Thoughts to Ponder
Britt-Rankin, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean, University of Missouri
Good afternoon. . .
It has been a few weeks since I have written and I do apologize
for not writing sooner. This may be a long message as much is
going on throughout the state and within HES. It is a very
exciting time but very hectic as well. I will try to be succinct
in my writing, but if I leave anything out, please do not hesitate
to contact me.
Sharing the Good News
I know each of you have been meeting with your RDs to conduct your
annual performance reviews. I have met with each of them and
discussed these. I want you to know that I feel very strongly
about the work we are doing throughout the state. I have applauded
your great deeds and encouraged RDs to share this with each of
The only thing I have told each RD is to remind all regional
specialists to share information with my office. Many of you are
great about keeping me on your mailing list and I know when/where
programs are occurring, newsletters that are produced etc. Some of
you, though, I have nothing in the folder. I know everyone is out
providing programming, but it is a great help to me when I can
share with others what things are occurring. I use the information
that is sent to my office. I do read through the information, so I
am able to share information when needed. If I am not on your
current mailing list, please include me. I accept hard copy or
I know each region hosts category meetings throughout the year. I
would like to schedule times to visit throughout the coming year.
It can be to a program, a regional meeting, or to a category
meeting. Please let me know when some possible dates would be so I
can get them on the calendar. As you know schedules fill up
quickly and I would like to make it a priority to visit each
region throughout the next year. I have tried very hard to visit
several regions in the past seven months. I would like to continue
this effort. It does not have to be any formal occasion. Even if
it is just to be a part of the group, I am more than eager to come
I know this is a topic that is on everyone's mind. I have tried to
explain where each search is.
Regional Specialists We currently have eight
regional vacancies. It is my understanding that four of these
positions will be advertised in the first round of positions. The
first four positions will be nutrition positions. This will leave
us with 1 additional nutrition vacancy, 2 HD, and 1 CFE, if my
math is correct.
I feel very fortunate to have so few vacancies. As well, I feel
we are being shown great support by being allowed to advertise
these vacancies so quickly. I believe this shows the strength of
your program efforts.
Campus Vacancies As you know we have two state
specialists positions currently open. These are the CFE Specialist
(Cavanagh) and HDFS Specialist (Pike) positions. Due to additional
budget cuts to the campus Extension program, we are freezing the
search for both of these positions. It is with great sorrow that I
did so. We had a verbal offer out to one candidate and we were
preparing to bring a second candidate to interview on the other
search. This freeze slows our positive momentum, but I am
optimistic that it is only temporary.
As we were able to fill the EDn Specialist position on a joint
appointment with the department, we are looking to a similar
situation within CFE. This position is still being discussed and I
will keep you informed as I become aware of any updates.
The Associate Dean search as you have heard has been suspended.
I will continue to serve as the Interim Associate Dean for HES
Extension. I hope that you will join me in continuing to look to
the future and to continue to make positive improvements to
programs. I feel very honored to be able to serve in this role.
Although we have suffered some setbacks, I try to be optimistic
and to look for new, creative ways to move our programs to the
next level. We can not rely on the same funding and same
programs to lead us through the 21st century. Change is uncertain,
but the rewards can often be tremendous. I believe that we will
prevail with stronger programs and greater impact over the course
of the next few years.
As Dean Jorgensen and other administrators make the decision of
how to proceed with the search for this position, we will keep you
informed. For now, please do not hesitate to contact me. My door
is always open. I may not always be in my office, but I do try to
stay close with email.
Missouri State Fair
HES and FNEP will have a booth in the Agriculture Building at
Missouri State Fair. Last year, FNEP partnered with Missouri Beef
Industry Council to have a booth. We spoke to or gave information
to over 10,000 people in 10 days. Many of these were invaluable
contacts for program efforts. Many of these persons came back to
their local offices for additional information after the fair.
Since we felt so strongly about this effort, we have again
partnered with the Beef Industry Council. We now have two
adjoining booth spaces. This will allow us to do some interactive
things during the fair.
If you are interested in assisting us, please contact Vicki
Foley. We attempt to man the booth from 9-5 every day from Aug
7-17. If you are spending time at the Fair, please stop by. Even a
few hours is a great help. We do have one hotel room for those who
may be traveling in from afar, but space is limited. We also do
not have travel dollars which will limit some of you as well. If
you have interest, please let Vicki and I know and we will do the
best to accommodate your participation.
The Coming Year
I want to close by telling each of you how much the past 7 months
have meant to me. I also want each of you to know how much I look
forward to the coming year. I become very passionate when I speak
to groups about the work each of you are doing. I want to share
with them how you are "improving the lives of
Missourians." I know we have more programs to do and more
partnerships to build, but we are having success and it is my
pleasure to be a part of it.
As we work together in the coming months, please do not
hesitate to call, email, or come by the office. My door is open
and I do appreciate hearing from each of you. I cannot be of
assistance if I don't know about an issue. Never assume that I
know of your issue. Open communication is key. Some times things
can get put to the side and overlooked if you do not keep them in
front of me. I want to advocate for each of you, so I look to you
to let me know how I can best do that.