News for employees

MU Extension Insider
April 16, 2012


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


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

In the news

Northwest Missouri farmers prepare for planting a year after flood

Floods in northwestern Missouri brought farming to a screeching halt on countless acres last year. Today, temporary levees serve as signposts on the road to recovery, but 30,000 acres in the floodplain remain out of production. Kent Faddis reports.

See also: Related news release by Roger Meissen.


Fountain of youth

Ponce de Leon was right. He was just looking in the wrong place. There is a fountain of youth that can help older adults feel better and live longer. Cooperative Media Group radio news producer Debbie Johnson talks with nutrition specialist Linda Rellergert and exercise physiologist Stephen Ball about how putting a little sweat equity into your body can go a long way toward aging gracefully.


Please complete the campus climate diversity survey

University of Missouri is committed to ensuring a welcoming workplace and learning climate for all. With this in mind, the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative is conducting a survey to determine the strengths and weaknesses of our University climate. MU Extension is looking forward to learning about our climate and would like for all employees to participate in the survey. Chancellor Brady Deaton sent each employee a letter informing them of the survey and asking them to follow a link to participate.

"Please go to your email for the link provided in that email to take the survey," says Julie Middleton, director of organizational development. "I will work closely with the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative to learn about Extension's workplace climate so that the catalyst team and I can help to make any changes that are needed to improve the environment for all, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, rank or any diversity."


Stephen Ball awarded 2012 Kemper Fellowship


From left: Stephen Ball, extension fitness specialist; Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of extension; and Michael Middleton, MU deputy chancellor.(Emily Kaiser/Cooperative Media Group)

Little could make a Monday better than a prestigious award for excellent teaching and a $10,000 check. Michael Ouart accompanied MU Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz on a surprise visit to Stephen Ball, MU Extension fitness specialist and associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, to award him a 2012 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Along with Middleton and Schatz, a group of fellow professors, administrators and staff attended to see Ball presented with the award.

Ball was a guest lecturer for Jill Kanaley’s physiology class when the group showed up in the classroom.

“I thought I was just filling in for Dr. Kanaley. I’m as surprised as you are,” Ball said after the presentation.

Ball trains teachers across the state to encourage physical activity among Missouri’s youth. Some of his programs, including “Jump into Action” and “Smart Moves,” have been presented to more than 40,000 of the state’s children.

In his classes at MU, Ball uses the senses to capture his students’ attention. He incorporates multiple mediums to help his students learn and participate, such as discussions after video clips and hands-on learning. He also uses information from his own research to show the importance of testing principles of exercise and nutrition and the need for continuing research.

Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the  University of Missouri each year.

William T. Kemper was a 1962 MU graduate who held many leading positions at banks across the Midwest during his 52-year career. The Kemper Fellowship began in 1991 when he made a gift of $500,000, and since then it has been awarded to 185 teachers. The trust fund is now in the hands of Commerce Bank.


Committees approve MU Extension Council legislation


Senator David Pearce (left) with MU Vice Provost for Extension Michael Ouart (center) and State Extension Council Chair H.C. Russell during the committee hearing on Senate Bill 865.

“The MU Extension Council District option continues to move forward in a busy time at the state capital,” reports Tony Delong, MU Extension county council coordinator.

SENATE: SB 865, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), is out of committee and was reported to the Senate Formal Perfection Calendar and is positioned for Senate floor consideration soon.

HOUSE: HB 1254, the omnibus ag bill, which includes the extension district option, has been reported out of the House Agriculture Policy Committee and is now awaiting consideration in the Rules Committee before moving on to the House calendar. The “stand-alone” version HB 1895, sponsored by Rep. Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown), was approved by the ag policy committee on April 5.

“The work done by the state council, UM lobbyist and many others across the state have assisted in creating an environment to allow this proposed bill to move forward with little resistance,” Delong said. “Though many questions have been asked by state representatives and senators, each has been answered to ease any concerns. With the skillful guidance of Marty Oetting, UM director of governmental relations, and Steve Knorr, UM vice president for government relations, we have had the right sponsors and the right committees.

“Even with the great guidance,” Delong added, “it has been and always will be, the county extension programming that has the state elected officials talking about the fantastic work MU Extension does for the citizens of this state. That’s why legislators are supporting an option that will help county extension councils in the future.”

The progress of SB 865, HB 1254 and HB 1895 can be followed through the Senate and the House websites:


MU Extension Program Round Table

The Pike County Extension Council and extension volunteers joined MU Extension specialists on March 26 for the first MU Extension Program Round Table event.  The Round Table showcased the education programs and services MU Extension offers citizens in northeastern Missouri. Patty Fisher, CPD and 4-H youth development specialist, said, “The Pike County Extension Council decided the round-table event would be a good way for new council members and other volunteers to become familiar with extension programming early in the calendar year.”

Participants rotated among actual round tables to learn about MU Extension programs ranging from family finance to plant science to youth development. Regional faculty highlighted learning opportunities and their impact on individuals.

During the event, Fisher challenged each participant to share what he or she learned with at least three others so more citizens become familiar with extension education programs.

Don Nacke said, “As a returning extension council member, the Round Table made me realize there’s a lot more to Extension than I knew about.”

Sixteen council members, a past council member, two county elected official candidates and one state representative candidate attended the event at Bowling Green High School. 


Extension Grant Incentive Plan

MU Extension’s Grant Incentive Plan (GIP) has been revised and is now open to all Extension faculty principal investigators (PIs). There are two options: one for faculty who are eligible to receive an incentive payment under an approved GIP in their academic home department, and another for faculty who are not eligible to receive an incentive payment through their academic home department.

To participate, faculty must complete an election form by July 1of each year. The revised plan, eligibility requirements and the election form can be found on the MU Extension grant and contract processing page at

If you have any questions, contact Callie Glascock at


MU FRTI receives additional state funding for fire training

The MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) was recently awarded additional funding through the state Division of Fire Safety (DFS) and the Fire Safety Education/Advisory Commission to deliver training courses. This funding will be used to deliver “no-cost” training to firefighters across the state. The courses will better prepare firefighters to handle fires and other emergencies in their communities.

At the beginning of the fiscal year, the state of the economy and the budget shortfalls caused budgeted general revenue funding for fire training to be withheld. Gov. Jay Nixon released the $200,000 in general revenue for state firefighting training after the state experienced economic improvement in March 2012. In response to this, MU FRTI submitted a comprehensive statewide proposal for delivering essential training courses to fire departments through its field extension training program. MU FRTI was awarded a significant portion of the available funding by the Fire Safety Education/Advisory Commission through DFS to support the Institute’s training initiative.

 “The Institute is highly appreciative to have received this additional funding support,” said MU FRTI Director, David Hedrick. “This funding resource will enable MU FRTI to provide more than 60 additional courses that will help fire departments meet their training needs.”


MU program receives national award for mind-body approach to improve health

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease,” wrote the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often referred to as the founder of medicine. A group with the MU Office of Continuing Medical Education and MU Extension tapped into the science and practice of this mind-body interaction to develop an innovative and award-winning program.

Called “Taking Care of You: Body-Mind-Spirit,” the program was recognized with the 15th annual Jeanne M. Priester Award, which honors extension groups that develop and expand programs that positively impact health.

“People struggle with developing healthy lifestyle behaviors and stress plays a major role in that,” said Molly Vetter-Smith, assistant professor and state specialist for health education with MU Extension and a co-leader of the program. “This program examines health decisions and offers practical strategies to manage stress and explore mind-body interactions. It teaches activities to help participants make better health decisions.”

One of the activities involves mindful eating. The practice emphasizes the enjoyment of the eating experience by focusing on aromas, taste and texture of food. If participants slow down and savor all aspects of the eating experience, said Vetter-Smith, they realize they’re much more satisfied with smaller portions of food.

“Research shows that normally when you eat a meal, you really pay attention to the taste of your food for the first two bites and the last bite,” Vetter-Smith said. “For all those bites in between, we’re not paying attention to the taste, textures and enjoying the satisfaction of the food we eat. That influences what we eat and how much we eat, and our program teaches approaches to manage that mind-body interaction.”

Other activities in the eight-session program focus on stress management skills and identifying exercise activities to complement a busy lifestyle.  MU’s team accepted its award at the 2012 National Priester Extension Health Conference, April 10-12 in Washington, D.C.


New development positions open

MU Extension’s development program is being reconfigured to capitalize on progress made over the past six years, said Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of extension.  Following extension development director Barb Casady’s retirement in November, Ouart said, now is “the perfect time to build on the groundwork laid and take the development program to a new level.”

MU Extension will partner with the MU Office of Development to fill two full-time positions – one funded through extension and the other through development. The development position will concentrate on major gifts – identifying and building relationships with prospective donors, and offering giving opportunities to those with sizable assets.  The extension position will focus on working with extension councils and staff and other extension audiences to identify and build relationships with solid prospects for annual giving programs and local campaigns. 

 “I look forward to the two positions working together as a team to meet measurable gift goals, particularly since the campus is in the beginning phase of a significant new capital campaign,” said Bill Sheehan, MU associate vice chancellor for development.

Interested candidates should apply online by Friday, April 20. The position description for the extension development position (Director of Extension Donor Education and Cultivation) is at


Adobe Connect documentation update

From Steve Giesel, Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS):

You might be pleased to know that I’ve recently finished updating the printed documentation for Adobe Connect.  If you are not pleased, that’s OK, I just want to be sure you know it’s available.  This document is available on the ETCS website as CheatSheet-B:  It contains—in one document—printable equivalents of all of the video Quick Tips available on the ETCS website covering Adobe Connect tasks.  It is in PDF format and printable as either a color or black-and-white document.

I encourage you to stay up to date with the latest Inner Circuit post any time at  Additionally, you can find information about setting up an RSS feed/Alert to your inbox any time a new post is made to Inner Circuits.  The links below detail three separate ways to set up an RSS feed/Alert.

