2022 Annual Conference

Schedule and Session Descriptions

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SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2022 | 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

NIFA Training Workshop - details here

  • Clearly define, understand, and align impacts across the LGU system to produce effective media messaging
  • Learn how to train and assist extension and research faculty with translating technical output into practical outcomes for media messaging
  • Learn marketing strategies for using impacts to promote public value and awareness of NIFA funded research and programming
  • Create a reward system that encourages extension and research faculty to collaborate with communications professionals and produce effective impact publications

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2022 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Opening Reception and Academic & Research Posters

During the welcome reception, researchers will interact with members of the ACE Community as they present their innovative and relevant research via a poster visual aid.

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2022 | 7:30 am - 5:30 pm

Continental Breakfast | 7:30 am - 8:15 am

Welcome and Introductions | 8:15 am - 8:30 am

Keynote Speaker | 8:30 am - 9:30 am

Academic & Research Paper Session | 9:45 am - 12:00 pm

The ACE Academic and Research paper session will highlight innovative and relevant research related to pressing issues within the food, agricultural, and environmental sectors. The peer-reviewed research presented during this session will focus on providing a brief overview of the research and associated findings and encourages discussion and questions related to the research with the researchers and attendees through round-table format discussions. The research paper sessions will be interactive and allow presenters and attendees to engage in rich discussion and create connections to benefit communication academicians and practitioners.

IFAS Dialing to Deliver Better Communication Decisions | 9:45 am - 12:00 pm

Have you ever wondered how each second of your dynamic communication products resonate with your audience? Do they trust the message? Do they understand the meaning? Do they connect with the speaker or visuals on screen? Perception analyzer dials could be an answer to better understanding your audience’s thoughts, perceptions, and emotions in a moment-to-moment analysis. In this session, faculty, staff, and students with the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources will host an introductory session on perception analyzer dials uses in applied communication and share results of past analysis conducted by the team. Then, participants will have the opportunity to practice and engage in the process as they are led through a real session using the dials to evaluate their perceptions of science communication videos. The session will conclude with a walk through of the results from the live session participation and information about how others can use this technology in their work.

Participants will leave with an understanding of how to use perception analyzer dials to improve dynamic communication and examples of how these can be used to support better science communication. The team will also share example budgets and grant language to fund purchasing this technology for their organization. Most importantly, participants will have a fun, hands-on experience using technology that can deliver research-based communication efforts.   


Professional Development Breakout Sessions | 9:45 am - 10:15 am - Choose One

MyPlate MyWay: Creating a Customizable Digital Tool with Localized, Culturally-Specific Foods         

Barbara Chamberlin and Pamela Martinez, New Mexico State University  

Users of USDA’s MyPlate plan their meals and daily menu, using extensive MyPlate resources. However, learners can struggle with their unique food choices. Localized guides can help connect culturally or regionally specific foods to the guide, but learners can still struggle with combination foods, such as Mofongo. A team of registered dietitians, nutrition educators and media producers sought to create an affordable, extensible tool to provide culturally-specific interactions with MyPlate.

Using the Transformational Learning Game model and extensive formative testing with diverse users, the team worked in two separate markets (New Mexico and Puerto Rico) to create a usable pilot which was modifiable to include regional foods for those audiences. They refined a base list of foods, experimented with the number of customizable items, and built in support for multiple languages. The team also included MyPlate messaging and educator support resources.

MyPlateMyDay.org (anticipated release, June 2022) will initially offer two localized sets of food in English and Spanish. User testing with educators and learners in extension and ICAN (Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition) revealed high usability and enjoyment, particularly regarding the ability to customize diets. Now that the team has completed the customizable framework for specific locations, they seek new partners to expand the tool.

This session will review the tool, lessons learned in creating a customizable interactive tool, and present opportunities for other states, regions or programs to join in the educational effort, by contributing their food to the unique program.

The Land-Grant Mission: What do Faculty Think?          

