Departments--Human Environmental Sciences Extension
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Thoughts to Ponder
Britt-Rankin, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean, University of Missouri
Well, it is time to begin
the holiday weekend. It is a beautiful sunny day in Columbia and I hope
it is where you are too. I wanted to share with you some updates before
I leave for the holiday weekend.
Thinking of Those in a Time of Need
As you have seen many of our colleagues in the SE have been ravaged by
Hurricane Katrina. Many are in need of so many things we take for
granted--food, water, shelter, and safety. I want to thank those of you
who have sought to provide assistance. I know many Extension faculty
were supported by our colleagues in various states during the flood of
93. Now, you have extended your hand. I know there will be more
opportunities as the weeks progress. We will continue to alert you of
how you can best respond to those during their time of need.
We often do not celebrate our successes or our milestones enough. I was
reminded yesterday that we had an anniversary in Extension. Ellen
Schuster joined us 1 year and 1 day ago today!! I know that many of you
have long since passed that milestone, but we should celebrate more. I
want you to know that I value each of you for the efforts you give to
the organization. You extend your all to serve the clientele. So whether
you have been here 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, or 25 years, I celebrate your
milestones and thank you for all that you do.
Plan of Work Process
Many faculty have asked if there will be a time for them to provide
input on the next POW. Yes, you will have an opportunity at Annual
Conference. During the time slated for departmental updates, I have
asked state specialists to allow me to convene all of our HES faculty to
capture your views on what our needs are within each department/school
within HES. We will be using a process similar to what you have been
doing with your county councils, only we will be focused on specific
areas within HES. This data will be entered into the database with the
county data and analyzed in November.
I also want to share with each of you how all of the data will be
analyzed. As you know, each county council, regional council, and any
other source data will be entered via the web into a database. That
information will then be made available to the Program Directors in
November. I have asked a group of 8 regional specialists (1 per region/2
per discipline) to join with the campus faculty and myself on November
28-29 to analyze the data. I am in hopes that this group can provide me
a summary of the data so that I can clearly articulate the state needs
in my report which is due to Extension Administration by December 15.
these reports will then be made available on the web by January 1.
As you can see, we are working on a very tight timeline and it will take
great effort on everyone's part to ensure that we meet our deadlines. I
want to thank those eight regional specialists and their regional
directors for agreeing to participate in this process.
HES Extension Faculty Update 2006
I received your input for dates for our spring meeting. I must tell you
it was very close between Feb, Mar, and April. But after meeting with
Dean Jorgensen and the department chairs, I have made a decision for
which dates we will meet. I apologize because it is slightly different
from first posted, but we will host our 2006 HES Extension Faculty
Update on April 10-12. We will begin mid-day Monday and adjourn mid-day
Wednesday. I do understand that Passover begins at sundown on
Wednesday, but we will be adjourn in time for those who must travel
home. These dates were selected so that each of you can participate in HES Week here on campus. I felt that it is important for all faculty to
have the opportunity to participate in the activities, such as the
honors luncheon and the Mangel Lecture. As more information is
available, I will forward it to you. As for now, please mark your
calendars for April 10-12.
Patience in Trying Times
I want each of you to know that I struggle to ensure that we have
adequate resources to provide high quality, research based educational
programming. I know that our current merit system is not what we desire.
Many of you would desire a more marketable wage. And these are trying
times. I want each of you to know that I appreciate your patience as we
work to increase secure, long term funding options. It is my goal to see
that we have adequately paid, high quality faculty who have adequate
funds for professional growth as well as cutting edge resources to be
effective in their respective fields. We may not resolve this issue
overnight, but know that we are working toward a common goal. Please
have patience as we work together.
From Reactive to Proactive
In my personal performance evaluation, I took much time to talk with Dr.
Henderson and Dean Jorgensen about my desire to be more proactive than
reactive. I feel that there are many opportunities available for HES
Extension but we have to position ourselves to be more proactive. I feel
that we must look within our structure to determine how best to utilize
my position to be forward thinking and proactive with funders, state
agencies, and donors. I have attempted to do so, but given our current
structure any proactive efforts result in neglecting some day-to-day
activities that also must be tended. As many of you know, there have
been times when my email gets delayed. I apologize to those of you who
have not received a rapid response, but when I receive approx. 150 emails
per day, missing just one day can really delay response time.
After much discussion, Dr. Henderson, Dean Jorgensen, and I have agreed
that we should restructure in an attempt to be more proactive. My goal
is to better serve the faculty, the funders, and the citizens of the
state. To do so, we feel that it is time to appoint an Assistant HES
Program Director. This position will be a 50% appointment, so the
candidate will remain in their department as a State Specialist on a
half-time basis. It is my hope that we will backfill the 50% appointment
so no service is lost in the program area. The Assistant Director will
work closely with me on such issues as Human Resources, Professional
Development and External Relations. It is also my hope that this
position and myself will be able to travel to more regional functions
throughout the year.
This position will be similar to positions in CAFNR and 4-H. Also
similar to positions at other institutions. I feel that we must position
ourselves to be proactive. We currently receive over $8 million annually
in external funds. The potential is to receive even more, but only if we
are strategic. I will be seeking interested applicants beginning
Tuesday. When Dr. Henderson, Dean Jorgensen, and I have made a final
selection, I will make the announcement and share more about how this
new position will function within HES.
Have a Safe Holiday
Well, it is now past the witching hour and it is very quiet in Gwynn
Hall. As it is time that I too call it an evening, let me wish you a
safe and happy holiday weekend. Be safe in your journeys. Take time to
think about those who are less fortunate. And thank you again for all
you do for the University of Missouri.