Dear MU Extension Colleagues:
You may have seen messages recently from UM President Gary Forsee and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton concerning the budget crisis affecting our communities, University, state and nation. I would like to add a few thoughts in light of those messages.
While we in MU Extension have conducted careful planning, implemented conservative spending and operated efficiently, the current crisis will require stringent measures and tax our creativity. As has been reported in the media and elsewhere, state legislators – and in turn our administrators -- have called for budget scenarios reflecting 10 percent to 25 percent reductions.
The MU Extension administrative cabinet and I are reviewing options and looking at all of the budget lines, including the possibility of some position reductions. This, however, is not a time to panic. Because, in recent months, we have aggressively pursued the filling of positions, we are staffed to continue to deliver high-quality programs. We must continue to do so. Missouri citizens need our programs now more than ever. We have an unparalleled opportunity to provide research-based information that will help Missourians make good decisions, improve their quality of life and add value to the state’s economy.
We have made the decision to cancel the 2009 annual conference. While the annual conference provides professional development, that considerable expense can be reallocated for other high-priority purposes. We will continue to support a galaxy conference for the Extension associations at a much lesser cost than annual conference entails. Additionally, we need to take full advantage of our communication technologies as alternatives to costly face-to-face meetings whenever feasible.
As we understand more fully the amount of reductions that will be required of us, and all University units, other cost-cutting measures may have to be taken as well. Please review your spending in all categories, and use your best judgment to determine when and where additional efficiencies can be made. I will keep you apprised as I learn more.
Several of you have asked, “What about the $1 billion recently raised in the ‘For All We Call Mizzou’ campaign? Why can’t we use that to alleviate the current crisis?” First, MU Extension as a unit was not involved in that campaign, as the campaign was formulated before the MU campus became Extension’s administrative head. Second, a vast majority of those funds (about 97 percent) are donor-designated for such items as scholarships, endowed professorships or buildings, and cannot be diverted to other uses. Many of the gifts are deferred, and the proceeds will not be realized until years in the future.
While the current situation is certainly dire, I have every confidence that together with our county, regional and state extension councils, our loyal learners, our many partners and our volunteers statewide , we will persevere. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to the people of Missouri.
Michael D. Ouart
Vice Provost and Director
In anticipation of the tough budget year ahead, MU Extension is canceling the 2009 annual conference.
The administrative support conference for county secretaries and campus support staff, slated for April 29 and 30, 2009, will continue as planned.
A statement issued by Michael Ouart, vice provost for extension, and Beverly Coberly, off-campus operations director said: “In view of the recent hiring freeze and observing the downward trends of the economy, we are reviewing major sources of expenses within MU Extension. The Extension Annual Conference is the most costly professional development experience supported by the organization, so we will cancel the 2009 conference with a goal of reinstating Annual Conference in 2010.
Ouart and Coberly said they would work with the awards committee to appropriately acknowledge recipients and pledged support for the Missouri Galaxy Conference should UMEA decide to hold the event.
MU Extension is seeking an extension professional specializing in team development and enhancement for a one-year half-time assignment.
The in-house team developer will assist extension teams, including special project and program teams, in operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. The individual will be involved in analyzing, designing and advancing team operations across the organization.
In these economic times, it is important for our teams to move to a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness.
The team development position requires an individual with education, experience, strong interest in and growing capability for advancing team operations and development.
The position may continue beyond one year, depending on success and funding. Resources will be available to hire half-time person to support the individual’s current position.
Current extension faculty members should apply before Dec.19 with a one-page letter outlining relevant education, knowledge and experiences. Letters should be e-mailed to Jo Britt-Rankin, associate dean of human environmental sciences-extension.
Up to three candidates may be asked to attend training Jan. 12-13 to learn more about the extension administrative/leadership self-directed teams. Final selection of the in-house team developer will be made by the end of January.
An ISE in January will bring together campus and regional faculty members to look at how to serve urban audiences with extension programming.
Creating the Extension Agenda for Missouri’s Urban Communities, set for Jan. 21 and 22 in Columbia, explore program and resource development; engagement of participants and partners; business and staffing models.
During the annual conference, Michael Ouart, MU vice provost for extension, announced that MU Extension would strengthen its urban programming. The ISE is the first step in forming a core faculty group to guide future training and make recommendations on the urban program agenda.
Missouri Gov.-elect Jay Nixon will deliver a virtual address as the main speaker for Mizzou’s online commencement, which will celebrate the accomplishments of the 200 graduates completing their bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist degrees in summer and fall 2008. The online ceremony, which includes a guest book for friends and family to leave greetings, will go live Tuesday, Dec. 16, at http://mudirect.missouri.edu/onlinecommencement. MU offers more than 40 online degree options that attract students from Missouri and across the country.
The 2008 Missouri Senior Report finds that older Missourians are more likely to purchase appliances, electronics, clothing and other goods in their community. The economic indicator is the newest addition to the latest report, a collaboration between MU Extension’s Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The report provides a county-by-county look at the well-being of Missourians ages 65 and older.
The following employees joined MU Extension in November:
• William Doig, livestock specialist, South Central
• Mabeline Woods, nutrition program assistant, Pemiscot County
• Kylie Dicket, 4-H youth development program assistant, Johnson County
• Cindy Harper, executive staff assistant II, Vice Provost’s Office
• Kathi Hatleback, secretary, Atchison County
• Kathy Hoffman, secretary/office manager, Andrew County
The Livingston County extension office has moved to 409 Washington, St., Chillicothe.
The Jackson County extension 4-H program office has moved to 1106 W. Main St., Blue Springs.
MU Extension’s Environmental Assistance Center’s 2006 study on dental amalgam was included in a new EPA publication, “Health Services Industry Detailed Study: Dental Amalgam.” The study, conducted with the American Dental Association, Greater Springfield Dental Society and City of Springfield Public Works, is contributing to the national dialogue on dental amalgam management in public water supplies. A summary appears on pages 36-40.
Charles St. Clair, WC community development, is KC Healthy Kids December “Shining Star for facilitating strategic planning for the organization’s Healthy Food Policy Initiative.
Condolences are extended to:
Rick Mammen, SW Region director, on the Nov. 27 death of his sister, Vickie Gray.
Steve Giesel, on the Nov. 24 death of his mother-in-law, Loyce Kile.
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.