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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,

Extension has a long history of responding to emerging issues, and avian flu is the latest. As Minnesota continues to deal with the impact of avian flu, Extension is working alongside producers, state and federal officials, University colleagues and many others to respond to immediate needs, conduct vital research, and help individuals, businesses and communities identify next steps.

This week our poultry team continued to work with producers across the state; 4-H staff responded to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health's directive to cancel all bird exhibitions at county fairs, the State Fair and other gatherings of birds in 2015; and Extension's Center for Community Vitality released an economic impact analysis of the impact of avian flu in Minnesota. You can learn more about Extension's response and see the media coverage on our Responding to Emerging Issues website.

I want to thank all of you who work tirelessly to respond to the many weather and non-weather related issues and emergencies that impact our state. Your research, education, relationships and engagement across Minnesota truly makes a difference.

Bev Durgan

Thanks so much to those of you who attended the 2015 Extension Staff Conference on the St. Paul campus. We hope you all enjoyed the day with your colleagues. Please share your feedback by filling out the Extension Staff Conference evaluation form. The deadline has been extended to Tuesday, May 26. The evaluation should take less than 10 minutes. Your feedback and ideas help the committee make decisions for future conferences and are an essential part of the planning process.

Also, please complete your requests for reimbursements as soon as possible by following the process for reimbursements on the Finance & Planning page on the intranet. Reimbursements are expected to be requested within 30 days of any travel.

If you have photos from the conference that you would like considered for sharing on the conference website, please send them to We are especially looking for photos from the tours and appreciate your contributions.

Shelly Tschida
Staff Conference Committee Chair

Microsoft Office 2013 is now available on all Extension-managed computers as an optional installation. For most staff, differences between Office 2010 and 2013 are minimal, but updates could be significant in some instances, depending on use. For a quick overview of new features, view this infographic.

If and when you update your current computer is your choice. All new computers will be deployed with Office 2013 installed, unless requested otherwise.

To install Office 2013 on your Extension computer:

  1. Click the Windows Start button
  2. In the search box, Enter Software Center
  3. Under Programs, click to open Software Center
  4. Under Available Software, click Install

For personally owned devices, please see these instructions for using Office 365, which is fully licensed for personal University use.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact Extension's IT Service Desk at

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

The Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) seeks presenters for 15 workshops at its annual conference Dec. 7 and 8 in St. Cloud. Conference organizers aim to share information with attendees that:

  • Imparts new information
  • Shares promising strategies and best practices
  • Depicts creative programs and services
  • Demonstrates innovative ideas and solutions

The deadline for workshop proposals is 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 19. More information and the proposal form is available here.

Toni Smith
Association of Minnesota Counties

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will host a "Women In Agriculture" summit from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 27 in Room 105, Cargill Building. The senator is hosting the event to discuss experiences women in modern agriculture face and how best to encourage women to seek careers in agriculture. Joining Klobuchar for the event are:

  • Keynote speaker Krysta Harden, deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Panel discussion participants Shelly DePestel, dairy farmer and board member of Minnesota Milk Producers; Pakou Hang, executive director, Hmong-American Farmers Association; Alise Sjostrom, owner of Redhead Creamery; and Kristin Weeks Duncanson, owner of Duncanson Growers.

The event is free. RSVPs are requested, but not required, at the senator's office: Registration opens at 1:30 p.m.; attendees can park in the Gortner Avenue ramp.

The University Libraries are transitioning to a new full-text linking tool. Beginning on May 26, the page with full-text options will look different, but the functionality of the tool will remain largely the same with a new tabbed format. Visit, or contact Kristen Mastel Extension outreach and instruction librarian, for more information.

Kristen Mastel Outreach and Instruction Librarian

Kate Walker, Extension specialist in Youth Development, and co-authors published an article that calls for research on the expertise of youth development practitioners. It presents a framework focusing on the challenges practitioners face and the strategies they use to address them, and offers case studies in three areas (designing programs, youth's motivation and ethical dilemmas).

Congratulations to the 11 Family Development educators and staff who won an award from the Minnesota affiliate of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science (NEAFCS) last week. Winners move next to regional and national reviews.

New employees

Shawna Faith Thompson will join the Extension Family Development team on June 2 as the Carver-Scott County Extension financial capability educator. She earned her bachelor's degree in economic development from Metropolitan State University, and has certifications as a personal finance coach, home buyers' counselor and IRS advanced level volunteer tax preparer. Her career includes 10 years of providing financial and asset building education with low- to moderate-income audiences for two Twin Cities non-profits, EMERGE Community Development and WomenVenture. Shawna is passionate about credit building and asset development in moving her audience toward financial stability.

