News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Jan. 7, 2014


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


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

In the news

The Road Ahead

Staying focused on the mission and making the most of limited resources are common challenges for organizations.  Planning and assessment provide a road map for meeting those challenges. At MU Extension, the Strategic Plan is our map.

In December, MU Extension’s Program Leadership Council looked at progress toward the goals of the Strategic Plan. I am pleased to report that great work and innovative thinking are taking place all around us.

Unlike a startup organization with a clean slate that can write a plan and then put it into motion, MU Extension is a 100-year-old organization that is already in constant motion.  For an organization like ours, revising or updating a strategic plan has been likened to rebuilding a bicycle while riding it. We must continue to deliver on the promises of today while positioning ourselves for tomorrow. 

Fortunately, many talented individuals within MU Extension have stepped forward to meet our challenges head on.  The committee members for Strategic Plan goals 1 through 7 are drawing upon their experience with extension of yesterday and today as they work to shape the extension of tomorrow. 

I encourage you to seek them out, learn about their work and get involved yourself. Your engagement and support will help us stay on course as we pedal into the future. 

Michael Ouart
Vice Provost and Director
University of Missouri Extension


Video encourages UM Legislative Day participation

A short video designed for viewing by members of county extension councils is available to encourage their participation in UM’s Alumni Alliance Legislative Day Feb. 18 in Jefferson City, according to Dennis Gagnon, director of communications and marketing for MU Extension.

“CPDs and other MU Extension faculty around the state may put this video to good use at monthly extension council meetings before Legislative Day,” says Gagnon. A YouTube link to the video also can be emailed to county council members.

“Participation in Legislative Day activities helps boost the University to an important audience,” says Gagnon. “And extension county council members provide a credible voice to tell our story in this centennial year of Cooperative Extension.”


Business development program reports economic impact

Clients of MU Extension’s business development program created or retained more than 30,000 jobs in Missouri during the past three years, reports Mary Paulsell, BDP communications director.

In addition, BDP business specialists throughout the state helped their clients achieve $666 million in increased sales; $661.9 million in increased loans and capital improvements; $608.2 million in additional government contracts; and $16.8 million in research grants during the three-year period that ended Sept. 30, 2013. The results reflect the efforts of the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (MO SBTDC) and the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC). Both programs are part of MU Extension’s business development program.

Business specialists with the MO SBTDC and MO PTAC programs work with a variety of companies each year. The economic impact many of those firms realize is self-reported by the business owners through a verifiable process that guarantees accuracy.

“These results demonstrate not only the ingenuity, determination and skill of the state’s businesses, but also the power of our technical assistance and education in creating healthy and sustainable Missouri companies,” Paulsell says.


Estate planning sessions to focus on farms, small businesses

UNIONVILLE, Mo. – MU Extension is sponsoring a four-week series of estate planning workshops for farms and small businesses, according to Joe Koenen, ag business specialist based in Putnam County. The weekly workshops will be held via ITV at six locations across Missouri beginning Tuesday, Jan. 14, 6-9 p.m.

 “Farmers and businesses have some very unique estate issues,” says Koenen, who will be among the presenters. “These sessions are geared to their specific needs. The major increase in asset values, especially land, in the last several years has made this topic even more critical of late.”

Topics will include why you should plan your estate, who should be involved, what materials you need, how to choose attorneys and other advisers, estate and gift taxes, and communication issues with family members and others.

Check for specific locations and registration details.


Farm computers conference runs Jan. 10-11 at Lake Ozark

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The annual Computers on the Farm Conference covers more than computers, says program organizer John Travlos, director of MU’s Ag Electronic Bulletin Board in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Farmers, and especially their children, also learn about their smartphones, tablets, digital cameras and new apps for agriculture.

The conference runs Jan. 10-11 at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. 

The technical meetings prove popular with young people, Travlos says. “The kids help parents use new technology. It is a family affair. We give a special welcome to FFA and 4-H members.”

The conference is for all people interested in computer applications on the farm, he adds.

Check for lodging, registration, fees and other conference details or call 573-882-4827.


Grants and contracts specialist joins MU Extension fiscal office

Amy RossonAmy Rosson joined MU Extension’s administrative management fiscal team this week in Columbia as the new grants and contracts post-award coordinator, reports Callie Glascock, fiscal team manager.

Rosson will work closely with extension faculty, directors and fiscal personnel providing oversight, compliance and administrative support for grants and contracts. She also will serve as extension’s post-award liaison with the MU sponsored programs office.

“Amy comes to extension from MU sponsored programs, where she has been working as a grants and contracts specialist,” says Glascock. “Her knowledge and experience working with Extension’s grant portfolio will make her a valuable resource for our faculty and staff.”



