. As a result, FD educators’ strongest skills are in education, and while most of them have some skills in research and evaluation, there may come a time when they need assistance to expand or improve those skills.

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