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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 epromo@umn.edu. 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 extserv@umn.edu.

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: RSVP@klobuchar.senate.gov. 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 z.umn.edu/newfulltext, or contact Kristen Mastel Extension outreach and instruction librarian, for more information.

Kristen Mastel Outreach and Instruction Librarian

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
Dean

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 (z.umn.edu/ill), UBorrow for books (z.umn.edu/uborrow) 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 https://umconnect.umn.edu/fdupdate.

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

The U of M Tourism Center invites colleagues to a light lunch and poster session from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 6 in the Cherrywood Room of the St. Paul Student Center to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. RSVPs are due May 1. More information is available from Ingrid Schneider.

Ingrid Schneider
Director, Tourism Center

The inaugural P&A professional development forum brings together thought leaders from across the University and the greater community. The forum features a discussion on contemporary trends in University administrative leadership and P&A's strategic role.

The first event, Preparing Ourselves to Meet Grand Challenges, is from noon to 2 p.m., 402 Walter Library, Twin Cities Campus, East Bank. Register by Friday, April 24. Or you can join via WebEx at https://z.umn.edu/pdrforum.

The Extension Technology team worked with staff across the organization to develop a core technology skills checklist, a tool to help grow your tech skills. This checklist aims to assist personnel and supervisors to identify any knowledge gaps and training needs, and provide employees direction for new areas of learning and growth. Read more information on our Quick Bytes Extension Technology Blog regarding this new tool.

Amy C. Baker
Chief Technology Officer

Extension Technology continues offering one-hour WebEx orientation training as part of the University's web conferencing transition from UMConnect to WebEx. UMConnect will be discontinued after Aug. 31. Orientation dates and registration are on the Extension Technology intranet page.


Check out the latest QuickBytes article for some WebEx tips!

Karen Matthes
Director, IT Training and Support

The Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK) and the Penn State University Libraries have jointly launched a new-peer reviewed publication "IK: Other Ways of Knowing." IK is an electronic, multidisciplinary peer-reviewed open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in all areas of indigenous knowledge from a global perspective. The first issue and more information about the submission process are available here.


Kristen Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

The upgrade of PeopleSoft and related systems is proceeding as planned. The new systems are expected to be operational on Monday, April 20. Several reminders for Extension employees:


  • A preview of the new MyU portal for employees is now available.
  • Upgrade information for Extension employees includes new fact sheets on schedules, absence and payroll for P & A and civil service employees.
  • Once the upgrade is complete, the link to the Libraries homepage will be "Libraries - UMTC" under "Key Links."
  • To locate saved library items, visit the "My account" section on the Libraries home page. Questions on library functions should be directed to Kristen Mastel, outreach and instruction librarian.
  • Staff who make deposits also are reminded to continue this process during the cutover. The procedures -- including links to a substitute deposit forum -- are outlined here.

The University recently updated its Safety of Minors policy. It is important that all Extension staff who work with minors are aware of the revised policy. Extension centers that manage programs for minors will be communicating directly with employees.
In summary, the revised policy states:

  • All University employees, including student employees and volunteers, must promptly report suspected abuse/neglect of minors (current or within the past three years).
  • University staff who work with minors must complete a background check and online training at the time at the time of appointment and every three years.
  • Extension Human Resources will continue to manage the background check process.
  • Staff who work with minors must complete the "Safety of Minors" 10-minute training through ULearn as soon as possible and no later than May 1, 2015. Once you are on the ULearn page, search for "Safety of Minors" to access the training.
In addition, programs intended for children under age 18 must meet the following requirements, which will be managed by the Extension centers:
  • Register with the University.
  • Ensure staff and volunteers who interact with unsupervised minors complete a background check and online training at the time of appointment and every three years thereafter.
  • Follow health/safety requirements.
If you have questions, please contact the individuals who will coordinate the efforts in Extension: Tamie Bremseth, youth development; Betsy Wieland, agriculture, food and natural resources; and Heather Lee, family development.

Bev Durgan 
Dean

The Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) invites you to submit nominations for the annual Dean's Awards, which will be presented at the Extension Staff Conference on May 5. The April 10 deadline is fast approaching. Categories include: campus-based support staff, field-based support staff, program support staff and community nutrition educators. Visit the Extension intranet for nomination instructions and award information.

Shelly Tschida
Staff Conference Chair

The 2016 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P & A and civil service employees has been released. Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 15, 2015 and will appear on paychecks received on July 8. University guidelines call for a 2 percent compensation pool, with distribution for faculty, P & A and civil service employees based upon an approved merit-based plan. Extension's plan is as follows:

Faculty and P & A

The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by center associate deans and administrative unit directors. The process will be the same as has been used in past years. Unit directors and associate deans will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process. This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process. Promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

Civil service
As required by the University, Extension civil service employees moved to a merit salary increase process in 2014. Supervisors were required to give overall merit ratings in the performance evaluation process using Extension's five-point rating scale. The rating definitions are outlined in the performance evaluation document. Large groups of civil service staff with common job descriptions also received further detail about ratings for those particular jobs. Extension's distribution plan for civil service was calculated using flat dollar salary increases based upon merit scores, with all identical merit scores receiving the same flat dollar increase.

Bargaining unit
AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information is available in the respective contracts. Each unit typically negotiates a slightly different salary increase agreement. The current contracts remain in place until new agreements are reached in 2015. For more information, contact Deb Page.

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

Last fall, Provost Karen Hanson asked each University college to review and update their college's Constitutions.

Over the past few months, we have reviewed and revised Extension's Constitution, which was then approved by the Dean's Leadership Council and endorsed by Extension's Faculty Consultative Committee.

The next step is for all Extension voting faculty and staff to vote on adopting this revised Constitution. Last week, an e-mail was sent to all faculty and staff eligible to vote in this election. If you received this e-mail, please take time to review the revised Constitution and cast your vote on the electronic ballot by Friday, April 17. Once the Constitution is adopted, it will be posted on the Extension intranet.


Bev Durgan
Dean

The upgrade of PeopleSoft and related systems is set to begin April 9. To ensure readiness, all employees are asked to review essential information on the new upgrade section of Extension's intranet. Please follow these reminders to ensure readiness for this University-wide effort.

All employees: What you need to do now

Purchasing: Complete purchases now. PCard reconciling should be turned in by April 3. PCards can be used during the April 9-20 cutover period. If emergency purchases arise during that time, and a supplier does not accept PCards, contact Purchasing Services at (612) 624-2828.

Payments: Plan ahead. Requests must be made by April 7 to be finalized by April 8.

Travel reimbursement: Travel reimbursement should be turned in by April 7 to complete processing before the cutover begins April 9. Travel reimbursement will not be processed during the cutover period.

Absences: By April 6, all employees who submit a form for absences should turn in all absences taken through April 3.

UM reports: UM reports and the Extension financial portal will be accessible, but any data run during the cutover will be "static" as of April 10. Any UM report links that you saved and used before the upgrade will not go into the new system. You can print the page or copy all report titles list and use the list to create your new favorites in the Reporting Center, which replaces the UM reports. You will have the same security access to the Reporting Center.

Supervisors: What you need to know

Extension has many open searches underway. If you are the hiring manager, please contact Leslee Mason or Deb Page to discuss the impact the upgrade will have on open searches during this time. As a reminder, no searches can be posted during the cutover period. Extension will continue to use the Hiring, Authorization and Tracking (HAT) process during and after the cutover.

Please make sure your P & A staff know that they should work directly with you for approvals for medical leave. These will not be tracked in the new system and medical leave forms should not be submitted to Human Resources. If you have questions about Family and Medical Leave, please contact Human Resources.

If you approve time and absences but will be gone during the cutover, please delegate this function. You can learn about this in the upgrade supervisory training.

Leslee Mason, Human Resources Director
Madonna Monette, Finance Director

The April upgrade of the PeopleSoft HR, Finance and Student Systems will affect nearly everyone at the University. The University's upgrade website provides extensive information. The following articles outline several important dates and actions for Extension employees.

Upgrade: Critical Dates
All Extension employees should note the following critical dates in the upgrade process:

Before April 6

  • All purchasing card data must be turned over to the individuals who process them. Please give colleagues who process purchasing cards enough time in advance to complete this task.
  • Invoice request forms, which are required to bill customers, should be submitted to allow sufficient time for customer setup.
April 6
  • Last day to submit paper absence forms for any time taken on or before April 5. After April 6, individuals need to hold absence requests to submit via MyU on or after April 20.
  • All March purchasing card data must be reconciled.
April 7
  • Last day to submit invoices for payment.
April 10-20
  • The "cutover" period. During this time, existing and new PeopleSoft systems won't allow data entry. Human Resources is working with hiring authorities to set new hire start dates for new employees scheduled to start during this time.
April 15
  • Payroll will occur as regularly scheduled.
April 20
  • Scheduled completion of "cutover" period. 
  • Only for employees who submit timesheets so they're paid each pay cycle or have exceptions to their work schedules (e.g., overtime or shift differential): Timesheets for pay cycle April 6-19 (or any previous pay period) will be processed the pre-upgrade way. Timesheets must be faxed or scanned and emailed to Extension HR. After this, employees who submit timesheets will enter their information through MyU. Supervisors must log onto the MyU Portal to approve the hours.
  • Any employee who had an absence (vacation, sick leave, etc.) during the April 6-19 pay period must log into MyU Portal to log their information. Supervisors must log onto the MyU Portal to approve.
  • Supervisors who are ready to post a position should contact Human Resources.

Upgrade: Required Training

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Training resources are being rolled out throughout the University for employees. The following highlights important trainings:

Supervisors, managers and approvers are required to complete "Approving Time and Absences" before April 20. Go to the Upgrade Training and Education website, click on Human Resource Systems and select that course under the absence reporting heading.

Staff who handle Human Resources functions should complete training before April 20. Go to the Upgrade Training and Education website, click on Human Resource Systems, then click on "Time Reporting" and "Absence Reporting." In the left-hand column, under "Training for," look for the courses that apply to your role at the University (employee, manager, supervisor). If you have trouble launching any of the courses due to a pop-up blocker, this job aid can help you turn it off.

Staff who prepare P-card, travel and expense information should view this video. Approvers should review this information. The training requirements remain the same for those who are receiving new access to these systems.

Staff with teaching responsibilities should go to training requirements. More information on class scheduling and grading, course information, advising and student records and finance is outlined there.

All employees are encouraged to visit the new MyU portal to learn more. More information is available at the Upgrade Training & Education site.

As of 4 p.m., April 8, staff will no longer be able to complete document entry and/or approve various financial transactions. For the majority of staff, this will affect travel and expense reimbursements, making payments and purchasing. Here is a detailed list of the cutover impact for finance-related processes.

Employees with financial responsibilities are asked to plan accordingly for the cutover period by doing the following:


  • Make purchases with a P-card when possible

  • Set up and get approvals for professional service contracts now

  • Purchase needed equipment now or wait until after the new system is in place

  • Setup blanket purchase orders with vendors you purchase from regularly

  • Call suppliers and pre-purchase items


There will also be some impact in processing grant applications and certifying effort. Grant administrators are advised to not approve proposals during this down time. The Electronic Grants Management System (EGMS) and Effort Certification (ECRT) systems will be available for entry, but cannot interface to EFS for completion. Please contact staff in Extension Grants Research and Administration for assistance. For more detailed information about the cutover period and Finance-related processing deadlines, see http://controller.umn.edu/upgradecutover/.

Leslee Mason, Human Resources Director
Deb Page, Assistant Human Resources Director
Madonna Monette, Finance Director

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will deliver the annual State of the University address from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 2, in Coffman Memorial Union. The address will be livestreamed.

A moderated question-and-answer period will follow. Questions can be submitted here or tweeted at #UMNsotu through the end of the remarks.

Check out the latest issue of the Extension retiree newsletter. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue announces the three summer retiree lunch events with Dean Bev Durgan, highlights state legislative activities and the 4-H Celebration of Agriculture.

The retiree newsletter is distributed three times a year in spring, summer/fall and winter. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

Several common office procedures are about to change with the University's PeopleSoft upgrade, scheduled to go live in April. Being prepared for those changes could help avoid interruptions in your pay or delays in your time-off requests.

After the upgrade goes live, paper timesheets and absence forms are being eliminated, bringing the University up to date with other large organizations and educational institutions. Employees who currently submit paper timesheets and absence forms will do so electronically. Supervisors will also approve the forms electronically.

To help employees transition from paper to electronic reporting, Training Services created a series of short educational courses and other "how-to" resources that you can access online. Go to the Upgrade Training and Education website, click on Human Resource Systems, then click on "Time Reporting" and "Absence Reporting." In the left-hand column, under "Training for," look for the courses that apply to your role at the University (employee, manager, supervisor, etc.). If you have trouble launching any of the courses due to a pop-up blocker, this job aid can help you turn it off.

Here are some key points to remember:


  • If you are a salaried or exception hourly employee who does not submit timesheets directly to payroll now, you won't be required to in the future.

  • Electronic Time and Absence Reporting is for University pay only, and has nothing to do with effort certification related to a grant or contract. That is a separate approval function and will not change.

  • Supervisors can delegate electronic time and absence approval temporarily or permanently.

  • Timesheets and absences that reflect April 6, 2015 and later will need to be entered via the newly designed MyU Portal after go-live.


Watch for more detailed communications in the next few months. More information is available from Leslee Mason, human resources director, and Deb Page, assistant human resources director.

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

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation hosted the second annual 4-H Celebration of Agriculture on Feb. 21 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. It was a great celebration of our statewide friends and supporters, and a chance to demonstrate the impact of Minnesota 4-H. Teams from the 4-H Science of Agriculture initiative shared their ongoing research projects with attendees, showing how 4-H provides hands-on learning opportunities for Minnesota's next generation of agricultural leaders.

Watch for a story about 4-H Science of Agriculture in the Spring-Summer issue of Source magazine. You can also visit Extension's Facebook post to see photos taken at the event. Sponsors included Jennie-O, Compart Family Farms, Minnesota Pork Board, Minnesota Farmers Union and AgStar.


Frank Mumford
Director of Annual Giving

The Extension video created in 2014 has been updated. The newly titled 2015 version, "Creating a stronger Minnesota through education and research" is on Extension's YouTube channel, History and About webpages, and on the intranet.

The revised video no longer includes references to the 2014 centennial and has FY 2015 budget information. In addition to other advocacy tools, the video is useful for those meeting with stakeholders and explaining Extension.

The 2014 version is now unlisted on YouTube, so it's not visible on the channel, but links to it still work. If you have a website that is linking to it, please consider changing the link to the 2015 version.

Catherine Dehdashti
Communications and PR manager

The Benefits Advisory Committee is requesting comments about your experiences with UPlan health and wellness plans since January 2014. The comment deadline is March 12. Anonymous summaries of comments are used in performance reviews of UPlan health plans. Your comments can be entered here.

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

The deadline for Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claims is March 31. If you have money remaining in your 2014 health care or dependent daycare FSA and wish to receive payment, you need to incur eligible expenses by March 15.

Submit claims by fax or mail by March 31 to ADP, the claims administrator. IRS regulations specify that funds remaining in accounts after March 31 will be forfeited. Obtain ADP claim forms at FSA Accounts with ADP, or call ADP with questions at 1-866-697-6077.

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

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

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

Mileage rate change

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The standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business increased from 56 to 57.5 cents per mile on Jan. 1, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service changes. Business mileage incurred in 2014 but reimbursed in 2015 should use the 2014 rate.

The standard mileage rate for moving expenses will be 34.5 cents per mile as taxable, with the remainder non-taxed.

Further information is in the rates section of administrative policy at Traveling on University Business. The employee expense worksheet (UM1612) and the moving/relocation expense documentation form (download UM 1357) are being updated to reflect the rate changes. Please contact staff in Finance and Planning for questions.

Madonna Monette
Finance Director

The PeopleSoft upgrade "go-live" will be in March or early April, rather than mid-February, as previously announced by the University. The upgrade is still expected to go live this spring; the exact date will be announced by Jan. 28.

The upgrade includes human resources, finance and student services components. Both Extension human resources and finance and planning departments are preparing for the upgrade and will continue to share information.

Once it is in effect, it will impact staff who handle human resources and finance related tasks as follows:

Human Resources: You will be notified if you need specific training and provided links to specific online modules. Staff who currently complete paper time sheets and absence cards will enter their own time and absence requests electronically via the MyU portal. Supervisors will review and approve these requests via MyU Portal.

Finance: The upgrade's impact on finance functions will be minimal. The finance work stream's training and educational resources provides necessary information. All materials are either job aids or online courses, organized by process. The most important category is "expenses" for expense preparers and PCard reconcilers.

For the most up-to-date information, visit upgrade.umn.edu

Leslee Mason, HR Director
Deb Page, Assistant HR Director
Madonna Monette, Finance Director

We have negotiated a reduced rate for Extension employees traveling for business purposes at the Country Inn and Suites in Roseville at 2740 N. Snelling Ave.

To receive the $99 nightly rate, employees must present a valid Extension business card or identification card bearing their name at check-in. For reservations, call 651-628-3500 and request the Extension rate.

Rates are subject to availability and will expire on Dec. 31, 2015. It can be a reimbursable expense or directly billed.

The discount is valid only at the Roseville location. The reduced rate is not applicable during State Fair.

Bob Byrnes
Director of Field Operations

Extension 4-H and information technology are jointly developing an online learning environment for 4-H'ers to work on their projects. It aims to develop self-motivated and guided learners as youth deepen their knowledge and build skills.

"My 4-H Project Place" is a secure, online interactive learning environment for 4-H'ers to work with their peers and leaders. There is no required face-to-face group work, but youth are expected to practice the skills they learn offline. Screened 4-H volunteers, experts in their subject area and trained in working with youth online, will guide them. The project previously was referred to as the personal learning environment (PLE).

A pilot in the 4-H photography project launches this month for 10 to 20 4-H'ers and three to six online volunteers with expertise in photography. An online project learning manager will be available to support the mentors and youth in development of feedback and digital literacy skills as needed.

This is an opportunity to recruit nontraditional volunteers - perhaps local business people or hobbyists who have skills and interest but cannot commit to a fixed meeting time or place.
A second online community, focusing on entrepreneurship, will launch in spring.

The My 4-H Project Place team:

Todd Mehrkens, Jennifer Skuza, Trudy Dunham, Ann Nordby,
Amy Baker, Danny Sussman and Alison Link


Please consider participating in the upcoming webinar "Curriculum Development for Diverse Audiences," which focuses on a curriculum written for youth service providers, volunteers, managers/supervisors and coordinators. The webinar is scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m., Jan. 29.