Rosemary Heins
Interim Program Leader
Family Development

Jackie Billhymer joined Extension as the health and nutrition project coordinator who will manage the SNAP-Ed Opportunity Identification Initiative (soon to be known as SNAP-Ed Community Partnership Funding).

Jackie earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota, where she also received her master's in public health-nutrition. She is also a registered dietitian. Before graduate school, she was a FoodCorps service member in rural Arkansas, where she worked with teachers and staff to educate youth on healthy eating and gardening. Through her dietetic internship rotations, she has experience working with the Bloomington Woman, Infants and Children clinic, Burnsville elementary and high school food service, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Smiley's Family Medicine Clinic, American Institute for Cancer Research and Minnesota Department of Health.

Ryan Johnson
Associate Program Director

Dear Colleagues,

In May, the University will dedicate the University's Urban Research and Outreach Center (UROC) as the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach Center. The dedication will occur during UROC's fifth anniversary open house on May 20.

Both the UROC and Dr. Jones have important connections with Extension. Under the direction of Dr. Jones, Extension was involved in the development of the UROC and we have had offices and a teaching kitchen at the UROC since its opening in 2009. Today, Extension has 12 regional and local staff who office at the UROC and provide education in 4-H youth development, SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, food systems, family resource management, family resiliency, urban and community agriculture, and urban gardening.

In addition to leading the development of UROC, Dr. Jones has a long and supportive history with Extension. Extension reported to him in his role as senior vice president for academic administration from 2004 to 2012. As a professor in the department of agronomy and plant genetics from 1978 to 2012, he was involved in research and education delivered by Extension's staff. In 2012, Dr. Jones left the University of Minnesota to become president of the University at Albany, a campus of the State University of New York system.

Please join us on Wednesday, May 20 for the open house and dedication ceremony at 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis. The open house is from 2 to 7 p.m. with the program at 3 p.m. Please RSVP by Wednesday, May 13 to

Bev Durgan

This week, three Extension staff were honored during the 2015 staff conference for excellence in performing the work of Extension:

Amy De Groot was recognized as Distinguished Extension Support Staff. She is an executive office and administrative specialist in the Brainerd Regional Office. Amy has supported the 4-H program for her entire 17 years in Extension, expanding her role in the past two years to include 4-H horse program finances and website management.

Mary Krentz was recognized as Distinguished Nutrition Educator. She now works as a SNAP-Ed educator regionally and has also worked in Sibley County for more than 20 years. Mary has approached the new nutrition education model with creativity, confidence and success, quickly embracing the opportunity to work with partners and volunteers.

Tracy Ignaszewski was recognized as Distinguished 4-H Program Coordinator. Tracy impacts the lives of Minnesota youth through her responsibilities in Steele County, strengthening traditional programming, growing 4-H on Wheels to reach new youth in need of opportunities and taking on new leadership roles.

Please join me in congratulating these award winners.

Bev Durgan

The Spring-Summer issue of Source magazine is now live on the Extension website. Copies of Source will arrive at offices in the next week; and employees will receive an email version to forward to your contacts. The stories will also be featured on the Extension home page, in U of M communications channels, and shared through social media, in person and email over the next few months.

This issue of Source showcases creative partnerships and ways of engaging with donors to make an even bigger difference for Minnesota and beyond.

  • Teaching in the garden highlights positive outcomes of Extension's Master Gardener volunteer program that extend well beyond the growing season.
  • Red River Valley connections tells the story of a top agricultural region and the collaboration with North Dakota State University Extension that keeps the region healthy.
  • 4-H and the Science of Agriculture Challenge shows how Extension is leading the first program of its kind in the country to ignite excitement about agriculture, increase agricultural science literacy and expand the pipeline of youth pursuing agriculture-related careers.

Additional stories introduce the 4-H Alumni & Friends community, share news about Extension's work with aquatic invasive species, explain the value of farm bill education and provide an update on nutrition programming. Please feel free to use the printer-friendly pdf versions of the stories available on the Extension website. Copies of these stories are helpful to include in your program marketing materials and discussions with partners and customers. If you have story ideas or questions about Source magazine, contact Aimee Viniard-Weideman or Catherine Dehdashti.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager

Extension and other colleges at the University are playing an essential role in the fight against avian influenza, as explained in this University of Minnesota feature story. Extension is helping Minnesota's food producers get their healthy birds and eggs safely to market. Experts are monitoring any threats to human health or to other animal populations and are working with flock owners to monitor and protect their birds. Agribusiness specialists are analyzing the economic effects of avian flu on our state and its food industry.

Extension has an avian flu webpage with basics for urban and backyard poultry owners. The page outlines what to do if your poultry might be infected and gives steps to protect your flock. Much of the information is offered in English and Spanish.

Bob Byrnes
Director of Field Operations and EDEN Chair

The 2015 Program Conference will be Oct. 5-7 at the Mall of America Hilton in Bloomington. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this important opportunity for professional and staff development, collaboration with colleagues and building organizational unity.

This is also your call for session proposals. Please consider presenting to your peers or suggesting a session by completing the submission Qualtrics form. Include as much information as you can, and submit by Friday, June 5.

The program conference committee and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas for creating a productive conference.

Brent Hales
Senior Associate Dean

Interlibrary loan will send library resources to your offices for free; this includes both materials available on campus and those which Interlibrary Loan might acquire through resource sharing. Items will be shipped UPS with a pre-paid return address label. All articles are delivered electronically to your ILLiad account.

Requests can be submitted through the ILL website (, UBorrow for books ( or through WorldCat's Interlibrary Loan link.

Library databases and MNCAT Discovery will usually not display the ILL option for materials available within the libraries' collection.

Submit an interlibrary loan request for any resource that you need if you are not located on campus. Extension staff should enter a note in each ILLiad request indicating your current office address.

Kristen Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

Interested in a Center for Family Development update? Join Associate Dean Karen Shirer and Assistant to Associate Dean Trish Olson in a webinar from 10 to 11 a.m., May 11 to learn more about FD staff, programs and the year at a glance. Join the webinar by logging into

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean, Family Development

Are you looking for good examples from colleagues at the University and Extension about how they use WebEx to support their work? Do you want to learn more about using WebEx in a flipped classroom? Join us for these upcoming events.

WebEx for Extension education (special event for Extension)

  • 1-2 p.m., Tuesday, May 19, delivered via WebEx
  • Tiffany Schreiber, higher ed WebEx specialist from Cisco, discusses ideas and answers questions about WebEx in Extension work.
  • Please register here to attend WebEx for Extension

WebEx panel discussion (University-wide)

  • 10:30 a.m.-noon, Tuesday, May 19, 131B, Bruininks Hall (previously the Science Teaching and Student Services building), 222 Pleasant St. S.E. East Bank and broadcast via WebEx
  • Hear use cases and tips for using WebEx to support your teaching, research and outreach activities.
  • Please register here to attend panel discussion

Using WebEx in the flipped classroom (University-wide)

  • 10:30 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, May 20, or 1-2:30 p.m., 50B Humphrey, West Bank
  • Schreiber discusses using WebEx in a flipped classroom.
  • Please register here for the discussion

Additional information about WebEx is available here.

Amy Baker, Chief Technology Officer
Karen Matthes, Director of IT Training and Support

Extension staff gain grant to study winter rye

Associate Extension professor Jochum Wiersma of the Northwest Research and Outreach Center is collaborating in a three-year, $188,495 grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture received by the owners of Far North Spirits. Wiersma will evaluate the agronomic and yield performances of U.S., Canadian, and European rye varieties and hybrids across Minnesota in collaboration with Extension agronomist Scotty Wells, Extension educator Doug Holen and Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics professor Craig Sheaffer.

Parents Forever research article published

The Parents Forever team recently published an article in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Parents Forever: Evaluation of an Online Divorce Education Program. The study's main findings were that six to 10 months after taking the course, participants reported a significant improvement in:

  • Their ability to control their angry or negative responses when communicating with their co-parent

  • The level of conflict with their other co-parent that their child observed

  • How well they thought they were doing compared to others in the divorce process

  • Their own ability to cope with the divorce

Emily H. Becher
Research Fellow, Family Development

Community Vitality award winners

The National Association for Community Development Extension Professional recently announced award winners, several from Minnesota. Awards will be presented at a conference in Little Rock, Ark., this month.

Ryan Pesch, Joint Council of Extension Professionals--NACDEP's professional of the year, recognizing NACDEP members who are actively engaged in Extension community development programs.

Michael Darger, NACDEP Distinguished National Service Award, awarded to a NACDEP member who is actively involved in service to NACDEP and contributed significantly to the organization.

Bruce Schwartau, Ryan Pesch, Rani Bhattacharyya, John Bennett, Adeel Ahmed, Liz Templin, Neil Linscheid, Brigid Tuck, Matt Kane and Joyce Hoelting for "Room for More: A study of Minnesota retail and service businesses that open or expand after the opening of Walmart Supercenters," first place in regional awards and second place for outstanding materials that educate through credible, accurate, concise information.

Jody Horntvedt and Tobias Spanier, diversity award (second place regional and second place national) for Building Cultural Intelligence. The award recognizes outstanding effort or program that ensures meaningful diversity and inclusiveness.

Brigid Tuck, Liz Templin, Neil Linscheid, Rani Bhattacharyya and Adeel Ahmed, Excellence in Teamwork award (second place regional, honors award nationally) for " EIA Futures Workshop" program, recognizing outstanding Extension programming or projects that demonstrate effective performance and significant results impact at the community, region, state or multi-state level.

Jody Horntvedt, Lisa Hinz, Eriks Dunens and Lori Rothstein, educational technology award for "Questioning Skills: Flipped Program," in recognition of expanded use of technology in community development and problem-solving techniques.

Kent Olson
Interim Associate Dean, Community Vitality

2015 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference

Extension was well represented at the annual Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) conference, April 12-15 in Washington, D.C. This year's conference theme was "Imagining Extension--Eyes on the Future."

The 2015 Extension delegates included Carolyn Dingfelder, Winona County 4-H program coordinator; Lori Hendrickson, family resiliency educator; Kelly Kunkel, health and nutrition educator; Barb Radke, leadership and civic engagement educator; Shahram Missaghi, water resource management and policy educator; and Nathan Winter, agriculture production systems educator. All serve as presidents of their statewide Extension professional organizations. Other delegates were Brent Hales, senior associate dean; Kent Olson, interim associate dean, Center for Community Vitality; Sarah Greening, chief of staff and Gwen Gmeinder, government relations associate.

An added benefit this year was having four 4-H Minnesota youth and Judith Conway, youth development educator, join our legislative visits. Youth members were Anna Brekke (Scott County), Ryan Donkers (Rice County), Hannah Hasbargen (Traverse County) and Heather Weller (East Otter Tail County). They visited the offices of U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, and U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison, Tom Emmer, John Kline, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz.

Sarah Greening and Gwen Gmeinder
Extension Government Relations Unit

Extension faculty recipients of CFANS College Awards

Congratulations are in order for two Extension specialists who recently received 2014-2015 CFANS College Awards. Terry Hurley, an Extension economist, received the Distinguished Teaching Award: Graduate Faculty for his work in the Department of Applied Economics. Dean Malvick received the Distinguished Extension/Outreach Award for his work as an Extension plant pathologist and his contributions to the Department of Plant Pathology.

Mike Schmitt
Associate Dean, AFNR

New employees

Pauline Van Nurden joined the Agricultural Business Management (ABM) team as a regional Extension educator on April 9 in the Morris Regional Extension Office. Pauline earned a bachelor's degree in applied economics from the University of Minnesota in 2000 and received a master's degree in agricultural education, also from the University, in 2005.

For the past four years, she worked as a business banker and assistant vice president with United Prairie Bank in Waseca. She also has extensive educational experience, working as a farm business management instructor for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in Mankato and Owatonna for six years and as an agricultural education instructor for New Ulm High School before that. Pauline brings an outstanding reputation and a wealth of experience to Extension and the ABM team.

Bob Craven, Kevin Klair and Dale Nordquist
Program leaders, Agricultural Business Management

Natalie Johnson will begin her position as Goodhue County 4-H program coordinator on May 19. She graduates this month from the University of Minnesota in May with an animal science degree. Natalie grew up in Stevens County 4-H and has actively helped as a 4-H volunteer. She comes to us with a strong knowledge in agricultural industry, public speaking, promotion and Extension.

Nicole Pokorney
Educator, Youth Development

Emily Conroy, County 4-H Program Coordinator,Traverse County, April 6

Jacalyn Kokett, County 4-H Program Coordinator, Douglas County, April 13

Charles Caines, County 4-H Program Coordinator St. Louis - Southern (Duluth) County, April 21

Employee transitions

Mary Ann Hennen began in her new role as director of professional development on May 1. Mary Ann comes to this position with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Since 1994, Mary Ann's work in Extension has included three roles over a 16-year span: campus-based leadership specialist, Hennepin County leadership and civic engagement (LCE) educator and most recently as LCE program leader.

She returned to Extension in January 2005 after leading community leadership initiatives for the Wilder Center for Communities for six years. As program leader for LCE, Mary Ann provided direction to regional educators and alumni outreach programs, helping staff develop, design, deliver and evaluate educational programs. Mary Ann has a bachelor's degree in personnel services from Moorhead State University and a masters' degree in educational psychology and social foundations from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Brent Hales
Senior Associate Dean

Faye Sleeper will transition to program leader for the Extension water team over the spring and summer months in addition to continuing her work as interim director of the Water Resources Center. Faye brings valuable experience to this role, and our educators working in water will gain opportunities by working more closely with the Water Resources Center. Please join me in recognizing Gary Sands for his dedication as program leader. He will continue his work as an Extension engineer and professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering.

Mike Schmitt
Assistant Dean, AFNR