News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Jan. 15, 2013


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

MU Extension regional directors appointed

Columbia, MO -- University of Missouri Extension announced the appointment of five regional directors as part of its ongoing realignment. The new regional directors join two existing regional directors as MU Extension adopts a structure that includes six geographic regions and an urban region focused on the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas.

Appointments are as follows:

“I have great confidence in our regional leadership, as we focus on high-priority local programs and becoming nimble to meet increasing demands for educational programs and service,” said Vice Provost and Director of Cooperative Extension Michael Ouart. “Our regional directors understand we must adjust to uncertain public funding and meet the challenge of generating additional revenue.”

The newly appointed regional directors join Karma Metzgar, Northwest regional director, and Janet Kline, Southeast regional director, as part of a regional realignment announced on Sept. 11, 2012. The realignment process recognizes changes in the economic development needs of Missouri, population demographics, societal changes and funding constraints, according to Ouart. Regions have been reorganized taking into consideration the number of faculty and staff to be supervised, geographic distances for travel, and factors specific to each region.

“I want to thank the search committee for conducting a very thorough and professional interviewing and facilitation process,” Ouart said.  

Southwest Regional Director, Jay Chism

Chism joined MU Extension in 2004 as an agronomy specialist for Polk and Barton Counties. For the past three years, he also served as interim director for the Southwest Region.

Additional leadership experience with MU Extension includes serving as a county program director, County Program Director Revitalization Committee, Fees Committee, Council Leadership Development, National Extension Leadership Development, and Agriculture Leadership of Tomorrow. Prior to joining MU Extension, Chism owned a farm/greenhouse business.     

Chism received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Missouri.

Northeast Regional Director, Shelley Bush-Rowe

Bush-Rowe has served MU Extension as a regional community development specialist for 20 years. As such, she worked with citizens to coordinate effective responses to local issues that impact lives.

Additional MU Extension leadership experiences include serving as a county program director, Self-Directed Teams co-leader, Missouri Extension Leadership Development, Kellogg Leadership Development and the Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Bush-Rowe received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Drury University, a master’s degree in regional & community planning from Kansas State University, and a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

East Central Regional Director, Mark Stewart

Stewart has served MU Extension as a livestock specialist for more than 30 years. His program efforts focused on production and management, improved forage utilization, business planning for alternative enterprises, water quality and food safety. For the past three years, he also served as interim director of the Central Missouri Region.

Additional MU Extension leadership experience includes serving as a county program director, New Regional Faculty Cohort coordinator, Annual Program Review co-coordinator, Water Quality Focus Team, Program Integration Development Team, Missouri Extension Leadership Development, National Extension Leadership Development, and National Association of County Ag Agents Board of Directors.

Stewart received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.

West Central Regional Director, Wayne Prewitt

Prewitt joined MU Extension in 1985 and has served as a regional agriculture specialist in the areas of farm management and agriculture business. Since 2010, he has served as interim director for the West Central Region.

Additional leadership experiences include serving as a county program director, Metropolitan Foods Team co-leader, County Program Director Revitalization Committee, Nevada Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, Missouri Association of Extension Professionals president, Missouri Extension Leadership Development, National Extension Leadership Development.

Prewitt received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Central Missouri State University and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas. 

Urban Regional Director, Cynthia Zluticky

Zluticky joined MU Extension in 2002 as county program director in Jackson County. Prior to joining MU Extension, she served as an Extension educator at the University of Nebraska. She has more than 24 years experience working on urban Extension issues in three states.

Additional extension leadership experience includes serving as a multi-agency family services collaborative coordinator, Urban Self-Directed Work Team co-leader, project director for grants, University of Missouri Extension Association treasurer and executive board member, Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association president and Nebraska 4-H Foundation Board of Directors.

Zluticky  received a bachelor’s degree in home economics and a master’s degree in adult and continuing education from the University of Nebraska. 



Senate refers MU Extension bill

Legislation to allow MU Extension to form single- or multi-county districts to better provide programming at the local level has been referred to the Senate Education Committee, reports Marty Oetting, MU governmental relations director.  Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) is expected to be heard in the coming weeks by the committee he chairs.



Lincoln University hires a state plant pathologist

Lincoln University recently hired a state plant pathology specialist with a focus on vegetables and small fruits, according to Debi Kelly, extension associate. 

Zelalem Mersha, LU assistant professor, received his doctorate from Leibniz Universitaet Hannover in Germany and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guam and University of Florida from September 2008 to October 2012. 

Prior to joining LU, Mersha’s major research was aimed at developing environment-friendly management options of basil downy mildew, a disease that was recently discovered in the U.S. He helped organize and prepare educational materials for field days, seminars and workshops held in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County extension office.