A feature of the webinar, "WeConnect: A Global Youth Citizenship Curriculum," also will highlight cultural exchanges and the youth development diversity and inclusion shared learning cohort.

Participants will reflect on their programs, identify potential opportunities for implementing ideas and select at least one strategy for increasing diversity and inclusion in their own work. Presenters are Extension educators Jessica Russo and Kathryn Sharpe.

Registration is available here.


Ying Iverson Ph.D.
Director, Professional and Organization Development

Comma or semi-colon? Abbreviate or spell out? Is this clear writing?

Newly posted intranet resources are available to help Extension staff with tips on punctuation, clarity and answers to everyday questions on usage, grammar and more. An A-to-Z style guide featuring answers to both common dilemmas in usage as well as Extension-specific topics is available here.


Allison Sandve
Manager, News Media and Public Relations

We are pleased to announce that WebEx has replaced UMConnect, the University's web conferencing tool since 2004. WebEx is available for all University employees to use. UMConnect will be available until Aug. 31, giving staff time to learn WebEx and become comfortable with it.

Our suggested path for learning WebEx is as follows:


  1. Continue using UMConnect while you learn and gain comfort with WebEx
  2. Attend a 1-hr WebEx orientation (pre-registration requested)
  3. Review the self-help guide
  4. Begin exploring and using WebEx with coworkers or friends
  5. Attend a more detailed WebEx training hands-on (Twin Cities campus) or InterCall Live Online and Self-Paced Training
  6. Begin using WebEx for some low-risk meetings, then move on to it as your standard webinar tool


More information is available in the email sent to all staff on January 14 and is also available on the intranet.
Amy Baker, Chief Technology Officer
and
Karen Matthes, Director of IT Training & Support

The Minnesota State Legislature convenes on Jan. 6 to begin its two-year session. The University of Minnesota is requesting a $127.2 million increase for its FY 2016-17 biennial budget. The request will focus on access and affordability, facility improvements, a healthy Minnesota, and vibrant communities.

As the legislative session begins, continue to visit the Government Relations section on the intranet for updates. If you meet with your legislator, please remember to let us know about your interaction by completing the legislative database form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sarah Greening or Gwen Gmeinder.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

Learn more about the University's new systemwide, enterprise-level web conferencing tool for students, faculty and staff at town hall sessions from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Dec. 19, 402 Walter Library on the Minneapolis campus, and 9 to 10:30 a.m., Jan. 6, 64 Biological Sciences on the St. Paul campus. Remote participation will also be available. Registration (required) and more information.

Amy Baker
Chief Information Officer

The Local Foods College, a series of eight sessions for gardeners and farmers who are part of the growing community-based food system, will begin January 13 and runs through March 3. The weekly sessions can be viewed online and at several locations throughout northern and central Minnesota. Registration is free for participants who print their own materials.

This year's topics include natural soil fertility, vegetable production tips and tricks, marketing and business planning, pollination, deep winter greenhouses, growing in small spaces, food hubs, and more. The sessions are presented by educators, practitioners and others involved in the effort to build local food systems.

The 2015 Local Foods College is supported by Extension, the Statewide Health Improvement Program, and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education. For more information and to register, visit http://localfoods.umn.edu/college or call 1-888-241-0781.


Linda Kingery
Executive Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Northwest

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there is one early timesheet submission date in December for hourly Extension staff. Supervisors must submit timesheets by Friday, Dec. 26 for pay cycle: 12/15/2014 - 12/28/2014.

Turning in timesheets on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

If you have any questions about payroll processes and deadlines, please contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu or Nancee Easter.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Post-election work to do

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The mid-term elections brought many new names and faces to the Minnesota House. We hope you will take time now to connect with your legislator. If your representative is new, please introduce yourself and indicate you are looking forward to working together over the next two years. If your representative was re-elected, it is useful to thank him/her for past work and indicate that you are willing to work together and serve as an Extension resource for research and education.

To learn more about the legislator's background, issues and interests, check out the Minnesota House. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sarah Greening or Gwen Gmeinder.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and

Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

The Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS) has changed its name to Extension Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR). The acronym is pronounced A-F-N-R, and we are no longer using EFANS or CFANS-Extension. Thank you for beginning to use the new name. For more information,read my announcement to our center faculty and staff and view the Extension naming style guide.

Mike Schmitt
Associate Dean, Extension Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Do you struggle to get evidence-based information for your community programming? Do you spend too much time digging for relevant materials for your teaching and grant writing?

Join us for the webinar, "Work for Extension?: What librarians can do for you" on Thursday, December 11 from 1 to 2 p.m. to learn how to effectively use library websites with three librarians to guide you. You can access the webinar athttps://connect.extension.iastate.edu/clrfs

We will present resources from the National Agricultural Library, your land-grant library and other regional resources. There will be a brief database demonstration as well. A handout of resources useful for Extension work will be provided. A more advanced webinar is being planned for spring 2015. This webinar is co-sponsored by USAIN, NAL and eXtension, and is presented by librarians Stephanie Ritchie, Madeleine Charney and Kristen Mastel.

Kristen Mastel
Extension Librarian

Have you noticed the phishing emails that have been going around lately? Phishing emails cost people time and are a big security threat. It only gets worse with holiday and charity phishing scams.

Here are the four easy steps to becoming completely phish-proof!

  1. Check the grammar

  2. Check the sender

  3. Hover over the link

Report it to phishing@umn.edu

Extension Technology Team

As temperatures outside drop, it's important to remember to avoid leaving your laptop outside for too long. 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
Extension Technology

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 a hands-on experience for the project team to be inspired by, learn about, practice and collaborate with a variety of resources for the design and development of technology-enhanced Extension educational tools and curriculum. Proposed tech tools and products can include videos, lecture captures, podcasts, Moodle modules, apps and e-books. The next deadline for proposals is December 15, 2014. Read more about proposal requirements here.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

The following Extension webinars will be held in December:

Extension webinars are held every month and offer Extension faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. To access webinar recordings and to view information about upcoming topic webinars, visit the professional development section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional and Organizational Development

WeConnect: A Global Youth Citizenship Curriculum is now available as a resource for Extension educators who are working with youth from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Designed by Jennifer Skuza and Jessica Russo, WeConnect includes a series of experiential and interactive exercises that help youth learn and use culturally responsive skills and knowledge, and prepare them to thrive in culturally diverse settings, whether they are with friends, or at school, home or work. These skills are based on an international education approach, which is one form of cultural education.

WeConnect is designed for nonformal educational settings such as afterschool programs with middle school-aged youth (grades 6-8 and ages 11-14), but can be adapted to suit both younger and older age groups.

To learn more about WeConnect and how you can use it in your work with young people, contact Jennifer A. Skuza or Jessica Pierson Russo.

Purchase the WeConnect: A Global Youth Citizenship Curriculum online through the 4-H mall.

Jennifer Skuza
Assistant Dean, Youth Development
and
Jessica Russo
Extension Educator, Youth Development

An article from the October issue of Journal of Extension is a must read for everyone interested in saving time and energy when doing Google searches. This article includes short and sweet tips that are used by other experts at the University:

Contact Kristen Mastel for one-on-one consultations to explore the highlighted Google search tips and more.

Kristen Mastel
Extension Librarian

The current across-the-board salary increase process for Civil Service employees will change to an annual salary increase based on merit (performance). Assuming the University's compensation plan includes salary increases for 2015, merit-based salary increases for civil service* positions will be determined in Spring 2015. Examples of Extension Civil Service employees include: Extension program associates 2 & 3 (ex: 4-H program coordinators, SNAP-Ed educators, etc.), finance professionals 2 & 3, etc. 

The upcoming performance evaluation cycle--based on performance in the calendar year 2014--will include an overall performance evaluation rating. Salary increase dollars will then be distributed to civil service employees based on merit. Instructions about the civil service performance evaluation process will be available later this month. Instructions about the civil service salary increase process will be available early next spring.  

For questions, contact your supervisor or Extension Human Resources: Leslee Mason or Deb Page.

*This information does not apply to AFSCME represented positions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Give to the Max Day, Minnesota's annual giving extravaganza, is coming up on November 13. It's a day when our state's generosity shines, and Extension will be a part of the effort. Visit the GiveMN websiteand search for: University of Minnesota Extension, Tourism Center, Monarch Butterfly Conservation and Education Fund, Extension Master Gardeners, Minnesota Master Naturalists, Cooking Matters, Extension Leadership Program Scholarships, or the Bee Squad.  You can make a gift or just help promote giving to Extension by sharing a link with your friends on Facebook or Twitter through the GiveMN website.

This grassroots giving effort helps expand the base of private support for Extension, increasing our capacity. If you have questions about Give to the Max, or about giving any time throughout the year, contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director, or Cara Miller, executive director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

To learn more about how gifts to Extension research and education can make a difference in Minnesota, visit the Donate to Extension website.

Jane Johnson
Chief Development Officer

Staff photos taken during program conference in October have been added to the online image gallery (retakes have replaced previous photos). High resolution versions of these photos are available for download from the gallery. We will continue to offer opportunities throughout the year for Extension staff to have their staff photos taken or retaken at staff conference, program conference and other large staff gatherings.

For questions or comments about the image gallery, contact Sarah Bjorkman.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

The 2014 farm bill was passed last February. Over the next several months, an estimated 60,000 Minnesota producers and 30,000 non-farming Minnesota landowners will need to make enrollment decisions or lose program benefits. Educating producers and landowners is crucial: the program options are new, the decisions are complicated and the enrollment decisions could have major financial impacts for Minnesota farmers for the next five years.

Extension is partnering with the USDA Farm Service Agency to deliver education and information to help producers and landowners make informed decisions. Over the next few months, more than 80 workshops will be delivered in Minnesota along with webinars and online training. Information about the workshops, as well as fact sheets that provide an overview of the farm bill, are available on Extension's agriculture business management website. Additional fact sheets specific to landowners will be available soon. The training will be led by the Extension ag business management team with help from members of the dairy team and local county educators.

In early November, six ag professional farm bill update workshops will train lenders, crop insurance agents, crop consultants and others so they can help answer producer questions. Extension educators are also encouraged to attend one of these sessions. Contact Kevin Klair or Bob Craven for more information.

Kevin Klair
Extension Economist & Program Leader, Farm Management

The current University Education Job Family Study is wrapping up and results will soon be communicated to staff whose positions were a part of this study, including Extension educators (both types) and other positions with a primary focus on education. 

Affected employees should expect to receive a letter from University Office of Human Resources on October 7 with other key dates as follows:

  • Supervisor information sessions: October 2 and 3 (remote connection & recording available)
  • Letters with results to employees: October 7
  • Employee information sessions: October 15 and 16 (remote connection & recording available)
  • Deadline for appeals: October 28

A preliminary summary of the results shows that both Extension educator promotional series remain in tact--each still with three levels and no current pay or benefits implications.

If you are an educator who does not receive a letter, or if you receive a letter in error, please contact Lisa Brownstein. If you have any questions about the results, please contact Leslee Mason.

Other job family studies affecting Extension include: Finance (wrapping up); Development (underway and no current information); Research (delayed, will now begin November 10); Administrative (delayed, will now begin December 23).

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Source magazine landed in your email inbox earlier today, or will shortly.  If you don't see it in your primary inbox, look for it in the "Promotions" tab in Gmail. To help spread the word about Extension's work throughout Minnesota, take a moment to share the email with your colleagues, program partners and friends.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager

If you're on Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms, please support the National 4-H Week campaign, #iam4h.

Beginning the evening of Sunday, October 5, and all dayMonday, October 6, you can help build enthusiasm for the campaign by tweeting and posting your "selfie" on social media using the hashtags #iam4h and #mn4h. As part of a nationwide campaign, social media users are asked to print out and hold the #iam4h sign while taking a selfie. You can continue to post throughout 4-H Week, which concludes October 11.   

Any 4-H supporter can participate; club membership or alumni status isn't required. Although the official campaign begins Sunday, some posting is already underway onFacebook and Twitter.

Allison Sandve
News Media & Public Relations Manager

The Extension Citizens' Advisory Committee and representatives of the Association of Minnesota Counties held an interactive input session for Extension Reconsidered onAugust 27. County commissioners, community members and Extension leaders generated ideas on the purpose, promise and future of Extension. Participants suggested ideas about how Extension could help meet the needs of the 21st Century, including making Minnesota better with a strong sense of statewide mission; preserving the past by being "historically proud" while being responsive to the future; continuing excellence in delivery of research; and actualizing human capacity in the community.

The next two Minnesota Extension Reconsidered sessions will be held at the Extension Program Conference on Monday, October 6, 1-2:30 p.m., and Tuesday, October 7, 1:15-2:45 p.m. Please join one of the two discussions if you are attending the conference--no need to register for the sessions.

For questions, or suggestions, please contact Dan Gilchrist.

Dan Gilchrist
Assistant Statewide Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the recipients of the Extension Issue Area Grants. Earlier this summer, Extension put out a call for proposals that would advance work in the following issue areas:

  • Promoting Youth Educational Success

  • Food Systems

The issue area grants have been created to support cross-disciplinary work, increase external visibility and demonstrate Extension's comparative advantage to address these complex  issues. Successful projects will create positive impact and contribute to Extension's cross-center collaboration and external partnerships.

Grants have been awarded for the following projects:

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners: Growing environments to foster learning and academic success
Project leaders: Judy Myers and Sara Langworthy, both from the Extension Children, Youth and Family Consortium

Save Native Pollinators, Secure Food Production and Safeguard Our Environment: A science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) integrated youth program
Project leaders: Hui-Hui Wang, Extension 4-H STEM specialist; and Patrick Jirik, Extension educator in youth development

The Fresh Connect Learning Laboratory: Leveraging Extension and community expertise to support emerging food hubs in Greater Minnesota
Project Leaders: Noelle Harden, Extension educator in health and nutrition; and Dana Rieth registered dietician, Lakes Country Service Cooperative

Economic Impact and Enterprise Benchmarking of Market Gardens & Farms in an Eight-county Region of Central Minnesota
Projects leaders: Ryan Pesch and Merritt Bussiere, Extension educators in community vitality; and Brigid Tuck, Extension senior economic impact analyst

Thank you to all who submitted proposals and the proposal review team.

Bev Durgan
Dean

Karen Shirer, associate dean for the Extension Center for Family Development, will be out of the office on an extended partial medical leave until the end of December.

Trish Olson, assistant director for family development and program leader for family resource management, will serve as acting associate dean providing leadership for family development during this time.

Rosie Heins, former Extension educator in family resource management, will come out of retirement to serve as acting program leader. Rosie will be 50 percent time and will have an office at the Extension Regional Office in Andover.

Please join me in thanking Trish and Rosie for providing leadership to family development as we wish Karen a speedy recovery.

Bev Durgan
Dean

Watch for the Fall-Winter 2014 issue of Source magazine. Copies of Source will be arriving at offices in the next week, it is available online. Employees will receive an email version that you can forward to your contacts. The stories will also be featured on the Extension home page, via 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 research-based solutions Extension brings to today's challenges.

  • Pollinating new ideas highlights ways Extension connects research to education so everybody can be a part of the solution with the problem of bee population decline.

  • While 4-H has been a part of the fabric of our communities for more than 100 years, 4-H is also opening new doors for newer residents across the state.

  • As horse ownership grows, Extension is helping horse owners meet their need for education on horse health, nutrition, care and pasture management.

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 questions about Source magazine, contact Aimee Viniard-Weideman or Catherine Dehdashti.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager

Each year, Extension sends 3-4 faculty and staff to participate in the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) program. The purpose of the program is to give current and future Extension leaders and administrators an opportunity to learn about and strengthen leadership skills, develop a better understanding of their own leadership styles, and build networks across regional and national Extension.

I am pleased to announce the U of M Extension participants for the class of 2015: Marla Reicks, Extension nutritionist; Cara Miller, executive director, MN 4-H Foundation; and Josey Landrieau, Extension educator in youth development. They will join colleagues from across the north central region in the year-long leadership development program.

Finishing the NELD class of 2014 are Krishona Martinson, equine Extension specialist & livestock program leader; Joel Haskard, CERTS co-director, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships; and Rebecca Harrington, Extension educator in youth development.

Bev Durgan
Dean

This week Extension launched the employee intranet in a new content management system, Drupal. The new site has improved navigation, increased page width for larger monitors, and is mobile-friendly to make it easier to access on your phones/devices.

Project team members are working through all of the pages to ensure links are working and any bugs are taken care of. If you have problems accessing content on the intranet, please contact Sarah Bjorkman.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications and Brand Manager

Extension videos should be closed-captioned whenever possible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the University's Accessibility of Information Technology policy. Captions make your videos accessible for the hearing impaired and English-language learners, as well as when played in noisy environments.

Videos on YouTube are automatically captioned. These auto-captions are a good place to start, but results can vary from awkward to embarrassing to potentially damaging.

Captions on short YouTube videos can be easily edited in YouTube. Watch Caption your YouTube videos on Extension Technology's Quick Bytes YouTube channel for a detailed demonstration.

Extension's main YouTube channel contains playlists pulling select videos from Extension program YouTube channels. Before creating your educational or promotional video, check out the new video tips, resources and policies available on the Extension intranet.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager
and
Alison Link
Academic Technologist

The next several weeks are typically filled with intense political campaigns about the upcoming elections. Please remember that the University of Minnesota has guidelines for Election Day activities including eligibility for paid leave of absence to vote and personal participation in political campaigns.

Election Day is November 4, and classes or events may be scheduled as usual during the day. During the evening between 6-8 p.m., regularly scheduled classes may be held, but other University events should not be scheduled.

Employees may volunteer for political campaigns during non-work hours and vacation time, and may hold paid political positions subject to University's regularly applicable rules for non-University employment. Employees who are party officers or delegates may take time off to participate in meetings of state central committees, meetings of executive committees of major political parties and conventions, provided they give advance notice.

For further information, please review the U of M political guidelines.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

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

If you have a chance to go to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" be sure to drop in on Extension colleagues, volunteers and participants. Visit Extension's In the News site for updates on our coverage at the fair. Stories will also be shared via social media sites for Extension and 4-H.

University of Minnesota building

  • Extension will host two spaces in the U of M Building on Sunday, August 31, 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. The exhibits will feature 4-H Science of Agriculture with the poultry project, and Master Gardener plant diagnostics.

4-H building & barns

  • More than 6,000 4-H exhibits and performing arts shows feature the knowledge and skills 4-H'ers have acquired throughout the year. About 2,200 "blue ribbon" kids exhibit livestock in the animal barns. See the 4-H State Fair website for daily highlights and results.

