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January 2010 Archives

Dear Colleagues,

Every year, Extension provides an accountability report to our federal partners. We are responsible to our federal funders for demonstrating that their investment in Minnesota results in clear and measurable impacts. As the federal funding continues to shift from formula funds to competitive grants, the information gathered in our federal accountability report will be even more important for our future.

Federal dollars are vital for funding the Extension positions and infrastructure that allow us to deliver quality research-based education programs throughout Minnesota. In fact, 16 percent ($10.3M) of Extension's annual budget is from federal legislation. An additional 13 percent ($8.6M) is from a federal grant that supports the food stamp/nutrition education programs.

The federal reviewers of last year's report commented, "We were particularly pleased to see some precise outcomes were included that show how University of Minnesota is poised to make a difference in the lives of Minnesotans." However, the reviewers' comments also highlighted the need for Extension to continue to improve our ability to clearly identify the issues our programs address while tracking our impacts. I ask that all of you continue to work with your evaluation specialists to plan for and evaluate program impacts so we continue to have impact-based accomplishments to report.

In the next month, Joyce Hoelting and Jenny Obst will compile the combined Extension and Experiment Station report for 2009. Thank you in advance for your program outcomes and for working with Joyce to ensure that we are able to capture that information in our accountability reports.

Bev Durgan

I want to thank all of the staff who assisted in closing the regional offices in Albert Lea and Mora. The Albert Lea office closed September 30 and the Mora office closed on December 18. While reducing operation costs, we were able to maintain the educator and support staff positions that were located in these offices. The educators and staff have been reassigned to other regional offices and their specific contact information is available on the Extension staff directory.

Lee Raeth
Director of Field Operations

All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  On or around February 1, watch for the email from University Human Resources requesting you to file your REPA.  The final deadline for filing this form is March 8.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension employee website to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Awards (January 21, 2009)

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David Wilsey, Extension educator in natural resource management, was recently nominated as member of the University of Minnesota Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership Board.

Craig Roerick joined Extension on Wednesday, January 20, as the new Extension educator in agriculture production systems (livestock) in Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties. 

Craig is a native of Morrison County and has a background in animal science and dairy.  We are looking forward to having him as a part of the team. 

Tim Arlt
Program Leader
Extension Center for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences

Stephanie L. Heim, Farm to School Extension coordinator, Center for Family Development, St. Paul Campus, 1/4/10

Hannah R. Barrick, county 4-H program coordinator, Meeker County, 12/17/09

John W. Majiok, community program specialist, Extension Regional Office, Cloquet, 12/9/09

Jennifer A. Schoenfeld, county 4-H program coordinator, Jackson County, 1/4/10

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you had a chance to enjoy the holiday break and are ready for a happy and healthy new year.

As we move into the new decade, we face new challenges and opportunities. In the coming year, the Extension Dean's Leadership team will be working with all of you to find opportunities to access new sources of revenue and new partnerships to achieve even greater impacts for Minnesota.

As the competition for public and private funding grows, we must also be diligent in reviewing our programs and initiatives to ensure that they address critical issues and result in a measurable difference in Minnesota. No public entity can afford to offer programs that are nice and interesting but without significant impact and value.

This year, as we closely monitor the state, federal and University budget situations, I am committed to keeping you informed about the budget issues and identifying opportunities to get your feedback and ideas. I will be holding regular UMConnect discussions with the Extension Leadership Council (Extension deans, program leaders and regional directors) in order to keep these Extension leaders well informed and engaged in any planning that we will need to do in the coming year. I want to hear from you as well. 

Bev Durgan

University Human Resources has started to receive REPA filings for the period August 2008 through August 2009 even though the reporting period has been moved to February 2010 (see September 17 "REPA" enews article for more information about this change).  The notice to file a REPA for the period covering September 2008 through December 2009 will be sent out in late January.  No filings should be made at this time unless you have received a specific request from, for example, the Conflict of Interest Program, SPA, IRB or IACUC.  Anyone else who files now will be required to file again in February. 

Note that the filing requirements will not include changes proposed in the Individual Conflicts of Interest Policy draft that is currently under review.  For questions contact the REPA helpline at 612-626-1462 or

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Source magazine is now available on the Extension website. There are several ways you can take advantage of the Source feature stories as you communicate about Extension's impact in Minnesota.

In addition to using print copies of Source in communications with key stakeholders, you can print copies of individual Source articles from  the website link to  link to articles  in your newsletters and blogs, and refer to them in your  social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

Employees can also access all previous issues of Source online as well.  For more information or to request hard copies of Source, contact Catherine Dehdashti.

Julie Christensen
Public Relations and News Media Manager

As outside temperatures drop, do not leave laptops in cold vehicles for extended periods of time. The damage caused by prolonged exposure to cold weather may not be covered under warranty. 

If you have concerns about how long is too long for a computer to be left out in the cold, follow this basic rule: if an opened bottle of water in your vehicle has formed ice or has frozen, then your laptop has been out in the cold too long. Once indoors, take the laptop out of the case and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes to acclimate to room temperature before plugging it in and powering it up. This includes leaving it off the docking station.

Billie Wilson
Information Technology Supervisor

Minnell Tralle, Extension educator in family relations, received the 2009 Ruth Hathaway Jewson Distinguished Service to Families Award from the Minnesota Council on Family Relations. The award is given to a professional recognized for outstanding work on behalf of families.

Minnell has contributed to the well-being of Minnesota families for over 30 years focusing on family relations-particularly families going through divorce and family transition-in her role as Extension educator and leader of the Parents Forever project. She has been an author and contributor to many curriculums and has served as a long time board member of the Minnesota Council on Family Relations. 

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean, Family Development

After 31 years with the University of Minnesota, 12 of which have been with Extension, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Juan Moreno, is announcing his retirement. Please join us to wish him well on the next chapter of his life.

A retirement party will be held on Friday, January 22, 3-5 p.m. (brief program at 3:30), Coffey Hall, Rooms 120-125, St. Paul campus. For directions or more information, contact Diana Martenson or Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen.

Bev Durgan

Craig Schrader, Extension educator in crops, has left Extension to pursue new endeavors in the Pacific Northwest. He moved to Port Townsend, Washington, in mid-December. Craig provided great service to University of Minnesota Extension and we wish him the best as he explores new opportunities.

Jeff Gunsolus
Program Leader, Crops