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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, 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
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:  
image.png

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, view the presentation offered during this year's program conference or 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

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 this 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. For a complete listing of Extension promotional and clothing items and information on how to produce new promotional items, visit the Promotional Items & Clothing section of the Extension intranet.

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 Defence 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 registration instructions and more 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. To register for this session, visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet.

    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. Visit the Information Technology section of the intranet for more information and to submit a proposal.

    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

    If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes today to complete the online survey of Extension's educational and program marketing tools and resources. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, December 21.  

    Over the past two years, Extension has created priority templates (reports, PowerPoints, brochures, etc.) that support our educational and program marketing needs.  

    All staff are involved in communicating about and/or promoting Extension's education and programs--whether writing content, developing materials or supervising others who do those things--and your feedback is necessary. Our goal is to gather input from these different perspectives to help us refine and continue to develop Extension's educational and marketing tools and resources.    

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean and Communications Director

    The popular perennial calendar, Minnesota Gardening 2013, makes a great gift for gardening enthusiasts and your key program audiences and stakeholders. This award winning calendar is filled with full-color photographs that highlight Minnesota gardening month-by-month, including timely tips on managing pests, maintaining your lawn, and garden and house plant care. The 2013 edition includes a special feature on attracting wildlife to your garden with prairie plants, a vegetable planting guide and the newly updated USDA Minnesota Plant Hardiness Zone Map. With your purchase, you will also receive a free copy of Minnesota Hardy, a plant guide of tested and proven hardy plants.

    Extension and University staff can purchase the calendar through the Extension Store (item #: 08635) at the wholesale price of $7.50 plus shipping per copy. When purchasing copies for official University use with an EFS number, login to your existing Extension store account to receive the wholesale price, which includes tax exemption. (If you do not already have an account, contact the Extension Store). To purchase for personal use, enter the coupon code "MGC2013" in the shopping cart.

    Karl Foord
    Extension Educator, Horticulture

    All Extension educators, professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2013 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 4. The plan of work submission templates are available on the Extension intranet. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    If you are a supervisor, now is the time to direct your staff members to complete their self evaluations for calendar year 2012. They should return the completed forms to you by January 25 so you can prepare and schedule annual performance evaluations from late January through February. Completing a performance evaluation for each of your staff members is required by University employment contracts and the Board of Regents.

    After conducting the performance evaluation, send the completed form to Extension Human Resources by March 31 for the personnel file. Find the correct performance evaluation form and instructions on the Extension intranet. Contact Leslee Mason with additional questions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The University has extended the Medical Premium Relief (MPR) grant program through June 30, 2013. This grant program was established last year to help offset increased medical premiums in 2012.

    The deadline for submitting an application for the 2013 MPR program is December 17, 2012. Eligibility and application details are on the Medical Premium Relief web page.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Relations

    Applications are now open for the pilot of the Open Access Publishing Fund. For information on how the fund was established, visit the University Libraries website. You can apply for funding online. Works will be reviewed only if they meet the eligibility requirements, and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until exhausted.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    Check out the latest issue of the Extension retiree newsletter. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights President Kaler's keynote address at the Extension program conference and 2012 Extension highlights from the Minnesota State Fair. 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 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture is once again seeking nominations to honor outstanding Minnesotans and University of Minnesota graduates who help feed the world.  The deadline to submit nominations is January 15.

    Established in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, the Siehl prize is awarded annually in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach), production agriculture and agribusiness. Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.

    More information about the prize and how to submit a nomination may be found on the Siehl Prize website.

    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, November 16 (for pay cycle: 11/5/2012 - 11/18/2012)
    • Friday, December 14 (for pay cycle:  12/3/2012 - 12/16/2012)
    • Friday, December 28 (for pay cycle:  12/17/2012 - 12/30/2012)

    The payroll system has a window for processing and corrections each pay cycle. Having timesheets in 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

    More than 100 new and updated staff photos have been added to Extension's online image gallery and staff directory. Photos taken at the Health and Nutrition conference in September and at the Extension program conference in October have been added to these sites (retakes have replaced previous photos). High-resolution versions of each photo are available to download from the image gallery for use in communications, marketing and educational templates and materials.

