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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

August 6, 2019

KSRE Annual Conference Update: A Little More on What to Expect

Submitted by Martin Draper

What’s new? What’s different? What’s innovative? As Director Hadley pointed out a couple of weeks ago, this Annual Conference is going to be different. The post conference surveys begged for change from the stale Annual Conference format and to provide a different and fresher approach. Gee… that took some time to set in for the planners. We don’t know what was expected, but you are going to get DIFFERENT!

There are some important parts of conference that have become very popular. In past years we have had an application process for showcasing your successful programs. We are giving that component of the program a rest, but it will be back in the future in some form. We will be focusing on change for the culture we live in today. Change that addresses the pressures of today’s society and change that crosses disciplinary boundaries. We need to raise the profile of K-State/KSRE as the leader in guiding Kansas through the trials and tribulations of today. Do you think we address problems in a silo of our disciplinary viewpoints? Do you think siloed solutions solve the bigger problems of rural stress? We are going to be seeking solutions together that may be broader in their reach. Before Annual Conference, you will be given some pre-conference work to do. It won’t be onerous. It will consist of a few videos to watch and maybe a programming self-assessment or a short article to read. Those exercises will better prepare you to be a better contributor for a productive conference where we will analyze our challenges, develop a strategy and devise tactics for a bigger impact through innovative programs!

You know what? This new approach may not work. You may hate it… or maybe it will work. Maybe it will bring us together to consider different ways to devise solutions to 21st century problems with 21st century strategies. When people hurt, KSRE has always been there. We hope to explore ways we may be able to be there better. This approach cannot be considered a success or a failure on October 28 because this broad approach cannot end at the close of Annual Conference. It is a year-round challenge to programming together. It is a tactical approach to addressing as much of the rural stress equation as we can.

There will be a survey after Annual Conference. We will listen to your feedback. If we need to change the conference format again, we will. KSRE Annual Conference is your conference. It is one professional development opportunity that we all share together. Let’s look to developing this product together!

See you in October!