Audrey E. H. King, Oklahoma State University and Anissa Zagonel, University of Florida

You know that the land-grant mission is noble, worthwhile, and exciting, but what do faculty members at LGIs really think about the mission? How does it affect their everyday life? Are they on fire for the mission or just here for a paycheck? Past studies have indicated some personnel are unaware of pieces of the land-grant mission. Join this session to learn about the results of a recent focus group study examining faculty members’ perceptions, understanding of, and attitudes toward the land-grant mission. Results of this study reveal an uneven understanding of the land-grant mission’s three pillars and multiple definitions of the land-grant mission. Although the land-grant mission did not specifically influence which behaviors faculty members engaged in, it did seem to affect how faculty members worked. After insights into faculty members’ perceptions are shared, engage in an interactive brain-storming and best-practices sharing session to share ideas about how to increase internal awareness and understanding of the land-grant mission at our land-grant institutions.

Metadata Nightmare — How Can We Better Manage Video Assets?    

Lena McBean, Remsberg Inc; Craig Woods, Oklahoma State University; Shaun Smith, Research Noble Institute       

As digital media specialists, we all struggle with finding the right system for archiving digital assets for video. The content we create continues to value after a project is complete, so finding a solution for effectively managing files is important. Join our panel discussion, of video professionals, as they share their challenges and success stories of video assets management. Learn what programs and workflows they have utilized for their institutions and how we can all better help on another to preserving our work.             

Facilitating Group Discussions     

Quisto Settle, Oklahoma State University                 

Every organization needs to hear from its internal and external stakeholders. Ideally, every person in the room is heard, but the more people who are in a room, the more likely it is some folks can be left out. This session will focus on facilitating group discussions with more than 10 people in a manner that ensures as many people can be heard as possible. Basically, the goal is to take a large group discussion and breaks it down into segments that help facilitators hear from everyone in the room. This session will be hands-on and have attendees participating in the process as they learn about the different aspects of the facilitation.          

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |10:30 am - 11:15 am - Choose One 

A Model for Hybrid Conferences and Workshops           

David Keto, University of Wyoming Extension                      

As we look to reach both in person and virtual audiences moving forward, the choices for how to setup a hybrid event can be overwhelming. I'll demo 2 recent models we've used at Wyoming, discuss the pros and cons of each and share some general tips. One approach relies a on portable streaming mixer and an assortment of cameras. The other approach uses multiple iPads and a Mac laptop running an app called Switcher. In either case the virtual event is hosted via zoom, but both setups could also broadcast to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and likely other platforms as well. We'll discuss how to create the best possible experience for both audiences and how remote presenters can also be included.

As we continue to meet the recent demand for virtual offerings while also meeting in person needs we should challenge ourselves to continue to refine what these experiences look like. These are two options among many that might suit this need for your organization.

I Am Not a Communicator, But I Play One On TV

Tobie Blanchard and Wenqing Xu, Louisiana State University AgCenter    

Content specialists in the Extension world often need to communicate with the public and the media about educational programs. But quality communications can be an afterthought for many specialists. LSU AgCenter food safety expert Wenqing Xu is not a professional communicator but hasn’t shied away from using multiple communications tools at her disposal to get her messages out. In this presentation, Xu will provide insights on communication challenges for non communicators and offer advice to help communicators work with those specialists who are literally and metaphorically camera shy. LSU AgCenter Communications director Tobie Blanchard also will discuss trainings her team uses to coax specialists into becoming stronger communicators. Together, they will look at ways to build a culture of communication within organizations to bridge the gap between communicators and noncommunicating faculty.           

The role of research in improving communication practices | LSUAgCenter sponsored session 

Kristina Boone, Ohio State ATI; Frankie Gould, Associate Vice President and Professor, Strategic Communications, LSU AgCenter; Latasha Ford, Research Communications Specialist, Fort Valley State University; Blair Fannin, Executive and Internal Communication, Texas A&M AgriLife; and Beth Forbes, Science Communication Director and Continuing Lecturer, Purdue

Agricultural Communication research is presented at a number of different venues, including the Association of Communication Excellence (ACE) as well as the National Agricultural Communication Symposium (NACS). While the research presented is theoretically based, it often has practical applications. Topics from the most recent NACS meeting (February 2022) included work in crisis communication, social media influencers, women’s experiences in agriculture, source credibility, stakeholder perceptions of Extension through branding, and more. This proposed panel discussion will focus on how professional/applied communicators (not researchers) use or implement what they learn from participating in research conferences and reviewing journals and how others might apply research content in real world experiences. Practical ideas using research and networking with researchers will be shared from the professional communicators’ perspectives.  

