The National Urban Extension Conference was held in Des Moines earlier this month. More than 300 attendees, including 15 from Minnesota, experienced an excellent staff and professional development program. While the conference was labeled as "Urban Extension" in its marketing, it was more of a blueprint for "Extension of the Future."
Sessions focused on issues such as food systems, human health, financial literacy, and the environment. Other sessions centered on the role of technology in teaching and learning, public engagement, communications, accountability, and best teaching practices. Keynoters addressed diversity, poverty, cultural awareness, societal trends and generational learning. While these topics may be perceived as being associated with "urban" audiences, all of these issues are applicable for Extension in Minnesota whether you are in the Twin Cities or in greater Minnesota.
Several University of Minnesota Extension faculty presented at sessions or accompanied posters. They included Dorothy Freeman (who presented a keynote), Toni Smith, Claudia Cody, Jennifer Skuza (who is also University of Minnesota's Extension representative on the planning committee), Abby Gold, Maki Kawase, Karen Jeannette, Margo Herman, Shelley Sherman, Nancy Hegland, and Joyce Strand.
Senior Associate Dean