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July 31, 2009

Fall Conference--let the huge amounts of planning begin!

So we have sealed the deal with the Crowne Plaza in St. Paul! It seems like a nice hotel and the saleswoman offered me anything we wanted from the snack bar (I chose lemonade--didn't want to seem greedy with a extra grande mocha frappucino), so I'm pretty much a fan for life. Also, it was Al Franken's venue of choice. If it's good enough for Al.... right?

We are hammering out the mini-tours and concurrent sessions. The survey we just did asking your opinions on these items was helpful. Except I did have to laugh when I first prepared the results and the average for EVERYTHING was "May or May not attend." You guys don't like to commit, I take it. Or maybe it was the options given. As one commenter said:

"Anything more interesting than fees, grantwriting, reporting and evaluation would be great. These are the four worst/most boring aspects of our jobs. Could there be any sessions that deal with some of the positive aspects of our work?"

That is such an excellent point. I wonder how many educators/faculty share this point of view? Probably lots! We need to do our very best to make this conference positive and energizing, and not drudgery. Any ideas how best this can be accomplished? Specifically?

Thanks!

July 22, 2009

Workforce Investment Act

Last month Mike and I went to a meeting with Amanda Rondeau and Bob Rubinyi to discuss the Workforce Investment Act (or "WIA"). I had never heard of this and maybe you haven't either. It is a program where people can obtain tuition vouchers as part of a federal act to improve the workforce. Here's a page that explains it better than me: http://iseek.org/education/wia.html

WIA could be important to Extension because the U has recently been approved to be able to accept these tuition vouchers on eligible programs. Each program must apply individually, though, to be accepted as WIA Certified. The U would like all these applications to originate and funnel through Amanda. As you can read from the page above, the best candidates for acceptance as WIA Certified are programs that end in some type of certificate or licensure.

I am really unsure what this means for Extension programs. Is it a huge opportunity? Or a lot of unnecessary paperwork? What do you think? Any takers?

July 9, 2009

Fall Conference

The PRU is busy helping out with Fall Program Conference planning. We've been to a few hotels and I think we are going to sign the contract with the Crowne Plaza in St. Paul. It is a very nice looking hotel and the staff is great to work with. The only bad part so far is that my rockin' minivan won't fit in the parking ramp! I wonder if that means I can valet? I hope so!

The planning committee is listed below. If you have any suggestions for the conference this year, please pass them along to someone on the committee!

  • Mike Schmitt (chair)
  • Holli Arp
  • Amy Baker
  • Sarah Bjorkman
  • Greg Cuomo
  • Kia Harries
  • Krishona Martinson
  • Karen Matthes
  • Cynthia Messer
  • Karen Shirer
  • Karen Terry
  • Shelly Tschida
  • Aimee Viniard-Weideman

What would be the best use of your time at Fall Conference?