The Network: A newsletter for champions of MU Extension

The Network — Feb. 17, 2017

A message from Marshall Stewart
Vice chancellor for extension and engagement

MU Extension's Community Conversations are now in full swing across the state. The conversations will collect the thoughts of Missourians on what their communities and regions need to be vibrant and flourishing. It is an ambitious undertaking that will allow not only MU Extension but also other government and private agencies and organization to take the temperature of our state. The findings can be used to direct our intentions in a collective effort to improve the lives of Missourians. Let your voice be heard! Join the conversation in a community near you.

Soon after you read this—Feb. 28—we will gather in Jefferson City at our Capitol to add MU Extension’s voice as a part of the University of Missouri System. For those unfamiliar with our governance, the UM System comprises four campuses: Missouri S&T (Rolla), UMSL (St. Louis), UMKC (Kansas City) and MU (Columbia). MU Extension is based at the flagship MU campus but has locations in all 114 Missouri counties. Being a part of the UM System allows us to save on combined services, take advantage of pooled investment rates, and save on things like group insurance and benefits.

Once a year we collectively converge on the Capitol to represent our system, our universities and our areas. We take the opportunity to demonstrate that the university system is an economic engine in our state, show the impact we have in putting research-based programs to work for our citizens, and to highlight the difference higher education makes, even for those who never graduate from one of our campuses. It is our opportunity to thank the lawmakers who share our vision, and—through our volunteers, network of councils and supporters—to advocate for higher education.

It is no secret that budgets are tight, and a great many worthy causes vie for state, local and federal funding. I won’t lie; the challenges we face are daunting. But we have a responsibility to those we have served for more than 100 years to fulfill our land-grant mission to disseminate the knowledge and the research of the university to all citizens.

Lend your voice. Get involved. Learn about our mission.


News from Extension

Blake Naughton is new associate vice chancellor for extension

Blake Naughton became MU Extension’s new associate vice chancellor for extension and engagement on Feb. 1.

Naughton, who was previously executive director of MU’s Hook Center for Educational Renewal and an associate clinical professor in the College of Education, is in charge of statewide administrative oversight of extension’s day-to-day operations. Responsibilities include leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of research-based programs that address state and national priorities.

Naughton came to MU four years ago with a charge to reinvent the College of Education’s engagement strategy, said MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart. “His work in this area has prepared him to lead extension’s initiatives as our own commitment to outreach and engagement evolves.”

A native of Hannibal, Naughton holds two advanced degrees in education administration and policy: an Ed.M. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Stanford. Before coming to MU in 2012, Naughton was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed an executive doctoral program in higher education management. He has also served as director of quality management education at Northwest Missouri State University and as an education policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C.

He takes over from Mark Stewart, who has served as interim associate vice chancellor since the retirement last year of Beverly Coberly. Stewart is now MU Extension’s director of off-campus operations.

Introducing the 'MU Extension Way'

In this video, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart introduces the “MU Extension Way,” a set of practices and principles being developed that will guide how our organization works and shape our interaction with others to bring satisfaction and earn trust. Over the next few months, these practices and principles will be clarified and refined, starting with program development.

Community Conversations update

A series of more than 20 community conversations across the state is underway, says Mark Stewart, director of off-campus operations.

“We have completed all three events on the Mizzou campus, with 81 in attendance,” he says. “We have completed five out-state events, with 115 attendees. The next big push on the out-state events will begin the end of February.”

MU Extension is inviting a wide variety of community leaders and other stakeholders to find out what they see as the major challenges and issues facing individuals, families, businesses and communities across our state. “These local forums are a way for community members to connect, talk about future challenges and opportunities, and tell us how MU Extension can better serve them,” Stewart says.

Thought-leader panel

MU Extension has also commissioned a panel of out-of-state thought leaders to carry out a third-party review of the organization. In the coming weeks, members of the panel will be reaching out to extension faculty, staff, stakeholders and others.

