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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.

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

Dear Colleagues,
Every year, Extension acknowledges the contributions of our distinguished campus and field support staff, program staff and nutrition staff (community nutrition educators and SNAP-Ed educators) through the Extension Dean's distinguished awards for civil service and bargaining unit staff. 
I invite all of you to consider the important impact created by the staff you work with and take time to nominate your colleagues. This is a great opportunity to highlight outstanding efforts for the entire Extension community to see. Given the high quality of our staff, I hope to see nominations from all Extension centers, regions and units!
Nominations simply require a letter of nomination (two page maximum), a current position description for the nominee, and a supervisor's letter of support. Please submit nominations to  by Monday, April 3.  If you have any questions, please refer to the awards section on the Extension intranet for award criteria or contact Shelly Tschida.
The awards ceremony will take place at the 2014 staff conferences: Tuesday, May 6 in Bemidji and Thursday, May 14 in Mankato.

Bev Durgan

A new 2014 Extension fact sheet is now available for all staff to use when communicating about Extension. In addition, the Extension PowerPoint slide presentation has been updated with 2014 information and photos from the Spring issue of Source. Feel free to use all of the slides or choose certain slides to include in existing presentations. These marketing tools are available on the intranet. The revised fact sheet is also featured on the About section of the Extension website.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean and Director, Communications & Public Relations
There are several professional development opportunities in March and April to increase awareness and understanding of important Extension initiatives and topics. Over the past year, these sessions have garnered much praise and have been well attended. Join your colleagues for webinars to learn and contribute to robust and energetic conversations about issues that are relevant in Extension work. 
The following sessions will be held live via UMConnect webinar; registration 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 "Tips and Tools for E-Learning and Online Course Development" (March 5) and  "Understanding and Valuing Equity and Diversity" (March 13).

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

This year marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which created Extension nationwide. Social media is a key part of the national awareness campaign.

Extension staff who administer social media accounts can participate by attaching the hashtag #Ext100Years to tweets and Facebook entries throughout 2014. The hashtag is particularly relevant when highlighting your research, programming and educational events...anything that demonstrates the value of Extension.

In addition to sharing the wide range of Extension programming, using the hashtag is a great way to build your own followers and follow others who work in Extension nationwide. Start by liking and following the official anniversary Facebook and Twitter sites.

More information is available on the Cooperative Extension website. For questions, contact Allison Sandve.

Allison Sandve
News Media & Public Relations Manager
Last month, approximately 100 photos were added to the online image gallery, including several photos in the following categories: agriculture and farming; gardening; 4-H judging and state fair activities; food safety; food preparation; health and nutrition; tourism and community events; climate and environment; and livestock.

Photos will continue to be added to the image gallery as they become available. All image gallery photos support Extension's photo style and can be used for brochures, flyers or other Extension educational and program marketing templates. These professional photos, paired with the high-quality design templates, are an effective way to communicate with our many audiences while strengthening the Extension brand.

For questions or comments about the image gallery, email

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Apply for Extension technology project support! Selected projects will receive a package of services from Extension technology as well as central University resources as available. The support package provides an inspiring, hands-on experience for the project team. They will learn about a variety of resources for the design and development of technology-enhanced Extension educational tools and curriculum. Proposed e-learning tools and products can include videos, lecture captures, podcasts, Moodle modules, apps and e-books. The next deadline for proposals is May 1, 2014. Read more about e-learning and proposal requirements.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

New Employees
Mohamed Farah began his role as program coordinator in the urban youth development office in St. Paul on March 10. Mohamed comes to Extension through a unique partnership between Youthprise, Extension and a Somali youth development organization called KaJoog.

Mohamed has more than nine years experience in the youth development field, where he has provided direct service and has implemented and evaluated quality programs. He has a B.A. in manufacturing management from the University of Minnesota Crookston, and has working experience within the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)  field.

Mohamed will focus on working with Somali youth at KaJoog through sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and will bring valuable connections and knowledge to Extension. Mohamed is bilingual in English and Somali and brings skills in volunteer development, grant writing and event planning.

Colleen Sanders
Program Leader, Youth Development

Kristie Gaalswyk began working as the 4-H program coordinator in Martin County on January 13. Kristie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in theater arts and journalism. She has spent the last two years as the education coordinator for the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul. Kristie has a passion for youth work and is excited to come back and make a difference in Martin County.

Kia Harries
Extension Educator

La Tasha Shevlin, Extension educator, financial empowerment, Dakota County, 3/3/2014

Michelle Knudson, administrative assistant, Watonwan County, 3/3/2014

Jacqueline Arndt, office manager, Traverse County, 3/3/2014

Kit Alviz, research & evaluation coordinator, Center for Family Development, 3/5/2014

Patti Laqua, SNAP-Ed regional coordinator, Ramsey County, 3/10/2014

Laura Perdue, Extension educator, Health & Nutrition, Extension Regional Office, St. Cloud, 3/14/2014

Departing Employees
After four and a half years with the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, Bill Welshons has resigned his position with us. His last day was March 17. Bill will be taking more time for his family and taking on a greater role with one of his other contract positions. We wish Bill a fond farewell and thank him for all he's done for us over the years. He has been a great asset to the 4-H Foundation and Extension 4-H. 

Cara Miller
Executive Director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation