News for employees

MU Extension Insider
September 1, 2011


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the first and 15th of the month. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

NTT video update and 2011 promotions


Michael Ouart and Marcia Shannon present an update on the new non-tenure track promotion system for extension faculty. Video produced by Michael Hicks.

Congratulations to faculty who have been promoted under the new system in 2011:

Extension Professional
Marsha Alexander, Housing & Environmental Design Specialist, West Central HES
Kathy Bondy, 4-H Youth Specialist, West Central 4-H
Nina Chen, Human Development Specialist, West Central HES
Eldon Cole, Livestock Specialist, Southwest ANR
Cynthia Crawford, Family Financial Education Specialist, Central HES
Karen Elliott, Nutrition Specialist, West Central HES
Beverly Maltsberger, Community Development, Northwest CD
Julie Middleton, Director of Organizational Development, Extension
Rebecca Travnichek, Family Financial Education Specialist, Northwest HES

Associate Extension Professional
Meredith Berry, Regional Information Technology Specialist, Northwest CD
Karla Deaver, 4-H Youth Specialist, Southwest 4-H
Phyllis Flanigan, Human Development Specialist, Southeast HES
Mary Gosche, Human Development Specialist, Southeast HES
Todd Lorenz, Horticulture/Agronomy Specialist, Central ANR
Robert Schultheis, Natural Resource Engineer, Southwest ANR
Mary Sobba, Agriculture Business Specialist, Central ANR
Donna Taake, 4-H Youth Specialist, Southeast 4-H
Virgil Woolridge, Business Development Specialist, Central BD

Assistant Extension Professional
Kim Mehl-Hall, 4-H Youth Specialist, West Central 4-H


MU drought simulators stop the rain

MU researchers have completed two drought simulators designed to test the effects of water deficiency on crops.  Kent Faddis reports.

Related radio news story by Debbie Johnson.

See also: Related news release by Roger Meissen.


Extension faculty in the news

Mary Leuci reports that MU Extension faculty were featured not once but twice in the Columbia Tribune's Saturday business section on Aug. 27. The cover and two-page spread focused on Centralia's revitalization efforts, facilitated in part by Larry Dickerson, Central Missouri community development specialist. Another article highlighted a new planning process currently underway in Columbia, which is being led by a team on a contract from MU that includes Dickerson, extension agricultural economist Tom Johnson, state community development specialist Steve Jeanetta, as well as CARES and OSEDA.

A recent issue of Rural Missouri, a monthly magazine published by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, included an article about one-room school houses featuring SW civic communications specialist David Burton, who is organizing the Historic Schools Summit, Sept. 16-17 in Springfield. For more information about the summit, see

MU Extension nutrition specialist Damaris Karanja gave tips for making healthy lunches for kids on a budget on KSDK-TV Today in St. Louis.


Youth get inside experience at FilmFest 4-H

From "Piercing the Mask," which won first place in the narrative film category.

Young filmmakers from seven states gathered Aug. 1-3 in Branson to train with film industry professionals, network with their filmmaking peers and explore careers at the inaugural Missouri FilmFest 4-H invitational film festival.

“Filmmaking is a great avenue to develop self-expression, problem-solving, critical thinking and other life skills,” said University of Missouri Extension state 4-H youth specialist Bradd Anderson, who coordinates the event. “If a young person wants to explore a career in the film industry, learn how the industry works and ask lots of questions, what better venue is there than a film festival?”

Festival award winners included Shawna Scott of Jefferson City, Mo., who won first place in the narrative category for her film “Piercing the Mask” and third place in the documentary category for “Robot Rumble.”

Film industry professionals led workshops covering lighting, sound, acting for the camera, television documentaries and stop-motion animation. Presenters also offered strategies to accomplish many of their techniques on a teenager’s budget. Presenters included David Houlle, owner of St. Louis-based Sight & Sound Production Services, who has worked as a lighting technician on a number of Hollywood productions; award-winning producer and journalist Russ Weston; and television producer Steve Siwinski. Filmmaker Aaron Holdmeyer of St. Louis led a workshop on stop-motion animation, and Scott Arthur Allen, an actor, acting coach and casting director, conducted a workshop on acting for the camera.

“Missouri 4-H was thrilled to host our first invitational film fest,” said Ina Linville, 4-H program director. “It provided an opportunity for youth to showcase both creativity and technological skills to tell stories or address local issues.”

FilmFest 4-H was planned and facilitated by Missouri 4-H and the Missouri Film Commission, and sponsored by the Missouri Arts Council, MU Extension, the Miller Family Foundation, Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley, Bill Lennon of Lennon Productions, and the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, see For information on joining 4-H, contact your MU Extension Center or visit

A trailer for Shawna Scott’s prize-winning submission “Piercing the Mask” is available on the Jefferson City News Tribune website at


Hicks, Adkins, Phillips selected for Chancellor's Emerging Leaders Program

We are happy to announce that Michael Hicks, film and TV producer, Cooperative Media Group; DeeAnna Adkins, coordinator/project support, Extension & Ag Information; and Meg Phillips, program coordinator. Mizzou Advantage, are among those selected for this year’s Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program.  The program is designed for current leaders and those who seek to become leaders at Mizzou. It combines active participation, personal and professional assessment information as well as direct application of skills in dispute resolution and mediation.

More information on the Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program can be found at


UMEA awards professional development scholarships

UMEA is pleased to announce the following UMEA Professional Development Scholarship recipients for Fall 2011:

UMEA awarded a total of $3,000 in professional development scholarship funds in 2011 to 10 UMEA members.

The next deadline for UMEA Professional Development Scholarship applications is Feb. 1, 2012. Application guidelines and forms are available at

"Eligibility for a UMEA Professional Development Scholarship is one of the many benefits of belonging to UMEA," said Cindy Zluticky, UMEA treasurer.  "Don’t forget to renew your membership to UMEA in September!"


Discounts available for cellphone service

University of Missouri employees, including field faculty and staff, can receive a discounted rate on personal cellphone services as part of the University's contracts with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. Plan details are available the at


NIFA executive order stresses diversity, inclusion

An Executive Order  issued by President Barack Obama on Aug. 18 directs each federal agency to develop a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce.  Focus is to be placed on recruiting, retaining, promoting, developing and training a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“When such an order is issued, all federal agencies will follow it within 120 days,” says Julie Middleton, director of organizational development. “I am pleased that we have such a plan for MU Extension.”  

Middleton will study the president's order to determine if changes are needed to our plan, which was recently updated.  The plan is available online:

Please direct questions to Middleton ( or 573-882-3407) or a member of the Diversity Catalyst Team.



PowerPoint slides need your thoughts

By Duane Dailey

PowerPoint slides should help viewers remember your lesson. That forces you to select the key ideas, key pictures and key words.

The slides should be an aid to memory, not the script for your talk. Use a handout for that if the audience is expected to keep all of those details.

Size makes a difference. Make the screen bigger and the number of words less. That allows each word to have more space on the screen. Always opt for a bigger font size than you think necessary.  When you create the slide, your eyes are inches from the computer screen. In the classroom, the eyes of your audience will be yards away in the back of the room.

Become a critic of PowerPoint slides you see others use, then don’t make their mistakes. What do you recall from the last slide show that you saw? Steal the good ideas that worked. Learn from their mistakes. Be kind to your audience.

Key thoughts: PowerPoints are visual aids. They are not the textbook.


Freeman Health System joins Coventry's national network

The addition of the Freeman Health System to Coventry's national provider network gives MU employees in southwest Missouri additional options. There are no other benefit changes related to this expansion, and new member ID cards do not need to be issued, said Tamra Robbins, MU Extension retirement and benefits coordinator.

With three hospitals and 407 beds, the Freeman Health System serves southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. Operations are based in Joplin, Missouri. More than 370 physicians provide comprehensive care, including specialties in cancer, heart, orthopedics, neurosurgery and behavioral health.

Questions should be addressed to Robbins at 573-882-7755.


Upcoming events

Electronic travel reimbursement system debuts in October

Cooperative Extension is scheduled to go live on the Electronic Travel Reimbursement System (T&E) Oct. 1, 2011. All university-paid travel must be submitted through this system for reimbursement. Watch for emails coming out soon with the training sessions scheduled for September. If you have any questions, please let Callie Glascock know at

Other dates to remember

Sept. 2: UMEA awards nomination due
Sept. 2: College Colors Day
Nov. 1-2: Galaxy Conference


Coming and going

Please welcome

Katy D’Agostino, grant writer, Columbia.

Don Ray, family financial education specialist, Dunklin County.



Roger Eakins, livestock specialist, Cape Girardeau County

David Guethle, agronomy specialist, New Madrid County.

Carolyn Zeller, extension associate, Youth & 4-H, Columbia.



Our condolences go to the families of:

Anthony Ohmes, agronomy specialist, Mississippi County, on the death of his father, G.A.‘Tony’ Ohmes, on Aug. 21. Messages of sympathy can be sent to Anthony and his family at 306 E. Commercial Street, Charleston, MO 63834. 

Wayne Flanary, agronomy specialist, Holt County, on the death of this father, Elmer Flanary of Savannah, who passed away Aug. 22.


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey or Curt Wohleber in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Mark Stillwell, CMG interim director.