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Extension e-news is the official news source for Extension faculty and staff. It is published twice a month on the first and third Thursdays.

Dear Colleagues,

Last fall, the University conducted an employee engagement survey. Overall, 57 percent of University faculty and staff participated; Extension's response rate was 76 percent!

The survey measured drivers of engagement based on two key outcomes: commitment & dedication, which relates to individual motivation; and effective environment, which captures factors within a work group that support success. The University plans to conduct the survey annually.

Colleges and units are now reviewing the results of the survey to identify specific actions that will continue to create a workplace in which people thrive. Extension leadership recently reviewed our results. Two areas that emerged as opportunities for action were new employee orientation and working across program areas. Both of these are issues we have put additional resources into in the last few years and we look forward to continuing to identify actions that will support new employees and cross-discipline programming. You will hear more about these action plans in the coming months.

In addition, we will be sharing Extension's results and engaging employees in discussions to identify individual and collective actions in the following ways:

  • I will host an employee webinar to share the Extension-wide results
  • I will review the results with Extension's Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC) and Staff Consultative Committees (ESCC)
  • A breakdown of results by units will be shared by the leaders of the four Extension centers, RSDP, field operations and the dean's office

Thank you for your participation in the survey. I look forward to using the results to continue to guide our investment in making Extension a vital and engaged workplace.

Bev Durgan

The 2015 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 16, 2014 and will appear on paychecks received on July 9.

Faculty and P&A
The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by center associate deans and administrative unit directors who will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process. This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process. Promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

Civil service
Extension civil service employees are not currently in a merit system, so the increase for this group is distributed across the board at 2.5 percent. Next year, this group of employees will be in a merit system.

Bargaining unit
AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information is available in these respective contracts. Each unit typically negotiates a slightly different salary increase agreement.

For more information, visit the 2015 fiscal year compensation plan website, or contactDeb Page with questions.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Can you show a movie in class? Can you distribute copies of a newspaper article? What are you allowed to post on your Moodle site, anyway? What about your students' or participants' work and online postings? This workshop, "Copyright in the Classroom (and online)," held on April 21 from 1 to 3 p.m., will provide answers to these questions. Learn how the U of M Libraries can help you with electronic reserves and links to subscription materials.

This session meets online via UMConnect. Special preference is given to registrants from University campuses and offices outside of the Twin Cities.

Kristen Mastel
Outreach & Instruction Librarian

Due to changes to the University's Symantec AntiVirus contract, Extension Technology will be installing new antivirus software, EndPoint Protection, on all computers managed by Extension. This installation will be automatic and unobtrusive, and will push to computers between May 5 and May 30. After installation, you will have a new icon at the bottom of your screen:  

Users who will not be logged in to the University network (i.e. Active Directory) between May 5-30 will need to contact Extension IT to make special arrangements for installing the new software. For questions, please contact the Extension Tech Service Desk at

Billie Wilson
IT System Administrator

Do your email banners tend to look a little fuzzy when you insert them into a mass email software? Some users have experienced this issue when uploading banner files to Constant Contact, an online email marketing tool available to Extension program teams. If this is happening to you, chances are you need to use a different file type for the image. If you are currently using a .jpg file, switch to using a .gif version (and vice versa).  

Both of these file types, along with information about how to access Extension's Constant Contact account, guidance on how to create electronic newsletters and requirements for mass email can be found on the Email Banners section of the intranet.

For questions, contact your center communications manager or send an email to

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Kristen Mastel, outreach & instruction librarian, will present the May Extension webinar "Exploring Interdisciplinary Research Resources" on May 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. Learn the differences between Google Scholar, MNCAT Discovery, Web of Science, and Scopus and how each of these resources offers unique ways to retrieve and analyze academic research. Explore their broad subject coverage to do effective interdisciplinary research. Pre-registration through ULearn is required.

As always, the webinar recordings for these sessions will be available on the professional development section of the Extension intranet after the session date. The most recent webinars include "What to expect when writing promotion narratives" (March 27), "Advancing access for everyone: Introduction to disability and disability service" (April 10), and Facilitating Educational Discussions and Group Meetings Part I & Part II (April 2 & 9).

