Professional Development Opportunities

Michigan State University Extension Professional Apprenticeship Program

The Michigan State University Extension Professional Apprenticeship Program aims to provide a series of professional and leadership development opportunities for staff currently in non-academic roles (e.g. PC’s, CNI’s, Support staff, etc.) with a special emphasis on Black/African American, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Middle Eastern/Arab American staff within the organization.  The first year of this program will focus on providing selected participants with insights, experiences and coaching/mentoring related to an Extension Educator role and responsibilities.  Additionally, the selected participants will work as a cohort to help identify promising or best practices in reaching and programming to diverse communities across Michigan. Our organizational plan is to continue this program beyond the 1st year.

Program Features:

  • Three positions available during year one (2020-21)
  • Open to individuals in non-academic positions (e.g. PC’s, CNI’s, Support staff, etc.) who are MSU Extension staff, with an emphasis on Black/African American, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Middle Eastern/Arab American staff within the organization.
  • Minimum of an anticipated Bachelor’s degree completion by June 30, 2021 and/a completed Masters or an anticipated Master’s degree completion by June 30, 2022 is desirable
  • Minimum one (1) year of employment in current position
  • Participant will have received a meets expectation or better rating in their most recent employee performance evaluation (fiscal year 2020)
  • One year appointment with the possibility of renewal for a second year experience 50% appointment of the individual’s current position. (i.e., This means that your will be relieved of 50% of your regular programming responsibilities in order for you to have adequate time to focus on this program)
  • Once accepted into the position, arrangements will be made organizationally to address issues/barriers to support full participation in the program and expectations.
  • Participant will be matched with a coach/sponsor from an existing Educator or Specialist
  • Upon completion of the program, participants will receive feedback on strengths and areas for continued growth by their coach.  This feedback will not be a part of their yearly performance evaluation.
  • Participants will also provide feedback on their coach/sponsor and the overall program experience. 
  • Planned apprentice co-hort professional development opportunities including, but not limited to, meeting with MSU Extension leadership, understanding program planning, program development and evaluation, DEI education, adult learning principles, facilitation, etc.
  • Successful participants will receive proactive outreach from MSUE HR regarding openings across the organization and will be encouraged to apply.
  • Participants will access to professional development funds during participation in the program for professional development associated with apprenticeship. 
  • Participants will identify in collaboration with their coach/sponsor, a plan of work and specific tasks and experiences that will provide exposure to and support the professional development of the apprentice, appropriate to this role and program. 
  • Apprentice co-hort will present a workshop during Fall Extension Conference 2022 on the apprentice experience and best/promising practices to reach diverse communities. 

Program Time Frame:

  • Applications will be available April 5, 2021 and due by May 3, 2021. 
  • Participants will be notified by June 4, 2021 of their acceptance Program participants will begin in positions in July 2021. 
  • Program participation will end on June 30, 2022.

Other Program Features and Opportunities:

  • Opportunity to be connected with a peer coach to explore academic career opportunities within MSU Extension.
  • Exposure to other areas or roles within Extension, especially where there is currently limited representation of racially diverse staff.
  • Opportunity to work with other program cohort to identify opportunities and best/promising practices for serving racially diverse communities in MI.
  • Opportunity to identify and participate in professional development or leadership programs to support personal and professional development, including but not limited to, team-building, DEI, program evaluation, personal management.
  • Support for program participants to gain insight and opportunities into career advancement within MSU Extension.

For more information contact Dionardo Pizana at pizanad@msu.edu

Apply to Program:

To apply, click here


Two Day Multicultural Self-Awareness Workshops

All MSU Extension employees regardless of funding source or appointment are expected to attend this “cornerstone” multicultural workshop which sets an organizational framework for recognizing, understanding and appreciating differences. 

During this two-day Multicultural Self-Awareness Workshop, participants will explore ways in which to view interactions with people different from themselves. The emphasis is on differences rather than similarities. The workshop focuses on the individual and helps explore belief systems about multiculturalism to identify feelings and values from a multicultural perspective. This intensive learning experience focuses on increasing awareness of several areas of prejudice, discrimination and oppression, including racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and ableism.  Participants are encouraged to reflect on how they’ve learned to think about human differences and on the widespread tendency to view differences within a monocultural view of “better than/less than” thinking. In addition, participants have opportunities to apply what they’re learning to work-related scenarios and explore alternative, more helpful behaviors.

Due to the nature of the workshop, you are asked to participate fully in the two days without phone calls, meetings and other interruptions which diminish the learning experience for all. The cost to attend the workshop for MSUE employees is $75. Non-MSU Extension employees are also able to attend at a cost of $150.

Upcoming Dates TBD


Leadership in Dealing with Difficult Multicultural Discussions

Many people are concerned about reports of bias-based language and behaviors targeting young people and adults based on differences such as race, national origin, immigration status, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other differences. Have you found yourself wanting to speak up to address hurtful language and behaviors but you didn’t know how to respond at work, at home or in the community? Perhaps you’ve been in a situation where you wished that you could’ve responded in a different way to an inappropriate behavior, remark or joke? Many attendees of the MSU Extension two-day Multicultural Self-Awareness workshop have indicated that they would benefit from opportunities to practice ways to use their voice to take leadership in dealing with difficult multicultural discussions. The purpose of this workshop is to provide frameworks and practical experiences for participants to explore how difficult discussions can become opportunities for transformative dialogue. Participants will learn approaches to positive confrontation and the connections between personal healing, organizational and community change, social justice and authentic relationships across differences. This workshop is open to all MSU Extension staff and community members.

The cost to attend the workshop for MSU Extension employees is $25. Community members and all others are encouraged to attend at a cost of $75. Registration fee includes lunch.

Upcoming Dates TBD


Opening Doors: A Personal and Professional Journey Workshop

Opening Doors is an overnight three (3) day retreat that is held yearly in May that lays the foundation for personal and organizational growth. Through this workshop, participants explore a framework that deepens their diversity awareness and enhances their ability to create inclusive organizations. The workshop addresses personal and professional change as part of an understanding differences initiative of multicultural organizational development.

In the Opening Doors workshop participants will: 

  • Increase understanding of diversity by identifying and learning more about their own identity groups.
  • Identify personal feelings and experiences related to cultural and other differences among people.
  • Examine how practices of institutions, as well as our own personal practices, maintain inequities among people and prevent us all from reaching our potential.
  • Collectively develop a framework and common language in order to facilitate change.
  • Build alliances and networks.

Click here for an Opening Doors brochure

Upcoming Dates TBD