News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Dec. 15, 2012


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


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

Core team members applications sought through Jan. 4 Extension is ready to identify core team members for the five thematic areas, according to Bev Coberly, associate vice provost for programs. The core team concept is an outgrowth of MU Extension’s ongoing strategic plan.

“Core team members will be from faculty and program staff—campus, continuing education and regions,” says Coberly. “Core teams will be composed of a set of individuals who provide a diverse set of skills and knowledge beyond subject matter. This could include marketing, public policy, research and innovation. Each team will include five-to-seven people.”

Program theme areas are not newly created extension units or operational areas. Instead, program theme areas are structured, interdisciplinary methods that enable existing MU Extension units to collaborate with each other and external organizations in flexible, dynamic and fluid ways. The following are MU Extension’s program theme areas, accompanied by examples that show how program theme areas can cross over the traditional extension organizational structure.

Educational attainment
Engage children and adults in lifelong learning to increase their educational attainment.

Environmental concerns
Conduct research and educate citizens about energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, new ideas for reducing energy dependence, water quality and environmental impact on health and safety of citizens.

Community, economic, business and workforce development
Address issues and opportunities for Missouri’s economic infrastructure, communities, public services, economic development, jobs and educational access.

Global food systems
Improve affordable, accessible, safe and healthy food.

Health systems
Improve individual, family and community health.

Core team members will bring knowledge of the theme from different perspectives and work together to identify key issues and priorities, says Coberly. They will: define how different groups view and are impacted by the issue; inventory current research from the various perspectives addressing the issue; systematically determine the priority perspectives; and determine what issue(s) MU Extension will move forward.

To apply for core team membership, send a letter stating what interests you about a particular thematic team and what unique attributes you would bring to the team. The letter should be sent to Debbie Ricker, executive staff assistant to Coberly, no later than Jan. 4. In the subject line include your name and thematic team for which you are applying.

Core team members and facilitators will need to be available March 11-13, to participate in team orientation and training in St. Joseph. Confirm your availability in your letter. Team members will be selected and notified by Feb. 1. Team facilitators will be named at the same time core team members are announced.

“We need team members who are willing to network,” says Coberly. “This is a great career opportunity to broaden your experience in program development.”



Early timesheet processing encouraged; minimum wage increases Jan. 1

Diane Dews, MU Extension payroll and benefits manager, notes two timely payroll topics of interest to supervisors and bi-weekly employees.

First, this year the Christmas holiday falls on the same Tuesday that timesheets will need to be approved for the pay period ending Dec. 22.

“Since many supervisors and employees plan to take off Monday, Dec. 24, I encourage you to work with each other in order to make sure that timesheets are all submitted and approved early, preferably by Friday, Dec. 21,” says Dews. “This may mean that you enter the hours before they are actually worked so they can be approved in time. We can make small adjustments afterwards if necessary.”

Second, Missouri’s minimum wage will increase 10 cents to $7.35 per hour on Jan. 1, according to Dews. 

“This will impact some of our counties and their employees who are currently making minimum wage,” says Dews.

For answers to questions or for additional information on either topic, contact Dews at 573-882-5134 or   




UMEA board meetings are scheduled for 2013.

Representatives for the board and committees are still needed from the EC, WC, SC, and Urban regions. Please contact Vivian Mason (573-642-0755; with this information ASAP. Board and committee members for each region are needed before the Jan. 23 board meeting.

2013 UMEA officers:

UMEA membership is open to anyone with MU Extension educational programming responsibilities. For more information, contact one of the officers or go to:



Missouri 4-H represented at national conference

Nineteen MU Extension 4-H youth development professionals attended the 2012 annual conference of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, Oct. 21-26, in Orlando, Fla.  These included 4-H youth development specialists: Kathy Bondy, Lafayette County; Karen Branstetter, Crawford County; Nancy Coleman, Ray County; Karla Deaver, Lawrence County; Jeremy Elliott-Engel, Newton County; Patty Fisher, Pike County; Jenny Flatt, Cole County; Kim Hall, Johnson County; Sharen Hunt, Platte County; Lynna Lawson, St. Louis County;  Bob McNary, Jasper County;  Meg Sage Mach, North Central senior regional director, Jackson County; Nancy Mense, Clay County; Amanda Meek, St. Louis County; Alan Mundey, Bates County; Rhonda Shafer, Lincoln County; Kay Sparks, Pettis County and Donna Taake, Cape Girardeau County. State 4-H faculty attending were: Bradd Anderson, Steve Henness, Lynna Lawson and L. Jo Turner, National 4-H Council.






2013 MAE4-HYW officers elected

The Missouri Association of Extension 4-H Youth Workers elected officers at the Fall Conference in Columbia. Officers elected for 2013:

Regional Representatives:



Columbia-based BDP specialist receives national certification

Paul Bateson, business development specialist and counselor with the MO SBTDC at the MU College of Engineering, has been certified as an economic gardening team leader by the Edward Lowe Foundation’s National Center for Economic Gardening. Bateson leads MO SBTDC’s statewide Business Growth Services team. The BGS initiative was simultaneously certified as a Level III program.

The Edward Lowe Foundation is a pioneer in economic gardening. Founded in 1987 in Littleton, Colo., the foundation believes economic gardening is an alternative to traditional economic development practices that emphasize the relocation of large firms.

BGS offers to growing Missouri businesses the information they need to expand markets, increase revenue and grow strategically by providing sophisticated Fortune 500-level research, according to Bateson. The BGS team provides individualized research in three major areas: geographic information systems; social media marketing and website optimization; and market research.



Extend your educational reach: write stories

A communications tip from Duane Dailey, professor emeritus

Become your own news reporter. Write stories of your educational work for the local newspapers and radio-TV stations. With smaller staffs, they might not come cover your meeting. But, they will use your story. And, give you a larger audience.

Your extension meeting might be successful with 25 live bodies in the room. However, you can reach hundreds more people through the press.

You put all the work into preparing a class, or workshops. In your work plan, include time to write a follow-up story.

Remember, advance stories can attract more people to your events. Use this free service. MU Extension can’t afford to buy advertising space to promote your work. But, you can get free exposure to new audiences.

Your name in print, gives you local identity.

Last month, I was hailed down by a farmer at the morning coffee gathering in McDonalds on I-70 at Concordia. The cattle feeder recognized me from my stories in the Missouri Ruralist.

Appearing in print adds to your credibility. Try it. Work with your editors on what they want, and when. An editor can be your ally.



Yellow Button Project recognizes kind, respectful actions

The Yellow Button Project, part of the MU Civility Campaign, helps to recognize individuals who are “Caught doing something kind, thoughtful or respectful,” according to Julie Middleton, MU Extension director of organizational development.

She reports the project is going well in extension. Faculty, staff and administrators have been eyeing a number of people who have shown respect in the workplace.

Middleton offers the following examples of yellow-button praise in extension:

“If you have a yellow button, please be sure to pass it on,” says Middleton. “Once you pass it on, go to the Civility website and record to whom you gave it and why.  Be sure to note the number of your yellow button.” 

Contact Middleton (573-882-3407; with any questions about the project.



New “Mizzou Measures Up” graphic illustrates value of University

MU’s University Affairs Division has created a new information graphic for its website called “Mizzou Measures Up.” It includes information about how MU is accessible, affordable and accountable to Missouri citizens, reports Laura Roloff, director of marketing communications with the division.

“It’s a good page to share with Extension Council members, prospective faculty, donors, alumni leaders, visitors, parents and other important audiences,” says Roloff.

Go to to find the new page. It’s also available in a PowerPoint version.  Contact Roloff (573-882-9143; if you have any questions.



