News for employees, April 15, 2009

MU Extension previews new Web site; enlists faculty, staff help

MU Extension Web site

MU Extension faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the MU Extension home page and click on the link to the "Web site open house." This will take you to the site’s new design and provide instructions as to what you need to do to help with the launch.

“Our expectation is that this final review will go smoothly, and within a few weeks these pages will become MU Extension’s Web site,” said George Laur, director of publishing and Web development. “By providing feedback and completing a few tasks, our internal users will ensure that we will have a successful launch.”

Browse through the site and let the Web team and administration know what you think by using the feedback link at the bottom of any page in the new design. At times the Web team also will have a live chat option available to answer questions.

Check your events and add local resources before we launch

Calendar events are pulled from MU Extension’s WebApps, so closely examine your events to verify that they are appropriately listed and ready for public display. Also, confirm that your events are appearing on the appropriate category pages.

To make changes in the calendar or add a local resources tab in MU Extension near you, read the instructions linked from the front page of the new site.

QuarterlyTeamwork Award

SC staff turn on the hospitality in Dent County

Jackie Rasmussen, business development specialist, explains how employees can give superior customer service during a hospitality training workshop for Dent County's tourim industry
Jackie Rasmussen, business development specialist, explains how employees can give superior customer service during a hospitality training workshop for Dent County's tourism industry.

With 340 jobs and $11 million in sales at stake, Dent County’s economy relies on local tourist attractions and the customer service of local businesses to keep visitors coming back to the area. University of Missouri Extension has been a driving force in developing and delivering customer service training for businesses that cater to tourists. This multiyear effort was recognized recently with a Quarterly Teamwork Award.

In 2007, hospitality emerged as a priority for improving the tourism experience in the county. University of Missouri Extension turned out to be the driving force in developing and delivering customer service training for employees of businesses catering to tourists. The training sessions, held in the spring, included a virtual tour to familiarize employees with local attractions.

MU Extension, the local tourism committee and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce also created a detailed directory of tourist-related businesses. The manual was designed to help employees answer visitors’ questions.

After the success of its first year, the training and manual have become annual activities.

The MU Extension team included Ray Walden, Salem TCRC coordinator; Sherry Lea, TCRC administrative assistant; Sarah Hultine, SC community development specialist; and Jackie Rasmussen, SC business development specialist.

Tough economy demands businesses have solid plans for future

In the tight economy, businesses are turning to University of Missouri Extension. In this Cooperative Media Group video, Kathy Macomber, business development specialist, discusses the importance of business plans to keep growth on track and how social marketing can help businesses reach new customers.

Counties can use WebApps for Affirmative Action plans

Local extension offices are required to maintain an Affirmative Action plan to comply with federal program standards as a condition of funding.

An Affirmative Action module, added to WebApps, is to be used to reflect information collected on the voluntary demographic card for all direct programming. “The Affirmative Action module will allow us to determine how well we are reaching the audiences within each county,” said Julie Middleton, organizational development director. “One valuable aspect of the system is that county demographic data from the OSEDA Web site has been imported into the WebApps system,” Middleton said. “This makes for an easy comparison of potential and actual audiences with whom we have worked.”

MU Extension honored as Clinton County’s Organization of the Year

University of Missouri Extension was honored as the Organization of the Year by the Plattsburg Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.

Extension faculty and staff recently moved from the courthouse to the chamber building, 101 S. Main, Plattsburg.

Registration still open
for public value ISE

University of Missouri Extension has organized an ISE for Legislative Day, April 22.“Building MU Extension’s Public Value, Part II," will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Truman Building. Laura Kalambokidis, associate professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, will return to Missouri for the seminar, which will build on the February ISE.

Individuals can enroll in the ISE through April 17 via WebApps to be reimbursed for mileage and meal expenses will be reimbursed. Participation will be recorded as part of your professional development record. Carpooling is encouraged.

Watch credits roll at next IT training

Movie Maker is the topic of this month’s technology training for extension faculty and staff, beginning at 10 a.m. April 28. Meridith Berry, NW regional information technology specialist, will lead the class in creating a dynamic presenta6tion using digital photos and videos. This is a beginners class. Participants will learn to use the storyboard, import photos and video, and edit content.

Jefferson City
Park Hills
Poplar Bluff
Reeds Spring
St Joseph/Albany

Register by April 21. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to avoid a $10 assessment to your county.

Tax withholding changes with April checks

University of Missouri employees will see federal tax withholdings decrease, beginning with the April 29 paychecks for biweekly employees and the April 30 checks for monthly employees. The changes are part of the Making Work Pay provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

MU Extension Insider is published on the first and 15th of each month for MU Extension faculty and staff. Send comments to Editor, Eileen Yager.