Members of the panel:

  • Lou Swanson, vice president for engagement and director of extension at Colorado State University.
  • Scott Reed, vice provost of university outreach and engagement and director of extension at Oregon State University.
  • J. Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor for economic development at East Carolina University.
  • Cindy Akers, professor and associate dean for academic and student programs at Texas Tech University.
  • Peter Levine, associate dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University.
  • Jane Schuchardt, retired executive director of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), and former national program leader at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

News for donors

headshot of Cat Comley AdamsCat’s Corner

Cat Comley Adams
Senior director of advancement

As part of the University of Missouri’s Our Time To Lead comprehensive fundraising campaign, we are launching the first-ever Mizzou Giving Day! The event will highlight the funding priorities of each school, college and unit – including MU Extension. For more information about how you can join the excitement of Mizzou Giving Day, contact


Mizzou Giving Day



News for retirees

Warm greetings from University of Missouri Extension

We have a full schedule of spring meetings and hope to see you soon. Please consider this newsletter your VIP invitation to any (or all!) retiree and friends meetings around the state. Of course, you are welcome to invite a guest to join you as well.

Full details of spring meeting will follow in the next newsletter. If you have any questions, please email

Spring 2017 meetings

Please save the date for the spring 2017 meetings. More details to come.

April 13 – Gallatin

April 19 – Nevada

April 20 – Ozark

April 21 – Sedalia

April 27 – Columbia

April 28 – Jackson

News for councils

Legislative Day 2017

This year's Legislative Day is Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The initial registration deadline was Feb. 15, but we are still accepting registrations until Feb. 23. Download this Legislative Day document (DOCX) for details.

Search for East Central RD

Recruitment is underway for a new East Central regional director. Please encourage potential candidates to submit applications by Feb. 21.

Retirement for Karma Metzgar

Please join us in celebrating the retirement of Karma Metzgar, Northwest Regional Director. She will be honored with a reception on Saturday, April 1, 2-4 p.m., at the Remington Nature Center, 1502 McArthur Drive, St. Joseph. A program will be held at 3 p.m. If you are not able to attend, you are welcome to send cards, best wishes and any memories you would like to share in her memory book to

University of Missouri Extension NW Regional Office
c/o Jill Knadler
706 S. Woodbine Road, Suite A
St. Joseph MO 64507

Joe Lear is new RD for Northwest Region

Joe Lear, formerly director of information systems at Kansas State University, rejoined MU Extension as the Northwest Region’s new regional director on Feb. 13.

From 1986 until 2012, Lear worked for MU Extension in a variety of positions, including CPD, ag engineering specialist and, most recently, systems administrator and associate director at ETCS. He has a B.S. and M.S. in agricultural mechanization from MU.


Campus spotlight

Visit MU campus

Tours are available for anyone interested in seeing how the University of Missouri works. Please check out the website and Visitors Guide to better understand the city of Columbia, MU campus, activities, events and everything else that is available.

Chancellor search update

An open forum was held Jan. 26 regarding the search for the next chancellor of the University of Missouri.

The University of Missouri Chancellor Search Committee led the forum, which was open to MU faculty, staff, students, retirees and alumni, as well as the general public. The forum allowed attendees to provide input on the desired characteristics and qualifications for the position, and to hear updates on the search.

More updates and news on the chancellor search will be forthcoming.

New deans at MU

The University of Missouri has numerous new leaders at the helm of many of its schools and colleges on the MU Campus.

Here is a quick look at some of our newest deans and interim deans.

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Marc Linit, interim dean

Trulaske College of Business
Ajay Vinzé, dean

College of Education
Kathryn Chval, dean

College of Engineering
Elizabeth G. Loboa, dean

College of Human Environmental Sciences
J. Sanford Rikoon, interim dean

School of Journalism
David Kurpius, dean

School of Law
Kenneth D. Dean, interim dean

School of Medicine
Patrice "Patrick" Delafontaine, dean

Benson named to NIFA policy workgroup

Jacquelyn Benson, state specialist in gerontology and assistant professor of human development and family studies, has been selected to be among the first members of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences Adult Development and Aging Workgroup.

“This group will help to inform priorities and programs at the federal level for our work with the aging population,” Benson says. “Members of the group include federal staff and gerontologists in various disciplines at land-grant universities throughout the nation. I’m excited about this opportunity to get involved in more policy-related work!”


