News for employees, July 15, 2008

MizzouCentral returns to state fair

Volunteers are needed to staff MizzouCentral, Aug. 7-17, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.

Joining MU Extension at MizzouCentral will be the colleges of Human Environmental Sciences; Engineering; Veterinary Medicine; and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; as well as the School of Health Professions, University Bookstore and the MU Alumni Association.

Each year, more than 10,000 people pass through the exhibits at the former Mo-Ag Theater, making the fair an ideal venue to promote MU.

“This is a great way to educate the public about the many ways University of Missouri Extension is working daily to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities,” said Jo Britt-Rankin, human environmental sciences program director.

Dolores Shearon, MU Extension marketing manager, describes programs at MU to a 2007 Missouri State Fair visitor
Dolores Shearon, MU Extension marketing manager, describes programs at MU to a 2007 Missouri State Fair visitor.
Frank Fillo photo/Cooperative Media Group

State and regional specialists may volunteer for morning or afternoon shifts at MizzouCentral, which has a new air-conditioning system. Morning shifts run from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.; afternoons run from 1-5 p.m.

“We would like two people per shift,” Britt-Rankin said. “We will provide reimbursement for travel, so a team from the same area is ideal.”

Individuals also can work both shifts if they choose, she said.

To volunteer, contact Vicki Bach. Individuals are encouraged to sign up by July 23.


Take a minute to recognize your team

There’s nothing unusual about teamwork in Extension – it’s the way we get things done. Yet this practice leads to extraordinary results.

The Quarterly Teamwork Award, created by the Extension Leadership Development team, highlights teams and their accomplishments.

“We want to recognize how field staff come together to solve problems and improve the quality of life for our clientele,” said Jim Ronald, CM 4-H youth specialist.

The next nominations are due Sept. 1.

Ronald said the streamlined application process should take less than an hour to complete.

“The application is as simple and straightforward as these types of forms go,” Ronald said. “We don't want faculty and staff to spend a lot of time filling out the form.”

Quarterly Teamwork Award application


New group to serve on awards committee

Lisa Wallace, WC human development specialist, will lead new members of the Extension Award, Loan and Fellowship Committee.

Wallace represents Epsilon Sigma Phi. Other committee members include Karisha Devlin, NE ag business specialist representing UMEA; Bud Reber, EC Region director; Dave Baker, ag and natural resources program director; Susan Tharp, Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis research associate; Jim Thompson, SC ag business specialist; Barry White, MST Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach manager; and Yvonne Matthews, Lincoln University family development and resource management specialist.

Committee members solicit award nominations and applications for professional development funds through the Loan and Fellowship Fund, and make recommendations to the director.

Awards and Recognition


July IT training to demystify WebApps

Regional faculty can learn more about WebApps during the July 22 technology training session. Paula Hudson, ETCS database programmer, will discuss the reporting system and answer questions.

“WebApps has powerful and useful tools to help you tell your story and find out which programs are offered around the state or in your area,” said Meridith Berry, NW regional IT specialist.

The session, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon, is available at no charge. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to avoid a $10 charge to the county office.

Contact one of the ITV sites to participate:

Mexico, 573-581-4874
Portageville, 573-379-5609
Poplar Bluff, 573-840-9450
Salem, 573-729-8163
Jefferson City, 573-638-9646
Kirksville, 660-785-2530
Park Hills, 573-518-2324
Reeds Spring, 417-272-8707
Nevada, 417-448-1212
St. Joseph, 816-279-1691
Cape Girardeau, 573-243-3581


MU students use YouTube to promote healthy lifestyles

Millions of YouTube videos are viewed each day. Few, however, give viewers credible health information. For a class assignment, University of Missouri students in a graduate-level epidemiology class created 60-second YouTube videos about healthy behavior.

From reenacting scenes to dressing up as cavemen, the students used their creative talents to produce videos about diabetes, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases and the lifestyle changes that could significantly reduce the risk of these health problems.

Operation Obesity of one of the educational videos produced by MU graduate students and posted on YouTube
Operation Obesity is one of the educational videos produced by MU graduate students and posted on YouTube

"We’re continually bombarded with misinformation on the Internet," said Julie Kapp, MU assistant professor of family and community medicine. "It's amazing how quickly YouTube videos can reach a global audience. I wanted to use this powerful technology for something educational and to bring credible information to YouTube. I challenged students to create interesting videos that also communicated epidemiologic information."

The videos targeted the average American Internet user, and each team tailored its messages to specific audiences depending on their disease topic. Students were graded on content, credibility of the message, creativity, peer review and number of YouTube views. Students were required to use references and write a brief description of the basic epidemiology of their disease, which was posted with the video.

Organizations including Columbia Public Schools, MU’s Rape Education Office, the Department of Family and Community Medicine’s Better Self-Care of Diabetes project and Hospital Corporation of America have expressed interest in using the videos.

“Students today are very different than they were 10 years ago,” Kapp said. “I think it’s important to continually update our teaching styles. The students pushed through some initial apprehension with learning the technology and finished with an amazing result. Although more work than a typical paper, this gave the students the opportunity to show off their work to hundreds of people.”

Fifteen days after the videos were posted on YouTube, the 19 student teams in the class averaged 599 viewings. Among the most viewed videos are O-B-E-S-I-T-Y and Healthy Teen Relationships.

Staff conference to open with health fair

Health screenings and flu shots will be available Oct. 28 during MU Extension’s annual conference, which will run through Oct. 30 in Columbia.

Invited speakers include UM President Gary Forsee; Bonnie McGee, urban program director for Texas Cooperative Extension; and Gale Mote of Gale Mote Associates.

Conference details will be available shortly, said Marcia Shannon, MU state swine specialist, who co-chairs the planning committee.

Donning makeup, wigs and costumes, 4-H members bring a dose of laughter to patients at Truman Veterans Hospital in Columbia.
Watch the video story from student producer Jane Silcock.

Three-day academy to offer insights into new cultural reality

The Alianzas Cultural Academy, Oct. 22-24, will help individuals understand the influences and challenges associated with demographic shifts in Missouri communities.

Topics will include the features of the Hispanic/Latino culture and why it matters, as well as how to develop programming that facilitates partnerships through outreach strategies and personal relationships. Participants also will learn the foundations of the Spanish language, including key words and phrases.

Alianzas is a partnership between MU Extension and the UM-Kansas City Institute for Human Development to bridge the gap between communities.

Up to 20 MU Extension faculty may participate in the academy as an inservice education offering. Interested individuals should contact Christina Vasquez Case, Alianzas director, via e-mail or at 816-235-1768 as soon as possible.


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.