  • Exciting scientific activities to try in the 4-H building include drones used in agriculture and Rube Goldberg machines. Watch "Chef for a Day" cooking presentations, offered twice daily.

  • Livestock highlights include a 4-H beef exhibit in the Warner Coliseum on Friday, August 22, and the Purple Ribbon auction in the Ag Star arena on Saturday, August 23.

  • New this year is the free "4-H at the Minnesota State Fair" app, guiding you through event schedules, results, announcements and maps. Download and install it to your iPhone or Android device.

Agriculture-Horticulture building

  • Master Gardener volunteers will answer gardening questions each day, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Watch gardening presentations throughout the day on The Dirt Stage.

  • The Honey Bees program team, including Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will show off a "bee beard" on Wednesday, August 27 at 1 p.m.

Eco Experience building

  • Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator, will present "Natural foods and decoratives from the woods or backyard" on Friday, August 22 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

DNR building

  • Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator, will present "Controlling woody invasive plants" on the DNR stage on Sunday, August 24 at 11 a.m.

  • Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist, will discuss "Invasive insects in Minnesota: Are they in your yard and garden?" on Sunday, August 24, at 1 p.m.

  • Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will discuss "Honey bees, beekeeping and research" on the DNR stage on August 24 at 5 p.m.

  • Master Naturalists will be available each day in the wildlife wing to answer questions about wildlife in Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio

  • Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist, will appear on MPR's Daily Circuit Thursday, August 28, at 11 a.m. MPR broadcasts from the corner of Judson and Nelson. Mark will also appear on tpt's Almanac, being taped there at noon on August 22.

For a complete schedule and map of University events that will be taking place at the fair, see U at the State Fair.

Catherine Dehdashti
Communications & Public Relations Manager

This year, Extension will host the annual program conference in Bloomington, October 6-8. The conference brings together more than 300 Extension faculty, educators and program staff for three days of networking and professional development. This year's conference features two keynote speakers, more than 30 breakout sessions and center-specific gatherings.

The deadline to register is September 12. You also are encouraged to present a poster and a lightning talk at the conference. More information can be found on the program conference website.

During the conference, Dean Bev Durgan will present the annual dean's awards for outstanding contributions by Extension faculty and staff. Associate deans and department heads are encouraged to submit nominations by September 15.

Ying Iverson
Professional and Organizational Development Director

Moodle upgrade and open clinics

A new version of Moodle will be launching this fall. Moodle 2.6 will feature a "cleaner" look with improved functionality for mobile devices. Existing Moodle 2.2 or 2.4 sites will need to upgrade to the new version this fall. Contact Alison Link for more information and to come up with a transition plan.

Also, training sessions are available for faculty and staff who want to learn about starting a Moodle site or spiff up an existing Moodle site. Join an end-of-summer Moodle Open Clinic to help you set up a site, give it some structure, and add activities and resources!  Drop by in person or join online:

  • Wednesday, August 27, 1:30-4 p.m., STSS 114
  • Thursday, August 28, 1:30-4 p.m.Coffman Union Rooms 324, 325 and 326

Alison Link
Academic Technologist

University Wellness program deadline

The deadline to earn your Wellness Program points to secure a $300 or $400 reduction of your 2015 medical program rates is August 31.

UPlan members with single coverage or dependent children coverage need to earn the full 300 points to save $300 on their 2015 yearly insurance premium while members claiming a spouse or family coverage need to earn the full 400 points to save $400 on their 2015 premiums. View your current Wellness Points balance by accessing your personal profile on the StayWell Online website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Nearly 230 photos were submitted in the first Extension photo contest, "My Flowers Rock," which invited Minnesotans to enter their favorite photographs of flowers and pollinators. More on the contest, including the winners and a link to an album featuring the honorable mention entries, is available online. All entries are published on Extension's Facebook page.

Congratulations to Extension food science educator Suzanne Driessen, whose entry topped the employee division (photo shown).

Allison Sandve
Media & Public Relations Manager

This September, take advantage of two Extension webinars that will hone your H-index and cultural agility skills:

Understanding your H-index, and locating journals for publication
September 3, 10-11 a.m. Kristen Mastel, Extension's outreach & instruction librarian, will teach participants how to compute an individual's H-index using Web of Science and Google Scholar and how to find a journal's impact factor. Learn how these numbers are tabulated to better understand what they tell you about your impact and journal publishing.
Register for "Understanding your H-Index"

Introduction to EOAA (Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action) toolkit
September 11, 1-2 p.m. Kimberly Hewitt, director, and Tina Marisam, associate to the director, both in the U of M Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, will provide practical tools for supervisors and staff to identify, prevent and respond to potential discrimination, harassment, retaliation and nepotism. Participants are required to view pre-recorded modules before attending the webinar.
Register for "Introduction to EOAA Toolkit"

Ying Iverson
Professional and Organizational Development Director

Last week, Extension Reconsidered was a featured part of the Rural Design Conference in Crookston. Plenary speakers set the stage for an afternoon design thinking session, with Eric Giordano of the University of Wisconsin providing an update on Extension Reconsidered in other states; U of M Associate Vice President, Andy Furco, considering the future of Extension in the context of an increasingly engaged university; and Jeff Gorfine, a longtime Southeast Minnesota community advocate and former Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships board member, urging the audience to keep the land-grant mission and citizens' needs at the center of Extension's work.

The afternoon breakout session, facilitated by Design Thinking @ College of Design, addressed the challenges: What is the purpose of Extension? What is the promise of Extension? How might we design U of M Extension to deliver on that purpose and promise in the next 100 years? Five teams of participants took on three themes, "University," "Community" and "National-Global Context," using design thinking methods and prototyping the results in a three-dimensional model. The work will be documented and shared in early November as part of the final Minnesota report. For questions, or suggestions, please contact Dan Gilchrist.

Dan Gilchrist
Assistant Statewide Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

Pam Hartley, an Extension Master Gardener in Ramsey County, has created a new endowment fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation to support educational programming for the statewide Master Gardener volunteer program. In addition, she has included this endowment fund as part of her estate planning. We thank Pam for her dedication to, and vision for, the program.

Pam has served as a dedicated Master Gardener for nearly two decades, in Anoka County before Ramsey County. She continues very actively volunteering to educate residents in sustainable gardening practices.

Over her years as a Master Gardener, Pam taught both adults and children and helped to create a Veteran's Peace garden that is used for teaching. Pam has enjoyed volunteering at information booths, farmers markets, diagnostic clinics, the state fair and answering phone inquiries. She's honored to act as a mentor to interns and has served in many leadership roles, including both the state and county advisory boards, organizing horticultural days, and co-chairing a regional Master Gardener conference.

We are grateful to Pam for her generous commitment and investment in the future of the Master Gardener program!

Jane Johnson
Development Director
&
Tim Kenny
State Director, Extension Master Gardener Program

This 60-minute copyright session will NOT give you all the answers to copyright issues that arise in teaching at the University. It will, however, give you several options for course materials that are 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it, free of copyright issues. We'll talk about solid solutions for both face-to-face and online instruction. The session will also emphasize connections with University resources for more in-depth copyright learning, getting permissions, making good use of Moodle and more.

The workshop is being offered twice. Register online for either session:

Kristen Mastel
Extension Librarian

During the summer months, Extension's government relations staff are out and about meeting with Minnesota's congressional office staff. The meetings are an opportunity to get to know the state legislative directors as well as the agriculture legislative assistants. The state meetings are a follow-up to the April legislative visits in Washington D.C. for the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD).  Extension educators who participated in PILD will also join us in legislative visits over the next few weeks: Katherine Brandt, food safety educator, Neil Linscheid, community vitality educator; Ellie McCann, family relations educator; Dave Nicolai, crops educator; and Amanda Sommers, Blue Earth County 4-H program coordinator.

As a reminder, if you meet with a current legislator or a staffer, please complete the legislative database form for our records. Contact Sarah Greening or Gwen Gmeinder if you have any questions.                                      

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
&
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

To support our cross-disciplinary efforts in key issue areas, we are seeking grant proposals for projects that advance Extension's work in the following issue areas:

  • Promoting youth educational success
  • Food systems

Successful proposals will add value/impact and contribute to Extension's cross-center collaboration and external partnerships. They may be carried out by diverse teams from across Extension and include other University and external partners. 

This effort is designed to increase external visibility and demonstrates Extension's comparative advantage to address these complex issues.  Projects must advance Extension's contribution to research, education and value/impact through applied research-based educational programming.

An Extension educator, specialist or faculty member with an Extension appointment must serve as one of the project leaders. Non-Extension personnel are encouraged to work jointly with Extension staff and may serve as co-project leaders.

Deadline for proposals is August 15 and more information is available on the intranet.

Bev Durgan
Dean

Enter the first-ever University of Minnesota Extension Facebook Flower Photo Contest, featuring a special category for shots of pollinators and bee-friendly plants. The contest runs through Aug. 8 and more information is available on Extension's Facebook.

The contest is designed to provide a showcase for Minnesota's garden enthusiasts and build our following on social media, where we regularly share the value that Extension employees deliver to Minnesota. 

Be sure to cast your votes for your favorite images; simply click on the photo and hit "vote." Although Extension employees and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes, they are eligible to submit photos. The top employee photo will be featured on Extension's website and Facebook page.


Allison Sandve
News Media and Public Relations Manager

Learn about the latest neuroscience research and how brain-based principles can improve online communications at the August topic webinar, "Communicating with the brain in mind: Part II". Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean and director of communications and public relations, will present from 10 to 11 a.m., Aug. 14.

Extension webinars are monthly and offer faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics. For more information, visit the Professional Development section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Make a positive impression with your audiences by using professionally branded, designed and printed Extension materials. Extension folders and notecards are available to order from the University Bookstore. The folders help package materials for meetings and presentations, clearly identifying Extension's value. Notecards are useful for personal and memorable connections to follow-up on a meeting, send a thank-you, or provide a quick program update.

These items are available through the University Bookstores:

  • Notecards/invitations (pkg of 25), $16.00
  • Pocket folder (pkg of 25), now $13.00!

For information on how to produce new promotional items, visit the Promotional Items & Clothing section of the Extension intranet.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Awareness of Extension brand and visibility continues to grow as staff use the Extension brand templates and resources. These materials have been available for the last two years, with new items created and added based on demand.

One of the most common requests has been for specific templates available in Publisher. Based on that feedback, the following items have been created, tested and are now available in Publisher files: general Extension brochure templates and postcard templates, and 4-H brochures and postcards. Use the built-in fonts and colors for text and text boxes by selecting "Styles" from the toolbar then choosing the text style you need. Other notes have been added to the document to provide guidance on how to use the template.

Please use the file formats available; do not recreate templates in a different file format. We will continue to monitor the need for additional items to be converted to Publisher files. For questions, or to provide feedback on Extension's brand resources, send an email to epromo@umn.edu.

In coming months, several updates will be added to Extension's brand resources, including revised brand pages on the intranet, co-branding guidelines and additional template downloads.  

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Register and get ready for an inspiring, energetic discussion on how Extension can address the grand challenges of the 21st century at a plenary session for Extension Reconsidered. This event is part of the Rural Design Conference July 30 and 31 in Crookston. The plenary on Thursday, July 31, will set the stage for a subsequent Extension Reconsidered design thinking breakout session and will include voices representing the national, University and community perspectives. Kathryn Draeger, statewide director of the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, will moderate the panel of Eric Giordano, director, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, Wausau; Andrew Furco, associate vice president for public engagement, University of Minnesota; and Jeff Gorfine, a longtime southeast Minnesota community advocate.

Kathy Draeger
Statewide Program Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

Congratulations to our Extension educators who were honored by Extension professional organizations, including Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP), Minnesota Association of Extension Agricultural Professionals (MAEAP), National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA), and National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS).

The award recipients include:

David Bau
, Extension educator in agricultural business management: MAEAP/NACAA, first place - state and regional finalist, learning module/notebook, "2013 What is a Fair and Profitable Rental Agreement Master Handbook;" second place, state, publication, "2014 Farm Resource Guide'" third place, state, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "2014 Winter Crops Days: Outlook for Corn, Soybeans and Rent"


Debra Botzek Linn, Extension educator in food science: NEAFCS, Second place, central region and third place, national winner: Community Partnership Award / Continued Excellence honor

Kathy Brandt, Suzanne Driessen, Extension educators in food science: NEAFCS food safety award, first place, central region and second place, national (along with Suzanne Driessen and Katherine Waters)

Angela Gupta, Extension educator in natural resource management and utilization: ANREP, Early Career Leadership Award

Emily Wilmes, Extension educator in agricultural production systems: MAEAP/NACAA, first place, state, audio recordings, "Fly Management for Dairy Cows"

Andrea Lorek Strauss, Extension educator, fish, wildlife and conservation education: ANREP, honorable mention, "Engaging Natural Resource Volunteers: From Education to Action" poster

Julie Miedtke, Extension educator in natural resource management and utilization: ANREP, Long Publication Silver Award, "Minnesota Harvester Handbook," with David Wilsey

David Nicolai, Extension educator in crops: MAEAP/NACAA: first place, state and regional finalist, video recording, "Herbicide Spray Drift"

Jill Sackett, Extension educator in crop production systems: MAEAP/NACAA, first place, state and regional finalist, program promotional piece, "Fall Cover Crop Field Day Flyer;" first place, state and regional finalist, fact sheet, "Prevented Plant Cover Crop Options"

Eli Sagor, program manager and Extension specialist, sustainable forests education coop: ANREP Long Publication Bronze Award for the "Growing your Peer Learning Network: Tools and Tips for the Women Owning Woodlands Network" (with four colleagues from other states)

Chuck Schwartau, regional director, southeast: MAEAP/NACAA, first place, state plus regional and national finalist, "How Healthy is the Employment Situation on Your Farm?" feature story; second place, state, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "Would You Work for Yourself;" second place, state, program promotional piece, "Dairy Systems That Work - Summer Field Day;" first place, state and regional finalist, personal column, "It's Still Up To You To Get It Done" and "What Keeps Employees"

Liz Stahl, Extension educator in crops: MAEAP/NACAA, first place, state plus regional and national finalist, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "Pesticide Resistance in Crop Production;" first place, state and regional finalist, publication, "Control Volunteer Corn for Yield Protection and Corn Rootworm Management"

Summer is a good time to meet with your local legislators. For example, if you are at the county fair, you may see an incumbent or a candidate running for a seat in your district. In its basic form, advocacy is a commitment to engage and educate. Check out ways to be an advocate and suggestions for delivering a powerful advocacy message on the government relations section of the intranet.

As a reminder, if you do meet with a current legislator or a staffer, please complete the legislative database form for our records. Contact Sarah Greening or Gwen Gmeinder if you have any questions.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

With high levels of seasonal activity in Extension, summer is a great time to revisit social media practices.

Check out the new, updated social media guide on the intranet to help you improve and grow your social media presence. The guide summarizes key information about social media and offers the latest research into effective practices.

Highlights include:  

  • Best practices on using Facebook and Twitter to maximize visibility.
  • Tools such as URL shorteners can help measure engagement.
  • Editorial calendars allow you to focus your message and build upon goals.

The new site also reinforces legal and copyright requirements and provides FAQs, photography resources and more. For additional information about social media and to determine if it fits into your program marketing plan, contact Allison Sandve.

Allison Sandve
News Media and Public Relations Manager

Extension Qualtrics theme

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Extension now has a Qualtrics theme that all faculty and staff can use for online surveys. This new theme includes Extension's wordmark, colors and fonts consistent with the other branding templates and resources. You can apply the Extension template from the survey editing screen in any Qualtrics survey. Just click "Look & Feel," then click the theme name (default "University of Minnesota") under the Block M thumbnail image in the the upper left-hand corner. Select "UMN Extension" and you're all set!

Qualtrics user group mailing list
To keep up-to-date on campus-wide Qualtrics announcements, join the Qualtrics Google Group.  This group will act as a listserv for Qualtrics-related tips and announcements.

Qualtrics advanced features
The University is also considering adding some more advanced features to Qualtrics, including offline surveys, file uploads, SalesForce integration and Qualtrics 360. Indicate your interest in these features by filling out the feature request survey.

Alison Link
Academic Technologist

Last week, more than 50 photos were added to the online image gallery, including several photos in the following categories: weed science; gardening; youth science and activities; and livestock.  More photos will be added in the coming weeks for tourism, community, customer service, local foods and small farms.

Photos will continue to be added to the image gallery throughout the year 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 epromo@umn.edu.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Extension Reconsidered's centerpiece event in Minnesota will be July 30-31 in Crookston, as part of the Rural Design Conference. Design thinking techniques will be utilized to look at the history, and 21st century possibilities, for Extension. Register for the event online.

Participants and non-participants alike may be interested in these "thought pieces" from Choices magazine that organizers are reading: "Extension Reconsidered," an article by Scott Peters, who initiated the national Extension Reconsidered conversation, and "Using Rural Innovation Principles for University Renaissance," which explores using design thinking to address "wicked problems" in our society.

Kathy Draeger
Statewide Program Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

The University of Minnesota Libraries announced earlier this year that they will no longer offer the UThink blog system after December 2014. Extension currently has about 30 program, center and central blogs using that system.

Extension Communications and IT staff are working with the communications staff from each of the four Extension centers and RSDP to identify options for teams who are currently using the UThink blog system. 

Extension's web staff will contact blog owners this summer to review the options and develop plans for moving blog content. Our goal is to ensure that all Extension blogs have an Extension-supported solution in place before the UThink blog system retires on December 31.

Tom Stanoch, Extension Web Designer and Manager
Aimee Viniard-Weideman, Assistant Dean and Communications Director 

There is a new business process for confirming identity of our new hires (including temporary/casual and student hires) in Greater Minnesota. Required by federal law, the I-9 form is a tool that helps verify citizenship of new employees hired by the University of Minnesota and that they are authorized to work in the United States.

Section 2 of the I-9 needs to be completed by a supervisor or (if it is logistically difficult to meet with a supervisor before starting work) a notary public can validate the employee's identity. Sometimes a notary public is hesitant to complete this process due to the sensitive nature of the I-9 form. Extension Human Resources has updated this process to make it easier for a notary public to validate the employee's identity. Instead of requesting the notary public to stamp and sign the original I-9 form, he/she is asked to make a copy of the acceptable documents and sign and stamp the copy. 

For full details about this process, visit the Human Resources Hiring section of the intranet. For questions on this revised process, please contact Extension's payroll specialist Lucy Lu at 612-624-3030 or Nancee Easter at 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

To ensure that you are making the most of Google Scholar for your literature searching, make sure you have your Scholar preferences setup for the U Libraries. These directions will illustrate how to locate the full text of an article, along with search string strategies.