    New photos will continue to be added to the image gallery throughout the year. For questions or comments about the image gallery, send an email to epromo@umn.edu.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Internal Communications & Brand Manager

    Laptop Care During Cold Weather

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    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 Supervisor

    New Natural Resources Library

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    Extension staff involved in work related to natural resources will be interested to know that the Natural Resources Library (NRL) on the St. Paul campus is now open. The library is a consolidation of collections in the former Forestry and Entomology, Fisheries, and Wildlife libraries.  Materials from the new NRL may be requested through the Get It delivery service.  For more information, see the Natural Resources Library.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    Be sure to vote on election day, November 6. If you are not registered to vote or need to update your registration information, you may do so at your local polling location on election day as long as you can provide proof of residence.

    Be informed and know what is on your ballot. Visit the Secretary of State website and type in your zip code to see a complete ballot for your precinct. Several of these resources may be helpful, so be sure to check out all of the information to prepare for and engage in this year's voting process.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Extension's Finance & Planning and Grant Administration units will undergo office updating from November 12 to November 20. During this time, the two units will move to temporary office space. Due to the move, there may be some delays in workflow; however, we will do our best to make sure services continue as usual. If you have any concerns during this time, please contact Madonna Monette, finance director, m-mone@umn.edu, 612-624-3052.

    Also, Deb Drange, Extension's contract specialist, will be on medical leave for hip replacement surgery starting November 14. We anticipate this leave will be about eight weeks, during which time all contract inquiries should be routed to Madonna Monette, finance director, m-mone@umn.edu, 612-624-3052.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    Regular exercise and eating nutritious foods decrease the risk for diabetes, obesity and other diseases. To help Minnesotans learn more about eating healthy and becoming more active on a budget, Extension's "Simply Good Eating" program collaborated with Emergency, Community, Health, and Outreach (ECHO) Minnesota to produce a 30-minute television program in four languages (Spanish, Hmong, Somali and basic English).  

    These videos, in addition to educational materials currently being developed in each language, will help support Extension health and nutrition programming across the state with some of Minnesota's underserved populations.

    "Active Living and Healthy Eating on a Budget" will air on tpt's Minnesota Channel and local access stations across Minnesota during the month of November.  Read the news release, or view the videos online and see the tptMN broadcast schedule on Extension's nutrition website.

    Ryan Johnson
    Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Liaison

    The 2012 United States general election is scheduled for November 6 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the University of Minnesota encourages students, faculty and staff to vote and participate in the democratic process. See the University's online voter guide to find your polling place and policies regarding voting during work time.  

    While all members of the University community are free to express their political opinions and engage in political activities, it is very important that they do so only in their individual capacities and avoid the appearance that they are speaking or acting for the University in political matters. Federal and state laws prohibit the use of University resources to support or oppose a specific candidate, ballot initiative or referendum. View the guidelines for acceptable political and campaign activities for more information.

    Minnesota polls are open from early in the morning into the evening to accommodate a variety of work and meeting schedules, and there are no policies currently in place prohibiting meetings or classes on Election Day.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    The University's Office of Government and Community Relations has developed several useful resources to provide guidance and information to University faculty and staff about voting, polling places and candidate information for the upcoming general election.  

    Visit the University's Support the U website--a robust site where you can learn about current federal and state issues and initiatives, find out who represents you in Minnesota and in Washington, D.C., and discover easy ways to support the U. Select "Engage Officials" to find your current legislator by zip code.

    Learn about the University's value and economic impact across the state by using the interactive web feature, "The University's Footprint," on the Government and Community Relations website. Click on a county, congressional or state district to see how deeply rooted the University is in local communities and how it adds to the quality of life across Minnesota.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Update on Food Safety Team

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    The Extension Food Safety program area joined the Extension Center for Family Development on July 1. The program area had previously been in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. By working more closely with family development programs in the health and nutrition program area, we hope to better leverage and build on the team's work in food preservation, consumer food safety and more.

