News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Oct. 27, 2015


In the news

Dates to remember

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month by MU Extension Communications and Marketing. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

Annual enrollment ends Friday

This year’s annual enrollment period for active employees ends Oct. 30. As with last year, you must select and submit your choice of medical plan or waive coverage. If you don't, you and your enrolled family members will be defaulted to the Healthy Savings Plan for 2016 and pay taxes on the premiums. For details, go to

Social media and beetle mania

Asian Lady Beetle

There are a lot of theories about social media success, but one general idea is to latch on to what people are talking about. There are plenty of times when you’re forced to simply guess what’s on people’s minds, but you can take the guesswork out of it by keeping your eyes and ears open to the people around you — in the office, at the grocery store or on your personal social media sites.


Last week, many people’s homes began attracting some unwanted visitors: multicolored Asian lady beetles. Everyone seemed to be talking about “ladybugs” and what to do about them. It was a perfect opportunity to insert extension information into a conversation people were already having. Thursday afternoon, we posted MU Extension publication G7369, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, on our Facebook page with a picture of the infamous insects that many people confuse as ladybugs. With the common confusion, using an image was a key factor to the post’s success. A tweet sent at the same time without an image garnered little attention, but engagement doubled when we posted it again with an image.

As of Monday morning, the Facebook post had quickly become MU Extension’s most popular post ever, with a reach of 14,596, including 222 likes, 122 comments and 139 shares on our page and others. We gained 13 followers and increased our engagement by more than 1,000 percent (that’s not a typo). People tagged friends and family members, shared frustrations and ideas, and posed questions, which were answered by Bruce Barrett, one of the entomologists who authored the publication.

For us, a successful social media post is exciting by itself, but in this case, its greatest impact is the support it gives to our website content. During those four days, the page views on the G7369 publication page increased 787 percent from the page views throughout the entire previous year. In October 2014, the publication PDF had 418 downloads. As of Oct. 26, downloads of the publication for October 2015 increased to 5,758, including 2,134 downloads the day of the post.

Social media success will always be based on trial and error. We’ve jumped on other topics we were sure people would pick up on, and they’ve fallen flat many times. Keep listening and putting stuff out there because the next topic you share might be your biggest success yet.


MU Extension program aims to strengthen Missouri families

David Schramm photo

MU Extension family specialist David Schramm heads the Show Me Healthy Families and Relationships project, which he hopes will strengthen families of 2,000 low-income Missouri residents in 21 counties over the next five years.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $9.6 million for MU Extension specialists and four graduate students to work with partner agencies. The grant is the largest ever awarded to the Department of Human Development and Family Science at MU.

Read more.


T&E tips for travels to the MU Extension Summit

From the Extension Fiscal Administrative Management Team

With the MU Extension Summit this week, here are some T&E tips (PDF file) to speed up the travel reimbursement approval process. Please keep in mind that many expense reports are being submitted in a short time frame, so the fiscal office will be working on the approvals as quickly as possible. If you need assistance with your expense report, please work with your department or region’s fiscal contact. Thanks!


2016 Wellness Incentive kicks off Nov. 1

From UM System myTotal Rewards

The university’s Wellness Incentive starts Nov. 1 for all eligible faculty and staff. From November 2015 through September 2016, you can earn up to $450 in your paycheck for taking steps to improve your health.

The 2016 Wellness Incentive has two tiers:

  • Tier 1: Educate yourself – Complete Tier 1 by April 30, 2016, to earn $100 in May.
  • Tier 2: Invest in yourself – Complete Tier 2 by Sept. 30, 2016, to earn an additional $350 in October 2016.

Educate yourself to discover ways you could improve your health. Then invest in yourself by participating in Tier 2 activities that help you reach your goals. You don’t have to complete Tier 1 to get started on Tier 2, but you have to finish Tier 1 by April 30 to earn your Tier 2 money. We’ve included lots of different activities to help you define what wellness means to you and promote a culture of health. Check out for more information.


Free flu shots for eligible MU employees, dependents and retirees

From UM System myTotal Rewards

The flu season is coming, and Healthy for Life, the wellness program for university faculty and staff, is offering flu shots to keep our community healthy. Flu shots are covered 100 percent for MU Extension faculty, staff, dependents (12 years and older, accompanied by an adult) and retirees enrolled in a University of Missouri medical plan. Make sure to bring your insurance card with you. If you are not enrolled in a UM medical plan, flu shots are $20.

Find a clinic near you, download the consent form and get more details at

Eligible employees can earn 50 points towards Tier 2 of the Wellness Incentive for getting a flu shot. The 2016 Wellness Incentive rewards you with up to $450 for taking steps toward a healthier life. Visit for details.

Have questions? Contact the HR Service Center at 573-882-2146 or


New location for Ozark County office

MU Extension in Ozark County has a new home: 526 Third St., Gainesville. The mailing address remains the same: P.O. Box 187, Gainesville, MO 65655.


Diversity highlight

As part of an initiative to encourage understanding of diversity throughout the university community, the MU Extension Insider will regularly call attention to religious holidays that individuals in communities may be observing in the coming weeks:

Oct. 31: Samhain (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid) is one of the four “greater sabbats” and considered by some to be the Wiccan New Year.

Nov. 11: Diwali (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain), the Hindu festival of lights, is an extremely popular holiday for multiple religions throughout Southern Asia. Diwali extends over five days and celebrates the victory of good over evil.

Nov. 12: Birth of Bahá'u'lláh (Baha’i) celebrates the birthday of Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), one of the Baha’i faith’s most important figures.

Dec. 6-14: Hanukkah/Chanukah (Jewish), the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown and lasts for eight days, commemorating the Jewish struggle for religious freedom.

For more information, go to


Insider reader contest

Angela FreemyerThe winner of last issue’s contest, Angela Freemyer of the MU Conference Office, received a Port Authority black cardigan.

Those who complete this issue’s puzzle will have a chance to win a men’s or women’s Port Authority black waterproof jacket with fleece lining and two-color embroidered logo. The weather has been all over the place this fall, but we’re sure it will make a valuable addition to your wardrobe.

Read this issue, fill out a crossword puzzle with questions based on this issue, and submit the completed crossword for your chance to win MU Extension apparel.

Picture of Extension Jackets


Dates to remember

Fee-generation workshops

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 alternative date.

Nov. 18 10-11 a.m.
Dec. 17 2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Oct. 27-29: 2015 Extension Summit.

Oct. 30: Last day of annual enrollment.

Nov. 4-5: HRS Training Conference, Memorial Union, MU campus.

Nov. 6-7: Pearls of Production: Women in Agriculture, Animal Sciences Research Center, MU campus.

June 8-10, 2016: Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors): Latinos in the Heartland, 15th annual conference, Columbia.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Chandra Beaver, nutrition program associate, Monroe County, NE Region.

Bobbi Pierce, office support, SE Region Nutrition Program.

Abisiola Ola-Ajose, youth intern, Urban Region.



Linda Rellergert, extension professional/nutrition specialist/co-CPD, St. Charles County, Urban Region.

Wayne Crook, agronomy specialist/CPD, Chariton County, NE Region.


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