A short 5-minute video shows you how to setup your Google Scholar library links. If you prefer images and text, read the text instructions.

If you ever need assistance with a literature search or background research, contact Kristen Mastel.

Kristen Mastel
Extension Librarian

Members of the Twin Cities metropolitan area in conjunction with the University of Minnesota are convening the "What Went Wrong?" conference July 11-12, dedicated to understanding and enhancing community-engaged research practices. Often we learn just as much (if not more) from our failures as our successes. Yet, we are rarely given intellectual settings to discuss, learn and grow from our failures. By highlighting the missteps and misalignments that can hamper potentially powerful community/university partnerships, the goal is to provide a participatory space for community members and University researchers committed to deep community engagement to gain clarity about their work.

The conference will take place in multiple sites in the Minneapolis Cedar Riverside neighborhood and the University of Minnesota's West Bank Campus. For more information and to register, visit the event website.

Diana Martenson
Organization and Program Development Specialist

The centerpiece of Minnesota's Extension Reconsidered (ER MN) initiative will be held as part of the July 30-31 Rural Design Conference "Thriving by Design II" at the Crookston campus. There will be two ER MN events within the conference: first, a morning plenary session and panel discussion about Extension Reconsidered (11 - 11:50 a.m.); and second, a Design Thinking workshop (12:30 - 4 pm) focused on creating a future of choice for Extension in service of Minnesota communities. Themes that emerged at the May 21 ER MN kick-off session and input from the ER MN statewide team will inform the July 31 event.

Extension staff may attend as their position and professional development allows, and should register for the July 30-31 Rural Design Conference; select the Extension Reconsidered track. Community members with an interest in Extension are also encouraged to attend this conference.

Kathy Draeger
Statewide Program Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

Last fall, the University conducted a University-wide employee survey studying two primary factors that help define an engaged employee: commitment and dedication; and effective work environment.

University-wide results were shared with the University community in an email from President Kaler on February 12. Extension's results were shared with the Extension community in a webinar with Dean Durgan on May 21. You can also find resources on the intranet, along with a web form to submit questions and ideas.

Over the next few months, each of the Extension centers, RSDP, field operations and the Dean's office will review their results and identify 1-2 actions steps based on the survey results. We will report on those later this fall.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean and Communications Director
and
Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Important due dates for submitting financial transactions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 must be followed to help minimize last-minute problems. Respecting these deadlines will provide adequate time for appropriate review, approval and processing of transactions, and will reduce the risk of improperly posted documents due to system delays, unavailable approvers, unforeseeable errors or other problems.

In brief, Fiscal Year 2014 deadlines are:

  • June 20, 4:30 p.m. - All vouchers (PO and Non-PO related)
  • June 20, 4:30 p.m. - Expense/travel reimbursements
  • June 23, 4:00 p.m. - Requisitions/purchase orders
    If needed, there are "Special year-end emergency purchasing procedures"
  • June 24, noon - A/R billing (customer maintenance requests) - establish customers
  • June 26, 4:30 p.m. - A/R billing (customer profile exists) - create invoices
  • June 30, noon - Purchasing card (PCARD) reconciliation & deposits

Additional deadline information has been sent to all Extension staff who routinely prepare financial documents for accounting transactions. Refer to the University of Minnesota Fiscal Year 2014 Closing Procedures for the most complete and updated information.  

For questions regarding these deadlines, contact Extension Finance and Planning staff.

Madonna Monette
Finance Director

Over the past year, staff from the Extension technology office in St. Paul have been touring Extension Regional Offices as part of their initiative to connect technology more closely with the specific needs of staff throughout the state. They have been documenting their travels on the Extension QuickBytes blog with detailed trip reports, photos and videos.  

In April, Amy Baker, chief technology officer, visited the Extension Regional Office in Worthington. Learn about her adventures by reading the most recent QuickBytes entry: Field Report: Worthington Regional Office. You can subscribe to receive Extension QuickBytes by email, or find this and all past QuickBytes posts by visiting the QuickBytes section on the Extension intranet.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

As the 2014 election season kicks off, the Extension Government Relations website will post periodic updates on legislative issues.

Please review the U of M political guidelines and share them with staff in your office. These guidelines spell out how to engage politically while adhering to University and legal standards. The University encourages its students, faculty and staff to civically engage and vote; however, it is important to remember that federal and state laws prohibit the use of University resources to support specific candidates, ballot initiatives or referenda. University of Minnesota political engagement policies reflect these legal regulations.

Please contact Sarah Greening or Gwen Gmeinder if you have any questions or concerns.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs is inviting proposals for the fall 2014 semester for its Community-Based Research Programs: the Kris Nelson Community-Based Program and the Community Assistantship Program. Please share this information with community organizations you believe could benefit from a research assistant.

The Kris Nelson program works with groups in the seven-county metro area and the Community Assistantship program works with groups in greater Minnesota. Students are paid by the programs for the assistantships, and are typically placed in part-time research assistantships for one semester or over the summer. Students are selected by, and report to, the community organization, and the organization also defines and directs their research projects.

Proposals are due June 30; apply today. Approved projects will run from August 25, 2014 to January 7, 2015.

Diana Martenson
Organization and Program Development Specialist

Staff conference wrap-up

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In May, nearly 180 Extension civil service and bargaining unit staff from across the state met in Bemidji and Mankato for the annual staff conference. The conferences provided a great opportunity for staff to focus on professional development and organizational networking. Photos and videos from the conferences are now available on the intranet.

Next year's staff conference will return to the Twin Cities area in early May 2015. Stay tuned to Extension enews and the intranet for more information.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

On June 11, 10-11 a.m., Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean and director of communications and public relations, will present: "Communicating with the brain in mind: Presentations that make a difference." Learn about the latest neuroscience research and how brain-based principles can greatly improve the impact of your presentations.  

On June 19, 1-2 p.m., Extension will host "Introduction to the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) toolkit," presented by Kimberly Hewitt, director, and Tina Marisam, associate to the director, from the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. During this highly interactive workshop, participants will practice identifying inappropriate behaviors in hypothetical scenarios and explore effective strategies for responding to complaints from supervisees, co-workers, and volunteers.

Extension webinars are held every month and offer Extension faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. For more information, visit the Professional Development section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Over the past couple of weeks, more than 50 staff photos have been added to the online image gallery, including photos taken at both staff conference events in May (retakes have replaced previous photos). High resolution versions of these photos are available for download from the gallery. Extension Communications will continue to offer opportunities throughout the year for Extension staff to have their staff photos taken or retaken at staff conference, program conference and other large staff gatherings.

For questions or comments about the image gallery, contact Sarah Bjorkman.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

The latest issue of the Extension retiree newsletter has information on upcoming summer events for retirees, stories about the 100-year anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, the 4-H Golf Classic event, the Mary J. Page Community University Partnership Fund, and the Center for Small Towns Symposium.

The retiree newsletter is distributed three times a year in summer/fall, winter and spring. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

May 21 webinar: Employee engagement with Dean Durgan

On May 21, 2-3 pm Dean Bev Durgan will present "Extension Employee Engagement Survey results and discussion."  All Extension faculty and staff are welcome to attend via UMConnect or in Coffey Hall, Room 401 (for those on campus). This webinar will focus on reviewing Extension's survey results, identifying actions and next steps, and discussing how we can all contribute to an engaged workplace.

May 29 webinar: Creating a welcoming workplace


On May 29, 2-3 p.m. Stef Wilencheck and Jason Jackson from the University's GLBTA Programs Office, will present "Overview of GLBTQ identities & communities." This webinar will provide participants introductory knowledge of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, and discuss how to create a more open and welcoming workplace. Registration is required.


Ying Iverson 
Director, Professional Development

Many of you have seen and shared the video Extending knowledge, improving lives, which highlights Extension's impacts in Minnesota and the federal Smith-Lever Centennial. Thank you for sharing Extension's story with partners, friends of Extension, your social media followers and your own personal network.

In addition to being available on Extension's YouTube channel, the video is now also available as a file download on the intranet. You can download the file directly to your laptop computer or a flashdrive for those times when you do not have an internet connection.

Be sure to subscribe to Extension's YouTube channel and visit it regularly to see videos added to our many playlists.

Catherine Dehdashti
Communications & Public Relations Manager

2014-15 EFCC officers

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The Extension Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC) recently elected new officers for the 2014-15 year to form the executive committee. Congratulations to:

Chair-- Denise Trudeau-Poskas
Vice-chair--Jennifer Skuza
Secretary--Neil Linscheid
Executive members at-large - Susanne Hinrichs, Debra Botzek-Linn
Past Chair (ex-officio)--Thomas Halbach

EFCC's role is to regularly consult with the Dean on strategic planning, policy and major changes, as well as to provide input into the allocation of Extension resources. Such consultation provides feedback on issues and/or policy changes early in the development process and before they are implemented. EFCC is one of the first significant sources of internal advice that the Dean seeks during the policy planning and development process. By using this process, Extension administration gets timely, quality advice and greater organization-wide engagement on critical issues.

Thomas Halbach
Past Chair, EFCC
Professor and Extension Educator
Department of Soil Water and Climate

Extension's water resources team was a key player in the "State of Water: Minnesotans Protecting Our Lakes and Rivers" conference held May 1-2. The conference was attended by about 330 citizens, natural resource professionals, and local leaders, coming together to learn more about the science of water resources and their roles within their watersheds and communities. Learning opportunities included sessions, hands-on activities, and discussions on aquatic invasive species, restoration of aquatic habitat, watersheds, civic governance, groundwater and nutrient management and runoff.  

Karen Terry and Eleanor Burkett, Extension educators in water resources, and Elaine Hardy, support staff in the Extension Regional Office in Brainerd, took the lead in conference program development, organization, and evaluation, and led a collaborative conference planning team that included representatives from Conservation Minnesota, Freshwater Society, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. Other Extension staff and faculty presented numerous sessions in the topic areas. The conference will be held every other year, returning in 2016. Conference materials and photos will be posted on the Water Resources website later in May.

Karen Terry
Extension Educator, Water Resources

Dear Colleagues,

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, the federal act that established the Cooperative Extension Service, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and land-grant universities to extend research-based knowledge through outreach education. University of Minnesota was ahead of the curve, establishing Extension in 1909, five years before the 1914 federal act which established a state-by-state national network to improve the lives of families, youth, farmers, communities and businesses. There will be several celebrations in Washington DC next week.

We had an opportunity to celebrate this week in Minnesota with Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Dr. Ramaswamy was in Minnesota to speak at an international conference on food and science. He then spent two days learning more about University of Minnesota research, education and Extension. Extension faculty and staff in northeast Minnesota hosted him at the Cloquet Forestry Center yesterday. Dr. Ramaswamy and I were both very impressed in hearing about the research and extension programs that are making a significant difference in Minnesota and the world.

This week we also launched a new video about Extension in Minnesota as we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act. Extending knowledge, changing lives is about 3 minutes, making it quick and easy to share with our partners, donors and other stakeholders. More information about the Smith-Lever anniversary is available on the Cooperative Extension website.

In addition, you can join in the celebrations through social media, which 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. On May 8 only, be sure to attach #CE100 to your tweets. For questions, contact Allison Sandve.

Bev Durgan
Dean
This year, Extension will hold its annual program conference on October 6-8 in Bloomington. Please mark your calendars for this important event that draws around 350 Extension faculty and program staff from across the state.

The program conference planning committee needs your help in making this year's event a success. Please take a few minutes now to contribute your ideas on conference sessions and events by completing the conference interest survey (sent to you under separate email from Qualtrics last week) by Friday, May 9. When completing the survey, dig deep and think about sessions that are most relevant to your position, that push you to explore different or better ways of working, or provide inspiration and a fresh outlook.

Over the next two weeks, more than 200 Extension civil service and bargaining unit staff will meet for staff conference in two locations: Bemidji and Mankato. This provides an important opportunity for Extension staff from across the state to come together to build professional skills, share their perspectives and experiences, and work together to advance the mission of Extension in Minnesota.

Ying Iverson 
Director, Professional Development
On May 7, 10-11 a.m., Extension will host "Interdisciplinary Research Resources," a webinar presented by Kristen Mastel, outreach and instruction librarian. During the webinar, Kristen will discuss four resources--Google Scholar, MNCAT Discovery, Web of Science and Scopus--and how each offers unique ways of retrieving and analyzing academic research. Registration is required.

On May 29, 2-3 p.m. Stef Wilencheck and Jason Jackson from the University's GLBTA Programs Office, will present "Overview of GLBTQ Identities & Communities." This webinar will focus on providing participants introductory knowledge of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation and how to create a more open and welcoming workplace. Registration is required.

Extension webinars are held every month and offer Extension faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. To access webinar recordings and to view information about upcoming topic webinars, visit the Professional Development section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

Extension Reconsidered

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In 2014, National Cooperative Extension System is celebrating the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which created the national system for Extension. As part of this celebration, 13 land-grant universities,  including this one, will engage in a project called "Extension Reconsidered." The project provides an opportunity to engage people in reflecting on and envisioning Cooperative Extension's role and relevance in higher education across the U.S.

In Minnesota, we will be holding conversations in a variety of settings, including Program Conference, the next Extension Citizens Advisory Committee meeting and other meetings of Extension stakeholders. In addition, an event will be held on July 31 at U of M Crookston as part of the Rural Design conference.  

All Extension faculty and staff can also participate in this initiative by contributing pictures, photos, or other images of Extension that are meaningful to you and that epitomize the spirit of Extension. We will compile and share these images at the events and in our reports. Please send images and descriptions to Kathy Draeger. You can also visit the national Extension Reconsidered website for more information.

Kathy Draeger
Statewide Program Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
The dean's office is preparing a list of awards received by all Extension faculty and staff from September 2013 through August 2014. If you have received an award within that timeframe, please submit your award through the Extension intranet or send the following award information to the support person in your center/unit to add to the collective database:

  • Type of award (individual or team) 
  • Award recipient name (individual awards only) 
  • Team name (team awards only)
  • Names of each team member (team award only)
  • Center/unit
  • Title of award
  • Organization awarded by
  • Type of award (state, national, etc)
  • Date award was received
  • Location of award
Center and unit support staff contacts are: Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen, Community Vitality; Shelly Tschida, Dean's Office; Sue Allard, Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Julia Gladhill, Family Development and Children, Youth & Family Consortium; Sandy Rand, Youth Development. The submission deadline is September 1, so please continue to submit awards as you receive them.

Shelly Tschida
Executive Assistant to the Dean
The Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund has been established to provide support to University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP). The Page family and RSDP invite all Extension faculty and staff to a kick-off event for the fund on Wednesday, May 21, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the University's Cargill Building, 1500 Gortner Avenue St. Paul.

Mary J. Page (1934-2013) was a voice for rural Minnesota. As a commissioner for Renville County, mayor of Olivia, a U of M Regent, and in many other leadership roles throughout the state, she carried the concerns of Greater Minnesota with her always.

Mary helped to create and then served on the founding board of the West Central RSDP from 1999-2007, and gave vision and leadership to RSDP until 2009. Mary provided foundational ideals that formed the citizen-driven aspects of RSDP and left a lasting imprint on this Extension program.

It is in honor of Mary's commitment to rural communities and RSDP that this endowment has been created, beginning with a founding gift and a matching gift from members of the Page family, which will leverage additional donations. Donors can give online, or contact Jane Johnson to learn more.

Kathy Draeger
Statewide Program Director
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
and 
Jane Johnson
Development Director
Extension faculty and staff who hold a joint position with a University of Minnesota college or department and those who are taking courses at the University, may experience difficulty logging on to the homepage of the Extension intranet. This issue happens because Extension and all other University colleges and departments are using the same software for faculty, staff and student myU portal views. Most often, when you login to a portal page, you will be automatically routed to your college or student pages instead of the Extension page.  If you do not see the Extension intranet after you log on, click on the "Change Views" link at the top left of the portal page (below the myU logo), and select "EXT (Extension View)."

For questions, contact Extension IT at 612-624-6700.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager
Dianne Davis-Kenning was presented the 2014 Partners in Hope Award from Heartland Community Action Agency. Dianne received the award for her dedication to the individuals and families that she works with in providing direct education to children and parents through the Simply Good Eating curriculum and community meetings and classes.

The 2015 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 16, 2014 and will appear on paychecks received on July 9.

Faculty and P&A
The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by center associate deans and administrative unit directors who will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process. This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process. Promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

Civil service
Extension civil service employees are not currently in a merit system, so the increase for this group is distributed across the board at 2.5 percent. Next year, this group of employees will be in a merit system.

Bargaining unit
AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information is available in these respective contracts. Each unit typically negotiates a slightly different salary increase agreement.

For more information, visit the 2015 fiscal year compensation plan website, or contactDeb Page with questions.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Can you show a movie in class? Can you distribute copies of a newspaper article? What are you allowed to post on your Moodle site, anyway? What about your students' or participants' work and online postings? This workshop, "Copyright in the Classroom (and online)," held on April 21 from 1 to 3 p.m., will provide answers to these questions. Learn how the U of M Libraries can help you with electronic reserves and links to subscription materials.

This session meets online via UMConnect. Special preference is given to registrants from University campuses and offices outside of the Twin Cities.
 

Kristen Mastel
Outreach & Instruction Librarian

Due to changes to the University's Symantec AntiVirus contract, Extension Technology will be installing new antivirus software, EndPoint Protection, on all computers managed by Extension. This installation will be automatic and unobtrusive, and will push to computers between May 5 and May 30. After installation, you will have a new icon at the bottom of your screen. 


Users who will not be logged in to the University network (i.e. Active Directory) between May 5-30 will need to contact Extension IT to make special arrangements for installing the new software. For questions, please contact the Extension Tech Service Desk at extserv@umn.edu.
 

Billie Wilson
IT System Administrator

Do your email banners tend to look a little fuzzy when you insert them into a mass email software? Some users have experienced this issue when uploading banner files to Constant Contact, an online email marketing tool available to Extension program teams. If this is happening to you, chances are you need to use a different file type for the image. If you are currently using a .jpg file, switch to using a .gif version (and vice versa).  

Both of these file types, along with information about how to access Extension's Constant Contact account, guidance on how to create electronic newsletters and requirements for mass email can be found on the Email Banners section of the intranet.

For questions, contact your center communications manager or send an email to epromo@umn.edu.
 

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Kristen Mastel, outreach & instruction librarian, will present the May Extension webinar "Exploring Interdisciplinary Research Resources" on May 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. Learn the differences between Google Scholar, MNCAT Discovery, Web of Science, and Scopus and how each of these resources offers unique ways to retrieve and analyze academic research. Explore their broad subject coverage to do effective interdisciplinary research. Pre-registration through ULearn 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 "What to expect when writing promotion narratives" (March 27), "Advancing access for everyone: Introduction to disability and disability service" (April 10), and Facilitating Educational Discussions and Group Meetings Part I & Part II (April 2 & 9).
 

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

Email phishing scam threat

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The University is responding to the global "Heartbleed Bug," a serious vulnerability affecting information protected under normal conditions. There is an increase in phishing scams based on this event; therefore, it is recommended that you do not click on links in notification emails that advise you to change your password. To change a password, directly type the URL or use a bookmark you've previously saved. For more information, see Phishing scams targeting the U.

Published in University Brief
April 16, 2014 issue

The Center for Community Vitality is a collaborating partner for the 2014 Center for Small Towns Symposium, held June 4-5 at the U of M Morris. This event has a long tradition of helping rural Minnesota consider its opportunities and issues. The focus this year is "Understanding rural migration: Myths, trends and opportunities." Speakers will present research that unpacks migration trends, flows, and economic impacts, and will also explore practical strategies to recruitment and retention of residents in rural Minnesota.

Ben Winchester, Extension research fellow, is the symposium's keynote speaker, presenting his research about rural Minnesota migration. Ben's research goes beyond the overall trends, examining specific data that, for example, monitored the trend of 30-49 year olds moving into rural places.  

Extension faculty and staff, partners, stakeholders and others who are concerned about the future of rural Minnesota are invited to attend. For more information and to register,visit the event website.
 

Joyce Hoelting
Assistant Director, Center for Community Vitality

In celebration of National Tourism Week, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center is hosting a poster session and light lunch on Wednesday, May 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the St. Paul Campus Student Center, Minnesota Commons Room. We invite you to join us to see the depth and breadth of the tourism resources at the University. All Extension faculty and staff are welcome to attend the event. Please RSVP to Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen at tourism@umn.edu by April 30.
 

Ingrid Schneider
Tourism Center Director

Karen Oberhauser, professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Extension specialist, received a 2014 Wings Across the Americas Conservation Award in the communities in conservation category. For more than 20 years, Karen and the graduate students and staff members at the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab have served to link academic research with community outreach programs associated with monarch conservation. The migration is being threatened by habitat loss throughout the butterfly's range.

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
and
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 on‐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
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 epromo@umn.edu.

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

This year, Extension will host the annual staff conference in two separate locations: May 6 in Bemidji at the Sanford Center, and May 14 in Mankato at the Verizon Center. These two locations were chosen to make it easier for staff to attend by reducing travel and out-of-
office time.

Extension's staff conference brings together more than 200 Extension civil service and bargaining unit staff to learn new skills and interact with colleagues from across the state. I encourage all of the following staff groups to attend this important event: clerical/technical, civil service, nutrition educators, 4-H program coordinators, Master Gardener coordinators, community program specialists, community program assistants and county support staff. Additional conference details and registration will be available in March.

During the staff conference, I will present the annual awards for campus and field-based support staff, program staff and nutrition educator. Supervisors and colleagues are encouraged to nominate staff for these awards. Please submit your nominations by April 18.

Next year, the staff conference will be held in one location in the Twin Cities area. The plan is to alternate every other year between one Twin Cities location and two Greater Minnesota locations; we will monitor feedback about this change very closely over the next couple years to determine if this plan will work.

Bev Durgan
Dean

The Spring 2014 issue of Source magazine is hot off the press and en route to campus, regional and county offices. Source is also available online and many of the stories will be featured on both the Extension and the University home pages, as well as shared through social media, in person, and via email over the next few months.

In 2014, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service nationwide. 

The Smith-Lever Extension vision is alive and well in Minnesota today. This issue of Source highlights stories of Extension's impact in our ever-changing world:

  1. Extension's 4-H youth program stimulates kids' interest in science, creating the next generation of scientists needed in the 21st century. Meet two 4-H alumni studying at the University of Minnesota.
  2. Investments in agricultural research continue to pay back, helping agricultural producers make informed decisions that benefit both farm businesses and the environment.
  3. Rural communities receive much-needed access to Extension research and education, helping them prepare for the challenges and opportunities of changing economies, demographics and technologies.

Other stories highlight how volunteers help us expand our reach, how Parents ForeverTM helps divorcing parents keep kids first, Minnesota's wine economics, and what you can do to help declining bee populations.

Please feel free to use the printer-friendly 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 questions about Source magazine, contact Aimee Viniard-Weideman or Catherine Dehdashti.

Bev Durgan
Dean

In partnership with three state agencies and two non-profit organizations, Extension's Water Resources team is playing a big role in organizing the "2014 State of Water Conference: Minnesotans Protecting Our Lakes and Rivers," May 1-2 at Cragun's Resort, Brainerd.

Minnesotans depend on--and affect--our precious water resources through decisions we make every day. This conference is an opportunity for lake association members, lake and riverfront property owners, local leaders, and all concerned citizens to learn the latest information about current water issues to become better stewards of our water resources. The conference provides a robust agenda with over 70 presenters delivering 35 breakout session topics and four in-depth, half-day workshops.
 
Registration is now open; early bird registration ends March 21. The number of attendees is limited, so sign up early and share this info with others in your circle! To register or learn more, visit the event Facebook page and the conference website. Contact Karen Terry with questions.
 

Karen Terry
Extension Educator, Water Resources

Check out the latest issue of the Extension retiree newsletter. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue announces the two summer retiree lunch events with the Dean, highlights the Smith-Lever anniversary and discusses ways that Minnesota 4-H builds STEM leaders.

The retiree newsletter is distributed three times a year in summer/fall, winter and spring. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is hosting the inaugural International Conference on One Medicine One Science (iCOMOS) April 27-30 at the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis. This conference is a global forum for discussing the issues at the interface of animals, humans and the environment, and features Nobel Laureate Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, USDA Under Secretary Catherine Woteki, NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy, PepsiCo Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Mehmood Khan, Merck Vaccines VP and Chief Public Health Officer Mark Feinberg, and Chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern.

To register and for more information, visit the event website.

Nicole Kast
Director, Veterinary Continuing Education
College of Veterinary Medicine

A new 2 ½-minute video about 4-H STEM puts a spotlight on young people who are getting excited about science through 4-H. Jobs in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are growing three times faster than other industries, but only 5 percent of U.S. students get their undergraduate degree in science and engineering. This video shows that hands-on experiences in 4-H STEM set Minnesota youth on a path to continued learning in college and careers.

Visit Extension's YouTube channel for more videos.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager

The Minnesota legislature reconvenes on February 25. The University of Minnesota's focus in this session is the 2014 Capital Request. There are six projects that constitute the University's request and represent important steps in teaching, learning and research.

What can you do? Please reach out and let your legislator know the importance of these six projects. Keep in mind that Extension Government Relations has an Advocacy Toolkitdesigned to serve administrators, educators and staff with tools on general advocacy and how to advocate for Extension with your elected representatives. Legislators listen to their constituents, so take the time to refine your message about how Extension benefits your community and the state of Minnesota.

Important reminder: If you have been invited to testify at a legislative hearing, you need approval. Send the following information to Sarah Greening: committee, agenda topic, date and time. Extension tracks all legislative meetings in a database. If you meet with legislators or staffers, please complete this form.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
&
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

The March Extension topic webinar, Tips and tools for e-learning and online course development, will be presented by Alison Link, academic technologist, on March 5, 10-11 a.m.

Alison will discuss theories that are emerging in the field of online learning and look at examples of tools and formats participants may find valuable in their own teaching and outreach. The discussion will focus on the fact that e-learning is not different from "learning"--the online medium just helps us re-discover things that are important across all learning spaces. In addition, Alison will explore some steps that participants can take to pursue outreach online, in person or a mix of both. To register and learn more, visit the professional development section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

Proudly show your support of Minnesota's military kids during April's month of the military child! One way you can show your support and thank our military kids for their strength and sacrifices for our country is to wear purple on Tuesday, April 15, for Purple Up Day (or every day in April!). To make it easy, Operation: Military Kids is selling "Recognize Military Youth" t-shirts this month.  Place your order by February 28.

If you have any questions, contact Amber Greeley. Thanks for supporting our military kids!

Amber Greeley
Minnesota OMK Program Specialist & 4-H Military Liaison

All University P&A staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not they have any outside consulting to report. If you have not yet filed a REPA, please complete it as soon as possible.

You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website. For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.


Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Several professional development opportunities are scheduled in February to increase awareness and understanding of important Extension initiatives and topics. The following sessions will be held live via UMConnect webinar; registration is required:
  

Promotion-related

Cultural agility

As always, the webinar recordings for these sessions will be available on the intranet after the session date. Recordings for all past webinars are available on the Professional Development section of the Extension intranet. The most recent webinars include "Overview of Extension promotion" (Jan. 29), and "Extension development" (Feb. 5).

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2014. Beginning January 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business will decrease from 56.5 cents to 56 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses will decrease from 24 cents to 23.5 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2013, but reimbursed in 2014, should be reimbursed using the 2013 mileage rates. The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM1612) and the Moving/Relocation Expense Documentation Form (UM 1357) have been updated to reflect the changes to the mileage rates. These forms can be found on the Extension Finance intranet site as well.

For more information, read the Traveling on University Business policy, or contact staff in Extension Finance and Planning.

Madonna Monette
Finance Director

This week Extension introduced new county web pages on our Extension website. We are building the county pages in phases, starting first with program pages for 4-H and local educators. Later this spring, after the initial launch, we will work with regional directors and other program areas to introduce additional program content onto the county pages. 

Over the next five weeks, county and regional support staff, local educators and 4-H program coordinators are participating in regional trainings.

More information, including additional training materials and resources, will be available on the intranet later this month.  NOTE: The search function is still being refined. When you enter information into the search box, wait a few seconds for the info to load, and then choose from the dropdown options.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean and Communications Director

As Minnesota's land-grant university, we have a critical role to play in discussions about water resources management--as a source of objective research and education, as well as a neutral convener of stakeholders and citizens.


With that in mind, we're launching a new national search for a director of the Water Resources Center (WRC) and we'll be working with stakeholders to refine and clarify the center's mission and vision. Over the next few weeks, Interim CFANS Dean Brian Buhr and I will begin talking with stakeholders on issues related to water, agriculture and natural resources. These stakeholders will represent the University, government agencies, legislators, commodity groups and industry. Our goal is to develop a common purpose and vision for the WRC and to use that vision to identify a scholar and leader who can move our shared water agenda forward.


You'll be hearing more about the stakeholder discussions and the search for a new leader in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas and opinions.


Bev Durgan
Dean


Starting in January 2014, the Extension Topic Webinar Series will move from bi-monthly to monthly, covering topics of interest to all staff.  


The next webinar, "Libraries' makeover: Get a sneak peek of our new website and search interface," will be presented by Kristen Mastel, outreach and instruction librarian, on January 8, 10-11 a.m. via UMConnect or in-person at Coffey Hall, Room 401. Learn how to navigate the new Libraries website efficiently and effectively in your program area. MNCAT Discover features a "blended search" interface that will allow you to search the overwhelming majority of articles and other materials currently licensed by the Libraries, including books and other holdings. In addition, participants will view MNCAT Discovery's filter capability that offers more than Google Scholar.  


The February topic webinar, held on February 5, will feature Jane Johnson and Cara Miller who will present information about "Extension Development." All 2014 topic webinar dates and information can be found on the Program Resources section of the Extension intranet.


These webinars are open to all employees. Registration is required via ULearn, the University's learning management system. For additional questions, contact Ying Iverson.


Ying Iverson

Director, Professional Development


The University's annual primary data center maintenance outage is scheduled for 6 a.m. Saturday, January 4, 2014. Restoration will begin at 6 a.m. Sunday, January 5, and we expect all affected services to be restored by noon.

The outage is required in order to perform necessary maintenance, testing and repairs to facility infrastructure. This process involves a complete shutdown of the main data center, resulting in a temporary interruption to IT services. Many services will be unavailable during this period, most notably our websites and shared drives. Gmail is expected to remain functional but at degraded capacity.

During the service interruption period, updates will be available on the University's system status pageas well as social media outlets: Twitter @UMN_IT and the University of Minnesota Information Technology Facebook page.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff. For the December 16-29 pay cycle, supervisors must submit timesheets by Friday, December 27.

Turning in timesheets on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

For questions, contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu, (612) 624-3030, or Nancee Easter, (612) 625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

A webinar recording is now available for the December 12 Extension webinar, "Introduction to the Public Value of Extension Programming," presented by Laura Kalambokidis, state economist & Extension economist. In this webinar, Laura discussed how to understand and demonstrate the public value of Extension programs.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Last week, Extension staff received an email with a link to the 2013 performance evaluation.  Staff can also access the evaluation form directly through ULearn. A link to the form, along with instructions on how to use the online system can be found on the Human Resources section of the intranet. Self-reviews must be completed by January 24, 2014.

This year, Extension is using a new online tool to complete evaluations. Although the tool is different, the content of the self-review is the same as it has been in previous years. Two webinar sessions were scheduled to address user questions. The first webinar was held on December 2; the second session has been rescheduled to Friday, January 3, 9-10 a.m.

Following are answers to some commonly asked questions from the December 2 webinar:

  • Managers cannot see the review until the staff member has completed the self-review.
  • Stakeholder or peer input will need to be managed outside the online system this year.
  • We are currently not using the Development Plan function in ULearn.
  • Goals cannot be saved to work on later, but any edits or changes that are made will be submitted to the supervisor for approval. Staff are encouraged to write out their goals/professional plan of work (if applicable) in advance on a Word document, then copy and paste it into the online text box once they are ready to submit.

Listen to the full webinar recording for more Q&A. Please direct additional questions about the performance review to your supervisor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Before creating your educational or promotional video, check out the new video tips, resources and policies available on the Extension intranet.

There you will also find editable graphics, such as a title slides, copyright/closing slide, name and url banners, for use in all Extension videos. They are available in PhotoShop (for professionally produced video) and in editable PowerPoint slides (for easy do-it-yourself videos). Instructions for the PhotoShop files are on the video graphics web page, and instructions for PowerPoint graphics are in the notes section of the PowerPoint file.

View this recent Master Gardener video for an example of a good quality and well-branded video.

Catherine Dehdashti
Public Relations Manager
and
Alison Link
Academic Technologist

Have you ever tried searching for photos, music and videos on the internet but have trouble understanding the different licensing terms to know if and how you can use them?  In part one of a two-part Quick Bytes series, Extension IT decodes one commonly used licensing term: "Creative Commons (CC)." Creative Commons is a media licensing attribute that allows content creators to choose how their work can be shared and used.  

When using photos in Extension educational and program marketing materials, the image gallery will fill many needs, and Extension holds copyright of all of the images in the gallery.  However, when using photos for PowerPoint slide decks, as b-roll for videos and in other situations, you may need to search for and use images from the internet, and those are the times you need to understand licensing restrictions. To learn more about using images and other media covered by Creative Commons licenses, read the December 1 Technology Quick Byte.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

Are you the social media administrator for your program or area within Extension? Basic items must be incorporated into all Extension social media sites. Take time now to be sure your social media accounts include the following:

  • Facebook pages must include the following statements in the About section: ©2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
  • Social media icons must meet visual identity standards established for Extension.  Request an icon by filling out the social media start-up form.  (view examples: Extension social media icon; 4-H social media icon)
  • Include "University of Minnesota Extension" or "UMN Extension" in your profile name (Ex: UMN Extension Carver County 4-H)
For more information about policies, best practices and more, visit the social media section of the intranet. This section will be updated over the next few months to reflect the latest in best practices, practical use and measurement. Stay tuned to future issues of enews for more information. Questions about social media can be directed to Allison Sandve.

Allison Sandve
News Media Manager

As temperatures outside drop, it's important to remember to avoid leaving your laptop outside for too long. 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 System Administrator

Over the past couple weeks, more than 50 staff photos have been added to the online image gallery, including photos taken at program conference and at a staff development day in Andover. High resolution versions of these photos are available for download from the gallery. Extension Communications will continue to offer opportunities throughout the year for Extension staff to have their staff photos taken or retaken, namely at staff conference, program conference and other large staff gatherings.

For questions or comments about the image gallery, send an email to epromo@umn.edu.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Next week Extension staff will receive an email with a link to the 2013 performance evaluation form. As indicated in the November 7 issue of enews, Extension will use a new standardized online tool to complete performance evaluations this year. The job performance criteria on which staff will be evaluated will not change; however, the performance evaluation rating is changing to a five-point scale.

Instructions and training on how to use the online system can be found on the HR section of the intranet. For additional assistance, two webinars have been scheduled to address user questions: December 2, 9 a.m., and December 11, 1:30 p.m. Join the webinars through UMConnect.

Staff self-evaluations and draft professional plans of work (applicable to Extension educators, regional directors, 4-H program coordinators and others based on supervisor request) are due to supervisors by January 24, 2014. Supervisors will explain the evaluation process, schedule a meeting to finalize the evaluation and answer staff questions along the way. The deadline for supervisors to complete staff reviews is March 31, 2014.  

Please direct questions to your supervisor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff. Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, December 13 (for pay cycle: 12/2/2013 - 12/15/2013)
  • Friday, December 27 (for pay cycle: 12/16/2013 - 12/29/2013)

Turning in timesheets on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

If you have any questions about payroll processes and deadlines, please contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

University Libraries offers BrowZine an application that allows you to browse, read and monitor some of the library's best journals on your devices, including the Android and Kindle tablets. Items found in BrowZine can easily be synced with Zotero, Dropbox or several other services to help keep all of your information together in one place.

To get started, search for "BrowZine" in your app store and download the app for free; when initially launching BrowZine, select University of Minnesota from the drop-down list. This service will continue to expand and add new titles and features.

If you have any questions please visit the BrowZine website.