4-H News

Drone camp creates a buzz for 4-H youth

Drone technology is opening a vast array of career opportunities for today’s youth. MU Extension and the State Technical College of Missouri recently presented a daylong 4-H Drone Discovery Camp for Missouri 4-H’ers.

Call to action

In each issue, Vice Chancellor Marshall Stewart will feature a different, relevant call to action. These are ways you can advocate or get involved that will help extension get the word out or maximize our message to decision-makers.

This month’s call to action: Thanking legislators and local officials for their support

The architecture of political advocacy is changing. It is a topic we will be discussing as we continue to meet with groups across the state. In some ways, this is not your father's political advocacy. Storming elected officials with a show of force has its place in dire times, but it loses its impact when it is a continuous full-court press.

Instead, the current climate calls for at least three things:

  1. Getting a full understanding of the issue at hand and the argument basis.
  2. Looking at the key players and knowing those who influence them and what matters to them.
  3. Assembling the facts, statistics and documentation to make an effective counterargument, or to educate people on aspects of the situation they may be unaware of.

I have seen it work. The missing part of the equation is you. We need you to:

  1. Keep your eyes and ears on your community and let us know about issues.
  2. Feed those issues back through your network to us so we can prepare a counterplan.
  3. Thank those elected officials, at all levels, who represent you when they support the UM System and therefore MU and MU Extension.

– Marshall Stewart


Tuesday, Feb. 21, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 24th Annual Cardiovascular Day

Reynolds Alumni Center, Columns D Ballroom

An opportunity to share information with colleagues, students, the university community, and area physicians about the important cardiovascular research conducted both on campus and in the region.

No cost, but registration is required for the meal
Karol Dinwiddie

The highlight of Cardiovascular Day is the James O. Davis Distinguished Lecture in Cardiovascular Science. Dr. Davis is considered the pioneer in cardiovascular science at MU and is internationally recognized for his research contributions in the areas of congestive heart failure and hypertension.

John P. Cooke, MD, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Houston Methodist Research Institute will be the keynote lecturer. Dr. Cooke’s research focuses on restoration or stimulation of endothelial functions such as vasodilation and angiogenesis, using small molecules or stem cell therapies.


Wednesday, March 8, 3:30 p.m.: Tracy Leskey, research entomologist

Wednesday, March 15, 3:30 p.m.: Hans-Henning Kunz, assistant professor at Washington State University

200 Waters Hall

Tracy Leskey, research entomologist at USDA ARS, presents:

Combating invasive species in agriculture with behaviorally-based management tactics: the story of the brown marmorated stink bug

Hans-Henning Kunz, assistant professor at Washington State University, presents:

The K+/Na+ interplay in Arabidopsis kea1kea2 mutants provides new insights into the importance of cellular and subcellular ion homeostasis


March 8-10 – Show-Me Grape and Wine Conference and Symposium adds new events

Wine tasting, new speakers added to schedule.

The Show-Me Grape and Wine Conference and Symposium will return in March with new topics and events, as well as a tasting of Missouri wines.

The events, which are hosted by the University of Missouri Grape and Wine Institute (GWI), run March 8-10. The second annual Show-Me Grape and Wine Conference will be March 8-9. The sixth annual Show-Me Grape and Wine Symposium follows on March 10.

Both events will take place at the Hampton Inn and Suites near the MU campus.

Registration for the conference and symposium closes March 6. The conference costs $125 for both days. There is a $25 cost for the Missouri wine tasting, which includes hors d’oeuvres. The symposium is free to attend.

“The Show-Me Grape and Wine Conference provides attendees from both the grape-growing and winemaking industries an opportunity to expand their knowledge on topics ranging from oxygen management in the winemaking process to weed management in the vineyard,” said Dean Volenberg, director of the MU Grape and Wine Institute.

The conference will feature numerous speakers, including researchers from Purdue, Cornell, Penn State and Ohio State. There will be three speakers from MU: Volenberg; Misha Kwasniewski, GWI assistant research professor and enology program leader; and Reid Smeda, professor in the Division of Plant Sciences.

“For attendees, the conference offers a range of speakers who have spent much or all of their careers in eastern viticulture or enology,” Volenberg said. “The conference provides an opportunity not just to listen and learn but to interact with both speakers and other attendees. I always learn new things from attendees as we converse on a broad range of topics.”

