News for employees

MU Extension Insider
February 15, 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

MU Extension budget update

Recent letters from University of Missouri Interim President Stephen Owens and from MU Chancellor Brady Deaton outlined current budgetary challenges facing the University of Missouri. At the time of those letters, the University, including MU Extension, was threatened with a 12.5 percent budget cut from the state. Subsequent to those communications, the proposed cut was revised from 12.5 percent to 7.8 percent for FY13.

If this cut of 7.8 percent takes place, the combined budget reduction over the past three years will be nearly 21 percent.

A 7.8 percent cut to MU Extension’s state budget would be $2 million. Since 88 percent of MU Extension’s budget is invested in people, this cut would necessitate the loss of 32 additional positions on the campus and in the field.

This potential cut for FY13 would be in addition to previous reductions, and MU Extension is already 17 percent smaller than it was last year due to program realignments and reductions.

On Feb. 1, the University of Missouri Extension State Council met with Chancellor Deaton to discuss this situation. As volunteer advocates, State Council members are developing plans to communicate with constituents statewide concerning the consequences of possible budget reductions and particularly to highlight the value of extension programs to the state’s economic development and citizens’ quality of life.

Please support the efforts of the State Council and your local councils by providing them information about local programs to assist with their communication. (For resources and ideas, see the MU Extension website's stakeholder relations and public value pages.)

And, as always, continue to deliver high-quality educational programs for the benefit of Missouri.

Michael D. Ouart
Vice Provost and Director


Saving and investing go hand in hand


Every family has its own unique financial goals. Those goals could be saving for retirement, putting money aside for a college education or buying a house. Whatever your goals, you should seriously consider investing, says an MU associate professor of personal financial planning. Debbie Johnson reports.


Sweet success

Alan Patric McClure’s commitment to a better artisanal chocolate bar transformed his business from a one-man operation into one that sold a quarter of a million dollars worth of chocolate in 2011, doubling his sales from 2010. Counselors from MU Extension’s Small Business and Technology Development Centers helped McClure set realistic goals and make accurate financial projections. Kent Faddis reports.

See also: Related news release by Roger Meissen.


A message from UM President Tim Wolfe

Today is Tim Wolfe's first day as the UM System's new president. See his video message.


Self-Directed Teams

By Don Nicholson and Shelley Bush Rowe

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you answer a request in the Insider? Well, it just might mean you find yourself on an exciting ride. In December 2008, we answered the request to fill the position of in-house Extension Team Developer listed in this publication. Who knew that a little more than three years later, we would be working with nine Extension Self-Directed Teams?

Many of the teams were formed during a three-day workshop in 2010 designed to nurture a self-directed team approach to creating new initiatives and overall program improvement in extension. Cutting across all categories and levels within MU Extension, the participants worked to identify significant themes and priorities in extension. As a result of this workshop, nine self-directed work teams formed to address the compelling and urgent organizational issues within MU Extension.  Some exciting work is under way thanks to those teams!

We invite you to take a look at the Extension SD Teams website to see what is happening. You may find a team that you might like to join, or a team you’d like to start! Stay tuned to the Insider for periodic reports from many of the SD teams over the coming months. If you are already a member of a team that is self-directed or working in that direction, let us know! We would like to hear your story. 

With the many challenges that Extension faces, it is up to all of us to think together and work together to make good things happen on behalf of our programs, our clientele and our organization.


PowerPoint is wonderful, sometimes

Communications tip from Duane Dailey.

Worst PowerPoint violations seen this month were slides with yellow type. I know, black and gold are MU colors. But that leads to using black and light yellow.

Yellow type can’t be read. Not from where your audience sits.

One strong lesson I remember from a great typography teacher was “Never use yellow type on the printed page.” We can update that to the PowerPoint. Reverse white type on yellow background is worse.

Black type on light yellow might work for Tiger fans.

Bonus tip: Preview your new PowerPoint slides. It’s best to have an audience member see it as projected in a lighted room. You are a biased judge.

At least, critically review your new PowerPoint. But not with your nose 18 inches from the laptop screen. Stand behind your chair. Can you read your words on that small screen from six feet away? That’s what your audience will see.

We often show our slides in fully lighted rooms unsuitable for reading slides with a full range of colors and tones.

If you know you’re going to teach in lighted rooms, make a set with the highest contrast. That means black type on white background.


Crawford, Bradley seen in the media, big time

Seen by Duane Dailey

Two weeks in a row, MU Extension specialists hit the cover of Missouri Farmer Today. It’s a weekly tabloid-size paper that’s covering more of the state.

Feb. 4, Cynthia Crawford, MU Extension family financial planner, Marshall, was featured in “Planned Passing.” The photo shows her with tombstone visuals. One stone reads, “The funeral is a piece of cake compared to cleaning out the house and closing the door for the last time.”

The next week, Kevin Bradley, MU Extension weed specialist, was pictured at a field day. The subhead: “Land-grant schools battle funding loss.”

The editor, Mindy Ward, goes further afield, quoting deans at Nebraska and Iowa State. Michael Ouart, MU Extension, and Tom Payne, MU CAFNR, are featured. Inside is a story from Springfield about Greene County Extension Council stretching to meet budget cuts.

Those are the big features. Inside are stories from the MU beef program, reporting on winter meetings.

Take-home message: Using the media expands your program reach a thousandfold over those who came to your meeting. News stories won’t contain complete details, but they build visibility, awareness and name recognition, and add credibility to what you do. Work with editors.


Upcoming events

2012 Legislative Day registration is open

The annual UM Alumni Alliance Legislative Day will be Tuesday, April 3, in Jefferson City. UMEA is proud to partner with the State Extension Council to coordinate Extension’s participation in the event. Extension has set a goal of 500 participants for this year’s event, so start visiting with extension council members and supporters to arrange their attendance. 

Everyone may register online.

Again, there will be an ISE for faculty and faculty, “How and Why to Conduct a Candidate Forum, and Other Legislative Updates.” Registration for ISE 284 is through WebApps.

If you have questions, please contact Bob McNary, UMEA’s Legislative Day chair, at

For resources and ideas on education people about what MU Extension does, see the stakeholder relations and public value pages on the MU Extension website.


Award nominations wanted

Much good work goes on in MU Extension that deserves to be recognized. Individuals doing the work should be honored, and when MU Extension faculty are recognized, Extension’s reputation as a high-quality educational entity increases as well.

There are several opportunities for you to bring attention to the work of a worthy colleague or to submit your own credentials for recognition. These awards also provide another avenue for those who have prepared dossiers for the non-tenure track promotion system to gain recognition for superior scholarship.

Please review the criteria for the following campus awards and take the time to submit applications by the March 2 deadline. Past winners are listed at the websites.


2012 Extension Annual Conference, Oct. 29-31

The 2012 Extension Annual Conference planning committee will be meeting soon.  If you have input for the committee, please contact Susan Mills-Gray or Mary Jo Williams, who co-chair the conference.  This year's conference will take place Oct. 29-31 at the Holiday Inn Select in Columbia. 

The 2012 conference will focus on extension programming and is open to program faculty and program staff.  Extension is looking at our program strength areas and seeking opportunities to align and integrate our efforts for improved efficiencies.  Extension colleagues will learn more about program alignment and integration and how this will better position MU Extension for the future.


Other dates to remember


Coming and going

Please welcome

Angela Larison is the new office manager for the Worth County MU Extension Center. Her first day was Feb. 6.

Nan Lynne Macklin, nutrition program assistant, SE Family Nutrition Program.

Gustavo Salazar, 4-H youth development program associate, WC Region.


New arrivals

Congratulations to Donna Backues, secretary, Maries County, at the birth of a grandson. Weston Kort Backues arrived Thursday, Feb. 9, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 19 inches.


Leaving us

Pat Spire, part-time secretary in Nodaway County, will retire on Feb. 29.



Our sympathy goes to:

The family of former Interim President Gordon Lamb, who passed away Feb. 6, with his wife, Nancy, at his side.

Janet Hackert, nutrition and health education specialist and Harrison County CPD, and family on the passing of her mother, Barbie Hackert, on Feb. 5. Services are planned for Feb. 18 in the state of Maryland.  Cards can be sent to Janet in care of the Harrison County MU Extension Center.

Beverly Pfeiffer, retired human development specialist, and family on the passing of her mother, Edith Mae Whitfield Long, on Feb. 6. Cards can be sent to Beverly and Dick at 4250 Eagle Drive, Sedalia, MO 65301.

Ray Walden, coordinator, Dent County TCRC, and family on the passing of his father, Everett Walden, on Feb. 10.


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.