As we shift to virtually providing programming and staying connected, Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko invited four Extension colleagues to share the creative ways they are using technology to continue their Extension activities.

Brooke Edmunds, assistant professor (practice), community horticulturalist and Master Gardener™ program coordinator for Linn and Benton counties, created Fun Friday Zoom Happy Hours to continue building a sense of community among Master Gardener volunteers, important to program participants. Introducing Zoom conferencing in a fun way has an added benefit as well, which she explains. Look for the Informal Virtual Gathering success story on the Virtual Extension website for more details. 

Lu Seapy, 4-H Youth Development STEM educator in Wasco County, sought to identify programming that would lend itself to online learning. Three courses quickly were introduced. She shares how she approached the online programming and offers these resources and more on the Virtual Extension website. She also offers this advice: Anticipate that online preparation takes more time than prepping for traditional programming.

Kristen Moore and Alice Phillips, 4-H educators in the North Willamette Region, want to keep kids and parents engaged by using a familiar platform: Facebook. Using Facebook Premier allows a combination of recorded video and a live component. They call it “4-H Together on Thursday” focusing on “5 Things You Can Do…” using things around the house. You can tune in, too, to see how they do it. Videos are available for sharing after the premier. Look for the video and multimedia link on Virtual Extension for more details.

Reminder: The Virtual Extension website offers resources for virtual programming, success stories so we all learn from each other and more. Use the “Let’s Talk” button on the site to share ideas, success stories, questions, and resources you’ve found to be helpful.

The Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative (OREI) was launched by the division in January, 2019, with the support of OSU Impact Studio. Now in the pilot phase of development, Lee Davis, OREI executive director, shares an update with Extension and Engagement’s Associate Vice Provost Lindsey Shirley in this month’s First Monday Update. 

OREI is focused on workforce training, and community and economic development. Watch the video to learn why OSU Extension adds credibility to the initiative, the type of training that is being launched and what the future of OREI might look like.

Let’s hear from you! What needs do you see in your community related to the outdoor economy (or other sectors) where there is a training opportunity? Your ideas could accelerate economic development in our rural communities. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko asked Dr. Spirit Brooks, Dr. David Lewis, Jane Waite and Luhui Whitebear to join her this month to increase our understanding of respectful ways to acknowledge the contributions Native Americans continue to have on our communities and the natural world around us. Land acknowledgements are one way to honor the indigenous peoples that have for millennia stewarded the land we occupy. Acknowledgements also are an invitation to learn more about Native American culture and a first step to create and strengthen connections with tribal nations and members.

Join us in this month’s First Monday Update to discover more about the importance and relevance of land acknowledgements.

Review a compilation of resources to learn more about the tribes of Oregon and reflect on how you might offer a respectful acknowledgement:

Please share your reflections and questions with Anita by commenting below.

Angela Sandino, regional director for North Willamette Region (Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties), joins Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko for this month’s First Monday Update. There is a lot of student-related opportunity (the potential numbers are astounding), a new building breaking ground in Spring 2020, and new county and agency support happening in the tri-county area.

Anita looks forward to seeing everyone at Extension Annual Conference!

This month’s First Monday Update is a preview of the important conversations that will take place during the November 15* Quarterly Conversation, which include:

  • Budget conversations (analysis, rebasing and priority staffing process)
  • Restructuring of the Division’s leadership teams
  • Strategy for the Extension Citizen Advisory Network (ECAN)

Anita also emphasizes Ed Ray and Ed Feser’s view that, as the University’s primary outreach mechanism, Extension is essential to OSU’s success. Stay tuned until the very end, which is where Anita shares breaking news about the Division’s new name and title for the leader of the Division. You’ll want to attend in person or Zoom in starting at 9:00 a.m. in Kidder 202 (check your calendar invite for details). The Quarterly Conversation will be devoted to the above topic areas allowing lots of time for your questions.

*Ann Marie Murphy apologizes for sharing with Anita the incorrect date for the Quarterly Conversation. The correct day is November 15.

Jason O’Brien, OSU Master Naturalist program coordinator, joins Anita Azarenko to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the OSU Master Naturalist program. The trained volunteers are driven by their curiosity about Oregon, learning about the natural history and natural resource management of the state. The next five years will focus on creating a greater presence at the local level through Extension and partner relationships.

The Master Naturalist program has an emphasis on learning and outreach. Anita would like to hear how you see your programs connecting to the larger land grant mission of Oregon State University: teaching (learning), research (discovery) and service (outreach and engagement). Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Provost Ed Feser joins Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko to share thoughts on the importance of the OSU Extension Service to Oregon State University’s mission and Strategic Plan 4.0, as well as next steps in the search for leadership of the OSU Extension Service.

Do you have additional thoughts to share on what’s important for the next leader of OSU Extension? Share your thoughts with Anita or leave a question or comment below.

Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko makes her debut on the First Monday Update video in the company of retiring Vice Provost Scott Reed. Anita gives us a glimpse of how over the years she has experienced Extension and the learning/teaching, research/discovery and outreach/engagement land grant university missions. She also shares a quick overview of what her focus will be through the end of the year.

How did you come to do the work of outreach and engagement? Share your stories with Anita by replying below.


Scott Reed, Vice Provost for the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, retires at the end of this month: July 2019. In his final First Monday Update video, shot on his sailboat New Wave, he fittingly sprinkles sailing metaphors throughout his parting words of wisdom and look into the future.

Share your own words of wisdom, or well wishes, with Scott using the comment section below.

Scott’s videos first appeared as end of the year messages in December 2012 and 2013. First Monday Updates in text form materialized March 2014. Monthly videos started appearing regularly beginning in July 2014. That’s a five year and 60 video tradition, many of which Scott shot, edited and posted himself. You might enjoy visiting the blog archives to take a walk down memory lane.