News for employees

MU Extension Insider
March 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

Feb.-March temperatures more lamb than lion

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, or that we've had a warm winter, but MU Extension state climatologist Pat Guinan explains what severe storms and mild temperatures might portend for plants and people as we move into spring. Debbie Johnson reports.


Americans eating less meat

Beef. It's not what's for dinner—or at least not as often as it used to be. U.S. consumers are buying less meat and poultry to trim their food budgets. MU Extension economist Ron Plain explains why meat prices are rising while nutrition specialist Tammy Roberts talks about the upside of falling meat consumption.

With video from Kent Faddis, an audio story from Debbie Johnson and a news release written by Roger Meissen, you can have the story your way.


Sen. Blunt receives CARET award

From left, Sandy Stegall, MU Extension coordinator of constituent communications; Thomas Brown, farmer and volunteer spokesperson for Lincoln University; Michael Ouart, MU vice provost and director of extension; Sen. Roy Blunt; Steve Meredith, dean, Lincoln University College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences; and Beverly Coberly, MU Extension associate vice provost for programs.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt received the Congressional Champions’ Award from the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) on Feb. 29 in Washington, DC.  Michael Ouart, MU vice provost and director of extension, presented the award during Blunt’s weekly “Missouri Mornings,” a time devoted to meeting with Missouri constituents visiting on the Hill.

The Congressional Champions’ Award is presented to individuals who demonstrate steadfast commitment to the agricultural programs of the nation’s land-grant universities.  Blunt has supported the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension throughout his career.

Those attending the CARET meeting and making visits to federal legislators were Ouart; Steve Meredith, dean, Lincoln University College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences; Beverly Coberly, MU Extension associate vice provost for programs; Sandy Stegall, MU Extension coordinator of constituent communications; and Tom Brown, farmer and volunteer spokesperson for Lincoln University.


Strategic plan approved

After several months of soliciting input from faculty, staff and council members, the MU Extension strategic plan has been approved.

The intent of this plan is to identify the overarching strategic goals that unite MU Extension as an entity and provide the framework to identify specific priority actions that will drive successful outcomes for the future. Please keep in mind that at this level the plan is not intended to voice all the specific high-priority activities, but to create a framework for annual work plans.

The MU Extension leadership—regional, program and continuing education directors; extension leaders at Missouri S&T, UMSL and UMKC; support operation leaders; and cabinet—are developing action steps to make the strategic plan a living document. The action steps will be shared with workgroups as they are developed.


Demonstrating public value

MU Extension faculty are often called upon to provide evidence of their programs’ value to program participants, including such factors as time saved, dollars earned, jobs created or health benefits increased. But MU Extension also creates public value when programs benefit others in the community who do not participate in our programs directly, notes Vivian J. Mason, family financial education specialist, Cole County, and member of the Public Value Self-Directed Work Team (PV SDWT)

Fiscal pressures on federal, state and county governments make demonstrating public value increasingly urgent. "By understanding and substantiating the public benefits our programs provide, we can be confident that MU Extension, as a publicly funded organization, is doing what it is truly meant to do," Mason said.

The PV team has been focusing on developing public value statements and training faculty how to create public value statements for use in annual reports and with stakeholders. Here is an example of a public value statement on financial education:

When you support MU Extension's Family Financial Education Programs, participants spend and borrow responsibly, save more and gain control over their financial health. These behaviors benefit other community members by reducing predatory lending and reliance on public assistance programs, reducing theft and lowering banking fees.

"We are currently operating with a $20,000 grant for public value work and $3,000 in cost dollars," Mason said. "Each region was allocated $2,000 to develop regional public value statements," Mason said. The statements will be used at regional program showcase meetings and during the Legislative Day.

The PV SDWT is always looking for new members. If you would like to share your talents and/or expertise with this group, the PV team would welcome your input. Please contact Karma Metzgar, Cynthia Crawford or any of the PV team members for more information.


Congratulations to Gasen, Hodge, Berry, Neal, Mayfield and Majee

Kay Gasen, urban program leader specialist, Continuing Education and Outreach, was a recipient of a 2012 University of Missouri-St. Louis Women’s Trailblazer Award on March 7.

