News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Dec. 9, 2014


In the news

Dates to Remember

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month by MU Extension Communications and Marketing. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

MU students roll up their sleeves to help those in need

Mizzou Alternative Breaks, a group of students who donate weekends, holidays and spring break to engage in volunteer service, makes use of MU Extension’s community connections to identify needs. MAB’s goal is to do a project in every Missouri county over the next five years.

Read more.


Administrative support conference brings together field and campus staff

Extension administrative support staff came together on campus Dec. 3-4 for the MU Extension Administrative Support Conference.

“This was an opportunity for administrative support staff from both campus and field to network with colleagues and learn some of the latest on what’s happening within MU Extension,” said Sarah Grubaugh, SW Region administrative associate and member of the conference planning committee.   

Vice Provost and Director of MU Extension Michael Ouart opened the conference with a welcome and update. Beverly Coberly, associate vice provost and associate director of extension, shared her thoughts on how administrative support staff are a vital presence at “the front door of the university.” Joy Millard, interim assistant vice provost, delivered an energetic presentation, “Deciphering the Mumbo Jumbo,” which explained some of the many terms used within extension. Grubaugh said a highlight of the conference was a greeting from MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

The conference offered ideas on making day-to-day operations more productive, fulfilling and enjoyable. Sessions explored such topics as wellness, managing stress, security, staff benefits and use of Microsoft Office software.

“I also enjoyed the fellowship and reconnecting with the other county secretaries,” said Verlinda Talley, office support staffer in Henry County. “Getting their suggestions and comments on the day-to-day situations we all seem to encounter was helpful.”


Annual Enrollment is over. What’s next?

Annual Enrollment has ended. You may be wondering what comes next. There are some things you should do, depending on the insurance plans you chose:

Confirm your benefit elections — In December you will receive a letter in the mail confirming the benefits you chose (or waived) during Annual Enrollment. Keep an eye out for that letter; when it arrives, review it carefully to make sure that the elections listed in the letter match what you remember choosing during enrollment.

Keep an eye out for new insurance cards– In December you will receive a new medical insurance card in the mail if you enrolled in any of the UM health plans with the exception of the myRetiree Health Plans. Even if you are in the equivalent plan for this calendar year (e.g., you are in myChoice for 2014 and chose the PPO plan for 2015), you will receive a new card because the plan names are changing. In addition, if you have newly enrolled in the myRetiree or myRetiree no-R/X plan for 2015, you’ll also receive a new card for your new plan. No new cards will be provided for the dental plan, unless you are new to the plan and therefore didn’t have a card for the 2014 plan year. There are no cards for the vision plan.

Read more.


Educational attainment team developing mobile website for college and career readiness

The Educational Attainment thematic team is developing a mobile website to help Missourians with college readiness, skill development and career planning, says Stephanie Milner, thematic team member and 4-H youth development specialist.

“We are looking for help in creating the content,” Milner says.

The website, which the team plans to launch in early 2015, will include resources for junior high and high school students, students currently in college, parents and adults.

The site is designed to meet not just the needs of those enrolling in four-year degree programs but also people interested in two-year degrees, technical schools and certification programs. Topics include exam prep, loans and scholarships, networking, career planning, and job search and interviewing skills.

Content on the site will address a range of challenges that 21st century students might face, from choosing a roommate to juggling work, school and family life.

Milner says there are six teams developing content in the following categories:

  • Financial.
  • Getting ready.
  • Freshman follies.
  • Careers.
  • Academics.
  • Curative (adult).

Additional information:

Extension faculty and staff interested in contributing can contact Milner at 573-686-8064 or


Learn about Missouri Banner Outcomes

Missouri Banner Outcomes provide criteria for evaluating extension programs to continually improve outcomes and document impacts. They also provide measures of delivering results in several areas of the MU Strategic Plan.

New information about Missouri Banner Outcomes is available on the MU Extension website at A downloadable PDF provides an overview and an in-depth look at each of the six categories of Banner Outcomes and their associated measurements.


Note from fiscal administrative management

Tiffany Hughes, business manager with AMT-Fiscal has accepted another position within the university. During the transition, please contact Chris Marston on pre-award issues and Amy Rosson on post-award issues.


Call for public comment

MU seeks public comment in preparation for the university’s evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission.

The University of Missouri in Columbia seeks written comments from the public that address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. These comments are being sought in preparation for the university’s periodic evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

MU will host a team from the Higher Learning Commission Feb. 23-24, 2015. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s criteria for accreditation. The university has been accredited by the Commission since 1913. 

The public is invited to send comments to:
Third Party Comment on
The University of Missouri
The Higher Learning Commission
230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411 

The public also may submit comments online.

All comments must be signed and in writing. The Commission must receive them no later than Jan. 26, 2015.


MU Extension apparel for sale

New MU Extension apparel has arrived just in time for the holidays! These professional, high-quality items will help build the extension brand when you wear them in the field, during presentations or while at community events.

Available items include a Port Authority soft-shell jacket for $39.50, a Port Authority ladies’ cardigan for $39.50, and Sport-Tek active-textured polos for $21.50.

All items include a two-color embroidered MU Extension logo. To view pictures of items or to place an order, visit the publications Web page at Under “Add Items to Shopping Cart,” go to the “List by item prefix” field and choose “MUEXT” in the menu. Click “List.” Scroll down to find the available apparel. 


New location for Blue Springs office

The Jackson County MU Extension Center at Blue Springs has relocated to the Heartland Financial Group building at 1600 NE Coronado Drive, Blue Springs, MO 64014.


Dates to remember

Extension fellowship applications due Jan. 1

Applications for the next quarterly round of MU Extension Fellowships are due Jan. 1.