Contact me, Steve Giesel, at or 573-884-6267 any time you have questions about Adobe Connect, Moodle or our latest desktop conferencing investigation of Blackboard Collaborate.


Two state ag specialists honored for excellence

Two state specialists received honors at the Celebration of Excellence by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: Justin Sexten and David Patterson.

Sexten, a nutritionist, received the J.W. Burch State Specialist Award. His nomination read: “Justin is sharp, stays current with the science of beef nutrition and keeps both feet firmly planted in the commercial realities of beef production.”

He was noted to have an ability to challenge people without making them mad.

In a surprise ending of the evening, David Patterson, beef specialist, received the top prize: the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Outstanding Faculty. That includes a $5,000 check.

Dean Tom Payne said many nominators noted Dave’s vision and hard work. “He helped create one of the most successful extension programs for beef producers in the country.” He launched the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program, which contributed $60 million to beef producers.

Now he works on adding returns from the premium steer mates.

The honorees—feeder and breeder—work in the same office suite in Animal Science Center. They get along.

Mumford was an early ag school dean. Burch, an animal husbandry specialist, became Extension director.


Upcoming events

eXtension conducts national listening sessions in April

As a part of the 2011-2014 eXtension Strategic Plan, eXtension will conduct eight nationwide listening sessions to determine how Cooperative Extension perceives eXtension and to learn more about its value to faculty and staff in extension. The Missouri Institutional Team was asked to recruit volunteers to participate in the four clusters of listening sessions.

“Many from Missouri generously volunteered to participate in the listening sessions,” said Julie Middleton, chair of Missouri’s Institutional Team. “We look forward to learning ways to expand the use of eXtension, ensuring that it is valuable to all of us as we go about our work.” To learn more, go to

Also, take a look at the national eXtension update! If you have questions, please contact a member of the Missouri Institutional Team: Julie Middleton (chair), George Laur, Terry Hackney, Meridith Berry, Share Bane, Michael Ravenscraft, Gordon Carriker, John Myers or Crystal Weber.


Conference looks at impact of health care reform in Missouri

An April 30 conference in St. Louis will examine the far-reaching implications of the Affordable Care Act on Missouri citizens and institutions.

“Over the next several years, this legislation will have a dramatic impact on health care providers, state and local policymakers, business leaders, union representatives, the insurance industry, underserved and uninsured populations and their advocates, and the general public,” said Paul Rainsberger, director of the University of Missouri Extension Labor Education Program.

The conference will be April 30, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., at the J.C. Penney Conference Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The event will be the first of three conferences that will look at the policy changes from different perspectives and offer information to help people understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act in Missouri.

The conferences are a project of the Missouri Health Care Reform Network, a network of teaching, research and extension faculty at the University of Missouri collaborating to provide relevant, reliable information about the impact of changes in health policy on Missouri citizens.

The other conferences will be May 18 in Kansas City and June 22 in Columbia. The Columbia conference will also be telecast to seven sites across the state.

Advance registration is required. The $50 includes conference materials, parking permit, breaks and lunch.

For information on registration, go to or call 573-882-4370.

Conference dates and locations

The Missouri Health Care Reform Network is part of Mizzou Advantage, a set of initiatives designed to make use of the University of Missouri’s competitive strengths to tackle important problems and opportunities through research, education and collaboration.


Play more, watch less

“National Screen-Free Week, April 30-May 6, 2012, is an annual celebration of the magic of being unplugged,” says Sara Gable, MU Extension state specialist and associate professor of human development and family studies.  During this week, parents, children, teachers and others across the country turn off screen media — including TVs, video games, computers, tablets, e-readers, cellphones and smartphones — and get in touch with being unplugged.

Here are some ways to change your family's screen habits:

More information on National Screen-Free Week is available through MU Extension publications at


MU Extension Day with the Tigers

Mark your calendars for the second annual MU Extension tailgate event. This year's tailgate is prior to the Sept. 15 game with Arizona State. The event is a joint effort of Team Spirit and UMEA. Organizers are asking for volunteers to serve on the planning team. If you're interested, please contact Susan Mills-Gray at or 816-380-8460 no later than April 30.


Other dates to remember

June 5-10: Summer Fire School and Midwest Wildfire Training Academy, Jefferson City.

June 12-15: Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) - Latinos in the Heartland conference.

Oct. 29-31: 2012 Extension Annual Conference.


Coming and going


Claudette Roper, coordinator, TCRC, EC-Mineral Area College.


New Beginnings

traubCongratulations to Sarah Traub, husband Justin and daughter Lizzie on the birth of John William Traub on April 9.  John weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches long.  All are doing well.


Our sympathy goes out to:

Debby Whiston and family on the death of her father, Ray Snell. Cards can be sent to Debby at 710 N. Martin Ave., Kahoka, MO 63445.


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey or Curt Wohleber in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Mark Stillwell, CMG interim director.