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |11:30 am - 12:00 pm - Choose One 

Designing for Engagement in Self-Paced Courses         

Joan York, Oklahoma State University Extension                

Self-paced, non-instructor-led online courses come with a unique set of instructional design challenges.  The biggest challenge is how to engage learners when there are no teachers or other students with whom to interact.  At Oklahoma State University Extension, we have developed several strategies for building learner-centric courses featuring interactive content. These courses keep learners engaged, support deeper learning and have excellent completion rates.

Ten Things I’ve Learned From Listening to Podcasts to Improve Your Career and Personal Life

Lori Greiner, Virginia Tech

Podcasts have recently become super popular, especially during the pandemic. Anyone with a microphone and quiet closet could record their thoughts and share them with the world. You can find a podcast on about any topic you can imagine. During this session, I’ll share with you some of my favorite podcasts and some tips for improving your career and personal life. Participants will have an opportunity to share their favorite podcasts too! If you enjoy listening to podcasts or simply want to learn more about them, this session is for you.

The student-supervisor experience: Keep calm from becoming calamity

Sherry Hoyer, Iowa State University and Chris Branam, Oregon State University  

Learn about some of our experiences with student workers, including some wonderful and some "OMG" moments. We’ll share our expectations and student responses, and ask questions that don’t always have one right answer. What’s more important: experience or willingness to learn? How much oversight and over-the-shoulder is enough, too much? When your talent pool is limited, what are your top criteria? What is the main thing a potential student supervisor should know? What is the main thing a potential student employee should know? And, what should be on a checklist that would help ensure students and their supervisors have a meaningful and productive experience?   

Setting the Mood; Using Mood Boards, Storyboarding to Plan and Pitch       

Edwin Remsberg and Lena McBean, Remsberg Inc.          

Do the hard work before the shooting even starts. How to plan out video projects using mood boards, storyboards, and shot lists to streamline workflow. Connect with visual thinkers, using programs such as Canva, Milanote, and Power Point to illustrate data and information. Come away with the knowledge of how illustrating concepts makes life easier for you and your team in the long run.           

Lunch and C&A Awards Presentation | 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Academic & Research Paper Session | 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

IFAS Dialing to Deliver Better Communication Decisions | 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |2:00 pm - 2:45 pm - Choose One 

The Western Region Strategic Communications Playbook | Western Association of Extension Directors/ Western Association of Experiment Stations Sponsored Session

America’s land-grant universities account for the majority of all agricultural research, education, and outreach conducted in the nation. This work enhances lives and livelihoods through discoveries and programs that benefit local communities, the nation, and the world. Yet, most people are unaware of the impact that their land-grant system has in their everyday lives.

The Western Regional Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station Joint Enterprise is engaging in a collaborative, strategic process to better “tell its story” to key stakeholders, from community leaders to national policymakers. To do that, we want to involve the agricultural, natural resources, and life sciences evaluators and communicators– ACE members – in a strategic discussion about increasing awareness of research and Extension activities, strengthening partnerships and collaborative relationships, and increasing support for research and Extension programs in the West. If you are a communicator or evaluator from the Western Region (https://www.waaesd.org/about/regional-map), this meetup is for you. Please join your communication and evaluation colleagues and leaders from this region to discuss and design a communications playbook to excellence.

The Art and Science of Project Roadmapping    

Anissa Zagonel, UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources; Aly Morrison, Lauri M. Baker, Angie B. Lindsey, Valentina Castano, Sandra Anderson, Ricky Telg

Creating an organizational roadmap is an art and a science, requiring you to be both imaginative and analytical throughout the process. In this professional development session, we will demonstrate how to approach developing an Extension roadmap or strategic plan that supports your organization’s goals and outcomes using data collection. Conducting and analyzing research–such as focus groups, online forum comments, Q-sorts, and listening sessions–can illuminate key topics or themes surrounding your organization while allowing for diverse perspectives. UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (PIE Center) staff and faculty will demonstrate how this process allowed for informed decisions about programming for the next 10 years in the UF/IFAS Extension’s next roadmap. Real-life examples will be used to demonstrate how to collect and use data to develop or update your organization’s roadmap.

Diversity and Inclusion in Extension: How We've Started Taking Action (and What We Still Need to Do)  

Linda Gilmore, Kansas State University, Department of Communications and Agricultural Education; Zelia Wiley, Assistant Dean of Diversity Programs, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University, Aliah Mestrovich Seay, 4-H Youth Development Specialist for Community Vitality, Kansas 4-H Youth Development, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University

In 2020, I reported on the work of K-State Research and Extension's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Since then, we've started putting the plan we developed into place. We've taken some concrete steps, including developing messages to promote awareness; building diversity, equity, and inclusion into professional development plans; and developing a video that spells out our commitment to diversity. But we know there is more to do. Join us for a session where we'll look at what we've accomplished, what barriers we've encountered, and what we still need to work on.

Getting the scoop on working with media

Chris Branam, Oregon State University        

A moderated panel of working journalists will discuss how they source news and how they engage with public relations professionals. They will share the do's and don'ts on a variety of topics, including communication methods (email, phone, text?), effective news releases and news tips, and how and why they cover some stories and not others. They will also provide guidance on developing a beneficial, trustworthy relationship.   

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |3:00 pm - 3:45 pm - Choose One 

Lighting Round - 10 minutes each

1. Back-of-the-Envelop Crisis Communication

Samantha Murray, UF/IFAS              

An ongoing issue can turn into a crisis overnight. This lightning round will teach attendees how to develop talking points and stand-by statements in the moment or proactively. Attendees will come away with a template for brainstorming and organizing their key messages.

2. Let the Q&A work for you   

Kirsten Romaguera, UF/IFAS Communications

This brief presentation will share the benefits of utilizing a question-and-answer format to deliver timely, punchy and engaging information. The Q&A can offer the perfect middle ground, somewhere between an expert pitch on a newsworthy topic and a full news release, and requires little time from the writer, the subject, or the reader.    

3. Implementing Open Science Practices in Agricultural Communications Research

Ch'Ree Essary and Ginger Orton, Texas Tech University   

In the age of COVID-19, we witnessed firsthand the impact of distrust in the scientific process. Thirty-five percent of eligible Americans have yet to receive a vaccine deemed by the scientific community as safe and effective with many citing the rapid development hindering high-quality science and other scientific wrongdoings. According to a February 2022 Pew Research Center study, Americans’ trust in the institution of science has dropped 10% compared to one year ago, the largest decrease since the measurement began in 2016. 

The scientific process fundamentally asserts that scientific research endeavors be replicable and transparently reported, but many methodologies and results sections in our discipline and others are limited in their coverage and occasionally deceitful. For example, the so-called “replication crisis” currently underway in social science has uncovered the lack of replicability and reliability of some once thought canonical findings. However, normalizing transparent and full reporting (i.e., open science) of data can foster trust in the scientific community for the public and trust and replicability between scientists. Open science practices can effectively be implemented even with strict page limits and have been increasingly discussed in social science scholarship.

Through a review of open science literature and best practices regarding transparency and data sharing in academic publications, attendees will understand the importance of open science practices in the agricultural communications field and will be able to implement open science practices in their own scholarship.

4. Prepping for Protests        

Chris Vivian, UF/IFAS            

As communicators, we know the sensitive topics that can trigger protests at events. But are our volunteers ready to handle questions or interruptions?  A quick prep can give them confidence should the situation arise. Attendees will get a checklist of things to consider during event planning.

Putting the “social” in social media: Building community among social media managers      

Amy Muise, New Mexico State University, Department of Innovative Media, Research & Extension and Jeffrey Buras, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service

Organizing social media efforts at land-grant universities can be a challenge. With many distinct audiences and outreach channels, sometimes we’re not sure how best to support one another. In this How-To session, participants will learn strategies for building community among social media accounts – and reflect on what works best for their own situation. Connect with other ACE members who are managing social media accounts for Extension, research, or academics. Learn strategies for building community, sharing content among programs, understanding goals/needs of different programs, facilitating conversations, and fostering engagement that leads to real-world participation from your audience. Those of us in media roles can empower Extension and research personnel through direct outreach (phone, email, DMs), peer support groups (of agents, content specialists, or both), and multimedia specialist groups.  We will discuss specific techniques for using social networks for educational outreach, and how to measure results. The session will be rich in information but will encourage participation and discussion. The format will include quick online polls during the session to learn about attendees' social media efforts and audiences. Participants are encouraged to help contextualize the presentation with examples from their social media accounts. During the session, we will work together in community to grow our networks in real-time. Participants will leave the session with a set of actionable next steps for social media managers in their organization or region to work together on reaching audiences and fostering engagement.       