MU mileage reimbursement rates decline slightly for 2014

Effective Jan. 1 the University’s mileage reimbursement rate for business miles driven in 2014 dropped one-half cent to 53 cents per mile, according to the UM controller’s office. In addition, the University will reimburse moving expenses at 20.5 cents per mile

MU follows the state of Missouri’s practice of reimbursement for business transportation expenses at a mileage rate that is three cents less than the IRS standard mileage rate. The IRS rate is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.  The IRS announced in December that the 2014 standard mileage rates would be 56 cents per mile for business miles driven and 23.5 cents per mile for moving expenses, a decrease of one-half cent for both rates from those in effect during 2013. 


Exercise program adapted to developmentally disabled

FULTON, Mo. – Adults with developmental disabilities exercise their bodies and social skills through weekly strength-training sessions at the MU Extension Center in Callaway County.

Extension nutrition specialist Lynda Zimmerman adapted MU Extension’s popular “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” program to meet the needs of Callaway County residents who are developmentally disabled. She hopes that the program will be used statewide.

Julia Kaufmann, executive director of Callaway County Special Services, contacted Zimmerman after learning about an upcoming Stay Strong, Stay Healthy class. She thought the 12 participants of Callaway County Special Services’ adult day program would benefit. Zimmerman agreed, but thought the program needed to be adapted to meet the needs of this group.

Read more about adapting this exercise program for the developmentally disabled.

Lynda Zimmerman, nutrition specialist

MU Extension nutrition specialist Lynda Zimmerman coaches Randal Schraer, a participant in an adaptive fitness program for developmentally disabled adults in Callaway County. The 10-week program promotes exercise and social skills.


Did you open your gift?

The Dec. 17 issue of the MU Extension Insider offered a gift to it's readers. For those of you who opened the gift here are the answers to the crossword puzzle. We hope you enjoyed it.


Upcoming events

UM Wellness offers classes in stress reduction, weight control

UM Wellness logo

With the start of a new calendar year, the UM Wellness program will offer two multi-week classes starting the week of Jan. 20 to help faculty and staff cope with stress and manage weight, says Lynn Rossy, health psychologist with the program.

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes will be offered at the University’s campuses in Columbia, St. Louis and Rolla. The eight-week MBSR classes provide information about relating to stress, effective communication, wellness tips and instruction in mindfulness (sitting meditation, body scan, yoga and walking meditation), says Rossy.

The 10-week Eating for Life course will be taught in a classroom setting on the Columbia campus and also will be available as an online class. Rossy says this course emphasizes meditation, yoga, principles of mindful and intuitive eating, skills training, and group support to guide participants in making lifestyle changes.

Both courses require a nominal fee. Check for course locations, schedules and registration details.


Mizzou Advantage seeks proposals in three categories

The Mizzou Advantage initiative requests proposals in three categories: research, instructional programs and high-impact conferences. All faculty and staff are encouraged to apply. Deadlines are quickly approaching, according to the MU provost’s office.

The objective for these RFPs is to lead to high-impact results related to one or more of the four Mizzou Advantage initiative areas: One Health, Media of the Future, Food for the Future and Sustainable Energy. The ultimate goal of the Mizzou Advantage initiative and the RFPs is to raise the stature of MU and to leverage, enhance and nurture collaborative networks.

Explore RFP specifics and team contact information. For answers to additional questions, contact one of the Mizzou Advantage facilitators or any team member.


Fee-generation workshops

Workshops have been scheduled to explain additional functions and updates to the Fee-generation Worksheet-Online Tool. Register through ISE up to one week before the workshop. Sessions that do not have at least four registrants will be canceled and registrants will be asked to choose an alternative date.

2014 workshops

Jan. 15


Feb. 20

2-3 p.m.

March 19

10-11 a.m.

April 17

2-3 p.m.

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Moodle workshops

Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS) is conducting half-day online Moodle course-development workshops. Dates and times for the next four offerings:

  • Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 22, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 19, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Jan. 16: Everyday work challenges webinar. Register through the ISE system.

Feb. 18: University of Missouri Alumni Alliance Legislative Day, State Capitol, Jefferson City.


Coming and going


Amanda Meek, Urban Region 4-H educator based in St. Louis County, recently received an M.Ed. in information science and learning technologies, which she pursued through the Mizzou Online program. 



To JoEtta Bowling, office manager at the MU Extension Center in Stone County, on the death of her mother, Murel Carr, on Jan. 6. Visitation is on the evening of Friday, Jan. 10, at Stumpff Funeral Home in Crane, Mo.  Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Cape Fair Baptist Church.  Details and an obituary will soon be placed on the Stumpff website at   Condolences can be sent to JoEtta at 599 Jade Rd., Spokane, MO  65754. 


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey, Curt Wohleber or Phil Leslie in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Dennis Gagnon, director, MU Extension Communications and Marketing.