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

Email phishing scam threat

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The University is responding to the global "Heartbleed Bug," a serious vulnerability affecting information protected under normal conditions. There is an increase in phishing scams based on this event; therefore, it is recommended that you do not click on links in notification emails that advise you to change your password. To change a password, directly type the URL or use a bookmark you've previously saved. For more information, see Phishing scams targeting the U.

Published in University Brief
April 16, 2014 issue

The Center for Community Vitality is a collaborating partner for the 2014 Center for Small Towns Symposium, held June 4-5 at the U of M Morris. This event has a long tradition of helping rural Minnesota consider its opportunities and issues. The focus this year is "Understanding rural migration: Myths, trends and opportunities." Speakers will present research that unpacks migration trends, flows, and economic impacts, and will also explore practical strategies to recruitment and retention of residents in rural Minnesota.

Ben Winchester, Extension research fellow, is the symposium's keynote speaker, presenting his research about rural Minnesota migration. Ben's research goes beyond the overall trends, examining specific data that, for example, monitored the trend of 30-49 year olds moving into rural places.  

Extension faculty and staff, partners, stakeholders and others who are concerned about the future of rural Minnesota are invited to attend. For more information and to register,visit the event website.

Joyce Hoelting
Assistant Director, Center for Community Vitality

In celebration of National Tourism Week, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center is hosting a poster session and light lunch on Wednesday, May 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the St. Paul Campus Student Center, Minnesota Commons Room. We invite you to join us to see the depth and breadth of the tourism resources at the University. All Extension faculty and staff are welcome to attend the event. Please RSVP to Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen at by April 30.

Ingrid Schneider
Tourism Center Director

Karen Oberhauser, professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Extension specialist, received a 2014 Wings Across the Americas Conservation Award in the communities in conservation category. For more than 20 years, Karen and the graduate students and staff members at the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab have served to link academic research with community outreach programs associated with monarch conservation. The migration is being threatened by habitat loss throughout the butterfly's range.
New employees

Joshua Stamper started as the new Extension irrigation specialist on March 26. This is a 100-percent Extension position and is joint with the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. Joshua received his M.S. in agronomy/soils from Kansas State University in 2009 and has been working at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture since 2011 as the state nutrient best management practices technical coordinator.

Carl Rosen
Department Head, Soil, Water and Climate

Diane Greiwe, volunteer center coordinator, Master Gardener program, Landscape Arboretum, 4/7/2014

Ashleigh Omlid, administrative assistant, Mahnomen County, 3/26/2014

Annette Graves, principal office & administrative specialist, Extension Regional Office, Moorhead, 3/10/2014

Departing Employees

Clint Schoeck, CFANS Extension accountant, left his position on April 11 to fill the accountant position in the College of Science & Engineering (School of Mathematics) on the East Bank. Clint came to Extension from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and has served as the CFANS Extension accountant since March 2012. Clint has been a great asset to Extension Finance & Planning and CFANS Extension teams and will be greatly missed. We wish him well in his new position and thank him for his contributions these past two years.

Rick Konkol
Finance Manager

Dean's Column (April 3, 2014)

Untitled Document

Dear Colleagues,

Next week, I will join our government relations staff in hosting U of M Extension staff and association delegates at the annual Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD)conference in Washington, D.C. This national conference provides two days of intensive public issues education and professional development before Extension staff meet with Minnesota's federal senators, representatives and their staff.

During the conference, Extension faculty and educators learn about the current legislative session, budgets, policy issues and how to build relationships with federal legislators and their staff.

Several U of M Extension educators will attend the conference and are scheduled to visit the offices of Senators Klobuchar and Franken and Representatives John Kline, Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz to advocate for Extension and tell their stories about how Extension is addressing current issues and challenges in their Minnesota districts.

The U of M Extension delegates include Ellie McCann, family development educator, ESP; Neil Linscheid, community economics educator, MACLEP; Dave Nicolai, crops educator, MAEAP; Amanda Sommers, youth development educator, MAE4-HYDP; Katherine Brandt, food safety educator, NEAFCS; Kathy Olson, family development educator, NEAFCS president; Barb Radke, leadership and civic engagement educator and PILD presenter; Sarah Greening, chief of staff; and Gwen Gmeinder, government relations associate.   

It is important for our federal legislators to understand the value of Extension. Visiting with them in Washington has a positive impact on their awareness of our programs and resources. This year we have the added benefit of four 4-H Minnesota youth joining our visits to "the hill."