At LU Mersha will primarily focus on creating outreach and research activities geared to proper identification, prevention and management of diseases of vegetables and small fruits. He will target the development and implementation of eco- and human-friendly disease management options to ensure sustainable vegetable and small fruit production in the state and to improve the livelihood of Missouri farmers.



FNEP 2013 award recipients honored recent

Congratulations to the following 2013 FNEP award winners, says Candance Gabel, HES assistant program director.

Mentor Awards: Deann Turner, nutrition program associate, Lewis County; Maxine McBride Jackson, office support staff IV, St. Louis City.

Specialist of the Year Award: Bethany Schindler, nutrition specialist, Phelps County. 

Outstanding FNEP Support Staff Award: Jana Taylor, office support staff II, Jefferson County.

Rookie of the Year Award: Jenni Nevatt, nutrition program associate, Christian County

Coordinator of the Year Award: Pat Snodgrass, housing and environmental design specialist, Crawford and Maries counties.



Business Development program to honor 22 outstanding clients Jan. 30-31

Three Business Development programs—the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers, the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and the Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center—will honor 22 outstanding Missouri businesses with the 2013 Excellence in Business Award Jan. 30-31, in Jefferson City. The annual awards are presented each year by the three programs to recognize outstanding achievement in business management, government contracting, job creation and revenue generation.

"Missouri's small businesses are the engine of economic growth in the state," said Max Summers, interim director of the BDP, which hosts the MO SBTDC, MO PTAC and TAAC programs. "These business owners work hard every day, and the awards are just a small measure of recognition for their efforts to bring opportunity and prosperity to their communities.”

The businesses were nominated by the business counselors who have worked closely with the firms’ owners to improve their business performance. The awards honor the contribution of each company to the economic development of its community and of the state of Missouri.



Spirit Spark

by Sarah Traub, human development specialist, Pulaski County

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution?  I would have to say that I haven’t officially made a New Year’s Resolution yet. With that said, I have however thought about some goals and changes that would be very beneficial in my life (both personal and professional). 

My goals are probably similar to yours in that they involve some amount of change.  Whether it is change within my routine, my reactions toward certain situations, or changes in other behavioral habits, it is always a daunting and humbling task to take on. 

As I write this, I have decided on one particular goal to work toward first and have actually listed a couple of small steps to help jump-start the changes that will aide me in achieving this goal.  I encourage you to take a similar approach as you think about the changes that are upon all of us currently and about a goal that you may have for yourself, either personally or professionally, for this New Year. 

While pondering what to write about in this Spirit Spark, I thought about the new region modifications and the corresponding changes that will occur during this New Year.  When thinking about these changes, I just want to point everyone of some excellent information from the 2003 book by Spencer Johnson, The Present: The Secret to Enjoying Your Work and Life, Now!
Johnson wrote:

The Present:
Three ways to use your present moments to enjoy your work and life, now!
Be In The Present
When you want to be happier and more successful
Focus on What is Right Now.
Respond to What is Important Now.

Learn From The Past
When you want to make the present better than the past
Look at What Happened in the Past.
Learn Something Valuable From It.
Do Things Differently In the Present.

Plan For The Future
When you want to make the future better than the present
See What a Wonderful Future Would Look Like.
Make Plans to Make it Happen.
Put Your Plan Into Action In the Present.



New Heritage Tourism web-resources available

New Heritage Tourism web resources are now available from Michigan State University as free resources for broad use in tourism development planning, according to Larry Dickerson, CD specialist based in Boone County. Dickerson—along with Kathy Dothage, HES specialist in Osage County, and Connie Mefford, CD specialist in Benton County—contributed to the development of web-based resources for the project, which is available at

“The focus is on community and regional collaboration and engagement in a process to identify, organize, plan, implement and sustain area tourism with a heritage umbrella that focuses on both sharing and preserving -- in tourism attraction,” says Dickerson.

“These materials are the result of a two-year effort by seven professionals in five states and with the support of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. We would like to identify opportunities to make presentations at conferences and regional meetings around the process and value of heritage tourism development.”

Have ideas? Need help? Willing to partner? Don't hesitate to contact Dickerson at 573-445-9792 or



HES professor’s article appears in Journal of Extension

Ellen Schuster, associate extension HES professor and associate state specialist, has written an article published in the December edition of the Journal of Extension:



New edition of healthy community handbook published

A new publication on creating healthy communities was published in December by University of Alaska-Fairbanks Extension. Three Columbia-based MU Extension CD state specialists contributed to the book: Sharon Gullick, Johanna Reed Adams and Steve Jenetta.

The work is a second edition of a publication Larry Dickerson, CD specialist in Boone County, originally wrote in 2001. Dickerson also served as co-editor/project leader on this edition. CD specialists from Alaska, Iowa and North Carolina also contributed to the book.



Celebrating regional transitions

With the Jan. 1, advent of the new MU Extension regional alignment, at least two former regions (and probably more) recently held local gatherings noting the transition. Staff members of the old West Central Region gathered Dec. 4, at Powell Gardens in Lone Jack for an observance at which they presented gifts (below, left) to Wayne Prewitt, former WC interim director, and Milly Carter, WC administrative assistant. The old Southwest Region gathered for a celebration and group photo on Dec. 18, at the Greene County Extension Center (below, right).

prewitt regional-group



News tip: Know your local media

by Kent Faddis, TV news producer, Cooperative Media Group

Getting University of Missouri Extension into local news media can be an effective way to increase public awareness of our value and service. And typically, local media--especially in smaller towns--want to work in a positive way with community extension specialists in their area.

Your first step is to get to know the media in your area and build relationships. Start by doing your homework. Listen to and watch the news programs and local talk shows in your area. Read the business sections in your local paper. Is there:



Stegall wins UM Alumni Alliance presidential certificate


Sandy Stegall (center), who provides statewide administration support in Columbia, recently received an MU Alumni Alliance presidential certificate from Tim Wolfe (left), UM System president, and Mike Albano (right), chair of the MU Alumni Alliance.



It’s a new year, time for a new password

All MU and UM employees are required to change their University password between now and Feb. 5, according to the University’s IT office.  Why wait?  Get ahead of the deadline by resetting your password now. 

To change your password login to the Division of IT Password Manager. Visit Make IT Safe for password requirements and suggestions on creating a strong password or passphrase.  All employee passwords must be changed by Feb. 5, to avoid an interruption of access to your account and associated services.  It’s a new year, time for a new password!

In a related development ETCS is moving from its current location at the Heinkel Building to 1110 South College Ave., in Columbia the first week of February, according to John Myers, technology and computing services director. Consequently ETCS personnel will have limited access to computers and phones for several days after the move.

“We therefore ask that you not wait until the last week of January to update your password, but do it as soon as possible,” says Myers. “This way, if you do have problems, we can help get them fixed promptly.”



Chancellor’s staff awards nominations due in two weeks

The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2013 Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Awards is Jan. 31.

“Please consider nominating a fellow staff member for the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Awards,” says Julie Middleton, MU Extension director of organizational development. “Note that county secretaries are not eligible, as they are not employed by the University of Missouri. Since there are many other awards for those who are faculty, this one is focused on staff, as it is sponsored by the staff council.”

Visit for additional information or to place a nomination.



IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2013

In accordance with the University’s reimbursement at a mileage rate three cents less than the IRS rate, the University’s mileage reimbursement rate for business miles driven in 2013 will be 53.5 cents per mile, an increase of 1 cent over the University’s 52.5-cent rate in effect during 2012, according to the UM controller’s office.  In addition, effective Jan. 1, the University will reimburse a new rate for moving expenses of 21 cents, an increase of 1 cent over the 20-cent rate in effect during 2012.



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:



Cambio de Colores - Latinos in the Heartland conference to run June 12-14

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) is an annual meeting that brings together researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and community members to discuss the issues that Missouri, the Heartland and other states face as a result of the demographic changes made evident by the 2010 census.  Led by the University of Missouri, Cambio de Colores is a collaborative effort that includes MU Extension, other educational institutions in the Midwest and the South, and governmental and private organizations.

Full call for abstracts available at Deadline for abstracts is Feb. 21.



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:




2-3 p.m.


10-11 a.m.


2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

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

Barbara Beck, nutrition program associate, SW-Family Nutrition Program.

Ashley Devore, nutrition program assistant, SW-Family Nutrition Program.

Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist, SW Region ANR.




Our good wishes go to:


Shelley Bush Rowe and her husband Bill Rowe welcomed their new adopted daughter, Charlotte “Charlie” Taylor Rowe, who was born on Dec. 4.  Shelley is a community development specialist and county program director in Wentzville.





Annette Triplett, state coordinator of Food From The Farm and Early Sprouts, is leaving to serve as executive director of the PedNet Coalition.

Kelli Wilmes, nutrition and health education specialist, Nodaway County, has resigned to take a position with Northwest Missouri State University.




Palma Kay Crass, 4-H specialist, Southeast Region-Youth, effective Jan. 1.




Our sympathy goes out to:

Jenny Flatt, 4-H youth specialist, whose grandmother, Rosemary Flatt, died Dec. 23. Cards may be sent to Jenny at 18 East Thurman, Columbia, MO 65202.

The family of "Clem" Koenig, former extension farm management specialist in Chillicothe, who died Dec. 29.



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.