The Power of Team: 5 Simple Communication Principles to Unlock Your Team's Potential

James Adam Calaway, Noble Research Institute                 

Is your team being held back by poor communication and an endless stream of petty conflict? What if you could unlock your team's potential by applying five, simple communication principles?

The goal of this session is to help managers transform their teams from bickering to cohesive, from disorganized to effective. During the session, speaker Adam Calaway will help attendees understand and implement the principles of self-awareness, listening, empathy, conflict management and shared language. Audience members will work together to dissect the common pitfalls of interpersonal interactions, and learn quick, usable skills to overcome these challenges. While the session is focused on managers, every member of the team can apply the insights and skills from this presentation to their daily interactions.

Speaker Adam Calaway has spent more than 20 years leading teams of all sizes. He currently serves as Director of Communications and Public Relations at Noble Research Institute, guiding a team of 20, full- and part-time communications, marketing and events professionals. He frequently serves as a facilitator for nonprofit organizations, helping teams overcome challenges, build better processes and solve their interpersonal problems. Calaway has taught classes, workshops and seminars at the university setting for more than 15 years. Now he brings his trademark humor and interactive presentations to everything from emceeing local charity events to speaking on team building at state and national conferences. 

Expert interview versus statement: Which is most effective when the topic is controversial?

Lourdes Mederos, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

As a public relations practitioner, you welcome calls from journalists for your experts to be interviewed, especially when it’s a positive news-breaking development. What if the topic they seek your expert for has turned controversial suddenly? Worst, the topic has nothing to do with your organization, however, your work or product is what media are leveraging to get perspective. Do you grant the interview? Do you issue a statement? How do you position your expert and maintain a positive brand for your organization when your expert has the research media is looking for to tell their controversial story? This session will provide PR tips to help you decide whether you should issue a statement or give media interviews, how to handle each option, how to vet the reporter’s inquiry in the face of controversy to determine the talking points, and what are the steps to take with your expert to guide them through this uncomfortable moment in the spotlight. The session will also show a case scenario and how it was managed.       

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |4:00 pm - 4:45 pm - Choose One 

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content   

Anna Ribbeck, LSU AgCenter

Creating engaging social media content can feel daunting and overwhelming at times, especially when a post’s performance is lower than what you expected it to be. We have all been there!

This presentation aims to provide tips on how to create engaging social media content for your organization. Anna Ribbeck, the first-ever social media strategist for the LSU AgCenter, will discuss strategies on developing social media content, posting content and maximizing your reach. She will provide examples of content strategies that worked well for the AgCenter, successful campaigns, along with useful content management tools. In 2021, the LSU AgCenter grew by over 26K followers on social media with over 145K link clicks to the AgCenter's website.

Participants will experience strategies for effective social media content creation and driving engagement. They will also gain insight into helpful social media tools used for content management, scheduling and social listening.

Sunrise—Sunset: Managing Expiring Website Content 

Justin Miller, Alabama Cooperative Extension System                    

Does your organization's website still have materials on it that were published in the 70s and 80s? Before 2019, that was the case for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Upon the launch of their new website, Alabama Extension implemented a process where all educational materials would be reviewed and updated at two-year intervals. In this workshop, we will explore the inner workings of this process, all the way from publishing to reviewing and beyond. We will then discuss how you might implement a similar system within your own organizations. After this workshop, you will have the tools necessary to keep your websites accurate and timely.         

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |5:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Choose One 

Making Assessment Data Meaningful       

Natalie Tucker, Marian University Ancilla College    

"“Assessment is today’s means of modifying tomorrow’s instruction.”  ~ Carol Ann Tomlison

“Numbers numb, jargon jars....” (unknown)

I have failed at student and course assessments.  Failed miserably. This past year, I set out to learn more about assessments and how to better use assessment data to improve my course development and professional teaching.  While on this journey, I started using data visualization to help share my data stories. 

As a graduate student (and professional), I had limited instruction on assessments.  I also lack confidence in statistical analysis but what I have learned is the power of visual data. Visual data is learning to take those numbers, those assessment pieces (qualitative and quantitative data), those Excel spreadsheets with rows and rows of numbers, charts, and tables that overwhelm and are hard to read; I have learned how to make meaning out of them.  How to make data tell a story.  How to take assessment data and make it meaningful.

This session will provide basic examples of course assessments (and other data collection) that can be put into dashboards, heat charts, etc. so that the data is easy to see, read, and understand.  Using Excel and basic pre/post-test, being able to create an interesting, inciteful data dashboard can be easy, fun, and will engage stakeholders, faculty, advisory committees, administration, in data-driven conversations.

The goal: to help others use their assessment data (this can be any kind of data, not just academic or programmatic data), to make it meaningful, impactful, and engaging.

More than a pretty package: Creating online toolkits to amplify outreach efforts           

Lauri Baker, University of Florida; Cheryl R. Boyer, Kansas State University, Angie Lindsey, Fredy Ballen, Anissa M. Zagonel, Michaela Kandzer, Meredith Ogelsby, Sydney Honeycutt, Valentina Castano, Jarred Shellhouse, Ashley McLeod-Morin, Phillip Stokes, Christa Court, and Trent Blare, University of Florida; Hikaru Peterson and Gigi Digiacomo, University of Minnesota; Lindsey Day Farnsworth, Michelle Miller, and Andrew Stevens, University of Wisconsin; Li Zhang and Gustavo Oliveira, University of California Davis

Amplifying outreach efforts is a noble goal for all Extension communicators, but time and limited capacity can make this taxing. In this session team members from the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement, UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources, and an AFRI/NIFA grant supported project will share a model for building online toolkits that maximize efforts throughout the life of a project and beyond. Online toolkits are built with the end user in mind and can contain factsheets, infographics, videos, webinars, short courses, research highlights, social media graphics, and downloadable and customizable graphics. These can be paired with email signups and email campaigns to maximize engagement with a specific project or an entire organization. We will share examples of online toolkits we have developed, language and budget for including these in grant proposals, and a work plan for delivering virtual toolkits at the perfect time for maximum engagement.     

Easier Mobile Outreach Building Community      

DaraMonifah Cooper, Conch Shell Media/University of Georgia Communication Specialist        

Similar to email, but more direct, learn a new and fast growing method for communicating more effectively with clients, constituents or communities in the post-COVID-19 world. Both for short term or long term marketing purposes, participants will learn a useful mobile tool for quickly sharing information, updates or reminders on certain events or activities facilitating media relations through abbreviated writing and link sharing in social media and direct to phone messaging apps without the need to download and learn a separate app. Once opted in for specifically desired info, it is as simple as sending/receiving a text message, without the unwelcome common experiences like spamming or annoying group responses. Your client only gets what they want and you only have to send one quick text that goes out to all of them separately.

  • Includes the ability to share links, photos, and other media.
  • Keeps client information safe and hidden, even from yourself, so they don’t have to be concerned about who will get their personal info.


The Metaverse and Web 3.0 – Future of Online Engagement and Education?

Victor Villegas, Oregon State University

The Metaverse. You probably have heard about it by now but, do you really know what it is and its potential as a disruptive technology? This presentation will be an overview of the Metaverse and the next iteration of the internet - what it is, what currently exists, what is being developed and how it might affect marketing, communications and education going into the future. After this session, you will have a better understanding of the platform/s, tools, skills, pros and cons to better understand how to start preparing for the next technological leap.          

TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2021 | 7:15 am – 12:30 pm

Joe Marks Fun Run | 6:00 am 

Named in memory of 1987-88 ACE President Joe Marks

Continental Breakfast | 7:15 am - 8:00 am

Hermance Speaker | 8:15 am - 9:15 am

Named in memory of 1992 ACE President Gary Hermance, this speaker represents Hermance's character and personality with creativity, innovation, determination, humor, or inspiration. 

IFAS Dialing to Deliver Better Communication Decisions | 9:45 am - 12:00 pm

Have you ever wondered how each second of your dynamic communication products resonate with your audience? Do they trust the message? Do they understand the meaning? Do they connect with the speaker or visuals on screen? Perception analyzer dials could be an answer to better understanding your audience’s thoughts, perceptions, and emotions in a moment-to-moment analysis. In this session, faculty, staff, and students with the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources will host an introductory session on perception analyzer dials uses in applied communication and share results of past analysis conducted by the team. Then, participants will have the opportunity to practice and engage in the process as they are led through a real session using the dials to evaluate their perceptions of science communication videos. The session will conclude with a walk through of the results from the live session participation and information about how others can use this technology in their work.

Participants will leave with an understanding of how to use perception analyzer dials to improve dynamic communication and examples of how these can be used to support better science communication. The team will also share example budgets and grant language to fund purchasing this technology for their organization. Most importantly, participants will have a fun, hands-on experience using technology that can deliver research-based communication efforts.   

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |9:30 am - 10:15 am CHOOSE ONE

Recruiting and Retaining Staff in a Post-Pandemic World (Panel Presentation)           

Jennifer Alexander, Director, Extension Communications, Oregon State; Lori Greiner, Publications Manager, Virginia Cooperative Extension; Katherine Hancock, Director, Communications and News Media, Texas A&M AgriLife; Faith Peppers, Director of Communications, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

If you have recently tried to replace or recruit new employees since the start of the pandemic, you may have found things have changed. Employee turnover has increased, and finding the right person for the position may not be as easy as it has been in the past. Employee expectations have changed, including a desire for higher wages, alternative work schedules, and remote work opportunities, to name a few. In addition, there are new needs such as bilingual/bicultural requirements, competency with digital platforms and workflows, project management and working within increasingly interdisciplinary and integrated teams – all coupled with a desire to increase the diversity of our teams to better reflect the audiences we serve. This panel will share their experiences and ideas for recruiting and managing a dynamic workforce in these changing times.

Training students in science communication: ACE PD Grant Project 

Quisto Settle and Lyndall Stout, Oklahoma State University; Laura Young and Taylor Ruth, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This session will focus on lessons learned from two science communication trainings for students. The first training was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources were invited to a one-day science communication workshop that included audience analysis and strategy storytelling, 3-minute thesis, media relations, and risk communication. Throughout the day, students learned how to apply these communication strategies in their research and used the workshop time to create messaging for their work. The second training was at Oklahoma State University and consisted of two day-long workshops with master’s students in the Ferguson College of Agriculture. The focus of the OSU training was to have the students hear from communication professionals and then get hands-on practice and feedback as they applied the concepts they were learning about. The goal of this professional development session is to provide attendees a framework they can use at their institutions, including providing training materials.       

ESS-ESCOP Sponsored Session | Ag Research- its all of that and more!

As part of the Land-grant University system, members of the Experiment Station Section (ESS) include State Agricultural Experiment Stations at 1862 Universities and agricultural research programs at 1890 Universities (hereafter ‘Ag Research’). For over 130 years, Ag Research annually conducts a large majority of the nation’s research in agricultural, food, forestry, and natural resources sciences. Thousands of discoveries from these scientific investigations have impacted and improved lives in local communities and around the globe.  Yet many Americans, from policy makers to newsrooms to living rooms, are unaware of the impactful activities performed by Ag Research across the country.

The leadership of the ESS seek to partner and engage ACE communicators to raise awareness of the innovative work that Ag Research is doing. Many projects are successful collaborations across numerous state Land-grants and tackle the nation’s most pressing issues: climate change; food and nutrition insecurity; and invasive pests and diseases as examples. This session will explore the strategic directions being pursued by Ag Research and opportunities to actively engage communicators in this important work.

Data Walk 101

Natalie Tucker, Ancilla College of Marian University            

A data walk is a great way to engage people with data!  This interactive activity helps engage stakeholders, directors, committees, the community, boards, etc. in the review of data.  Organizing a data walk (annually, quarterly, etc.) is a great way to review data in a fun, engaging, active manner, which then creates a more welcoming space to discuss data, outcomes, goals, objectives, etc.  Or to see if you need to change course.  This process/activity generates discussion, interaction, and engagement. 

A data walk is an interactive activity, where a group of people physically get up and move around the room, looking at (analyzing) a number of various graphs that are displayed through the room (with post-its in hand).  Individuals then leave notes, ideas, feedback, questions, etc. on the post-its at each graph.  There is the planning of charts/graphs (which need to be easy to read, interpret, that generate discussion), room/organization of the event, and how to lead a discussion about the data that was just observed.   Teaching others how to do this activity and having them engage in a data walk (themselves) provides much insight into the process and creates a space where data can be observed, discussed, and used to make decisions.  Other topics that will be covered include: who benefits from a data walk; what do you need to conduct a data walk; data walk discussion; cleaning up data/charts/graphs, how to read a graph, etc. 

Handling the hate: When to respond, when to ignore and when to see your therapist       

Beth Stuever, Michigan State University Extension              

From virtual programming and DEI initiatives to mask mandates and vaccine cards … MSU Extension has been through it all in the last two years, and each step forward results in some naysayers who want their voices heard. Nasty emails, social media posts and phone calls can throw your colleagues in the field for a loop. How can you help them decide next steps? This interactive session will use real live examples, giving you a chance to determine how to best handle the hate.      

Professional Development Breakout Sessions |10:30 am - 11:00 am CHOOSE ONE

AMP Up! ACE Pilots a Mentorship Program

Tobie Blanchard, Louisiana State University AgCenter; ChaNae Bradley, Fort Valley State University; Victor Villegas, Oregon State University; Ruth Hohl Borger, University of Florida; Matthew Browning, NIFA; Annabelle Lang, LSU AgCenter; Tunyalee Martin, University of California; Stacy Herrick, West Virginia State University

While brainstorming BIG IDEAS to bring more value to members, the ACE Board of Directors instituted the ACE Mentorship Program (AMP). The program was slated to begin face-to-face in 2020, but we all know how that year went. Still AMP’ed about the plan, the committee decided to continue despite COVID-19 with a small pilot program implemented in September 2021. Our three mentor pairs meet monthly (or more often) to work through big picture goals and small steps while making strides toward growing as professionals. In this session, mentor pairs will discuss their experiences and share their goals and how they succeeded in achieving them. In addition, they will look at what next steps they could take as they complete the program. Also, members of the ACE Mentorship Program committee will share insights into the program and get session attendees AMP’ed to be part of the 2022-2023 program as either a mentor or mentee … or protégé if you prefer.

Effective media training: What it looks like and how to implement it 

Samantha Murray and Chris Vivian, UF/IFAS          

Media training is more than preparing your experts for interviews; it’s also critical for promoting and protecting your brand. This session provides an overview of media training best practices and introduces a framework for developing a media training program at your institution. The presentation will cover the goals of media training, what to include in your training and tips for recruiting experts to participate in media trainings. Presenters will also address the role of the communications professional in pitching stories and vetting media inquiries. This session is appropriate for any communicator who works with the news media, whether that’s on an occasional or more regular basis. 

Creating Virtual Reality Programs: Lessons Learned from our First Projects

Barbara Chamberlin and Pamela N. Martinez, New Mexico State University          

With the newest Virtual Reality headsets, we have found that the price point and ease of technology requirements now made it accessible for learners in Extension. In developing two new projects for VR, we've engaged in a year of research and exploration in specific development of educational programs in VR.

The result is some specific takeaways for determining what kinds of learning tools are best served by VR. We're working on two new projects: one is designed to help students in residency or internships experience similar ""in person"" interviews in working with clients in a VR world, and the second is a science-based exploration tool for visitors to a national park. In planning the educational tool, we've had to ask some specific educational design questions, including:

  • When is video appropriate in VR, and when are other alternatives better (such as 3D rendered characters, still images with voice over)
  • What options exist for images regarding 360°, 180° or surround photos, and when is each appropriate?
  • What are the best strategies for enabling multiple languages?
  • What are the kinds of activities we can use in the VR world for learning, such as picking up items, reading on an object you carry with you, reading on a billboard in an environment, etc.? When are each of these mechanics appropriate for different educational goals?

We'll share our takeaways for those who wish to design educational VR content, as well as those wondering when a VR project is the right choice.

Member Meeting and Honor Awards | 11:00 am - 12:15 pm



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