Kristen Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

The Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP) Portal Team has an early rough draft of the new U-wide portal planned for launch in late 2014. The portal will be a website that simplifies your online experience at the U by bringing together the tools and resources you need in one place, including HRSS, EFS, myU, the login portions of One Stop, notifications and reporting. As part of the iterative design process, the portal team is requesting staff to preview the draft design and offer feedback that will help guide future design drafts. Visit the Portal Project website to log in, explore and give your feedback.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Extension Technology has a number of commonly used items available for check-out for Extension-related work. We have video kits, laptops, projectors, chromebooks, an iPad 2 and more available for check-out for up to 2 weeks. Why buy something you may only need a few times? You can borrow these items by contacting the IT service desk. If you are located off campus, we can't mail the items, but we are happy to help you find a ride for them! More information on this service is available on the intranet.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer

Starting January 1, 2014, the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener program will partner with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Tim Kenny will be the new state Master Gardener director. He has 20 years of experience developing new and innovative programs in the education department at the Arboretum. Julie Weisenhorn will move to a full-time position in Extension as an educator in consumer horticulture. Her work will concentrate on education for Master Gardeners and on developing new curriculum for home gardeners. Forming this stronger partnership with the Landscape Arboretum will be the source of great potential for consumer horticulture education and will mean a bright future for the Master Gardener program.

Mike Schmitt
Associate Dean, Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

More than 300 Extension faculty and staff from across the state participated in Extension's program conference in Duluth for professional development and organizational networking. Many sessions materials are now available for download on the Extension intranet.  

As part of the Step-It-Up Challenge, there are three grand prize winners based on their total step counts: Paulo Pagliari, nutrient management specialist, crops; Sarah Schieck, Extension educator, livestock; and Julie Sievert, Extension educator, ag production systems. They will each receive a copy of Voyageur Skies by Extension's Don Breneman and Mark Seeley.

The program conference survey is open until November 14. Please complete the survey. Your feedback will be used in planning next year's conference!

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Sick of your Moodle sites getting lost in "the University crowd?" Extension now has our very own theme you can apply to your Moodle sites! The theme helps provide a consistent experience for learners in Extension's online outreach, and is available for all sites in Moodle 2.4 and beyond. Visit the Extension intranet for more information about how to apply the Extension theme to your Moodle sites.

Not a Moodle user yet? Log in and request a site to try it out! Visit the University's Moodle website, look for the "Help" box, and click on the link to "Request a site." From there, create a "Development/non-academic course site" and select "U of M Extension" as your category. You'll receive an email confirmation within 48 hours saying your site is up and running and ready for you to get started.

Alison Link
Academic Technologist

Extension leadership and civic engagement educators are recruiting participants to participate in a dynamic leadership education experience--the U-Lead Advisory Academy. The program blends six online learning experiences with five educational sessions held across Minnesota and a five-day national study tour to Washington, D.C. to examine skills, attitudes and opportunities for leadership.

Up to 30 participants will be selected to form a diverse cohort of participants who will learn together from January, 2013 through the end of October 2014. This cohort is a non-traditional learning experience with sessions that employ peer-to-peer teaching, experiential learning opportunities, site visits, varied hours and application of current research. Participants will be challenged to stretch their leadership thinking and practices.

Eligible participants include Extension volunteers aged 18 and older (Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, shoreland volunteers, health and nutrition partners  and 4-H volunteers), County Extension Committee members, Citizen Advisory Committee members, county commissioners, administrators and auditors, Regional Sustainable Partnership advisory members and partners, and Extension collaborators within the University of Minnesota. 

Online registration has been extended to November 18. Registration information, and more information about the program, can be found on the Extension Advisory Academy website.

Denise Stromme
Extension Educator, Leadership and Civic Engagement

Give to the Max Day, Minnesota's annual giving extravaganza, is coming up on November 14. It's a day when our state's generosity shines, and Extension will be a part of the effort. Giving opportunities include Extension Annual Fund, Minnesota 4-H Foundation, Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, Cooking Matters, Leadership Program Scholarship Fund, Tourism Center, and Monarch Butterfly Conservation and Education. You can make a gift or just help promote giving to Extension by sharing a link with your friends on Facebook or Twitter through the giveMN.org website.

This grassroots giving effort will help us expand the base of private support for Extension, increasing our capacity to make a difference. If you have questions about Give to the Max, or about giving during any time of the year, contact Jane Johnson, Development Director for Extension at (612) 626-3717 or johns350@umn.edu or Cara Miller, Executive Director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation at (612) 624-8132 or cmmiller@umn.edu.

To learn more about how gifts to Extension research and education can make a difference in Minnesota, visit the Donate to Extension website.

Jane Johnson
Development Director

This year, the University is offering two ways for staff to reduce the cost of their UPlan medical program coverage.

1: Wellness Program for 2014 (savings of $300-400 annual premium reduction)
Similarly to 2013, you have the opportunity to earn points toward a premium reduction from October 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014 on your annual medical premiums for 2015. For more information visit the Wellness Plan website.

2: Medical Cost Relief Program for 2014 (savings of $100-500, paid as a medical cost credit)
This grant is prorated and payable over 26 pay periods as a medical cost credit beginning with the first full pay period of 2014. Employees qualify for the program based on their tier of UPlan Medical coverage and their household income from the 2012 federal tax form. The application deadline for the program is December 17, 2013. Applications received after the deadline cannot be processed. Eligibility and acceptance for past medical relief programs do not automatically qualify an employee for this new program. To apply, visit the Medical Cost Relief Program website.

Deb Page
Assistant Human Resources Director

The Extension Technology team is inviting submissions for e-learning projects including videos, lecture capture, Moodle modules, podcasts, e-Books creation and more. Selected projects will receive support including up to 75 hours with an academic technologist, assistance in choosing the best learning technology for your audience, and help with instructional design and production.


The Extension e-learning project process provides a pipeline for a broad range of e-learning and technology proposals to be prioritized by leadership and supported in their development by Extension Technology. The proposal deadline is December 1. Visit the Extension intranet to learn more about e-learning support and proposal requirements.

Amy Baker
Chief Technology Officer


Over the last decade, University of Minnesota Extension's website has been considered one of the leading Extension websites in the country. However, it contained outdated information, eight different designs, inconsistent branding, and many presentations and reports that were not turned into web-friendly materials. By 2013, we were no longer the best of what Extension can offer. That's why Extension made it a priority in 2013 to update all content on the Extension website.

Thanks to the work of web staff from all Extension centers and the Dean's office, our website is shrinking from more than 31,000 web pages to less than 10,000. We launched a new home page with dynamic, changing features. We installed software and processes to monitor and fix broken links. All web pages are in the process of being recreated in one consistent, mobile-friendly design. And, by the end of 2013, we will launch new county web pages (see related article).

These changes ensure that our website meets basic standards that users expect:

  • Content is current
  • Information is presented in formats that are appropriate for the web
  • Consistent navigation and branding on every part of the website

In 2014, we will continue to work with Extension centers and program teams to assign all website pages to a program or administrative "owner" who will make sure they are current, relevant and being used by the intended audiences.

Also in 2014, the University will begin implementing an enterprise-wide content management system (CMS). A CMS makes it easier to manage the content after it has been organized and clearly assigned to "owners." We are currently working to build the new county pages in a CMS system as part of our pilot process before rebuilding the entire website in the CMS system over the next two years.

If you have questions or comments about the Extension website project, please feel free to contact any member of the Extension web governance team: Amy Baker, chief technology officer; Dick Senese, senior associate dean; Tom Stanoch, web coordinator and designer; Danny Sussman, director of application development; and Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean for communications and public relations.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

Extension's county web pages are long, long overdue for a redesign, which is now happening as a final stage of the 2013 website clean-up project (see related article.)

In December, Extension will launch new county web pages using the University's new content management system (CMS.) This will be a pilot for Extension as we learn about the CMS before moving our entire website into that system.

The new county pages will make it easier for staff to enter information and for our county-based audiences to find it. We will implement the new county pages in stages, focusing first on the information from 4-H and local educators that's on the current county websites. Once that has been successfully launched in early 2014, we will be able to include additional county-focused information and resources on these web pages.

County-based staff will receive specific information about the project early next week, including a request to audit current materials on the county websites.

If you have questions about the new county web pages, please contact project leaders Danny Sussman, director of application development, or Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean for communications and public relations.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

An employee engagement survey was sent to benefits-eligible faculty and staff via email on Monday, October 14. Completion of the survey will help Extension and the University of Minnesota continue to improve our work environment.

Complete the Employee Engagement (E2) Survey by November 1. Results will be shared in early 2014 and will guide action plans developed by campus leaders.

People with multiple appointments will complete one survey based on their experience in their primary appointment. Language is included in the survey to clarify this. Graduate and undergraduate student employees and county employed staff will not be surveyed.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Extension faculty and staff who hold a joint position with a University college or department and/or who are taking a U of M course(s), may have difficulty logging on to the homepage of the Extension intranet. This issue happens because Extension and all other University colleges and departments are using the same myU University software for faculty, staff and student portal views. Most often, when you log in to a portal page, you will be automatically routed to your college or student pages instead of the Extension page. If you do not see the Extension intranet after you log on, click on the "Change Views" link at the top left of the portal page (below the myU logo), and select "EXT (Extension View)."

For questions, contact Extension IT at (612) 624-6700.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

A webinar recording is now available for the October 3 Extension webinar, "Something that you may not know", presented by Amy Baker, chief technology officer; Madonna Monette, finance director; and Kristen Mastel, outreach and instruction librarian. In this webinar, the presenters provided information about the IT, Finance and Library units and helpful services for new and existing employees.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

A PowerPoint slide presentation, created earlier this year to communicate key messages about Extension, has recently been expanded and updated. Extension staff can pick and choose slides to use as needed. The PowerPoint slides are available, with other marketing materials, on the Extension Facts & Messagingpage of the Intranet. The slides feature examples of Extension education, research and impact on important issues; funding information; graphic representations of Extension's educational model; a map of our statewide presence; and more.

Other marketing materials include a four-page brochure, a one-page fact sheet, displays and Source magazine.

As Extension competes for funding, participant registration and donations, it is important to represent Extension consistently so our audiences understand our unique strengths and contributions. These organizational marketing tools and the customizable educational and marketing templates will strengthen and unite Extension's presence and impact across the state.

Please contact Catherine Dehdashti with your ideas for additional organizational marketing resources and materials.

Catherine Dehdashti
Communications and Public Relations Manager

Next week, more than 300 Extension faculty and educators will gather in Duluth at the Extension Program Conference for three days of networking and professional development.

Our Extension conferences, including Youth and U, Nutrition Education Conference, and Staff Day, all provide valuable opportunities to learn about the research and education, emerging issues, and initiatives that are happening in Extension. They are an important investment for our statewide organization.

Bev Durgan
Dean

The University's academic staff employee assistance counselor has recently retired.  For employees seeking assistance, contact The Sand Creek Group, the University's employee assistance provider, at 612-625-2820 or 800-632-7643, or eap@umn.edu. This employee assistance program is available to all academic professionals, faculty and staff. Alternatively, employees may seek mental health services from their respective health plan provider. For information about your coverage, visit the Office of Human Resources Medical Benefits website or call 4-UOHR (612-624-8647).

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The U of M Libraries pays for subscriptions to many online journals and databases for staff and faculty. Accessing these databases while on-campus is relatively seamless because online publishers recognize the University's IP address and can connect that to our subscription. However, it is not as seamless a process when off-campus because access must be routed through the U of M Libraries' proxy server.  

In the past, users would need to manually enter a prefix URL to do this; now it is easier by using the University's proxy bookmarklet--a button that can be saved to the bookmarks toolbar in your internet browser. When you're on a web page that you'd like to redirect through the Libraries' proxy server, clicking the button will automatically reload the web page with the Libraries access. To download the bookmarklet and read more, visit the University Libraries website.

Kristen Mastel
Outreach and Instruction Librarian

All Extension faculty and staff are invited to attend Community Day, a celebration of University/community partnerships, at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) from 2 to 7 p.m., Thursday, October 17 at UROC, 2001 Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis.  

Learn about UROC's latest research projects and its lasting commitment to public accountability and transparency. Enjoy refreshments, live music, tours, displays and demonstrations. Extension staff in health and nutrition, family resource management, and 4-H youth development will have displays, presentations and information available for interested community members. Special guests include University President Eric Kaler, Provost Karen Hanson, newly appointed Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert, and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Danita Brown Young.

The event is free and open to the public. Visit the UROC website for details.

Kim Boyce
Regional Director, Central

Mike Schmitt, associate dean, Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS) has temporarily assumed additional responsibilities in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) starting August 26. His role in Extension will not change, and he will continue to move forward on EFANS priorities.

In August, Brian Buhr assumed the role of interim dean following the retirement of Dean Al Levine and the associate dean for research announced his retirement. During the interim, CFANS will not immediately reappoint an associate dean for research. Instead, members of the CFANS administrative team will share these responsibilities. Mike will assume interim responsibility for CFANS research and grants management, and serve as interim deputy director for the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES).

Also this week, Provost Hanson announced that the University will appoint a task force to examine the potential creation of a new college that would integrate faculty and staff principally from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and the College of Biological Sciences (CBS). The retirement of CFANS Dean Al Levine and the recently announced retirement of CBS Dean Robert Elde provides an opportune time for U leaders to consider the possibility of a college of agriculture, environmental, and life sciences. Provost Hanson will share information about the process for input in the coming weeks.

Bev Durgan
Dean

News stories from the Minnesota State Fair shined the light on the growth and development 4-H'ers gain through their wide array of projects. The stories are available on our "In the News"page. Also, we share many stories via our University of Minnesota Extension Facebook page.  Highlights included a visual essay from Minnesota Public Radio on a Chisago County 4-H'er whose collaboration with a farm family enables her to show a winter yearling at the fair. 4-H'ers also were embedded as reporters for hometown news media; their stories included a look at the 4-H Hilton in the Chanhassen Villager. 4-H Ambassadors capped the Fair with Dean Durgan joining two ambassadors for an interview with John Hines on WCCO-AM.

Allison Sandve
Public Relations News Media Manager

The Department of Family Social Science is pleased to announce its inaugural Family Social Science Cornerstone Symposium, "Upholding the well-being of families in a changing world," to be held on Sept. 27. This year's symposium will honor Jean Bauer, an Extension specialist and family social science professor who passed away in 2012. Elizabeth Dolan, University of New Hampshire professor emeritus will present on Bauer's extensive body of research and the legacy she left behind, focusing on family policy and the economic well-being of families and communities. This event is aimed at family-serving professionals and students of family social science, but all are welcome to attend. 2 p.m. presentation, 105 Cargill Hall with reception to follow at 3 p.m. Please RSVP with your name and email address.

Mary Jo Katras
Extension Educator & Associate Professor
Building Healthy and Strong Families

Now it is easier to make Extension more visible at your programs and meetings and when you communicate with key stakeholders. Extension folders and notecards are now available to order from the University Bookstore. Imprinted with the Extension wordmark and website address, these items are available at wholesale prices to Extension staff:

  • Notecards/invitations (pkg of 25), $16.00
  • Pocket folder (pkg of 25), $19.00

When choosing promotional items that fit your project and budget, it is important to consider your target audience, the purpose of your project or event, and the impression you'd like to make. 

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

On August 15, Extension hosted a webinar, "Communicating Extension's Value," presented by Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean and director of communications and public relations. During the webinar, Aimee provided an overview of the Extension communications team and its roles within the organization. She discussed the importance of communications for Extension and its programming, such as branding, media relations, etc.  To access the recording of this webinar, visit the Extension Topic Webinar section of the intranet.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

Be part of the inaugural Celebrate Ag & Food Day, Saturday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. as Gopher Football hosts Western Illinois. Join Extension friends, college alumni and agricultural leaders for the game at the TCF Bank Stadium to celebrate and show your support for Minnesota agricultural and food industries. Don't forget to show your support by wearing Extension clothing.   

Extension is partnering with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and others on this special opportunity. Extension staff and friends can order tickets at a special rate of $15 (select the button under "CFANSWESTERNILLINOIS2013FB"). Tickets must be purchased by September 13 to be a part of this group.

Jane Johnson
Development Director

To learn more about the University and Extension and how each person's role fits in this vast organization, new employees attend a series of orientation sessions that consist of in-person University training on the Twin Cities campus as well as an online "Welcome to Extension" webinar.

During the University orientation, new employees learn about important policies and procedures and gain important information regarding the benefits offered at the University. The next University orientation is scheduled for October 16, 2013.

All Extension staff are invited to attend the upcoming "Welcome to Extension" webinar on August 23, 10-11 a.m. This session aims to welcome new employees and support them in their first few months in Extension, and also serves as a refresher to existing employees about organizational and operational processes. Staff can attend in-person on the Twin Cities campus (401 Coffey Hall) or join online via UMConnect.

More information about these sessions and details on how to register are located on the Human Resource section of the Extension intranet. For additional questions, please contact Ying Iverson at iversony@umn.edu or 612-626-3565.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

The University has been closely monitoring the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), California's Proposition 8, and the Minnesota Marriage Equality law so we can modify our UPlan offerings and policies accordingly.

As of today, August 1, 2013, Minnesota recognizes same-sex civil marriages entered into in Minnesota and other states and countries. As a result, University employees living in Minnesota and the 13 other states where same-sex marriage is legal are able to extend benefits coverage to same-sex spouses and their dependents under the age of 26, with proof of marriage.

Coverage for same-sex spouses includes:

  • A same-sex spouse and/or the children of the same-sex spouse can be covered by the employee's medical and dental coverage;
  • Eligible expenses of the employee's same-sex spouse and/or the same-sex spouse's children will be eligible for reimbursement under the employee's FSA account;
  • Employees can enroll for an FSA or increase contributions if already enrolled; and
  • Employees can enroll their same-sex spouse on Spouse Life and their same-sex spouse's children on Child Life.

Visit the Human Resources section of the intranet for detailed instructions on how to enroll, eligibility dates and information about additional changes.

If you have any questions about your benefits, call 612-624-8647 (in the Twin Cities) or call 800-756-2363 (in Greater Minnesota) and ask for Benefits. You can also send questions via email to benefits@umn.edu.

Leslee Mason
Director, Human Resources

Looking for a professional way to display the work of Extension at an event, conference or fair? Extension display boards are now available for use and can be requested through each Extension Regional Office or Center. These professionally designed and printed display boards adhere to Velcro tri-fold tabletop displays and come in a set of three 21" x 42" panels that showcase Extension's education model, impactful photos and a Minnesota map indicating Extension's presence across the state. Two smaller panels--one that includes the Extension wordmark, and one of the 4-H clover paired with the Extension wordmark--are also available. To enhance your display, pair it with an Extension tablecloth and a retractable banner, also available from your Regional Office or Center.

Other tools that can be used to communicate the value of Extension programs and services include the Extension brochure, Extension fact sheet, a PowerPoint featuring Extension's key messages and Source magazine. More information about these items, including thumbnail design samples, can be found on the Extension Facts & Messaging page of the Extension intranet.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

On July 23, Extension hosted a topic webinar, "Building Collaboration with Extension Programming", by Dick Senese, senior associate dean. During the webinar, Dick led a discussion of different types of collaboration and ways of building effective partnerships. To access the recording of this webinar, visit the Extension Topic Webinar section of the intranet.

