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Western Extension Directors recognize NMSU Media Productions with Award of Excellence

The Western Extension Directors Association has conferred a 2017 Award of Excellence on New Mexico State University’s Department of Media Productions, in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

This award recognizes the 20-person, interdisciplinary team including research faculty, programmers, artists and animators, video professionals, writers and technical support staff. The team develops video games, mobile apps, podcasts, streaming videos, animations and online learning tools that reflect collaborations with research, teaching and Extension programs at more than 40 universities, agencies and nonprofits around the nation. 

These multimedia tools support food safety, nutrition, obesity prevention, STEM education and agricultural outreach and serve 4-H, youth and college audiences as well as helping 4-H and Extension personnel work more efficiently. During the past two years alone (2015–2016), technology tools created by NMSU Media Productions have been used more than 13 million times.

NMSU Media Productions’ mission is to enhance the communications between researchers, Extension specialists and key stakeholders, such as other researchers, Extension trainers, food industry professionals, policy makers, non-English speakers, adult learners, children, youth, or college students. It is known for its extensive track record of reaching across state lines in mutually beneficial collaborations and partnerships to create cutting edge educational programs. 

Collaborations have included more than 40 universities, agencies and nonprofits including Idaho, California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii in the West as well as nationally with Rutgers, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Drexel, Clemson, Purdue, South Dakota, Tennessee and Florida. 

Products developed by this team are innovative in execution: using technology to reach learners in formal and informal environments. Notable in NMSU’s media development process is the integration of content experts, learning designers and stakeholders (usually Extension specialists and clientele), who work in collaboration with the creative team throughout the design process. NMSU’s Media Productions’ faculty support the development of materials largely through grantsmanship.

Recent products include “Night of the Living Debt,” a financial literacy game for teens; “Virtual Labs,” eight immersive modules for laboratory science education; “Math Snacks,” an innovative collection of games and animations for math learning; “Science of Agriculture,” a collection of interactive learning modules and animations for agricultural and environmental science education; and “Ninja Kitchen,” a cooking game about safely storing and preparing food. 

The team has also produced numerous mobile apps, including “eJudging Pro,” the “4-H Livestock Record,” “Southwest Plant Selector,” “PowerPay Debt Elimination” and the “Eat&Move-O-Matic.” 

Since 2005, WEDA Awards of Excellence have recognized Extension outreach education programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results and impacts in addressing contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island U.S. Territories. The Awards of Excellence are given annually to individuals or multi-discipline teams for single state or multi-state programs who are nominated by their Extension directors. 

The Western Region Program Leadership Committee administers this program on behalf of the WEDA. Winners receive a plaque, certificate and monetary stipend in support of their program. 

Jeanne Gleason, professor and department head of Media Productions, presented a brief seminar at the time of the award presentation, during the Western Regional Joint Summer meeting July 11-12

Information from NMSU