A new feature of this year’s conference will be a Missouri wine tasting, which will be hosted by the Missouri Grape Growers Association and the Missouri Wine and Grape Board.

“The Missouri wine-tasting event will showcase wonderful Missouri wines,” Volenberg said. “This should be a great social event and provide the opportunity for some great discussions on current topics of viticulture and enology that were presented throughout the first day of the conference.”

The Missouri Wine Technical Group (MWTG) will meet the afternoon of March 9. The MWTG will evaluate both finished and unfinished wines during the afternoon. Commercial winemakers from the region who want to participate should bring wines for this event. All conference attendees are welcome and encouraged to attend.

“The MWTG provides winemakers feedback on their wines in an informal environment that results not only in elevating wine quality but learning about the art and craft of winemaking,” Volenberg said. “At last year’s MWTG event, everyone took away new nuggets of information.”

The symposium will focus on grape and wine research taking place across the state and the surrounding region. The symposium presentations will be around 15 minutes each, highlighting viticulture and enology research in Missouri. There will be a short question-and-answer session after each presentation.

“The GWI collaborates with a number of institutions both within and outside of the University of Missouri,” Volenberg said. “The symposium provides a venue to share research updates. In some instances, attendees may learn of new research being initiated in the grape and wine industries. The goal of the symposium is to share the knowledge being generated, discuss the results, take away new research results and their application, and generate new research ideas that help solve emerging problems. The symposium offers attendees the opportunity for ongoing engagement in the grape and wine industries.”

For more information about the event, contact Volenberg at 573-882-0476 or




Resources for elected officials

The Elected Officials Toolbox launched this month and will be a talking point at the upcoming Legislative Day. It puts information legislators and staff are searching for in one easily searchable place. Features we hope to add include being able to pull successes by legislative districts vs. regions, and providing more impact stories.

Resources for councils and volunteers

The Network, news for people who champion MU Extension, now has three issues under its belt. For issues you have missed you can use this link to see back editions by month.

If there are people on your council who have not been receiving it, there is a good chance it is because they have not given us an email address! Out of 4,200 elected, appointed and delegated council members, we only have around 1,600 designated emails. To stay “in the know,” encourage your council members (state, regional or county) to give their emails to us so that they can receive the newsletter as well as important direct communiques from MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart. We cannot engage you if we do not have your contact information.

For other helpful information please visit the Councils Resource Toolbox.


Please welcome

Amy Dews, office support, statewide-administration.

Janet Long, clinical instructor, Nursing Outreach.

Sonya Johnston, youth program associate, Ralls County, NE Region.

Joe Lear, NW regional director.

Doug Swanson, labor education specialist, St. Louis County, Urban Region.

Billie Wilson, human resource specialist, statewide-administration.

Sarah Wood, nutrition specialist, Buchanan County, NW Region.


Karma Metzgar, NW regional director.

Mary Sheller, human resources associate, statewide-administration.


Jo Britt-Rankin, associate dean and professor at HES Extension, will be awarded the BoHS/CAFCS Emerging Administrator's Award and Excellence in Administration Award. Presentation of this award will be at a March 9 luncheon in Alexandria, Va. Congratulations, Jo!


Ralph Angel's wife, Sandra Angel, passed away Feb. 13. Ralph was a NE regional director.

Ruby Gomez's husband, Juan Luis Gomez, passed away Jan. 13. Judy is a nutrition program associate in the Jackson County-Kansas City, Urban West Region.

Connect with us

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement, Constituent Relations, and the Office of Advancement have teamed up to share news of interest through this e-newsletter, which replaces the printed Friends of Extension newsletter. In this fast-paced world where news happens quickly, an emailed newsletter not only saves resources, it helps us to be timelier in getting information out to you and keeping you up to date. We want to be your Network — and another valuable link to MU Extension.

Is your contact information up to date? Don’t miss another meeting or event. Make sure we have your current mailing and email addresses.

Have other items you’d like to hear about or comments on what you read? Let us know what you’d like to see from us! If that includes retirements, obituaries and personal news, please continue to send them to us and let us know if you have changes to your contact information.

headshot of Linda Runnebaum

Linda Runnebaum
109 Whitten Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

The Network