E-registration open for annual conference Online registration is open for MU Extension’s annual conference for faculty and professional staff. Registration for the conference, as well as lodging, should be completed by Oct. 15.
The conference opens with a welcome by MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and closes with remarks from Provost Brian Foster and Vice Provost Michael Ouart. The three-day event includes professional development seminars and subject-matter training, as well as recognition, association meetings and networking opportunities.
By David Burton, SW civic communications specialist
County commissioners in SW Missouri learned the MU Extension programs in their communities have a significant economic impact.
Michael Ouart, MU vice provost and director of extension, discussed the link between local extension programs and economic development during a presentation at the SW Region extension council meeting, Sept. 23, in Mount Vernon. Commissioners from 10 of the region’s 16 counties attended the meeting.
“Most of the time when people talk about the University being an engine for economic development, they are talking about patents and research and activities on campus,” Ouart said. “But non-formal education and engagement with Missourians through MU Extension has a very direct economic impact on the local community.
“The things we do are mostly grass roots because county council members know what the University needs to be doing in your communities,” he said.
Ouart shared examples of economic impact from each program area. He explained that MU Extension receives $1.5 million in federal funds nutrition education. That work results in an estimated $13 million reduction in annual health care costs.
Young people who are active in 4-H youth development programs are 70 percent more likely to attend college, Ouart said.
“If just 10 percent of those youths earn a bachelor’s degree, their increased annual earnings will total $201 million,” he said.
Local citizens also benefit from higher education opportunities offered through MU Extension’s continuing education programs, independent study courses, online degrees and lifelong learning for retirees.
Local economies also benefit directly from MU Extension business development and agriculture programs. Last year, MU Extension’s work with small businesses increased sales by $172 million statewide and retained 2,244 jobs. As an example of gains from agriculture programs, Ouart described how the Show-Me Select Replacement Heifer program generated sales of $17.2 million statewide last year.
Because “there is more work than we can ever get done,” Ouart said, MU Extension places great emphasis on partnering. One of the most important partners, he said, is local governments.
The support from county commissioners enables MU Extension to leverage a significant amount of funds through grants, fees, private dollars, federal monies and state tax dollars to offer a wide range of programs, he said.
“The bottom line is that for a minimal government investment, MU Extension programs yield maximum returns.”
MU Extension’s budget for FY09 topped $96 million for cooperative extension and continuing education programs across the state, said Rhonda Gibler, assistant vice provost.
The total includes state and University allocations, federal funds, fees from continuing education programs, county council funds, grants and contracts, recovery of facilities and administration costs, gift revenue, and sales and service revenues.
“We have managed well through some tough times,” Gibler said. “I applaud the ingenuity and dedicated stewardship of our faculty and staff.”
Gains were made in fees from continuing education programs, grants, contracts and recovery of facilities and administration costs, she said.
Over the last seven fiscal years, MU Extension has doubled the number of grant dollars, Gibler said. The organization also has benefited from a five-fold increase in facilities and administration cost recovery.
"F&A costs are real costs that are necessary for carrying out a sponsored project," Gibler said. These expenses include human resources, payroll, building maintenance, utilities, accounting, auditing, purchasing, budgeting and compliance.
A portion of the FY09 budget increase comes from the addition of KBIA, MU’s public radio station, and the University Concert Series, to the MU Extension budget. FY09 is the first full year MU Extension has had full administrative responsibility for those operations.
State appropriations increased by about 4 percent to $28.9 million; however, the budgeted total remains below 2001 appropriations. Federal funding has been mostly flat in recent years, hovering at about $10 million.
Nearly 85 percent of all expenditures are devoted to salaries and benefits, according to Gibler.
Continuing education programs account for nearly 28 percent of all budgeted expenditures, followed by agriculture and human environmental sciences with approximately 15 percent each.
MU scientist Randy Prather has successfully bred pigs carrying the cystic fibrosis gene. Watch this MU report to learn how the animal model could help bring about a cure for this deadly disease.
Nikki Krawitz, vice president for administration and finance, discusses the University of Missouri's FY2010 capital and operations budget requests in the latest podcast from UM Strategic Communications.
Socioeconomic status, gender, race and family structure are among the factors that contribute to overweight in children, according to research conducted by Sara Gable, MU human development and family studies specialist.
Gable said that beyond the health risks, children who are overweight could suffer negative social and economic consequences into adulthood. In her study, Gable found that overweight preceded academic difficulties.
The study, “Ecological Predictors and Developmental Outcomes of Persistent Childhood Overweight,” was published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, which funded the research. Gable’s co-authors are Jo Britt-Rankin, associate dean for human environmental sciences, and Jennifer Krull, MU associate professor of psychology.
Gable looked at data on 8,000 children followed from kindergarten through third grade to examine predictors of persistent childhood overweight and academic and socioemotional outcomes. Her research is among the first to look at long-term developmental well-being of persistently overweight children.
Among her findings: the odds of children being overweight increased 3 percent for each additional hour of TV that they watched per week and 9 percent for each meal that the family did not eat together.
In addition to physical health consequences, Gable examined social and academic costs when assessing the impact of childhood overweight and the benefits of reducing the incidence of overweight and obesity in children.
MU Extension Insider is published on the 1st and 15th of each month for MU Extension faculty and staff. Send comments to Editor, Eileen Yager.