Strategic Connections & Communications

Telling the MSU Extension Story

The success of any organization is built on the individual successes of its team members. Connecting with policymakers and stakeholders to share those successes helps increase community support. In a complex organization such as Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, every member of the team must take responsibility for maintaining positive relationships with legislators, key decision-makers, stakeholders and media in their community and throughout the state.

The “Expect to Connect” toolkit is designed to help prepare all MSU Extension staff members to embrace this role and responsibility. It is designed to help staff members feel more comfortable in looking for and taking advantage of opportunities to tell the MSU Extension story.

Many assume that maintaining relationships is the job of a district director and the MSU Extension administrative team. While that is true, this task doesn’t fall solely on their shoulders. Local connections are as imperative as those at the state level. The local policymakers and stakeholders that you work with today directly influence local policy and funding, and may one day represent your area in state or federal government.

Don’t wait until stakeholders get to Lansing to start telling them about the strength of MSU Extension. These people are county commissioners, township supervisors, directors of local food banks and presidents of local Farm Bureaus today. Use the tools in this kit to connect with key leaders now.

Also remember to document your contact and communication with policymakers in PEARS.


Connecting with Legislators

For MSU Extension staff members inexperienced or uncomfortable with with government officials, check out our recorded webinar on Connecting with Legislators.

Also remember to document your contact and communication with policymakers in PEARS.

Expect-to-Connect-ToolkitDownload the complete Expect to Connect Toolkit

Expect To Connect Toolkit

Strategic Connections Team

The Expect to Connect Toolkit was updated by the MSU Extension Strategic Connections Team.

Any one of these MSU Extension and MSU colleagues can help you navigate these tools, find support for your strategic connections needs or do both:

Anne Baker, (, MSU Extension Learning and Talent Development Specialist
Patrick Cudney, (, MSU Extension Associate Director
Cheryl Howell, (, MSU Extension Strategy and Partnership Program Leader, Children and Youth
Dru Montri, (, Director of Government and Stakeholder Relations, MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and College of Veterinary Medicine
Jeremy Reuter, (, Director for Statewide Advocacy, MSU Government Relations
Eric Scorsone, (, Associate Professor & Director of the MSU Extension Center for State and Local Government Policy
Shari Spoelman, (, MSU Extension District 6 Director
Beth Stuever, (, MSU Extension Director of Public Affairs
Heather Triezenberg, (, MSU Extension Specialist and Program Leader, Michigan Sea Grant Extension
Eric Walcott, (, MSU Extension State Specialist, Government and Public Policy Programs