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Reflections from Program Conference 2018

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader

Wow, I can’t believe that 2018 Program Conference has come and gone! As with most conferences, we anticipate a conference with excitement knowing we will see old colleagues and meet new ones, share about our work and learn from our colleagues. As we attend conference sessions and keynote presentations, our minds are often fully engaged with new ideas, new partnerships and sometimes even a plan for next steps. As we leave the final session, our minds may start to wander back into our day-to-day norm—how many unanswered emails do I have? Do I really have two MORE days of work ahead of me? Perhaps we start to mentally formulate a “to-do” list. Some of us can put those thoughts right out of our minds and reflect a bit longer on all that we experienced. For others, a sense of urgency sets in, and the conference becomes a distant memory as we are drawn back into our routines. Which of these are you?

I have learned that carving out time for reflection following a conference experience is so important for my professional growth. Do I always take the time? No—I sometimes fall easily back into my routine and am only reminded of the conference weeks later as I am clearing off my desk or cleaning out my bag and find my notes or a conference handout. Other times, I am able to carve out a bit of time and reach out to someone I met or finally set up that much promised meeting with an old colleague.

This year I took some time to reflect on my time at Program Conference and it was all about engagement for me. We talk about engagement being at the “core” of our work—but what does that look like and how is that carried out? Well, Family Development truly illustrated throughout the conference how “we do engagement” both internally—across programs and centers, and externally with community partners. Here are some sessions that I either attended or reflected with on others that truly illustrated how engagement is at the core of our work. If you want to learn more about these sessions and the work that your colleagues are doing, take this opportunity to ENGAGE!
  • Experiences from University-community place-based approaches
  • How we engage with military service members, veterans and their families in Minnesota communities
  • Community engagement: A key factor for a financial education and family asset protection program in Minnesota
  • Evaluation case studies in Extension cross-program collaboration
  • Cascading Effects: A systemic approach to addressing educational disparities
  • Program leadership and management across Extension work, from annual planning to promotion and beyond
  • Making the leap: Exploring important factors that support program innovation
    Decorated pumpkin during Family Development Meeting, Fall Program Conference
    Family Development Meeting, Fall Program Conference.

    Karen Matthes talking during Technology Session
    Karen Matthes, technology session. 

    Downloading Guidebook app., Bomi Jang.

    Billie Willson explaining some new technology during Quick Bytes.
    Quick Bytes with Billie Wilson.

    ESP Diversity Award received by Jennifer Garbow & Becky Hagen Jokela.
    ESP Diversity Award received by Jennifer Garbow and Becky Hagen Jokela.

    Filmfest. 

    Military Family Learning Network session —How we engage with military service members, veterans and their families in Minnesota.

    Antonio Alba Meraz with Family after receiving Dean's Distiguished Field Faculty Award
    Antonio Alba Meraz with Family after receiving Dean's Distinguished Field Faculty Award.

    Antonio Alba Meraz receiving Dean's Distiguished Field Faculty Award
    Antonio Alba Meraz receiving Dean's Distinguished Field Faculty Award.

    Jenifer McGuire receiving Dean's Distiguished Campus Faculty Award
    Jenifer McGuire receiving Dean's Distinguished Campus Faculty Award.

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Comments

  1. I love seeing the pictures of our colleagues as they received awards and much deserved recognition for their meaningful work! I did cry when Antonio's family joined him on stage!

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