Sandra Hodge, extension associate professor, has been designated an Extension Associate Professor Emerita. This title honors her contributions during her tenure at the university. She will be recognized at a luncheon with MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and other new emeriti awardees this spring.

The Alpha Tau Chapter of ESP has been awarded $1,000 for professional development. Meridith Berry, NW associate extension professional and chair of the chapter's professional improvement committee, submitted the proposal on “Marketing Extension with Social Media” and received the good news. Her committee will be looking into the implementation stages now.

Connie Neal, NW housing and environmental design specialist, will add Grundy County Program Director to her title on April 1. She succeeds horticulture specialist and outgoing CPD Tim Baker, who will continue as Connie's mentor and coach during the transition.

Jennifer Mayfield, nutrition and health specialist, will assume the CPD role in Scotland County effective April 1.  Darla Campbell, agribusiness specialist, has been the interim CPD.  Darla will continue to be the CPD in Schuyler County.

Congratulations to Wilson Majee, community development specialist and Mercer County CPD, on being approved for permanent U.S. residency.


A virtual room of one's own

Steve Giesel, ETCS user support analyst, has news about expanded permissions in Adobe Connect:

Many of you are making good use of Adobe Connect, often on an almost weekly basis. ETCS is gratified to see your continued acceptance and use of this technology in our challenging financial environment.  By now some of our most frequent users will have received information from Sharon King regarding a separate meeting room in Adobe Connect.  We acquired additional licenses to make it easier for our frequent users to set and conduct meetings.

One benefit of managing your own room is the ability to quickly set up an ad hoc meeting without having to ask permission from ETCS.  Another is the ability to manage your own recordings, although you will still need to download/record a “recorded” meeting to your computer and publish it in a Web-ready format.  If that’s not possible, I can still handle that detail for you.

However, the enhanced access is extensive and leaves you with the possibility of accidentally stepping on each other’s toes.  It might be embarrassing if you accidentally deleted someone else’s meeting. 

Within the next week or two I will be contacting those of you we’ve granted a separate room and setting up training so you can more easily and efficiently manage your room. 

We at ETCS are always in a quandary about how to better serve our constituents.  We are never completely certain if our Inner Circuits efforts are reaching enough of you.  Thus, I will begin including companion articles in the Insider that provide an informational piece, and a promotion of Inner Circuits for more up-to-date information about technology in Extension.

You may see the latest Inner Circuits post any time at

You can also set 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.


NFU presents Hendrickson a meritorious service award

Mary Hendrickson, MU Extension rural sociologist, received a meritorious service award from the National Farmers Union on March 7 at the organization's 110th anniversary convention in La Vista, Neb. The award, the highest given by NFU, recognizes contributions to “agriculture, humanity and Farmers Union.”

“Dr. Hendrickson’s research has formed the basis for a number of Farmers Union policies. She has brought to light some of the challenges our members face,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

Also receiving a merit award was Howard G. Buffett, a farmer, philanthropist and son of legendary investor Warren Buffett. Howard Buffett was in the national news recently when he challenged NFU to raise $50,000 for Feeding America, a national nonprofit network of food banks and other hunger-relief organizations. He matched that donation.

People are recognized by the awards they receive and the company they keep. Mary hit a double.


Help journalists report the Extension Story

Communications tip from Duane Dailey

Working journalists writing a story on deadline need your quickest response when they call. When they leave a message, give a quick call back. If they left a topic, that gives you a few minutes to collect your thoughts—and maybe open a reference. Don’t delay calling to do in-depth research.

A daily newspaper reporter likely faces an 11 a.m. deadline for the evening paper. Here’s your chance to build goodwill and stay on the reporter's source list. Radio reporters may have shorter deadlines, aiming for top of the hour.

Deadlines for media outlets are much different from deadlines for scientific journals, which are months ahead. For most reporters, you have a small window of time to be helpful.

If you can’t help, return the call and say so. Or ask for a reasonable time to call back. Your response keeps you on the reporter’s call list. You want that.

