UD Cooperative Extension team presented award at national conference

April 10, 2014 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Dennis Calvin, chair, eXtension Governing Committee, and director, Penn State University Extension (left) presents the Be, Grow, Create Outstanding Institutional Team Award to (from left) UD's Michele Walfred, Adam Thomas and Christy Mannering.A University of Delaware Cooperative Extension team has been honored by eXtension as a 2014 Be, Grow, Create Outstanding Institutional Team Award winner. The award was presented at the National eXtension Conference and National Extension Directors and Administrators joint meeting on March 26 in Sacramento, Calif.

The UD team includes Carrie Murphy, Phillip Sylvester, Deborah Delaney, Kathleen Splane, Nancy Gainer, Adam Thomas, Christy Mannering and Michele Walfred.

Ask an Expert implementation was a major focus of the team’s work. Jeff Hino, from Oregon State University, worked with members who personalized a marketing concept developed by Oregon State and developed a video for use in a multimedia presentation at the Delaware State Fair.

The team developed the implementation process and the timeframe for delivery. By the time they rolled out Ask an Expert at the State Fair, over 30 staff and volunteers had been trained to respond to questions, “question wranglers” were in place, and a web presence had been developed.

All Extension staff participated in Adobe Connect training in relation to Ask an Expert prior to the State Fair. Since the rollout time period, the team has continued to enhance Ask an Expert with a question of the week feature and additional training sessions as new staff come on board.

At this year’s Delaware Extension Annual Conference, the Ask an Expert sub-committee members were selected and received the Director’s Leadership award.

Terry Meisenbach, eXtension communications and marketing leader, said, “The University of Delaware team, with the help of eXtension leadership members, was able to grasp the multitude of resources available from eXtension. Through Adobe Connect poll pods and a Qualtrics online survey, the team identified some immediate and short-term goals for eXtension implementation. They quickly met that first round of goals and the goals they’re considering now focus on social media development and online course development using Moodle.”

Elbert Dickey, eXtension executive director, added, “An Outstanding Institutional Team has demonstrated the planning, creativity, and commitment to making eXtension a ‘fit’ for its state and institution. An Outstanding team also helps eXtension know just what its state and institution brings to eXtension.”

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Nancy Gainer named CANR communications manager

November 25, 2013 under CANR News

Nancy Gainer named CANR Communications ManagerNancy Gainer has been named the communications manager for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware.

Gainer brings a breadth of knowledge to the college, having more than 25 years of public relations and marketing experience in higher education.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in English from Regis College in Weston, Mass., Gainer went on to earn her master’s in business and organizational communications at Emerson College in Boston.

She began her career at Arnold Public Relations Inc. before transitioning into a career focused on higher education, beginning with a job as a public relations consultant at Bridgewater (Mass.) State College.

“I’ve always been interested in higher education,” said Gainer. “My dad is a concert pianist and professor emeritus of music at Bridgewater State. I essentially grew up on the campus. At the age of 16, I had my first job there, everyone knew me, and we were always at the events. When I left the agency, I said, ‘Maybe higher education public relations is something I want to do.’”

After moving into the role of media relations contact/advertising manager at Bridgewater State College, Gainer took a role as the associate director of public information at Simmons College in Boston, where she eventually worked her way up to the position of director of public information.

Gainer would go on to serve as the director of college relations and the executive director of marketing and communications for Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., before working as the director for external relations for the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the Fulbright Scholar Program for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Of the Fulbright Scholar Program, Gainer said, “It was really melding academic higher education with politics, which is what I love, too. I was able to get a position where I was in charge of the marketing and public relations and I was also in charge of the recruitment.”

Gainer enjoyed the job, but realized how much she missed working in a campus atmosphere and decided to head back into the collegiate world, working as the executive director of public relations and marketing for Howard (Md.) Community College before arriving at UD.

Of the position at UD Gainer said, “It struck me and really resonated with me. It’s something I believe in. I’ve been up and down the Eastern seaboard but I grew up in a little town where there are farms down the street, the industry is cranberries, and that’s the focus of my town: the agriculture. I was in 4-H from the time I was 7, so the message of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is something that I could connect with.”

Gainer continued, saying, “Anything that I do in terms of PR and marketing, I have to feel it. I have to believe it; otherwise it’s not going to be a good fit. This felt right.”

Article by Adam Thomas

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