eXtension Announces Four New Learning Circles for October & November 2019

Brought to You By the Impact Collaborative’s Engage & Empower Online

Generated by the eXtension Foundation, Engage & Empower Online is an online co-learning community connecting local and regional Impact Collaborative projects across the U.S. for collective impact.  Through public and private cross-sector partnerships with the Cooperative Extension System’s (CES) eXtension Foundation, Engage & Empower Online is a new resource designed to collectively drive innovation and action forward toward real and meaningful impacts.

Who Can Attend?:

These Learning Circles are for eXtension members only as part of Engage & Empower Online. A list of eXtension members can be found here.

What Do You Need To Attend?:

These learning circles will be facilitated through Zoom video conferencing. The link to the Zoom room for each Learning Circle will be sent to you after registration or available in the Engage & Empower Online Platform. 

Working Remotely
October 10th, 2019
2 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Join Mark Locklear for a discussion on remote work, its benefits, and good virtual etiquette. Other topics that will be discussed are:

  • The benefits of remote work

  • How to manage a Remote Workforce

  • Setting up your remote workspace

  • Good Virtual Etiquette

  • The Virtual Golden Rule

Mark Locklear is a Web Developer at eXtension Foundation since 2014 and primarily focuses on eXtensions legacy applications as well as supporting eXtension staff internal tools such as Zoom and GSuite. Mark is also an adjunct community college instructor where he teaches web development and programming. He is passionate about mentoring and teaching others.

Advanced Features of Zoom
October 11th, 2019
2 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

In this session Mark Locklear will share his experiences using the advanced features of zoom. Topics discussed will be:

  • Meetings vs. Webinars and when to use which one

  • Increasing interaction with polls, chat and breakout rooms

  • Use of Registration and reporting tools for followup and evaluation

Creating Thriving Family Farms
Oct. 28th, Nov. 4th, Nov. 11th, Nov. 25th
2 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
Led by Bonnie Braun, Maria Pippidis, & Jesse M. Ketterman

What does it take to create a thriving family farm? Many things. To become and sustain a thriving farm takes an integrated approach to building and supporting farms and farm families over time. Key factors include implementing best management practices for production and individual and family resilience to effectively respond to farm and family stressors.

For the past five years, bad weather, volatile markets, declining commodity prices, tariffs and regulations have contributed to financial and other pressures on farming enterprises and on the health and vitality of farmers and farm families. Those pressures are also felt by professionals who provide education and services for the farming population.

This Learning Circle will explore frameworks, assessment and teaching tools for professionals to use for managing their own stress and for working with their clientele. The Learning Circle will enable participants to explore an integrated approach to physical, mental, emotional and financial health and well-being of individuals, families and farms with the end goal of building farm enterprises that can face and address change, with accompanying stressors, effectively.


As a result of participating in this Learning Circle, participants will be able to explain:

  1. Why an integrated framework is needed;

  2. How to assess strengths and areas for improvement; and

  3. What tools can be used to teach farmers and to inform decision and policy-makers.

Bonnie Braun, is Professor Emerita, University of Maryland School of Public Health and Extension. Her Extension career includes a post at the USDA. She holds a doctorate in adult education and rural sociology from the University of Missouri. Her expertise is in rural families and pubic policy.

Maria Pippidis works for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and provides education in Financial Management and Health Insurance Literacy. She has her Master’s Degree from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s from the University of Delaware. She is an AFC and FFC candidate.

Jesse M. Ketterman, Jr., PhD, CFC®, is a University of Maryland Extension Educator.  He is part of the Farm Stress Management team. Jesse focuses on financial and health insurance literacy.

Heal, Repair, Recover: A Learning Community for Agents Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace or Community
Nov. 4th, Nov. 11th, Nov. 18th
12 PM – 1 PM EDT
Led by Whitney Gherman & Johnnie Jackson

Community organizers and educators leading or engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work are generally highly committed but have odds stacked against them. The chance for social change can feel slim and the resistance we face can feel painful. Together we must take turns feeling what is happening to and around us, and letting our feelings guide us into solidarity action for systematic change in university and community settings.

eXtension invites you to participate in a Heal, Repair, Recover, a learning community that explores the gap between institutions’ symbolic commitments to diversity and the experience of those who embody or advance diversity in their communities. The series will be a brave space for conversations on interdependence, healing centered care, resiliency, and practices for emergent strategy. The learning community will place a special emphasis on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in rural settings.

Whitney Gherman is an experienced intergroup dialogue facilitator, emergent strategist, pleasure activist, and a graduate of the University of Michigan. In her current appointment at Ohio State University Extension, she works in Marion County where her primary area of focus is community engagement, collective impact, coalition building, community accountable scholarship, and social equity. Grants have supported her work on bottom-up organizing and shared group leadership. In addition, she has received funding from the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program (SNAP-Ed) to increase healthy food access through policies, systems, and environmental change.

Johnnie Jackson lives in Marion Ohio, the city of his birth. He  is a Black male scholar doing scholarship and community engagements that centers critical race studies and the Black theories of social change. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University. He Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business from The University of Findlay. He has taught in American and Korean colleges of education. His scholarship can be read in The English Journal and Journal of Educational Studies.