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Extension e-news

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.

Extension educators in family resource management, Sara CroymansLori Hendrickson, and Becky Hagen Jokela recently received an honorable mention for the2014 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards (category: Survivor Empowerment and Integration) for their work in helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The Extension Business Retention and Expansion Team Menahga, comprised of Extension community economics educators Adeel Ahmed and Ryan Pesch, economic impact analyst Brigid TuckMaxine Norman, and Extension community economics specialist Michael Darger, along with community partners, won the "Outstanding Single Community with a Population under 20,000" Business Retention and Expansion International Award of Excellence.

Cathy Jordan, Extension specialist and associate professor of pediatrics, will be inducted as an inaugural fellow into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship, a new society that is modeled on the national academies idea. This honorific designation involves a life-long organizational commitment to be a thought leader and to promote the advancement of community-engaged scholarship.

Mohamed Khan, sugarbeet specialist for both the U of M and NDSU, has received the Excellence in Extension Award from the American Phytopathological Society. The award recognizes individuals who have made contributions to Extension plant pathology programs and have shown significant leadership in the field.

Sally Noll, Extension poultry specialist and professor in the Department of Animal Science, has been named a fellow of the Poultry Science Association for her lifetime of contributions to the field of poultry science. The fellow title is the highest honor awarded for professional distinction and contributions to the field by the Poultry Science Association.

Bob CravenKevin Klair and Dale Nordquist, Extension economist and farm financial management program leader, and Jeff Reisdorfer of the Center for Farm Financial Management were awarded the Extension Outstanding Electronic Media Education Award for AgPlan at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. More than 35,000 business plans have been developed using AgPlan.

Dean's Column (September 4, 2014)

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Dear colleagues,

It is important that Extension take time each year to honor our outstanding employees. Extension's awards are an important way to acknowledge the high-quality staff and impactful programs happening throughout the year.

Once again, Extension will be honoring employees with the Distinguished Dean's Awards this fall during the October program conference. These awards include: Field-based Faculty Award, Campus-based Faculty Award, Diversity and Inclusion Award, Team Award, and Outstanding Leadership Award. In addition to the recognition and plaques, individual award winners will receive a $1,500 stipend; teams will receive a $1,500 stipend for the program budget.

I am asking program leaders, associate deans and department heads to submit the nominations for these awards, and I would like to encourage all employees to take a moment to review the award information and guidelines and share your nomination ideas with the relevant program leader, department head or associate dean. The nomination deadline is September 15.

Please note that there is a new online nomination submission process. If you have any questions about the new online feature, contact Shelly Tschida.

I look forward to seeing this year's nominations and announcing the winners at the fall program conference.

Bev Durgan

The hiring process for student employees has changed. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) Student Employment Program is no longer verifying student status and work study fund availability. Yet, this is still something that needs to be done for compliance and budgetary reasons.

Neither Extension HR nor the hiring supervisors have automated access to this information--the only way to find out is to ask the student. Getting this info will require some added steps for the student employee and different steps for the hiring supervisor (or designee) and for Extension HR.

As before, supervisors will have a conversation with the student about using the student's work study financial aid dollars. The difference is that supervisors will now need to alert students that we will need screenshots of their financial aid status (if work study dollars are being used) and of their class schedule to verify student status. These screenshots replace the information that was previously provided on the OHR Student Employment quick hire form.

Extension HR asks that these screenshots be submitted along with the other payroll paper documents that are required to be able to start working. The supervisor is still responsible for ensuring all paperwork is in to Extension HR before the first day of employment.

Read the complete student hiring process on the Extension intranet.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Did you know that 80 percent of university students indicate they want an experiential opportunity related to their field of study?  The Extension student engagement site was recently created to encourage and support student engagement within Extension.  On the site, you can learn about recruiting students, mutual benefits to the student and Extension, and listen to what a supervisor and student have to say about their experiences. The site also provides tips on the hiring process and where to find a student based on the type of position you want.  If you have questions about engaging students in your work, contact one of the experienced colleagues listed on the site.

Diana Martenson
Organization and Program Development Specialist

The "Introduction to Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action (EOAA)" workshop, presented by Kimberly Hewitt, director, and Tina Marisam, associate to the director, Office of EOAA, provides practical tools for supervisors and staff to identify, prevent and respond to potential discrimination, harassment, retaliation and nepotism.  In this highly interactive workshop, participants will practice identifying inappropriate behaviors in hypothetical scenarios and explore effective strategies for responding to complaints from supervisees, coworkers and volunteers.  Participants are required to view pre-recorded modules before attending the webinar.

The workshop will take place on September 11, 1-2 p.m. Register today.

Ying Iverson
Professional and Organizational Development Director

New employees

Elyse Paxton joined Extension on July 29 as the senior editor in the Extension Center for Community Vitality.  Elyse was previously a communications coordinator for the University's Academic Support Resources department within the Office of Undergraduate Education. Prior to working at the University, Elyse was an editor for Gardening How-To and FenderBender magazines. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in speech communication and is currently pursuing a master's degree in strategic communication from the University of Minnesota.

In her new role, Elyse will work collaboratively with Community Vitality educators and specialists to oversee production of educational materials, including print and online publications, curricula, guides, reports, fact sheets, and multimedia products. She is very excited to become part of the Community Vitality team and is especially interested in learning how social media can be an effective communication tool to help advance and promote the center's work.

Joyce Hoelting
Assistant Director, Center for Community Vitality

Please welcome Ashok Chanda, who started his position as assistant professor on August 30. Ashok is located at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston with a tenure home in the Department of Plant Pathology. Ashok earned his B.S. and M.S. from ANGR Agricultural University in Hyberabad, India and his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, where he held a post-doctoral position for the last couple of years. Ashok is developing an Extension and research program focused on diseases and disease management that affect sugarbeet production.

Albert Sims
Director of Operations, Northwest Research and Outreach Center

Please welcome Britt Forsberg as the Minnesota Master Naturalist Explorers coordinator. She starts on September 8. Britt comes to us from the Bell Museum where she spent over six years coordinating and facilitating urban after-school science programming. She has developed and managed novel inquiry-based learning with an emphasis on education technology. In her new role, Britt will be responsible for working with her fish, wildlife and conservation education team members and Minnesota Department of Natural Resource partners to design and implement the Explorers after-school program statewide. She will be based on the St. Paul campus.

Nathan Meyer
Program Leader, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences

We extend a warm welcome to Axel Garcia y Garcia. Axel joined the University of Minnesota on August 25 in sustainable cropping systems located at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics with a research and extension appointment. Axel received his BSc in agronomy from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and his MSc and PhD in agronomy from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. After receiving his PhD, Axel spent ten years as a researcher at the Guatemalan Institute of Science and Agricultural Technologies. He then became a visiting scientist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia before moving to the University of Wyoming as an assistant professor in 2009 in the Department of Plant Sciences. Axel will provide leadership for research and extension education programs in cropping systems including the corn-soybean rotation.

Nancy Jo Ehlke
Head of Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and
Pauline Nickel
Head of Southwest Research and Outreach Center

Extension welcomes Becky Masterman as the director of the Bee Squad program within the Bee Lab on the St. Paul campus. The Bee Squad is an Extension and business program that helps beekeepers and the community in the Twin Cities area foster healthy bee populations and pollinator landscapes. Becky develops Bee Squad programming for beekeepers and bee supporters, as well as for a growing group of people and businesses interested in having us manage bee colonies for them, or who are interested in learning more about native bees. She also communicates with these audiences via social media and a newsletter.

Marla Spivak
Extension Entomologist

Employee transitions

Bill Craig, Extension educator, agricultural business management, Crookston, retired onJuly 31. Bill came to Extension with a background in crop insurance and agricultural lending and put that knowledge to work in educational programs in risk management and marketing. He was instrumental in creating the Northwest Minnesota Ag Lenders Conference and was active on many leadership teams and boards including the Minnesota Crop Insurance Conference Planning Committee, the Small Grains Institute, the International Crops Expo, and the Crops College Planning Committee.

Kevin Klair Dale Nordquist, and Robert Craven
Program Leaders, Agricultural Business Management

Bret Oelke, Extension educator, agricultural business management, Morris, retired onJune 30. Bret specialized in risk management and commodity marketing education and worked closely with several marketing and management groups in Central and Northwestern Minnesota. He loved working with young farmer groups and conducted several workshops for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Young Farmer Group and several 4-H activities. He was a featured speaker at the annual Top Producer Seminar in Chicago. Bret is a past recipient of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Educator of the Year award.

Kevin Klair Dale Nordquist, and Robert Craven
Program Leaders, Agricultural Business Management