Extension Fellowships assist individual university faculty and professional staff members from the University of Missouri campuses in continuing their professional development in support of the university outreach mission. This includes regional faculty and staff.

Up to $1,000 per award will be granted. The total amount individuals may receive during their tenure with the university is $3,000. Funds should offset expenses not covered through other sources. Applicants must submit a budget identifying anticipated expenditures and other sources of financial support, including personal contributions. Awards will not exceed actual expenses.

To be eligible, applicants must be currently employed as a university faculty or professional staff member and have two years of consecutive employment with the University of Missouri. Members of the extension vice provost's immediate administrative staff, regional directors, campus extension administrators, and fellowship and awards committee members are not eligible.

To apply, download the application form and email the completed form to


Register for Eat for Life course

Improve your relationship with your food and your body: Two classes in Eat for Life—an innovative approach to weight management—run weekly from Jan. 20-April 7 and Jan. 21-April 8 in Columbia. Online classes also are available Jan. 30-April 3. 

For more information, watch informational videos or find more details online. Register at

This course can earn first-time participants 100 points toward the newly expanded 2015 Wellness Incentive—which will pay eligible employees up to $450 for taking steps to live a healthier life. Learn more at


Register for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course

Do you have chronic illness, pain, anxiety or depression? Learn new ways of responding to the stresses of life with skill and creativity in this eight-week program. Classes provide information about relating to stress, effective communication and wellness tips, as well as instruction in mindfulness (sitting meditation, body scan, yoga and walking meditation). Mindfulness-based stress reduction complements the medical management of a wide variety of mental and physical health challenges. 

This course can earn eligible employees 100 points toward the newly expanded 2015 Wellness Incentive, which will pay you up to $450 for taking steps to live a healthier life. 

Classes are available in Columbia and St. Louis for the spring semester:

Orientation: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m.
Classes: Wednesdays, Jan. 28-March 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Retreat: Saturday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $40 for faculty, staff and retirees. Includes classes, a manual, DVD and CD; $20 rebate if you attend seven of eight classes. Spouses or partners can join with you free of charge if they use the same materials.
Contact: Lynn Rossy, instructor for the course, at

St. Louis
Orientation: Thursday, Jan. 22, 5:15 p.m.
Classes: Thursdays, Jan. 29 – Mar. 19, 5:15-7:15 p.m.
Retreat: TBA
Cost: $40 for faculty, staff and retirees. Includes all classes, a manual, DVD and CD; $20 rebate if you attend seven of eight classes; $180 for community members (limited availability). Spouses or partners can join with you free of charge if they use the same materials.
Contact: Bridget Rolens, instructor for the course, at


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.

Dec. 18 2-3 p.m.
Jan. 22 2-3 p.m.
Feb. 19 2-3 p.m.
March 18 10-11 a.m.
April 16 2-3 p.m.
May 20 10-11 a.m.
June 18 2-3 p.m.
July 16 10-11 a.m.
Aug. 20 2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Dec. 9-11: 2014 NAEPSDP annual conference, San Antonio, Texas.

Dec. 10, noon-12:45 p.m.: ESP Global Connections Webinar. Patrick Byers, “International Volunteer Experiences: What’s in it for Me?” To attend, register in WebApps.

Dec. 11, 4-6 p.m.: HES Extension holiday gathering, University Place, MU campus.

Dec. 17, 8:30-9:30 a.m. (CST):  National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research webinar, “Why Cooperative Extension? A New Century for Food and Ag Engagement.” Featured speakers include MU Vice Provost and Director of Extension Michael Ouart. Register at

Dec. 31: Deadline for completing UM information security training. Visit to access the online training modules.

Jan. 12-16, 2015: Youth Development Academy: Raising the Potential of Professionals, Columbia.

Jan. 14, 2015, noon-12:45 p.m.: ESP Global Connections Webinar. Jackie Rasmussen, “So Kiwis Can Fly? Insights into New Zealand and NELD Experience in Mexico.” To attend, register in WebApps.

January-April 2015: Eat for Life in-person and online classes. For additional information, watch informational videos or find more details online.

Jan. 30: Deadline for completing mandatory online trainings Harassment: What It Is and How to Stop It and Mandated Reporter Training. If you have any issues accessing or viewing either of the courses, please contact the Human Resources Service Center at 573-884-6996 (or toll-free at 855-524-0002) or email


Coming and going

Please welcome

Travis Witt, instructor, LETI.

April Meighen, 4-H youth program associate, Mercer County, NW Region.

Joel Tatum, livestock specialist and CPD, Wayne County, SE Region.

Rachel McDonald, youth program assistant, Oregon County, SE Region.

Anita Collins, nutrition program associate, Texas County, SW Region.

Angela Langston, nutrition program associate, Stone County, SW Region.

Eden Stewart, nutrition program associate, McDonald County, SW Region.

Robert Balek, horticulture specialist, Jasper County, SW Region.

Douglas Scotten, family financial education specialist, Vernon County, WC Region.

Richard DeLoughery, agronomy specialist and CPD, Mississippi County, SE Region.



Nancy Elkins Mense, 4-H youth development specialist, Clay County, Urban West Region.

Bud Reber, transition leader and project administrator for leadership development, is retiring at the end of the year. Reber previously served as East Central regional director (1998-2013) and livestock specialist (1982-1998). He served on the training team that recently reactivated the Missouri Extension Leadership Development (MELD) program, which had been dormant since 2009.



Betty (Pearce) Davis, sister of Donna Eldridge, Webster County MU Extension Center administrative assistant, died on Dec. 2. Online condolences may be made to Cards may be sent to Charles D. and Donna Eldridge, P.O. Box 582, Marshfield, MO 65706.

Jerry Wade, 73, retired community development specialist, died July 26 in Columbia.  A full obituary is available at


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