Upcoming events

Nominations sought for 2013 Ratchford Fellowship

Members of the University community are invited to submit nominations for the 2013 C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award. Nomination materials are due March 1.

The $5,000 award is given annually at a meeting of the UM Board of Curators to a University faculty member who makes significant contributions to the land-grant mission in extension, international education or agricultural economics programming.  

Winner of the 2012 Ratchford Fellowship was Carl Calkins, director of the UMKC Institute for Human Development. Calkins received the Ratchford award in recognition of his effective leadership in advancing UMKC’s urban mission through collaborative efforts with MU Extension.

Award submission guidelines are available at:



Don't forget to earn $100

Healthy for life image

As part of your 2013 benefits, you are eligible for a wellness incentive, says Melissa Willett, with the UM System Wellness Project. Healthy for Life is an incentive-based wellness program designed to help you earn your incentive and actively manage your health. By completing a personal health assessment, health screening and 240 minutes of physical activity, primary subscribers to the UM health plans will receive $100 in a tax-favored account to use for medical expenses in 2013 Benefit Plan year.

Ready to get started?

  1. Create or return to your Cerner Health account by visiting
  2. Enter your email address and join the program.
  3. If you need help, call Cerner at 877-621-8014.

More information is available online at .



Learn to eat for health and enjoyment

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), the 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. 


Online classes in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, St. Louis



Lower your stress in just eight weeks

Helping employees manage stress effectively is a key goal of Healthy for Life. The wellness program offers eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes at minimal cost to benefit-eligible employees looking to manage today's busy lifestyles in a healthy way. This is an eight–week class teaching meditation, yoga and other mind-body techniques for managing stress. There is a $40 registration fee, $20 reimbursement if you attend seven of the eight classes. 



St. Louis:



Fee-generation workshops set

Workshops have been scheduled to explain additional functions and updates to the Fee Generation Worksheet-Online Tool. Register through ISE for the following workshop dates:




10-11 a.m.


2-3 p.m.


10-11 a.m.


2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Dec. 23: 4-H day with the Chiefs. Tickets are specially discounted for all 4-H members, families and friends at $25/seat. Tickets are subject to availability. Call Ryan Youngs at 816-920-4830 or e-mail

Feb. 1: UM President’s Awards nominations. Details and nomination forms are available at For more information contact Chris Weisbrook at 573-882-0001 or

Feb. 8-10: MU FRTI winter fire school. A printable Winter Fire School brochure is available online. Visit Winter Fire School for more information. Please share this information with local CEMP teams and the firefighters in your communities

April 3: UM Almuni Alliance Legislative Day, Jefferson City.



Coming and going

Please welcome

Christopher Starbuck, part-time instructor, ag extension plant sciences, after a brief retirement.




baby boy

Laura Ancell, administrative assistant, and her husband, Robert, on the birth of their son Easton Dec.9.  Easton weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. and was 20 inches long.  Both mother and baby are doing wonderfully.




Lynda Johnson, nutrition and health education specialist, Lafayette County, is retiring March 1, after 32 years with University Extension.   A retirement party will be held in her honor from 4–6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Higginsville Community center, 102 W. 21st Street, Higginsville, MO 64037.   

Carol Ivy, nutrition program assistant, Cooper County

Sue Andrews, executive staff assistant in the associate dean for extension’s office in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, is retiring after 28 years of service to MU Extension and the University.




Our sympathy goes out to:

Jenny Flatt, 4-H youth specialist whose father, Allan Flatt, died Dec. 6.  Cards may be sent to Jenny at 18 East Thurman, Columbia, MO 65202.

Dennis Meyer and his family on the death of Jeanne Meyer, Dec. 6. Jeanne was a 37-year veteran of the University, most recently working at Extension Technology and Computer Services. Memorial donations may be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 903 Bernadette Drive, Columbia, MO 65203, or to the Alzheimer's Association, Mid-Missouri Chapter, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201. 



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 Mark Stillwell, CMG interim director.