My thanks to the staff who are investing in this professional development opportunity and building active support for Extension.

Bev Durgan

To maintain eligibility as a principal investigator (PI) at the University of Minnesota, PIs must complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) continuing education. The following workshops satisfy RCR continuing education awareness/discussion requirements.  

  • Know your rights: Copyright essentials for authors and creators
    Friday, April 11, 10 a.m. - noon. Online-only interactive session
    In this session, authors and creators learn more about their rights in their creations, and how to manage those rights to achieve their goals. Primarily intended for faculty, researchers, and graduate students engaged in the scholarly writing and publishing process.

  • Can I use that? Dealing with copyright in everyday life
    Wednesday, April 30, 10 a.m. - noon. Online-only interactive session
    Learn about options for using materials created by others--in writing, presentations, remix videos and beyond. Primarily intended for faculty, researchers, and graduate students engaged in the scholarly writing and publishing process.

All Extension faculty, educators and others who are interested in applying for grants are required to complete the University's eligibility process. For more information about PI eligibility, visit the Grants section on the Extension intranet.

Kristen Mastel
Outreach & Instruction Librarian
Dianne Sivald
Grants Manager

The Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) provides leadership on issues of concern to civil service and bargaining unit staff. The committee works in cooperation with Extension Dean Bev Durgan. We are currently looking for new members to be on the committee.

All Extension employees in the following groups are eligible: campus and regional civil service/bargaining unit, nutrition educators, 4-H program coordinators, Master Gardener coordinators, community program specialists and assistants, and county and regional support staff. You may nominate a yourself or someone else. Voting will be held at our May monthly meeting and new members will start in September.

To find out more about the ESCC committee visit the ESCC section on the Extension intranet.

Megan Thorson
4-H Program Coordinator, and
ESCC Committee Chair

April is the national "Month of the Military Child," a time to honor youth impacted by deployment. Extension 4-H and Operation: Military Kids invite you to "Purple Up! For Military Kids!" We encourage everyone to wear purple on the third annual national event Tuesday, April 15 to show support and thank military children across the country and in Minnesota for their strength and sacrifices. Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.

Extension 4-H delivers Operation: Military Kids programs to help youth discover positive ways to cope with their loved ones' deployment, and feel connected, active and supported.

Amber Greeley
Extension 4-H and Operation: Military Kids Program Specialist

As part of the Extension Cultural Agility webinar series, Anne Phibbs, director of education, Office of Equity and Diversity and Susan Aase, associate to the director, Disability Services, will present the webinar, Advancing access for everyone: Introduction to disability and disability service on April 10, 1-2 p.m. These experts join Extension for a second month to offer participants insight into what disability is, how to recognize visible and invisible disabilities, and how to address barriers and advocate for solutions so all individuals have equal access to a healthy and inclusive work environment.

Join your Extension colleagues from across Minnesota for a vibrant and engaging discussion. Registration is required.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

One Health in the 'real world' takes people, time, commitment and collaborations. This year's One Health Partnerships workshop, held on April 30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Minneapolis, will explore One Health from concept through everyday realities on the ground.

The workshop begins with a plenary session addressing what One Health is and the actors who make the One Health system work, followed by an onā€site panel discussion at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to address animal-human interactions in public settings (highlighting recent outbreak of H1N2v swine influenza that caused influenza in humans in 2012). The workshop will end in an interactive learning room where participants will delve into the realities of how One Health works in the 'real word' and how we can build on this with synthesis of insights and improving One Health partnerships. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to carry these insights forward in a published synthesis document that can be used to inform stakeholders who bring One Health to the realities of disease.

Register today for this one-day workshop as a single event, or as part of the larger International Conference on One Medicine, One Science (iCOMOS) conference.

Kris Junker
Center for Animal Health and Food Safety
Ahmad Al-Warraky began his new role in Extension as an accountant in the finance & planning department on the St. Paul campus on Monday, March 24. Ahmad has been with the University of Minnesota since 2007, working in central accounting services where he has served as a project accountant and capital asset accountant. Ahmad will take on the accountant roles previously held by Sunni Dunn for the following units: dean's office, communications & public relations, program administration, government relations, and finance & planning.

Rick Konkol
Finance Manager