Building a long-term relationship will be beneficial for you in extending knowledge from the university. Cultivate the connection. Don’t blow it off.

Reporters can save you from writing a story. You should welcome help in spreading the MU Extension story. That’s called media relations, but it’s also common courtesy.


Upcoming events

Legislative Day ISE

The annual UM Alumni Alliance Legislative Day will be held on Tuesday, April 3, in Jefferson City. Everyone may register online.

This fall, all seats in the Missouri House and half in the Senate are up for election. About 34 seats will turn over due to term limits. This turnover offers an excellent opportunity to educate candidates about the public and private value MU Extension provides for citizens while also providing local citizens an opportunity to learn about the candidates and the issues through candidate forums.

The Legislative Day ISE for MU Extension faculty will focus on how to conduct candidate forums. A panel of those with experience in conducting candidate forums will lead the ISE discussion. Faculty may sign up for the ISE by registering for Legislative Day at Box lunches will be provided for registered participants.


Integrating "clickers" into programming ISE series

clicker“Clickers,” or student response systems, are a way to engage learners and keep track of their knowledge, practices and attitudes while teaching. They also can be beneficial in planning and problem solving. This method also allows all participants to have a voice when polling, which may or may not happen when asking for a show of hands.  The other advantage is instant results as you adapt to your audiences’ engagement with your program.

"Integrating 'Clickers' into Extension Programming" is a multi-session ISE series that includes an introduction, self-learning, integrating the student response system into an existing presentation, and sharing with your colleagues in a user-group format. The ISE will provide an opportunity to learn the power of the TurningPoint software to use with the clickers and export the results, and explore multiple methods for learner engagement.

The dates planned for this multi-session series include:

The ISE is open to MU Extension faculty and staff. For more information, view the description in the WebApps ISE module and sign up.

Coordinating this ISE are regional directors Wayne Prewitt and Karma Metzgar.


Colleague Connection webinars begin March 27

Please join the Team Spirit Self-Directed Work Team in “Colleague Connection,” a lively series of discussions on research, trade books, personal experience or "trade secrets" and the application of these to extension programs. The quarterly webinars will use Adobe Connect.

The first Colleague Connection, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 27, will focus on balancing work and personal time. Registration is via the ISE system. Office support staff, program assistants/associates, regional and state faculty and other extension employees are encouraged to participate.

Jenny (Flatt) Norell, Janet LaFon and Julie Middleton will facilitate the webinars.


Council annual program review process for 2012

The annual program review (APR) process for council in 2012 is progressing quickly, according to Mark Stewart, interim CM regional director, and Mary Leuci, community development program director. CPDs and facilitators should plan to participate in one of three ISE opportunities to understand the changes in the process for this year. ISE 280 is available for registration in WebApps now. The dates for the Adobe Connect webinars are:

An advisory committee of CPDs and facilitators helped shape this year’s process. The committee suggested that the annual effort needs to be fresh and continually changing to engage participants and address current program issues. The diagram depicting the entire planning and reporting cycle has been updated.

Several key changes in the APR process this year include:

“All three trainings will be recorded,” Stewart said.  “However, live participation is highly encouraged to learn about changes in the APR process this year.”


Other dates to remember

May 12: The 11th annual 4-H Day with the St. Louis Cardinals. Ticket orders must be postmarked by April 2.

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

Please welcome

Katie Stice, bookkeeper/secretary, Crawford County.

Amelia LaMair, 4-H youth development program assistant, Howell County.

Stefanie Crupe, administrative assistant, Human Environmental Sciences Extension.

Sandra Layton, office support staff II, SE Family Nutrition Program.



Julia Casteel, CM nutrition program assistant.

Mary Studer Logsdon, CM office support staff II, Family Nutrition Program.


Thinking of you

The husband Tammy Roberts, WC nutrition specialist, was diagnosed last fall with T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma and recently underwent a bone marrow transplant at the Lied Transplant Center in Omaha, Neb.  Tammy will be on extended leave to care for Steve.  Words of encouragement can be mailed to  Steve and Tammy Roberts, Homewood Suites, 1314 Cuming St., Omaha, NE 68102.


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.