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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.

Dear Extension Colleagues,

Earlier this week, you received an email from me announcing an internal search for the director of professional development. I invite you to review the position description and assist us in recruiting Extension faculty and staff who may be interested in and qualified for the position.

Creating a coordinated and integrated approach to professional development across Extension is a priority as we continue to implement Extension's strategic plan and align with the new University strategic plan. Professional development is specifically addressed under Extension Goal #4, "Extension fosters a workforce and environment that drives innovation and excellence and supports a culture of inclusion and collaboration" and relates to the University priority, "Recruiting, retaining, and promoting field-shaping researchers and teachers."

In addition, professional development, including new employee onboarding, supervisor training and leadership development are all priorities that Extension employees identified in the recent Employee Engagement surveys.

Three years ago, we created the professional development position and we made advances in several of the areas under the direction of Ying Iverson. With Ying's departure, we are looking to hire a professional development director who will build on those efforts and work with Extension leadership to create a strategic, organization-wide system.

We are conducting an internal search because we know that within Extension we have many qualified candidates and providing opportunities for advancement within Extension is important to our employees.

The position posting and application information is available on the University's employment website. The search committee will begin reviewing applications on March 2 and expects to begin interviews in late March.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Brent Hales, senior associate dean, to whom this position reports, or any member of the search committee: Kim Boyce (chair), Renee Pardello, Betsy Weiland, Nancy Hegland and Karen Shirer.

Bev Durgan Dean

You are invited to nominate outstanding colleagues for the 2014-2015 Extension Dean's distinguished awards for civil service and bargaining unit staff. The award categories are: campus and field support staff, program staff and nutrition educator.

All supervisors are encouraged to nominate an individual worthy of recognition. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 10. Guidelines and more information are available on the Dean's section of the Extension intranet. For questions, contact Shelly Tschida.

Bev Durgan
Dean

AFSCME's annual "Day on the Hill" for its members is March 24 at the Minnesota Legislature.

The University supports this activity, which helps emphasize our importance and value. The University has agreed to allow AFSCME union members to participate in the "Day on the Hill" activities without loss of pay.

Supervisors are encouraged to work with their employees who are interested in the event to arrange for maximum participation. Participating AFSCME employees shall be allowed time off with pay that is not subtracted from vacation, sick leave or compensatory time balances. Employees interested in attending should contact their supervisors in advance so appropriate staffing can be arranged.

If you have questions about the University's position on this event, please contact Leslee Mason, Human Resources director, or Deb Page, assistant director.

Leslee Mason, Human Resources Director
Deb Page, Assistant Human Resources Director

An updated Extension fact sheet is now available on the intranet and public website. The 2015 edition features updated information about Extension's reach, impact and funding. It is an excellent resource for acquainting new audiences with Extension's work and mission.

Catherine Dehdashti Communications and Public Relations Manager

Have a problem? Need to talk to a neutral, unbiased colleague? Did you know that the Extension Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC) has two ombudspersons who are a resource to all Extension academic staff members?

Ombudspersons are a confidential resource to:


  • Hear questions or concerns about the organization including changes, roles and new directions.

  • Provide information and answer questions.

  • Refer academic staff to the appropriate source for answers and information.

  • Assist and support academic staff seeking answers or solutions to their questions, concerns or problems.

  • Maintain confidentiality OR help academic staff decide how to pursue answers or solutions if this cannot be accomplished confidentially.


Sometimes problems are best solved by dealing directly with the individuals involved. In these cases, the ombudsperson assists academic staff to plan how to approach the individuals involved and how to solve the problem. Ombudspersons cannot serve in a counseling or mediator role, nor can they take action on behalf of an academic staff member related to decisions made elsewhere.

Ombudspersons are Susanne Hinrichs, regional director, and Scott Chazdon, evaluation and research specialist, Community Vitality.

Susanne Hinrichs Regional Director, Northeast

Phishing is an illegal scam to gain access to sensitive information including usernames, passwords and credit card details by posing as a legitimate communication. Recent scams included a link that claimed to open a Google doc, titled "I've shared an item with you." The Office of Information Technology recently issued a warning to University employees to carefully guard their electronic security.

All Extension faculty and staff are invited to two webinars in March.

"Process Improvement: LEAN 101"
10 to 11 a.m., March 11
Presenter: Toni Smith, education director, Association of Minnesota Counties

Lean management has long been used to eliminate waste in work processes in manufacturing and is now becoming quite popular in the public sector and Minnesota counties. The webinar will give you some basics about Lean, show how counties are using the techniques and provide information for additional Lean training.

"Rewriting the Rural Narrative"
1 to 2 p.m., March 12
Presenter: Ben Winchester, Extension research fellow, Center for Community Vitality

The story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar. Learn how these important positive changes that have been occurring across the rural landscape require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.

Diana Martenson
Organization & Program Development Specialist

New employees

Phalla Keo has accepted the 4-H program coordinator position in Hennepin County. Phalla has dedicated more than 28 years to youth and adult education; she has a rich history and understanding of working with diverse audiences. She earned a master's degree from the University of Minnesota. Most recently, she worked as an Extension nutrition educator, cultivating learning and partnerships in community settings and developing and leading volunteer systems to support her work.

Jessica Pierson Russo
Director, Urban Youth Development Office


Pritika Egemo, principal office and administrative specialist, Dean's office, Feb. 2

Maggie Yutrzenka, SNAP-Ed educator, Douglas County, Feb. 2

Heather Weber, support staff, Clay County, Feb. 5

Donald Warneke, SNAP-Ed educator, Hennepin County, Feb. 11

Andrew Doherty, SNAP-Ed educator, Wright County, Feb. 11

Hibaq Dualeh, SNAP-Ed educator, Ramsey County, Feb. 11

Dear Colleagues,

The 2015 Minnesota legislative session began on January 6 with 26 newly elected House of Representative members. President Kaler and the University community, including Extension, are already working hard to gain support for the University's biennial budget request. I encourage you to read the U website for more information and join the Legislative Action Network.

Earlier this week, 70 Extension stakeholders and staff participated in the University's annual Legislative Action Day. Members of Extension's statewide advisory committees, representatives from county Extension committees, 4-H youth ambassadors and Extension staff learned more about the biennial request and then met with their legislators to express their support for Extension and the University.

On February 17, I will join deans Brian Buhr, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), and Trevor Ames, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), in presenting to the House Finance Committee. The hearing provides an opportunity to speak with legislators on how Extension, CFANS and CVM serve Minnesota and the agriculture community.

It is important that all Extension staff continue to support and advocate for Extension and the University. To help us maintain a coordinated advocacy effort within Extension and the University, please follow our government relations guidelines:


  • If you have been formally invited to testify at a legislative event, please send the following information to Sarah Greening: committee, agenda topic, date and time.

  • If you meet with legislators or staffers, please complete this form. The form is automatically routed to Gwen Gmeinder for inclusion in the Extension legislative database.

Bev Durgan Dean

Traveling on University Business, the most frequently accessed administrative policy, has undergone a comprehensive review and an open-comment period. Effective in 2015, travelers now have up to 60 days after travel completion to substantiate and document travel expenses. This is an increase from the prior 30 days. Reimbursement requests submitted beyond the 60 days should be denied by units, except for extraordinary circumstances such as extended international travel. Reimbursement requests for local travel (local business mileage, parking, etc.) do not fall under this 60-day time frame. This type of request may now be submitted on a less frequent basis (e.g., quarterly, semi-annually.) The revised travel policy is available on the University's website.

Madonna Monette Finance Director

The University of Minnesota Libraries system has a new policy on open access to scholarly articles. This policy aims support authors who want to make their work available by giving them new open access options.

The policy does not prevent individuals from from publishing in the venue of their choice. It does not require anyone to make their work open access; requests to waive application of the policy will be automatically granted. This policy does not apply to other mediums such as books, fact sheets, Extension bulletins, etc. This policy does not give the copyright to the University. Rather, it provides the University with a nonexclusive right to make the work available in open repositories, such as the University Digital Conservancy.

Feel free to contact Kristen Mastel if you have further questions.

Kristin Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

The University Libraries provide assistance, including workshops, for research data management. The workshops, some of which are completely online, offer tools and solutions for creation, storage, analysis, dissemination and preservation of research data.

More info and signup links.

Kristin Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

All Extension faculty and staff are invited to two webinars in February. Both offer a chance to review and discuss priority topics for Extension. They are:

"Overview for Ripple Effect Mapping (REM): A Participatory Strategy for Measuring Program Impacts"
10-11 a.m., Feb. 11
Presenter: Scott Chazdon, evaluation and research specialist

The webinar introduces a group process designed to document the results of program efforts within complex, real-life settings. REM engages people to reflect upon and visually map the intended and unintended changes produced by a complex program or collaboration. The webinar includes examples of REM across Extension. More information and registration.

"Curriculum Development for Diverse Audiences: Community Vitality"
1-2 p.m., Feb. 26
Presenters: Tobias Spanier, educator; and Michael Darger, specialist

Minnesota's increasingly diverse population has implications for programmatic efforts by educators in Leadership and Civic Engagement (LCE) and Community Economics (CE). The course will cover a variety of topics on cultural competence, increasing program participant diversity, curriculum, marketing and more. More information and registration.

Ying Iverson
Professional and Organization Development Director

Diana Martenson
Organization and Program Development Specialist

On Feb. 21 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation will host the 2nd annual 4-H Celebration of Agriculture beginning at 5 p.m. Come celebrate the impact of Minnesota 4-H and agriculture at this gathering of our statewide friends and supporters! For more information, and to RSVP, please call 612-625-2180 or visit the event website.

Frank Mumford Director of Annual Giving

This spring, the University will upgrade PeopleSoft systems for faculty, staff, and students. This includes the Enterprise Financial System (EFS), the HR Management System and student systems. The upgrade is planned to begin on April 10. The one to two-week systems interruption, or cutover period, in which PeopleSoft and related systems are not available, will have an impact on some of our financial and human resources processes. We will keep you informed over the next weeks as we prepare for the upgrade. You can also stay up-to-date with these activities through the Upgrade site.

Madonna Monette
Finance Director

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

New employees

Sarah Butler joined Family Development as a Dakota County Extension educator on Nov. 24. Sarah will work with the Dakota County Financial Empowerment Initiative. She has offices at the Dakota County Extension Office in Farmington and at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul.

Sarah earned her bachelor's degree at Bemidji State University and for more than five years has been active in financial education with non-profits, focusing on low-to-moderate income communities. She has experience in financial coaching, foreclosure prevention, asset building and credit improvement. Sarah worked most recently as a lead financial coach with EMERGE Community Development in North Minneapolis.

Rosemary K. Heins
Family Resilience Interim Program Leader


We welcome Brittany Kinney to the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program team. She is joining the program in 2015 as a Minnesota Conservation Corps volunteer to assist with delivering the program in northeastern Minnesota, engaging new audiences and developing new events and resources. We are happy to have her with the team and look forward to introducing her to AFNR.
Nate Meyer
Program leader


Brandi Raatz joined Extension as a 4-H Program Coordinator in Pipestone County and the Southwest region on January 26. Brandi earned her Bachelor's of Science in Animal Science from South Dakota State University in Dec. 2014. She is a Pipestone County 4-H alumna and worked as a summer intern in Brookings County, S.D.

Karen Beranek 4-H Youth Development Educator

Donna Rae Carlson, principal office and administrative specialist, Polk County, Jan. 2

Kristina Kaml, SNAP-Ed educator, Roseau County, Jan. 5

Deborah O'Connor, principal office and administrative specialist, regional office, Rochester, Jan. 5

Sarah Jacobs, 4-H program coordinator, Jackson County, Jan. 12


Employee transitions

Please join me in welcoming Kent Olson to his new leadership role as interim Associate Dean for the Extension Center for Community Vitality. Kent began his new role on Feb. 1.

Kent has been an Extension economist with Extension since 1985, working in applied research, on-campus teaching and Extension education. He served as an Extension program leader from 2004 to 2011.

After receiving his bachelor's, master's and doctorate from Iowa State University, Kent was an Extension economist at University of California, Davis before coming to Minnesota. His research has emphasized farm level management issues such as production efficiency, the interaction between farming and the environment, decision-making, and the impact of government policies. He published two books on farm management and numerous publications. He has worked in Sweden, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India, Poland and Italy.

I want to thank Mary Ann Hennen and Matt Kane for serving as joint interim associate dean since November, when Brent Hales became senior associate dean for Extension.

Bev Durgan Dean

Bill Hutchison, Extension specialist and head of the Department of Entomology, has assumed the role of director for the University of Minnesota Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This IPM program is a long-standing USDA-NIFA program, which a few years ago transitioned from an allocated line item in Extension's budget to a competitive grant program. In addition to managing the grant, Bill will supervise personnel hired from this grant.