Extension webinars will be held every other month and offer Extension faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. The next webinar will be held on August 15; Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean and director of communications and public relations, will facilitate a discussion about "Communication among and beyond Extension."

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

Brian Buhr, head of the Department of Applied Economics for the past five years, has been named interim dean of CFANS and will begin his new role at the end of August. Buhr, 50, is an Iowa native who has been part of the applied economics faculty since 1992 and head of applied economics and agricultural education in the college since 2008. Allen Levine, dean of the college since its inception in 2006, is returning to research and working with the Provost on special initiatives.

Bev Durgan
Dean

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex. Numerous benefits are affected by the Supreme Court's decision, and OPM is working swiftly to provide answers to a broader range of questions and issues.  

For now, OPM has addressed specific employee benefits that may be of particular interest including: health insurance (FEHB), life insurance (FEGLI), long-term care insurance (FLTCIP) and retirement. Visit the Human Resources section of the intranet for specific information, including eligibility dates and enrollment deadlines.

Additional guidance regarding these and U of M benefits, such as dental insurance and flexible spending accounts, will be coming soon. In the meantime, questions regarding the effect of the Supreme Court's DOMA decision on federal employee and annuitant federal benefits should be directed to OPM through Kathy Murphy, Extension federal benefits coordinator, or Leslee Mason, Extension HR director.

Extension retirees with federal benefits will receive this information separately from OPM and Extension Human Resources; however, please feel free to share this information.

Leslee Mason
Director, Human Resources
and
Kathy Murphy
Federal Benefits Coordinator

All Extension staff are invited to attend the upcoming Extension webinar, "Building Collaboration with Extension Programming," facilitated by Dick Senese, senior associate dean. Extension faculty, staff and programs often work in partnership with community-based organizations,  government agencies, schools, business, the University, and Extension centers to achieve outcomes and impacts through education and research programs. This webinar offers a chance to reflect on these internal and external partnerships. Participants will discuss tips for building effective community-university partnerships, types of collaborative relationships and skills required for success.  

The webinar will be held on July 23, 10-11 a.m., online via UMConnect or in-person at Room 401 Coffey Hall. For more information and to register, visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

The University has launched U Market, the University of Minnesota's new e-commerce, supply-purchasing website with everything from beakers to pens and chemicals to paper.

U Market will replace the University's current U Stores and U Mart websites, while featuring a host of new suppliers. It will offer the best in online shopping, including product images, descriptions and item comparisons. Most importantly, U Market will be your best method for saving time and saving money while you shop for University-related supplies.

Please visit the U Market website as well as training materials that include information on how to create an account and route a shopping cart to your system preparer. Please continue to follow your internal protocol for purchases.

Contact Extension Finance & Planning should you have further questions.

Madonna Monette
Extension Finance Director

Two new poster templates are available to download from the Communications section of the Extension intranet. These posters are available as PowerPoint documents, measure 44.5" x 42" and are offered with a gold or white background. You can insert content and photos to customize these posters for events, presentations or general marketing efforts.

These posters meet the specific size requirements of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and Crop Science Society of America.

Please send suggestions, questions or comments about any of the educational and program marketing templates and resources available to epromo@umn.edu.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Does your unit have an active collaboration site(s) on myU? These user-created web sites are often owned by Extension centers and programs teams and are used for sharing documents and other information. They have typically been set up for search committees, program teams and other work groups.

In November 2014, the myU system will be transitioning to a new Enterprise Portal system. We want to make sure that users with active myU collaboration sites are able to transition to another system and access their stored information or documents after the switch to the new Enterprise Portal. If you currently have a myU collaboration site, please fill out the myU Google Doc info form by July 5. Within the next couple months, Extension Communications and IT will be in touch with account owners to discuss next steps.

Contact Sarah Bjorkman with questions.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Supervisors are encouraged to submit articles to Extension enews introducing new employees as well as saying goodbye to employees leaving Extension. Please use the Extension enews article templates on the Extension intranet to guide your writing. And, please consult with the employee and obtain approval before submitting.

Sarah Bjorkman
Internal Communications & Brand Manager

Extension is among the state's top three leaders in building access to healthy foods, according to newly released ranking of more than 80 Minnesota organizations involved in nutritional programming. A panel of 99 experts and researchers in non-profit administration, nutrition programming and policy convened by Philanthropedia, a leading advocate of transparency among nonprofits, cited Extension's "Simply Good Eating," "Cooking Matters," and "Farm to School" education as examples of effective programs and partnerships.  Read the full news release.


Extension Economist Laura Kalambokidis will assume duties as Minnesota state economist in August. She'll replace Extension colleague Tom Stinson, who has held the post since 1987. The state economist's responsibilities include preparation of a twice-yearly state revenue forecast. The forecast is used by the Legislature and governor for budgeting, planning and tracking, as well as for bond rating agencies and others that assess the state's overall financial health. Read the full news release.

Important due dates for submitting financial transactions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 must be followed to help minimize last-minute problems. Respecting these deadlines will provide adequate time for appropriate review, approval and processing of transactions, and will reduce the risk of improperly posted documents due to system delays, unavailable approvers, unforeseeable errors or other problems.

In brief, Fiscal Year 2013 deadlines are:

  • June 19, 4:30 p.m. - All Vouchers (PO and Non-PO related)
  • June 20, 4:30 p.m. - Expense/Travel Reimbursements
  • June 21, noon - Requisitions/Purchase Orders
  • June 25 - A/R Billing (customer maintenance requests) - establish customers
  • June 27, noon - A/R Billing (customer profile exists) - create invoices
  • June 28, noon - Purchasing Card (PCARD) reconciliation & deposits

Additional deadlines have been sent to all Extension staff who routinely prepare financial documents for accounting transactions. More information can be found by reading the complete University of Minnesota FY 2013 closing procedures. For questions regarding these deadlines, contact your accounting representative or Extension Finance and Planning.

Madonna Monette
Finance Director

Allen S. Levine, dean of the U of M College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), announced this week his plans to step down at the end of August from his position as dean of the college and director of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. He will return to the faculty and assume new academic responsibilities.

An interim dean and director will be named soon; a nationwide search for the permanent position will be launched later this summer.

Levine, 63, has been dean of CFANS since the college was created via a merger of two colleges and a department in 2006. He is a professor in the departments of food science and nutrition, psychiatry, surgery, and medicine, and is a member of the graduate faculties in nutrition, food science and neuroscience.

Becky Beyers
CFANS Communications Director

Materials from many sessions that were offered at the 2013 Extension Staff Conference are available online. Slides and/or handouts from the sessions have been posted. Photos that were taken at the event are also online for viewing. Visit the staff conference website on the Extension intranet to access the available conference materials.

Ying Iverson
Professional Development Director

The University is in the process of making decisions about web and video conferencing tools and services. Extension relies on UMConnect (Adobe Connect) for distance meetings, events and presentations and this is our opportunity to provide input into this process. The current version is outdated and they are gathering information about how people currently use web and video conferencing as they research new or upgraded web conferencing solution(s). If you use web conferencing, please take the web and video conferencing survey.

Karen Matthes
Director, IT Training and Support

The news media turns consistently to University of Minnesota Extension experts for reliable information on the unwelcome impact of weather on crops.

In recent weeks, Extension experts have been interviewed for stories on late and prevented planting, alfalfa winterkill and options in safety net programs. Here are just a few examples:  

  • Agri News, published June 4, shares insights from several Extension staff, as well as our website dedicated to late planting.
  • Minnesota Public Radio features Extension in this June 5 piece on alfalfa winterkill and repercussions for dairy farmers.  
  • The Post-Bulletin examines the status of crops in southern Minnesota on June 4, with observations from Extension experts.  

These articles and more are shared via Extension's In The News website (users can subscribe to a weekly email that provides a sampling of Extension news headlines through this site).

Extension experts also share their acumen in a wide range of areas via  Ag News Wire; recent contributions have included columns on cover crops and prevented planting insurance options.

Allison Sandve
News Media and Public Relations Manager

A more robust and user-friendly survey tool, Qualtrics, is now available to University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff. The University has licensed Qualtrics, a web-based survey tool, to replace UMSurvey, which will be decommissioned August 2, 2013.

Some of the features Qualtrics provides include:

  • Secure authentication using a UMN Internet ID
  • Ease of use with point-and-click survey building
  • Advanced capabilities, including unique survey questions, branching, piping and trigger-based responses
  • A collaboration feature which enables multiple users to work synchronously on shared surveys and data
  • Ability to download data into Excel or SPSS with the full syntax retained
  • Help and support provided by Qualtrics, including live training

To learn more, set up an account, and get access to training, visit the the Survey Connection website.

Note to Current UMSurvey Users - Action Is Required
In order to retain survey questions and/or data collected in UMSurvey, you must export and save your data as a CSV file before August 2, 2013. Instructions for how to export your data are available on the UMSurvey website.

Note to Current Qualtrics Account Holders
We are aware that some University affiliates have existing Qualtrics accounts that were not purchased through a University license. In order to avoid complications and retain access to existing surveys, please contact Qualtrics directly and ask to have your accounts migrated. Email support@qualtrics.com or call 800-340-9194.

If you have questions related to the transition, email survey@umn.edu. All requests for help can be directed to Qualtrics support.

Karen Matthes
Director, IT Training and Support

EFCC Election Results

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Congratulations to the newly elected representatives to the Extension Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC). Elections were held in April and results are:

Community Vitality representative-Neil Linscheid
Community Vitality alternate representative-Ryan Pesch
Youth Development representative-Ann Walters
Family Development representative-Debra Botzek-Linn
Family Development alternate representative-Mary Caskey
EFANS representative-Dave Bau

Elections are held on a staggered schedule and continuing members are:
Community Vitality representative-Denise Trudeau Poskas
Youth Development representative-Jennifer Skuza
Youth Development alternate-Amber Greeley
Family Development representative-Jill May
Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences representative-Tom Halbach
Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences alternate-Krishona Martinson
Local Extension educators representatives-Diane DeWitte
Local Extension educators alternate-Brenda Postels
At large representatives-Susanne Hinrichs and Joel Haskard
At large alternate-Kathryn Draeger
Past president-Jerry Tesmer
Thank you to outgoing representatives and alternates: Karyn Santl, Terry Nennich, John Bennett, Lori Rothstein, Rosi Heins, Renee Kostick, Ryan Pesch and Cynthia Messer.

Jill Kokkonen May
EFCC Executive Board Member, and
Extension Educator, Health & Nutrition

Development Update

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Kudos to Deborah Zak, regional director, northwest, who was instrumental in securing private gifts to support the 2013 White Earth Academy of Math and Science. The White Earth Tribal Council, Northstar AISES Alliance, and an anonymous donor provided $41,000 in support of the summer program. In addition, the Extension Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership provided a $5,000 grant to fund the portion of the summer program that will address the impact of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species that threaten the natural resources of the White Earth Nation. More than 50 kids are already pre-registered for the program which will be offered June 10-28.

The White Earth Academy of Math and Science, now in its 15th year, began when members of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe challenged the University of Minnesota to help engage struggling students in math and science. Extension and its partner colleges initially collaborated with White Earth representatives and the local Circle of Life School to produce a fun, hands-on, outdoor focused summer academy that builds powerful connections among academics, outdoor activities and the Ojibwe culture. The program has now expanded to include students from the Naytahwaush Community Charter School, Pine Point and Mahnomen Public Schools. Reservation elders, natural resource managers and University faculty and graduate students are all involved in teaching students that math, science and engineering are part of their daily lives. To learn more about the White Earth Academy of Math and Science, contact Deb at dzak@umn.edu.

Jane Johnson
Development Director

All Extension staff are invited to attend the upcoming Extension Topic webinar, "Understanding the State We Are Serving," held on June 6, 10-11 a.m. Ryan Allen, Extension assistant professor in leadership and civic engagement, will host this interactive webinar which will be a discussion of Minnesota's demographic shifts and how they impact Extension's work.

Staff can attend via UMConnect. Registration is required. Visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet for information about the webinar, as well as a link to previous session recordings.

For additional questions, please contact Ying Iverson.

Ying Iverson
Director, Professional Development

2013-14 EFCC Officers

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The Extension Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC) recently elected new officers for the 2013-14 year to form the executive committee. Congratulations to:

Chairman--Tom Halbach 
Vice-chair--Jill May
Secretary--Denise Trudeau-Poskas
Executive members at-large--Jennifer Skuza, Susanne Hinrichs
Past Chair (ex-officio)--Jerry Tesmer

EFCC's role is to regularly consult with the dean on strategic planning, policy and major structural changes, as well as anticipated changes in allocation of Extension resources. Such consultation provides feedback on issues and/or policy changes early in the development process and before they are implemented. The EFCC is one of the first significant sources of internal advice that the dean seeks during the policy planning and development process. By using this process, Extension administration gets timely, quality advice and greater organization-wide engagement on critical decisions.

Jerry Tesmer
Past Chair, EFCC
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems

Are you working on an article or your promotion dossier?  If so, you might need to locate the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for your sources if you are using the APA 6th edition style guide.  DOI is a unique number that allows the establishment of a permanent link to an article.  Below are some methods that can be used to obtain DOIs:

Go to the CrossRef.org website and follow the instructions provided there. If this method doesn't yield a DOI, don't assume that a DOI doesn't exist. Follow up with the next two options.

  • If a journal publisher uses DOIs, they will usually print the DOI somewhere on the first page of the article.

  • Some of the online resources used to search for articles on topics will supply DOIs in the citations. View the full citation to see if a DOI is included.

  • Can't find the DOI?  You can always contact me at meye0539@umn.edu, and I will try to locate it.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    The 2014 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 17, 2013 and will appear on paychecks received on July 10.

    Faculty and P&A

    The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by center associate deans and administrative unit directors who will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process. This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process. Promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

    Civil Service

    Extension civil service employees are not currently in a merit system, so the increase for this group is distributed across the board (see related "Civil Service Salary Increases" article in this issue of enews).

    Bargaining Unit

    AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information will be available in these respective contracts as soon as contract negotiations are finalized. Each unit typically negotiates a slightly different salary increase agreement.

    For more information, visit the 2014 fiscal year compensation plan website, or contact Leslee Mason with questions, 612-624-4205 or lam@umn.edu

    David Werner
    Chief Operating Officer
    and
    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    For July 2013

    Assuming the University's compensation pool is approved by the legislature and the Board of Regents, the annual pay increase for Extension Civil Service employees beginning July 2013 will be 2.5% across the board. More complete information is available in the Civil Service Rules and the Compensation Plan.

    Beginning July 2014: Merit-based Salary Increases for Civil Service* Positions

    In Spring 2014, assuming there are salary increases, the current across-the-board salary increase process for Civil Service employees will change to an annual salary increase based on merit (performance). Examples of Extension Civil Service employees include: 4-H program coordinators, community program specialists, accountant IIs, etc.  

    The next performance evaluation cycle--based on performance in the calendar year 2013--will include an overall performance evaluation rating. Each unit head will then distribute salary increase dollars to civil service employees based on merit. Instructions about the civil service performance evaluation process will be available later in the fall. Instructions about the civil service salary increase process will be available next spring.  

    For questions, contact your supervisor or Extension Human Resources: Leslee Mason, 612-624-4205, lam@umn.edu; or Deb Page, 612-626-8709, brick007@umn.edu.

    *This information does not apply to AFSCME represented positions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    All Extension staff are invited to attend the upcoming "Welcome to Extension" webinar on May 17, 10-11 a.m. This session aims to welcome new employees and support them in their first few months in Extension, and also serves as a refresher to existing employees about organizational and operational processes.

    Staff can attend in-person on the Twin Cities campus (401 Coffey Hall) or join online via UMConnect.

    For additional questions, please contact Ying Iverson at iversony@umn.edu or 612-626-3565.

    Ying Iverson
    Director, Professional Development

    UMSurvey is an online survey tool centrally managed by the University's Office of Information Technology. UMSurvey will be will be decommissioned on August 2, 2013 and will be replaced by a new survey tool called Qualtrics.

    If you have data you wish to retain from UMSurvey, you will need to export the data before August 2. Instructions for how to export your data are available on the UMSurvey "Accessing Your Data" web page" under "Exporting Results." A forthcoming transition plan will include how to create a Qualtrics account, access to training, how to migrate some surveys, and how to upload your CSV files. Please see the UMSurvey website for more information about this transition.  

    If you need to create a new survey during this transition, you may use Survey Monkey. Contact the Extension IT Service Desk for information on how to access Survey Monkey. You may also contact umsurvey@umn.edu for assistance with your survey planning needs.


    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Unit Director

    Lynda.com online training is now available at no cost to University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff on all campuses.  Lynda.com is a library of online training videos that provides 24/7 access to more than 1,700 courses for all skill levels in more than 140 specialties including 3D + Animation, Audio, Business, Design, Developer, Photography, Video and Web.

    University users can login using their University Internet x.500 ID and password in order to access training videos available on lynda.umn.edu.


    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Unit Director

    Check out the Spring issue of the Extension retiree newsletter. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights National Agriculture Day, Extension preparation for spring floods and summer drought and how Epsilon Sigma Phi Scholarships benefit recipients. The retiree newsletter is distributed three times a year in summer/fall, winter and spring. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) in partnership with the Tourism Center is seeking non-metro communities and townships of fewer than 1,500 people for a special project over the next 18 months aimed at boosting a community's long-term destination appeal. Applications can be found on the RSDP website and are due by noon on May 15.

    Dan Gilchrist
    Assistant Program Director, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

    Over the past couple weeks, more than 100 photos have been added to the online image gallery, including several photos in the following categories: agriculture and farming; 4-H programs, judging and state fair activities; food preservation; communities; water quality; and livestock.

    Photos will continue to be added to the image gallery throughout the year as professional shoots are coordinated. All of the high-quality photos found in the gallery can be used for brochures, flyers or other Extension educational and program marketing templates. The high-quality professional photos, paired with the templates, are an effective way to communicate with our many audiences while strengthening the Extension brand.

    Staff photos taken at YOUth and U have also been added to the staff photos section of the image gallery. High resolution versions of all photos are available for download from the gallery. Extension Communications will continue to offer opportunities throughout the year for Extension staff to have their staff photos taken or retaken.

