News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Aug. 15, 2013


In the news

Upcoming events


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

In the news

Dances with robots


Photo by Emily Kaiser

Camdenton 4-H First Laser 3284 Robotics team member Matthew Bigge demonstrated a programmable dancing robot at the Missouri State Fair during Show-Me Robotics Day on Aug. 11. Camdenton R-III High School offers robotics through an after-school program funded by 21st Century grants, NASA, 4-H and local sponsors.

Forty students in grades K-12 participate in the club, with older students mentoring the younger ones.  The team won the St. Louis regional championship competition earlier in the year, competed on a division level and placed in the top four alliances in the first Ultimate Ascent World Championship.  The group also competed in a Frisbee throwing contest with its large robot at the State Fair’s Show-Me Robotics Competition. The team’s mission is to inspire the community to embrace the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


MELD VI applications due Aug. 30

Time is running out to apply for the 2013-2014 Missouri Extension Leadership Development (MELD) program.

“MELD has been a truly life-changing experience for more than 100 extension faculty members,” says Bud Reber, a member of the MELD VI training team.

Through MELD VI, MU Extension will provide a leadership development opportunity to 20 participants during a yearlong experience.

“The leadership training was first-rate,” says Nancy Elkins Mense, a 4-H youth specialist in Clay County who attended MELD IV in 2004-2005. As part of the program, Mense and Lafayette County 4-H youth specialist Kathy Bond developed “Take Ten for Leadership,” a curriculum for 4-H club leaders and teen leaders that is still in use through the 4-H program.

“MELD was an unbelievable experience,” Mense says. “It will expand your horizons, make a difference in your life and help your organization.”

The MELD VI training team is seeking a diverse range of applicants who are

Past MELD participants are not eligible. To learn more about MELD VI and the application and selection process, go to

Applications for MELD VI must be received by Aug. 30, 2013.


Whitten Hall open house postponed

Whitten Hall’s makeover is taking a little longer than anticipated, so the open house planned for College Colors Day, Aug. 30, is postponed.

The new date will be announced in a future edition of Insider. In the meantime, be sure to wear black and gold on Aug. 30 to observe College Colors Day.


Talking points on fees

By Mark Stillwell, transition leader and project administrator-operations

To ensure long-term success, MU Extension needs to develop new sources of revenue. Historically, cooperative extension programs have relied on federal, state and county appropriations, as well as grant and contract funding.  In recent years, gifts, sponsorships and fees have become an increasingly important source of revenue.  But these funding streams haven’t kept pace with the rising costs of education and the growing demand for extension programming.

The decrease in appropriated funds over the last few years has heightened the need to develop fees to support our programs. Generating revenue through fees is not new to MU Extension.  Continuing education programs have routinely charged fees.  Counties often charge fees to supplement county commission appropriations. Fees currently support 10 percent of MU Extension’s overall budget, 48 percent of the budget for continuing education programs and 1 percent of the budget for cooperative extension programs. Overall, 86 percent of extension funding goes to salary and benefits for faculty and staff.

Detailed guidelines for generation and use of fees are available online: feegeneration/guidelines_generation_use_fees.html

Here are talking points to consider as you plan to collect program fees:


First, answer the unasked question

A communications tip by Duane Dailey

Your listeners may not know that what you have to say is vital.

“I always assumed my audience was with me,” says Justin Sexten, extension beef specialist. “I thought they wanted to hear what I had to say. That might not be so.”

Listeners have an unasked question: Why is this important to me?

“I can talk for an hour on feeding management,” Sexten says. “If I am not answering their question, they won’t listen.”

Their unasked question: Should I feed a supplement to my cows?

If you don’t answer that in your introduction, they won’t hear the middle and the end, Sexten says. They tune out. They won’t hear your message.

Meet their needs. This works for field days, speeches, publications, PowerPoints, news stories or interviews.

Sexten learned that twist in a recent media training session. The takeaway: Start with where your audience is. Don’t assume they know the value of what you came to say. First, tell them the importance. That provides a hook.

“You must have a hook,” Sexten says.

Spend time getting ready for that interviewer or that audience. What do they want?


Non-tenure track promotion applicants sought

The next round of applications for non-tenure track promotion is due to supervisors by Nov. 1.

For those who elect to participate, the NTT promotion system provides a mechanism for recognizing scholarship and professional growth. This process applies to full-time regional faculty members who are in academic positions and to campus faculty members in an academic unit that does not have an NTT process.

Extension faculty members may apply for one of three ranked designations: assistant extension professional, associate extension professional or extension professional.

Faculty applying for promotion should contact Tamra Robbins to reserve a place on SharePoint for uploading their dossier and supporting materials.

More information, including a timeline, may be found at

Anyone with questions should contact a member of the Promotion Committee. Members are:

Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of extension, offers his thanks to outgoing committee members:

Please congratulate the following faculty members who have been promoted as of Sept. 1, 2013:

Extension Professional

Associate Extension Professional


Call for proposals: Technology Assistance

“We are still accepting proposals for using tablet technology to enhance the mission of extension.” says Joy Millard, interim assistant vice provost.  “Tablet technology can enhance our reach, improve outcomes and/or increase our efficiency and effectiveness.”

You may submit a proposal under three areas:

The proposal may include any or all of these areas, but you may only submit once.  It is also suggested individuals research current technology/tablets before completing the request.

If you have any questions regarding your proposal, please contact Rhonda Clayton at

The proposals will be accepted through Aug. 30, 2013.  Applications are accepted online at SelectSurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=88KIlo4.  Log in using your university PawPrint and password.


Scott Brown enters Missouri Cooperative Hall of Fame

Scott Brown joined the Hall of Fame. Not in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Missouri Institute of Cooperatives inducted the MU dairy economist into its Hall. His citation notes expertise in “policy analysis.” And “innovative dairy policy reform.” He now hangs with 59 leaders honored since 2003. He’s popular at extension winter meetings, giving outlook talks. National reporters keep him in their contact lists.


NELD participants sought for 2014 class

MU Extension would like to identify participants for the 2014 North Central NELD (National Extension Leadership Development) program. This program is designed to build leaders in cooperative extension at all levels and provide them with vision, courage and tools to lead in a changing world.

Participants will articulate their personal philosophy of leadership; apply leadership skills to their role in extension; analyze the role of leadership in achieving purposeful change; examine the value of diversity of thought and culture; and create a network of colleagues from across the region to share challenges and experiences.

Session dates, locations and themes for 2014:

  1. Session 1: Chicago, Ill., Jan. 22-25, UNDERSTANDING OUR ROLES AS LEADERS
  2. Session 2: Costa Rica, April 4-12, ENTERING THE REALM OF THE OTHER
  3. Session 3: Washington, D.C., July 13-17, LEADING IN A SHARED POWER WORLD
  4. Session 4: St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 17-20, INTEGRATING LEADERSHIP FOR CHANGE

For more information, go to

If you are interested in applying, please submit to your supervising RD or PD the application and a letter (no longer than two pages) expressing why you would like to participate in the program. You can download an application at  Deadline is Sept. 1.

Once your supervisor receives your application, he or she will write a brief letter of support, sign the application and submit all documentation electronically to Julie Middleton at

“The internal selection process will include a committee recommendation and final selection by our director of extension,” says Middleton. “We will notify applicants by Sept. 26 of the outcome of the process and forward the applications of the selected Missouri participants to the North Central NELD leadership team.”

Contact Middleton if you have questions.


Community Development Society honors MU grads


From left, Mark Porth, Sharon Gulick and Kenny Sherin.

Two former rural sociology graduate students who worked with the MU Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program received awards from the national Community Development Society.

“I think that this is a great recognition for the program,” says Sharon Gulick, ExCEED director.

The awards were given in July at the Community Development Society’s 2013 annual conference in Charleston, S.C.

Kenny Sherin received the “People’s Choice Award” for his poster “Honoring Cultural Differences in Regional Economic Development.” Sherin earned his doctorate in rural sociology from MU in 2012 and now works for South Dakota Extension Community Development.

Mark Porth received the 2013 Student Recognition Award. Porth earned his master’s in rural sociology this year and now is a regional specialist for MU Extension’s Lexington Community Arts Project.


Upcoming events

Experience the Community Development Academy, Sept. 23-27 in St. Louis

The Community Development Academy is an intensive, experiential, five-day course offered by the University of Missouri Extension Community Development Program.

Who should enroll?  Participants come from diverse backgrounds—local, national and international. They include CEOs, project administrators, educators, graduate and undergraduate students, and neighborhood and community organizers, among others.

Register for an ISE:

Course 1: Building Communities from the Grassroots (ISE 260)

This course provides participants with a theoretical framework for community development focusing on themes of group dynamics, diversity, action planning process, evaluation and monitoring, among others. It may be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit.

Course 3: Creating Capacity for Dynamic Communities (ISE 129)

This course focuses on advanced processes in community development, exploring topics like community organizing, working in small groups, working in large groups, managing conflict, and helping people get “unpoor.” It may be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit.

How to register? Go to

Spaces are limited. Registration deadline is Sept. 6.


Webinar series looks at everyday work challenges

By Don Nicholson, transition team leader

I’m hosting a short series of informal Adobe Connect seminars to discuss everyday challenges of extension staff at all levels.  These may be especially useful for newer staff, but they will deal with issues most of us face now and then:

The first seminar will be “Making the most productive use of your time without getting eaten up by your calendar,”  Thursday, Sept. 26, 9-9:45 a.m.

This seminar will feature the experiences and perspectives of three well-known MU Extension staff:

There will be time for questions and discussion from participants.

The following topics are also scheduled:

Each session will feature respected extension staff sharing their experiences, successes and hard knocks along the way.

Mark your calendar for any or all of the sessions.  Each will be available on at


Change how you think about eating!

Join Eat for Life in person or online.

Discover the benefits of this innovative approach to weight management through Healthy for Life’s Eat for Life course. This 10-week program uses mind-body practices (meditations and yoga), principles of mindful and intuitive eating, skills training, and group support to guide you in making lifestyle changes that will help you create a healthier relationship to your food, mind and body. If you have a history of chronic dieting, have rigid “healthy” rules about eating, or find yourself eating when you’re stressed, bored or unhappy, this may be the program for you.

For more information, watch these informational videos.

In-person class (Columbia):

Online class:

Program is taught by University of Missouri health psychologist Lynn Rossy. Register by emailing Craig Deken at


Fee-generation workshops

More 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 alternate date.

2013 workshops

Sept. 18

10-11 a.m.

Oct. 17

2-3 p.m.

Nov. 20

10-11 a.m.

Dec. 19

2-3 p.m.

2014 workshops

Jan. 15

10-11 a.m.

Feb. 20

2-3 p.m.

March 19

10-11 a.m.

April 17

2-3 p.m.

May 21

10-11 a.m.

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Rex Ricketts retirement celebration set for Oct. 4

A retirement reception will honor Rex Ricketts, coordinator of the MU Extension Commercial Agriculture Program, and his 42-plus years at the University of Missouri.

The reception is Oct. 4, 2-4 p.m., at the Reynolds Alumni Center. A formal program will begin at 3 p.m.

“We are collecting pictures with captions to compile as a memory book for Rex and for a slideshow,” says Hannah McClure, Commercial Agriculture Program administrative assistant.

If you would like to contribute, email pictures to McClure at or mail to 223 Mumford Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 by Sept. 20. Note if you wish the pictures to be returned.


Other dates to remember

Aug. 30: Application deadline for MELD VI.
Aug. 30: College Colors Day.
Aug. 31: Deadline for UMEA awards nominations.
Sept. 1: Deadline for Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations.
Sept. 5: Bradford Research Center Tomato Festival, Columbia.
Sept. 6: Application deadline for MU Extension Performance Awards.
Oct. 1: NTT Training for Applicants 2, “Last Minute Tips with Questions and Answers.”
Oct. 28-30: Extension Fall Conference, Columbia.


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