MU Extension Insider: news for employees
June 1, 2008

MU Extension launches national search for 4-H director

MU Extension is accepting applications for the 4-H youth development program director position. The director is responsible for providing innovative, visionary leadership and creativity to educational youth programming throughout Missouri.

"We are excited about the strength of our 4-H Youth Program and feel confident that we will attract top-quality candidates to maintain our vibrant program," said Michael Ouart, MU vice provost and director.

Candidates for the 12-month academic appointment should have a master’s degree, Ph.D. preferred. Qualifications include five or more years of extension or community-based education experience; experience leading 4-H youth development programs; understanding of the program development process; and experience in educational administration and leadership.

Additional details are available in the position description. Application reviews begin July 17.

Mary Leuci, community development program director, chair the committee, which includes: Kathy Bondy, WC 4-H youth specialist; Alison Copeland, state 4-H youth specialist; Lance Day, 4-H member from Pilot Grove; Anita Hampton, MU Extension State Council member; Bud Hertzog, Missouri 4-H Foundation chair; Joy Millard, MU Conference Office director; Marcia Shannon, state livestock specialist; Jody Squires, EC urban 4-H youth specialist; Mark Stillwell, CM Region director; and Melinda Adams, human resources manager.


MU High School course earns national honors

MU Extension online driver education course
MU High School's online driver education course uses 3-D graphics to teaching driving basics. Watch this video to learn more.

University of Missouri High School’s online driver education received a national K-12 Course Award from the University Continuing Education Association.

The interactive driver education course prepares students for safe driving before they get behind the wheel, including how to operate a car, rrules of the road and defensive driving maneuvers, as well as city, highway and rural road driving strategies. An accompanying DVD features real-life videos with multi-angle, 3-D graphics and animations.

"With many schools no longer able to afford driver education programs, we saw a need to fill that gap for families to ensure their teens are equipped as much as possible to become safe, responsible drivers," said Kristi Smalley, the school's principal. "Every community has been touched by the loss of young drivers in crashes that could have been prevented."

The Missouri Department of Transportation reports that drivers ages 16 to 20 were involved in more than 22,000 crashes during 2006. Missouri ranks ninth in collision involving at least one young driver.

The half-credit course tackles one of the newer behaviors contributing to that trend ― distracted driving. Teenagers talking on cell phones, text-messaging and transporting friends can be a disaster waiting to happen, said Gary Maddox, MU Extension's Law Enforcement Training Institute.

Maddox's certified defensive-driving staff reviewed and approved the course. Linda Stubblefield, a Missouri Driver and Safety Education Association teacher of the year, wrote the course. Lisa Royse, an editor at the Center for Distance and Independent Study, was the instructional designer.


Inservice series addresses civil rights compliance

by David L. Burton, civic communication specialist
Compliance with federal civil rights laws was the focus of small-group work and discussion among SW Region faculty and staff, May 20.

Topics covered during the daylong session include MU Extension’s commitment to diversity and understanding civil rights laws, limited-English proficiency, public-notice requirements, workplace climate, sexual harassment, civil rights files, affirmative action planning and reporting, and EEO complaint procedures.

Julie Middleton, organizational development director, said civil rights laws have implications for programs, local facilities, personnel policies and council elections.

The most important of those federal laws are the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the fundamental law for our purposes,” Middleton said. “The main take-away from Title VI of the civil rights law is that there can be no discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in our programs or classes since we receive federal assistance.”

The Civil Right Act also prohibits hiring procedures that unlawfully discriminate against a group based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

“This law is of particular interest to your local extension councils when they are hiring staff for the office,” Middleton said. “It is our role to help councils understands our commitment to the law.”

The age discrimination acts prohibits differences in hiring, job tenure or pay for anyone over the age of 40.

Title IX, Middleton said, further deals with gender discrimination at public education institutions. While it is often applied to athletic teams, extension programming also falls under the law.

Both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act address discrimination against people with disabilities. These laws require programs and facilities to be accessible and to provide reasonable accommodation for people with special needs.

Middleton said the ADA, which deals with physical access, is a civil rights law, not a building code. “This law is very explicit because there were still problems under the Rehabilitation Act,” Middleton said.

“It is our responsibility to make sure we are holding our programs in an area or room that is accessible to everyone,” Middleton said. “The one thing we never want to do is tell someone we can’t accommodate them in our programs.”

The inservice program also included a session sexual harassment. Megan Martin, training and development coordinator, provided a general definition, explained the types of harassment and behaviors that constitute harassment. Martin also provided guidance for addressing sexual harassment and described the University policy and procedures.

Middleton said the civil rights training was an important component of MU Extension’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and would be ongoing.

“The responsibility for civil rights is not just with this office,” Middleton said. “It’s the responsibility of everybody in our organization, and it starts with the understanding of the laws and implications for us in our daily work.”

Additional training will be offered to county program directors on developing yearly affirmative action plans and maintaining civil rights files.

For additional information, contact Julie Middleton or Megan Martin.


Hedrick speaks at firefighters ceremony

Dave Headrick Dave Hedrick

The ceremony, at the Missouri Firefighters Memorial in Kingdom City, honored 45 firefighters who died last year, including three who were killed in the line of duty.

“Every man and woman who responds to the bell, pager or alarm radio is willing to say goodbye to their spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters and fellow firefighters because they are committed to their calling to protect the lives and property of their community whether by profession or avocation,” Hedrick told those who attended the ceremony.

“I am often asked why firefighters are willing to take an oath to risk their lives for strangers,” Hedrick said. “Firefighters have a bond that transcends fear. Together they can face fears with inhuman courage and strength.”

Missouri Firefighters Memorial

News Briefs

Robbins takes over benefits responsibilities

Questions about federal service retirement programs and county secretary benefits should be sent to Tamra Robbins, extension human resources administrative associate. Her phone number is 573-882-7755.


Condolences are extended to the family of Ray Davis, retired ag specialist, who died May 28.



The newest members of MU Extension are:

Seol He Jung, office support III, Center for Distance and Independent Study

Lena Johnson, administrative assistant, animal sciences-extension

Kandace Fisher, housing and environmental design specialist, St. Louis

Michele Sexton, community development specialist, St. Charles County

Myrna Stark, nutrition program associate, Douglas County

Chantae Alfred, SC family financial education specialist, Phelps County

Adam Brown, 4-H youth program associate, Jackson County-Kansas City

Susan Smith, 4-H youth program associate, Jackson County-Blue Springs

Donnell Roberts, nutrition program associate, Jackson County-Kansas City

Shannon Connelly, extension associate-community development, Warren County

Early registration for Galaxy III ends June 15

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals will host Galaxy III, Sept. 15-19, in Indianapolis. The conference features nationally known speakers, concurrent and poster sessions, educational tours, exhibits and community service projects.

Individuals who register by June 15 can receive a $100 discount on the conference fee. After the 15th, the registration fee will be $495.

Conference organizers also are seeking volunteers for a variety of activities.

A new trend may be putting man’s best friend at risk feeding their pets raw meat, Robert Backus, MU assistant professor of small animal nutrition, says uncooked meat can be dangerous to pets and family members.

A new trend may be putting man’s best friend at risk. Claiming raw meat is more natural for their dogs and cats…some pets owners are serving up uncooked meat to their pets. This is a practice that can be unhealthy for both your pets and your family. Listen to what Robert Backus, assistant professor of small animal nutrition has to say.

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.