    For questions or comments about the image gallery, send an email toepromo@umn.edu.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Internal Communications & Brand Manager

    On April 4, Extension hosted a topic webinar: "Plan of Work and Performance Evaluation," by Jennifer Skuza, assistant dean, youth development, and Leslee Mason, human resources director. During the webinar, the presenters provided an overview of the Plan of Work (POW) to help participants better understand the purpose, process and impact of the POW. They also discussed the relationship between the POW and performance evaluation and provided information about timeline, process and forms for performance evaluation.

    Extension topic webinars will be held every other month and offer Extension faculty and staff a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. To access the recording of the April webinar and to view information about upcoming topic webinars, visit the Extension Orientation Sessions section of the intranet.

    Ying Iverson
    Director, Professional Development

    The Dean's Office is preparing a list of awards received by all Extension faculty and staff from September 2012 through August 2013. If you have received an award within that timeframe, please submit your award through the Extension intranet or send the following award information to the support person in your center/unit to add to the collective database:  

    • Type of award (individual or team)
    • Award recipient name (individual awards only)
    • Team name (team awards only)
    • Names of each team member (team award only)
    • Center/unit
    • Title of award
    • Organization awarded by
    • Type of award (state, national, etc)
    • Date award was received
    • Location of award
    Center and unit support staff contacts are: Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen, Community Vitality; Shelly Tschida, Dean's Office; Sue Allard, Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; Julia Gladhill, Family Development and Children, Youth & Family Consortium; Sandy Rand, Youth Development. The submission deadline is September 1, so please continue to submit awards as you receive them.

    Shelly Tschida
    Executive Assistant to the Dean

    We are expecting a wetter-than-normal April and there are several areas of Minnesota at risk of flooding. As communities prepare for possible spring flooding, Extension is ready to share research-based educational resources to assist Minnesotans in preparation and recovery. The most up-to-date information is available at Extension's flood website. In addition, we are preparing education and resources for potential drought conditions later this summer.

    Extension's flood and drought response will be coordinated by Minnesota's Extension Disaster Education Network (MN-EDEN) team to ensure consistency across the state. MN-EDEN team members are evaluating our current information and working with program leaders, faculty and educators to develop necessary resources and news releases to keep the public informed. Bob Byrnes, MN-EDEN response director, ensures that our efforts are coordinated within Extension, and with our many partners across the state. Please contact Bob with your program ideas for Extension's flood response.

    During times of crisis in our communities, we must remember that Extension's role is education. Extension is not the community disaster coordinator, first-responder or social service agency. However, our relevant information and recommendations about flood preparation and recovery support the work of many partnering agencies. In addition to the website, Extension education is available by calling Extension's toll-free phone services - Flood (aka Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077) and AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

    If you personally choose to participate in community service activities (e.g. sandbagging, patrolling), please be sure to follow normal procedures for requesting personal leave/day(s) from your supervisor.

    I appreciate the work of the MN-EDEN team and the many faculty and staff who have worked with them to provide timely and accurate information to Minnesotans.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    University Libraries is offering a new technology called BrowZine, a tablet application that allows you to browse, read and monitor some of the library's best journals on your iPad. Items found in BrowZine can easily be synced with Zotero, Dropbox or several other services to help keep all of your information together in one place.

    To get started, search for "BrowZine" in the App Store and download the app for free; when initially launching BrowZine, select University of Minnesota from the drop-down list. This service will continue to expand and add new titles and features.

    If you have any questions please visit the BrowZine website.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    New marketing materials are now available for all staff to use when communicating about Extension. These new marketing tools include: a four-page brochure, a one-page fact sheet, and a PowerPoint slide presentation. These items feature Extension key messages, funding information, a Minnesota map indicating Extension's presence across the state, a graphic representation of Extension's educational model, and more. This information is also  featured on the About section of the Extension website. The winter issue of Source magazine, and the email version of Source sent to all staff last week, are additional resources you can use with key stakeholders, partners and program audiences.

    As Extension competes for funding, participant registration and donations, there is an important need to represent Extension in consistent ways that help all of our audiences understand our unique strengths and contributions. Using these organizational marketing tools and the customizable educational and program marketing templates when creating marketing materials in your office, will help to strengthen and unite Extension's presence and impact across the state.

    We are continuing to develop additional print and web resources and will feature those items in future issues of enews. In the meantime, please contact Aimee Viniard-Weideman with your ideas for additional organizational marketing resources and materials.  

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean & Director of Communications and Public Relations

    How we welcome and orient new employees is a vital first step toward helping them build a successful career in Extension. In December 2012, Extension began offering an orientation program to introduce new employees to Extension and provide them with the information and tools they need to become a part of the Extension community.  

    This orientation consists of two offerings: a "Welcome to Extension" webinar, and a "Topics" webinar. The Welcome webinar aims to welcome new employees and support them in their first few months in Extension. The Topics webinar provides an overview of current priority initiatives in Extension. New and current employees are invited to attend both of these sessions.

    The next Topics webinar, "Plan of Work and Performance Evaluation," is on April 4, 10-11 a.m. More information about this and future orientation sessions, including instructions on how to attend, is available on the New Employee section of the Extension intranet.

    If you have any question, please contact Ying Iverson.

    Ying Iverson
    Professional Development Director

    As part of Extension's recognition of National Agriculture Day on March 19, Dean Bev Durgan highlighted the role Extension's Institute for Agricultural Professionals plays in bringing the newest research and innovations to farmers. Her column, "Reaching more farmers through agricultural professionals," was distributed to news media throughout Minnesota and has appeared in newspapers and industry publications. It was also shared via Facebook and Twitter.

    "According to a 2011 survey, agricultural professionals serve an average of 60 clients each, having an impact on some 48,000 acres. Just one of the Institute's educational programs impacts 4.3 million acres across the state and surrounding regions," Durgan observed. Essential partnerships among Extension, farmers and agricultural professionals were featured recently in Source Magazine.

    Allison Sandve
    News Media & Public Relations Manager

    To reduce scheduling conflicts of Extension's organizational and staff events and meetings around the state, Extension has implemented a new and improved Master Calendar. This calendar is used for administration and organization-wide events that involve a significant number of Extension staff and/or events and meetings that influence when other items are scheduled (for example, Extension Program and Staff Conferences, new employee orientation, Extension Center meetings, task force and consultative committee meeting dates, etc.). The Master Calendar does not list Extension programs and workshops; those events should continue to be listed in MyPrograms or another program tracking database.

    Visit the Master Calendar section of the Extension intranet to find information on how to view the calendar via Gmail, and instructions about how and what kind of events to add to the calendar.

    Shelly Tschida
    Executive Assistant to the Dean

    Now is the time to begin your preparations for this year's Galaxy IV conference, "Bridging the Centuries - A New Era for Extension," held September 16-20 in Pittsburgh, PA.  

    Approximately 2,000 Extension educators are expected to attend the conference, so the earlier travel plans are set, the better rates you will get on registration and travel arrangements. Early bird registration ($450) opens May 1; after July 15, the rates go up.  In the meantime, take some time to research the main Galaxy hotels: Omni William Penn (NAE4-HA headquarters), Marriott City Center (NACAA headquarters), Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel (NEAFCS headquarters), Double Tree (ANREP headquarters), and the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh (NACDEP and ESP headquarters).

    Several University of Minnesota Extension staff have been involved in planning this year's Galaxy IV conference including: Chuck Schwartau, Extension educator in livestock; Michael Darger, Extension specialist in community economics; Eleanor Burkett, Extension educator in water resource management and policy; and Kathleen Olson, coordinator for Partnering for School Success.

    For more information about this event, visit the Galaxy website.

    Kathleen Olson
    Program Director, Partnering for School Success
    &
    Eleanor Burkett
    Associate Extension Professor Water Resources

    Would you like to encourage co-workers who have done excellent work?  Reward their efforts by nominating them for one of the several awards available at the University for bargaining unit employees. The deadline for many of these awards is fast approaching in April and May. Visit the U Awards & Honors website for descriptions, nomination instructions and deadlines for each award.

    The Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) also invites you to submit nominations for the annual Dean's Awards, which will be awarded at the Extension Staff Conference on April 25 (deadline to submit a nomination is April 1). Categories include: campus-based support staff, field-based support staff, program support staff and community nutrition educators. Visit the Extension intranet for nomination instructions and award information.

    Elaine Hardy
    ESCC Chair & Regional Support Staff, Brainerd

    University Libraries is looking for stories from Extension educators who have had successes or challenges sharing published research articles or books during outreach and educational  activities. Specifically, we want to know if you have made use of research articles that are free to the public in the PubMed Central database, and/or if you have had questions or problems sharing other published research materials. These stories will be compiled to help people understand how increasing access to published research can help people throughout our state.

    Please share your stories with Nancy Sims, copyright program librarian, at nasims@umn.edu.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    The travel reimbursement process no longer requires a separate Statement in Lieu of Receipt form (UM1566) when receipts are missing. Instead, a check box to indicate a required receipt is missing has been added to the Employee Expense Worksheet (UM1612).

    Travelers are expected to provide receipts for all expenses; however, in the rare case that a receipt may be missing, the new check box should be utilized for all expenses requiring a receipt, except for hotel and lodging. Receipts are always required for these expenses. There are no changes in Extension's procedures for approvals. Requests and approvals for reimbursements must comply with the travel policy and detailed business justifications are required for all expenses.

    For Purchasing Card transactions and other applicable situations, the "In Lieu of Receipt" form (UM1566) still exists and should continue to be used.  

    These revised forms are now available on the Extension Finance & Planning forms site. For questions contact Extension Finance & Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    A new audio and web conferencing service is now available to University faculty and staff. The service, provided by InterCall, replaces Gopher Conferencing--a conference service widely used by faculty and staff on the Twin Cities campus--which will be retired  on February 28.

    The new audio conferencing options include Reservationless-Plus (self-serve when you need it) and Operator Assisted (operators manage details). InterCall Unified Meeting is the web conferencing option. There are different costs associated with each service. More information about this change is available on the University website: new conferencing service.

    For additional conferencing options that have been tested and used within Extension, visit the Audio Conference section of the Extension intranet.   

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Unit Director

    Copyright workshops will be available in March and April to take in-person on the Twin Cities campus and online. Nancy Sims, University of Minnesota assistant librarian, will offer the three copyright workshops, two of which satisfy RCR continuing education awareness/discussion requirements.

    Visit the University Libraries website for more information and to register. Please register early, especially if attending online, as the sessions fill up quickly.  

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute invites letters of interest and proposals for three spring funding opportunities: Planning Grant (April 19 submission deadline ), University Research Grant (May 17 submission deadline), and Graduate and Professional Student Research Grant (May 17 submission deadline). Funds for all grant programs will be awarded through a competitive review process.

    The Planning Grant Program is designed to fund the development of authentic community-University partnerships or interdisciplinary University faculty research teams related to food, nutrition and health. Those interested in developing a community-University partnership are encouraged to attend an upcoming networking event to connect with potential research partners (tentatively planned for late March).

    The University Research Grant Program seeks to fund new, interdisciplinary faculty research teams that include members from at least three distinct disciplines and that produce research in the areas of food protection (safety), prevention of obesity and diet-related disease, and food policy.

    To learn more about each specific funding opportunity and for instructions on how to submit letters of interest and proposals, visit the HFHL website.

    Dick Senese
    Senior Associate Dean

    The Extension Center for Family Development is part of a national campaign, called America Saves Week, that encourages people from all income levels to save money and build personal wealth. America Saves Week runs February 25 through March 2 and is a great opportunity for individuals to assess their own saving status.

    Facts about saving:

    • Fewer than 50% of Americans say they have a savings plan with specific goals.
    • Only 66% of Americans spend less than their income and save the difference.
    • Only 66% of Americans have sufficient emergency funds for unexpected expenses like car repairs or a doctor's visit.

    To participate in America Saves Week, pledge a personal savings goal, and/or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily saving tips and resources.

    Mary Jo Katras
    Extension Educator, Building Healthy and Strong Families

    Extension faculty and staff are invited to a special event to raise funds for Minnesota State 4-H Arts-In, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Funds raised will support the Minnesota 4-H State Arts-In program and make technology improvements for this program as well as other activities at the 4-H building on the state fairgrounds. The funds will be increased by a matching grant from Dean Durgan.  

    Please join us on Saturday, March 2, 7-10 p.m. in the Northstar Ballroom, St. Paul Campus Student Center. Cost is $40 per person; participants must be registered and payments received by Monday, February 25. Contact the Minnesota 4-H Foundation office to register: 612-624-7971 or fdnstaff@umn.edu.

    Kathleen Olson
    Program Director, Partnering for School Success
    and
    Cara Miller
    Executive Director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation

    The seventh annual Extension Legislative Action Day at the Capitol took place on January 23-24. Participants included county Extension committee members, statewide citizen advisory groups, regional sustainable development partners, Extension regional directors, program educators and eight youth members in the 4-H citizenship program.  

    Highlights of the event included presentations by: Keynote speaker, Matt Kramer, president/CEO of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, who challenged the audience in "Effective Lobbying Requires Effective Citizens - Your Obligation to Make a Difference"; President Eric Kaler, who spoke about the legislative request for the 2013 session; and Dick Senese, Extension senior associate dean, presenting a session about "Why Constituent Visits Matter." The event concluded with participants meeting 58 legislators to tell their Extension story and ask for support for the University and Extension.

    If you have the opportunity to meet your legislator in the coming months, keep in mind that Extension Government Relations has an Advocacy Toolkit designed to serve administrators, educators and staff with tools on general advocacy and how to advocate for Extension with your elected representatives. Legislators listen to their constituents, so take the time to refine your message about how Extension benefits your community and the state of Minnesota.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Get a healthy start to the new year! Take 20 minutes out of your scheduled work day to complete the University's wellness assessment, an online questionnaire that gauges your current health status. When you complete the assessment by February 28, you can earn 100 wellness points. That's a real jump start on accumulating the number of points you will need to qualify for a $300 or $400 reduction in your 2014 UPlan Medical Program rates.

    Have you already taken the assessment? Then learn about other health-promoting activities which enable you to earn additional wellness points. The wellness points you and your spouse/partner earn between now and August 31, 2013, will automatically be recorded and tracked for you by StayWell Health Management, the Twin Cities-based independent, third party administrator for the University's Wellness Points Bank Initiative.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    2013 Payroll Changes

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    The Social Security rate
    The 2013 Social Security withholding rate increased to 6.2%, up from 4.2% in 2012. The Social Security wage limit in 2013 is $113,700.

    Medicare payroll tax 
    The health care reform law requires high income earners (those earning more than $200,000 or $250,000 if filing a joint tax return) to pay an additional 0.9% in the Medicare payroll tax plus the 1.45% tax already in place. If this affects you, the adjustment will start with the pay period in which your wages exceed $200,000.

    Reflected updates to your Form W-2
    In January, when you receive your 2012 Form W-2, you'll see a new dollar amount listed in Box 12 coded DD. This is the dollar amount that the University of Minnesota paid for your health benefit programs during 2012. This is included as information only and doesn't affect your tax rate or your tax deductions in any way. It's there to show the dollar value of your benefits and to comply with the federal health care reform law.

    For questions about payroll and tax deductions, please visit the University Office of Human Resources website or call 612-625-2016.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    This is a reminder that the University Travel Policy, requires pre-travel registration of all staff/faculty international travel for University purposes. Staff and faculty are required to register international travel through the University Travel Policy website. Please note that registering your travel does not automatically approve your travel request. Any travel approval requirement is still managed within the departments, units or colleges.

    This policy provides travelers with helpful information prior to departure and provides prompt assistance overseas should circumstances demand it. It is the traveler's (employee's) responsibility to be informed on University Travel policy. Visit the International Travel website for answers to commonly asked questions. 

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    The University's Office of Information Technology training group is now offering the following hands-on online workshops (each session is 2.5 to 3.5 hours):

    ·  GGL131 Working with Google Drive, Documents and Presentations (3/27)

    ·  GGL141 Working with Google Drive, Spreadsheets and Forms (4/24)

    ·  MDL101 Creating Basic Course Websites with Moodle (3/26)

    Thirty-minute Excel and iPad online sessions are also being offered (not designed as hands-on):

    ·  XL211 Creating Basic Charts in MS Excel 2010 (3/28)

    ·  XL221 Choosing a Chart Type to Effectively Interpret Data with MS Excel 2010 (3/28)

    ·  XL231 Using Conditional Formatting to Effectively Display Data with MS Excel 2010 (5/28)

    ·  IPD101 Basic iPad Concepts and Setup (2/26 & 2/27)

    ·  IPD121 Note-taking on the iPad (2/26)

    ·  IPD131 Sketching and Wireframing on the iPad (2/26)

    ·  IPD141 Presenting with the iPad  (2/27)

    ·  IPD151 Video Creation with the iPad  (2/27)

    There is a participant limit in these classes so sign up early! You can register for these classes online through ULearn, the University's new non-credit registration system (Tip: enter the course number listed above in the search box on the ULearn website), or visit the OIT training website to learn more about the trainings they offer.

    Karen Matthes
    Director, IT Training and Support

    The IRS announced changes to the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2013. Beginning January 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business will increase from 55.5 cents to 56.5 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses will increase from 23 cents to 24 cents per mile.

    Business mileage incurred in 2012, but reimbursed in 2013, should be reimbursed using the 2012 mileage rates.

    Visit the Finance and Planning section of the Extension intranet to download updated employee expense worksheets and for more information about University expense and travel reimbursement.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    The Extension Technology team is inviting proposals for e-learning projects. Selected projects will receive support including up to 75 hours with an academic technologist, help with instructional design and production, and a fully subsidized Quality Matters workshop.

    Proposals will be considered two times this year; deadlines are February 1 and August 1. 

    Amy Baker
    Chief Technology Officer

    Each year the Dean's Leadership Council chooses several Extension staff for the chance to participate in Leadership for the 21st Century (Lead21) and National Extension Leadership Development (NELD)--two professional development programs with the goal of enhancing the work of Extension and staff leadership skills.

    2013 Lead21 participants include: Laura Kalambokidis, Extension economist, Cathy Jordan, director, Children, Youth & Family Consortium, and Holli Arp, regional director, southwest. The primary purpose of LEAD21 is to develop leaders in land-grant institutions and their strategic partners who link research, academics, and Extension in order to lead more effectively in an increasingly complex environment, either in their current positions or as they aspire to other positions.

    2013 NELD participants include: Amy Baker, chief technology officer, Kia Harries, Extension educator in educational design and development, and Susanne Hinirichs, regional director, northeast. The NELD program goals are to provide the opportunity for current and future Extension leaders and administrators to enhance leadership at all levels and provide vision as well as cutting-edge organizational tools.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean