Departments--Human Environmental Sciences Extension

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Thoughts to Ponder

Issue 7/28/03

Jo Britt-Rankin, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean, University of Missouri Extension  britt-rankinj@missouri.edu

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 you.

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 electronic copy.

Category Meetings
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 visit.

Current Vacancies
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.

thanks--Jo

 

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