    The program area is led by Katherine Waters, Extension program leader in food systems, and currently has four Extension food science educators: Deb Botzek-Linn, Kathy Brandt, Suzanne Driessen and Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness. Connie Schwartau serves as the program coordinator.

    Karen Shirer
    Associate Dean, Center for Family Development

    By the end of October, Microsoft will stop releasing software patches and updates for Office 2007, which will make it vulnerable to threat. Extension employees who are using Windows 7 are being upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010. If you have not yet upgraded to Office 2010, download the software yourself by following the installation instructions on the Extension intranet. The upgrade will require a computer reboot to successfully complete installation.

    In Office 2010, you will find the same user features that were in Office 2007, and training is not necessary. Office 2007 documents are fully compatible in Office 2010. Visit the Office 2010 website for detailed information about the product.

    For more information about Extension's support and installation of Office 2010, contact the IT helpdesk at 612-624-6700 or submit an online help ticket.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    Extension's next clothing items sale will be October 11-12. Save 20% when you order Extension polos, dress shirts and t-shirts through the online store. These items are available in University of Minnesota colors and are embroidered with the Extension wordmark, allowing you to visually represent Extension at your programs and events. Visit the UMBookstores website to view a photo and description of each item and to place your order.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Internal Communications & Brand Manager

    National Disaster Preparedness Month, celebrated in September, reminds us of the important educational role Extension and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) play in increasing the ability of Minnesotans to prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

    When record breaking amounts of rain fell in the Duluth area in June, causing unprecedented and unexpected flooding, Extension responded by mobilizing staff who provided flood-recovery information to 730 families at local disaster recovery centers. The educators shared Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit, and answered questions on recovering damaged documents, recordkeeping for insurance, food safety, septic systems, mold, and the effect of flood water on lawns and gardens.

    The effort did not go unnoticed. The Governor's Disaster Proclamation stated that the state looked to Extension to provide "information on a variety of basic household questions and how to prepare food safely following a flood and guide flood victims through financial decisions related to disaster recovery."

    The EDEN team will continue to evaluate and coordinate Extension's disaster response, and will ensure that our efforts are coordinated effectively among Extension program expertise and partner organizations to offer the best support and response to those affected by disasters. If you have ideas for programs, educational resources, community response or communications, please contact Bob Byrnes.  

    Katherine Waters
    Extension Program Leader, Food Systems

    From September 10 through November 30, University of Minnesota Libraries will host an exhibit, "For the Common Good," at the Andersen Atrium Gallery.  

    The Land Grant Agricultural College Act--signed by President Lincoln in 1862--set aside public lands, the sale of which were used to fund public colleges to "promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes." The legislation provided much needed financial support for the University of Minnesota, then a fledgling and struggling institution. This exhibit, based on material from the collections of the University of Minnesota Archives, examines the ongoing question of how the University should fulfill its role as a land grant university.

    This exhibit is free and open to the public. Visit the Andersen Library website for hours and directions.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    University of Minnesota Extension and the Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education will co-host a session, "Extension's Public Purposes and Value in Troubled Times" on Wednesday, September 19, 4-5:30 p.m.

    As part of the yearlong UMN Land Grant 150 anniversary celebration of the Morrill Act, Scott J. Peters, professor at Syracuse University and co-director, Imagining America, and Richard Senese, Extension senior associate dean, will address the following fundamental questions:

    • What is Extension?
    • What are its public purposes and value in troubled times like ours?
    • And, what does it offer to the urgent work of renewing and sustaining our economy, our environment and our democracy?
    These questions and others will be taken up in conversation, drawing lessons from forgotten aspects of Extension history, and from contemporary work in Minnesota and elsewhere.  The event will be broadcast live at the Continuing Education and Conference Center, Room 42, St. Paul Campus, and is also available online for web streaming.  Register to attend in person or online through the event website.

    Diana Martenson
    Organization and Program Development Specialist

    Extension faculty, educators and program staff are encouraged to register for the Extension Program Conference, October 8-10 at the Hilton in Bloomington. The cut-off date for the reduced U of M Extension group rate is September 10, so make your hotel reservation online today!  

    A sampling of what's in store at this year's conference (visit the conference website for a full list):

    • Keynote sessions: featuring U of M President Eric Kaler and instructional technology expert, Barbara Chamberlin.
    • Research roundtables: Interactive discussions about Extension research and how it generates new knowledge and/or innovative practices for Extension work.
    • Breakout sessions: The backbone of the conference is concurrent, educational offerings (detailed breakout session descriptions will be available soon).
    • Lightning talks: Back by popular demand, the lightning talks session is an informal event on Tuesday evening featuring rapid-fire presentations from colleagues.
    • Biometric health screening:  Have your blood pressure, body mass index, and body fat percentage measured by a University RN and earn points toward reducing non-federal health insurance premiums.  Sign-up for a 5-minute health screening.  
    "Like us" on Facebook to receive ongoing conference updates. For more information and to register, visit the program conference website.

    Dick Senese
    Senior Associate Dean

    In the world of social media, your graphic icon follows you everywhere your posts, tweets, re-tweets, etc. go. Using the Extension icon for official Extension social media accounts is vital in helping people find your page and understand that your program/office is part of University of Minnesota Extension, building strength and support for Extension programs across the state.

    The Extension social media icon is a professionally designed profile graphic that fits the size requirements for social media icons and includes Extension identifiers and placeholder text for a program, county or office name (as well as the clover for the 4-H version). You can request an icon for new and existing social media accounts through the Extension social media start-up form.

    Also, in case you haven't noticed, Facebook is in the process of switching all existing accounts over to its "Timeline" template and requiring all new accounts to use it as well. Visit the Extension intranet to read tips about Facebook Timeline and how your Extension Facebook page can benefit from this new setup.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Internal Communications & Brand Manager

    Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium hosts a yearly seminar series called Lessons from the Field. These seminars engage community and University clinicians, community leaders, and researchers in dialogues that close the research-practice gap. The series aims to strengthen children's mental health practice and policy by promoting use of evidence. This year's events will be broadcast live from McNamara's Johnson Hall to sites throughout Minnesota via video stream and interactive television.

    Registration is available for October 18 seminar, "Generational and Historical Trauma:  Significance and Response," with a primary focus on trauma from the perspective of American Indians and African Americans.

    Judy Myers
    Coordinator, Children's Mental Health programming

    Please join me in congratulating our colleagues who successfully earned promotion or reconfirmed their rank in 2012 (this was the first year for Extension's promotion system for educators without rank):  Rebecca Harrington, Heidi Haugen, Elizabeth Wieland, and Nathan Winter, were all promoted from assistant Extension educator to associate Extension educator, and Trisha Sheehan, was promoted from associate Extension educator to Extension educator.

    Also, please join me in recognizing and congratulating our colleagues who successfully earned promotion or confirmed their academic rank.  The following were promoted from assistant Extension professor to associate Extension professor: Adeel Ahmed, Christine Barno, John Bilotta, Michelle Grabowski, Samantha Grant, Neil Linscheid, Doug Malchow, Antonio Alba Meraz, Rebecca Meyer, Shahram Missaghi, Pamela Larson Nippolt, Mary Schroeder, Shelley Sherman, Andrea Lorek Strauss, and David Wilsey. In addition, Mike Reichenbach reconfirmed his rank of associate Extension professor. Catherine Rasmussen was promoted from associate Extension professor to full Extension professor.  The following people successfully reconfirmed their rank of Extension professor Kim Boyce, Stephan Carlson, Rosemary Heins, and Rebecca Hagen Jokela.  

    Promotion is a professional indicator of personal and organizational success. Twenty-six of our colleagues successfully completed the promotion process this year, demonstrating their accomplishments in scholarship, education and teaching, program leadership, engagement, program management, service, and/or technical assistance. The promotion process reinforces the importance of our Extension education model and our responsibility to develop and deliver effective research-based educational programming.

    I want to thank you--the applicants, supervisors, review committee members, peer reviewers, mentors, program team members and administrative staff. The application process for the 2013 promotion cycle has begun.  If you are considering applying for academic promotion, please discuss with your supervisor and submit your letter of intent by August 20.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Extension at the State Fair

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    The 2012 Minnesota State Fair will run August 23 - September 3, and fairgoers once again have many opportunities to experience the University of Minnesota and Extension. A few Extension highlights of the fair include:

    4-H

    • The 4-H building includes more than 6,000 4-H exhibits and performing arts shows that showcase the knowledge and skills 4-H'ers have acquired throughout the year. See the 4-H website for daily highlights from the State Fair.
    • Social media enthusiasts can join the conversation about 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair on Twitter. Follow Minnesota 4-H on Twitter and use "@MN4H" in tweets commenting on 4-H exhibits, workshops and demonstrations.
    • About 2,200 "blue ribbon" kids exhibit livestock in the animal barns. Competition results are delivered on the 4-H State Fair Results website, where visitors can stay informed and connected through their handheld devices.

    Master Gardeners
    • Master Gardener volunteers are available in the Agriculture Horticulture building to answer gardening questions every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Fairgoers can learn about how Master Gardeners contributed to the research on "biochar," a nutrient-rich co-product of a biofuel production process. To help determine biochar's viability as a soil amendment for home gardeners, Master Gardeners are testing its ability to increase productivity in vegetable and flower gardens. Visitors can also watch Master Gardeners present gardening education throughout the day on the Agriculture Horticulture Building stage, The Dirt.

    DNR Stage, Sunday, August 26
    • Gary Wyatt, Extension educator in natural resource management and utilization, will present "Controlling woody invasive plants" at 11 a.m.
    • Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist, will present "Be on the watch for these invasive insects" at 1 p.m.
    • John Loegering, Extension educator in environmental science education, will present "Birdwatching basics" at 3 p.m. (John will be available to talk with fairgoers at the U of M building at 5 p.m. on the same day.)

    Christensen Farms Stage, Tuesday, August 28
    • Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will present "Honeybees, beekeeping and research" at 10 a.m.

    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 and Public Relations Manager

    Making a quick (but effective) video to educate, entertain, and engage can be easy. Check out this week's Quick Byte, "Use free software to edit a video", and you may be amazed by just how easy it is.  By participating in the Quick Byte social media forum between August 13-21, you will also have a chance to win a free giveaway!

    Quick Bytes are bite-sized introductions to a wide variety of today's technology. Each quick and fun unit provides opportunities to dig into specific technology tools, learn how they can potentially support your programmatic efforts, and know where to get more information. Often there is an activity to allow for hands-on exploration. Comments and discussion for each unit are strongly encouraged.

    Quick Bytes are enrichment resources open to all. A new Quick Byte unit is posted about once a week.

    Amy Baker
    Chief Technology Officer

    Kansas State University will host the 2013 National Urban Extension Conference held in Overland Park, Kansas, May 6-9.  Extension professionals who work in urban/suburban communities along with partner agencies and organizations, extension volunteers, local advisory board members and others with an interest in urban extension programming are encouraged to attend.  

    The conference planning committee is currently seeking proposals for concurrent and poster session presentations related to the conference goals. This is a great opportunity for faculty and staff from Minnesota Extension to share their expertise with a national audience. Submission deadline is September 28, 2012.  For more information about the conference and to submit a proposal, visit the conference website.

    Kim N. Boyce
    Regional Director, Central

    Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs have become a valuable resource for Extension as they make it easier to connect and communicate with our most important stakeholders in a timely matter. Social media is also contributing to the research being done by and for Extension and it is becoming more common to reference influential tweets or posts in a research paper or blog. The question is, "what is the correct way to cite social media quotes?" Read my blog to view current APA and MLA format guides for citing any tweets, Facebook items or blogs that are used in research materials.  

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    The Extension Regional Office in Worthington has recently installed a new voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone system. This system is part of a larger Extension IT effort to increase bandwidth, connectivity and functionality in our regional offices. Another benefit of VoIP is that it reduces communication and infrastructure costs.


    Wilmar, Crookston and Worthington are all using VOIP systems. Extension IT will continue to monitor office network speeds to determine which offices will accommodate moving to VoIP.  

    The main number for Worthington will remain the same and is listed on the Extension website. The only change is that this number is now listed as the contact number for all staff members in the Worthington Regional Office. You will reach an auto attendant and can search by name or four-digit extension.  

    Rex Wheeler II
    IT Operations Manager

    As part of the Celebrate U! employee appreciation event that is scheduled to take place on August 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Minneapolis campus, University faculty and staff will be offered an insulated lunch bag as an appreciation gift at the event. Extension Human Resources will be coordinating with regional directors to distribute the Celebrate U! gift to all Extension staff who are located outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul and are unable to attend the event. These gifts are expected to be distributed in early September.


    Note that Minneapolis/St. Paul-based staff members who are unable to attend the event will not be mailed a gift and should review the Celebrate U! website after the event for instructions about the gift. Our supply is for non-Minneapolis/St. Paul-based staff only.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    University of Minnesota Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute, in collaboration with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, will host the fourth annual Healthy Foods Healthy Lives Symposium October 1-2 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (Oct. 1), and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska (Oct. 2).


    This year's symposium and food summit, features the new director of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, who will discuss his vision for food, agriculture and health research priorities. The event also includes award-winning research led by renowned University food and health experts who will share their research findings and perspectives on issues along the farm-to-fork continuum and food systems and health.

    This event may offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for interested professionals. For more information and to register, visit the HFHL website.

    In the next couple weeks, Extension will begin its annual cycle for promotion for educators with and without academic rank. Extension's promotion system highlights the high-caliber work of our program teams and educators that contributes to the mission of Extension and the University of Minnesota. All eligible employees will receive information regarding the promotion timeline, guidelines, and resources. You can access promotion policies on the Human Resources page of Extension's Intranet.

    Dick Senese
    Senior Associate Dean

    We have added more than 75 images to Extension's online image gallery. The gallery now contains over 700 professional photos in the categories of agriculture, community, environment, family, food, garden and youth. All of the high-quality photos found in the gallery can be used to for brochures, flyers or other Extension 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.

    The staff photos section of the image gallery has also been updated with staff photos that were taken in April and May. High resolution versions of all photos are available to 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 to epromo@umn.edu.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Internal Communications & Brand Manager

    Earlier this month, Extension Information Technology (IT) started using a new customer request ticketing system (i.e. "help ticket") called ServiceNow. This University-wide service will improve collaboration and coordination with central OIT and other IT units across campus. Staff will also have access to self-service features, a searchable knowledge base, and more.

    The people supporting your IT needs and questions and the way you contact them for support will not change; only the software service will be changing. Continue to enter tickets online or call 612-624-6700. The email you receive will come from "University of Minnesota Service Desk" umn@service-now.com, and the email subject line will start with INC123456.

    We welcome any and all feedback on this change. Tell us what you think via our online feedback form.

    Karen Matthes
    IT Training and Support Director

    The Extension Regional Office in Crookston, which includes the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, has moved to the Valley Technology Park, just north of the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus. All staff phone numbers and emails remain the same. The new address for the Crookston office can be found on the Extension website. The phone number is 888-241-0781. For more information, see new location.

    Extension Flood Response

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    As the state continues to recover from recent floods, the potential for severe weather will continue through the summer. I want to make sure that all faculty and staff are aware of Extension's role in disaster response and the educational resources available from Extension.

    Extension's role during disasters is to respond rapidly with research-based information people can use in making decisions. Extension has a coordinated system of online and phone answer resources available for those with flood-related questions, both during a flood emergency and while recovery efforts are underway. Citizens and staff can access the most up-to-date information on flood response, safety and clean-up issues by visiting Extension's flood impacts website, or calling Extension's toll-free phone services, the Flood (aka Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077) and the AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

    All of Extension's efforts are coordinated by our MN-EDEN disaster response team, lead by Bob Byrnes. If you have ideas for flood-related programs, educational resources, community response or communications, please contact Bob before initiating your flood response effort. Bob will help ensure that our efforts are not only coordinated within Extension, but also with our many partners across the state. During times of crisis in our communities, we must remember that Extension's role is focused on education. While Extension is not the community disaster coordinator, first-responder or social service agency, we do support our many partnering agencies through our information and educational resources.

    I appreciate the work of the disaster response team and the many faculty and staff who have worked with them to provide timely and accurate information through our website, publications and phone lines.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    I am pleased to announce the new executive leadership team for youth development.

    Jennifer Skuza, has accepted the position of assistant dean for Extension Youth Development. Most recently, Jennifer was a state faculty member and youth development program leader in educational program design and development. She holds a Ph.D. in work, community and family education from the University of Minnesota. In her doctoral program, she minored in international education and studied at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Previously, she led the establishment of the Urban 4-H Youth Development Office and directed the office for eight years.

    In this new role, Jennifer will provide leadership and direction for programmatic and scholarly work within Extension Youth Development. She will guide strategic direction for programming and for the two-way link between scholarship and practice. She will also lead program design; development, implementation, coaching and stewardship with staff for their promotion and rank; and strategic positioning of Extension Youth Development in international and intercultural education and outreach.

    Tamie Bremseth, has accepted the position of director of youth development operations. Tamie has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota and 22 years of experience with Extension in multiple program and administrative roles. In addition to leading and supervising staff as a program leader for 4-H Youth Development, Tamie has provided statewide leadership for stewardship of the 4-H program as a public organization which included the development of processes for finances, risk management, real estate and equipment. With responsibility for staff development, Tamie worked with Minnesota and North Central Regional Extension Youth Development colleagues to give leadership to the development of a multi-state distance-learning course on partnership development as well as the onboarding process for Extension Youth Development employees.

    In this new role, Tamie will provide strategic leadership for Extension Youth Development operations. This includes the design and administration of systems and processes related to finances, risk management, human resources, technology and communications.

    I am pleased that Jennifer and Tamie have accepted these vital leadership roles. We will be working with the rest of the current leadership team over the next few months to transition Jennifer and Tamie into these positions and identify the rest of our leadership team. We will also be looking across the current program teams and structures to create greater alignment, integration and focus. Jennifer and Tamie will continue to supervise their current staff during the transition. We expect to have new supervisory roles outlined by early fall.

    Dorothy McCargo Freeman
    Associate Dean, Youth Development

    Major flooding is underway in northeast Minnesota. Itasca, Aitkin, Carlton, southern Lake and southern St. Louis counties have been hard-hit, and many county offices have been closed. Some evacuation of homes has been necessary. The floods are affecting many Extension employees who live in these areas.

    Extension has educational resources available for those with flood-related questions. Staff can access the most up-to-date information by visiting Extension's flood website, or by calling Extension's toll-free phone services - Flood (a.k.a. Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077; email fil@umn.edu) and AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

    Extension's flood response is coordinated by Minnesota's Extension Disaster Education Network (MN-EDEN) team to ensure consistency across the state. MN-EDEN will evaluate needs and ensure non-duplication of efforts within Extension or with other agencies. Contact Bob Byrnes with your program ideas and questions about Extension's flood response.

    Bob Byrnes
    MN-EDEN response coordinator

    The percentage of open seats up for grabs in next year's Minnesota Legislature has hit 25 percent. As of now, 47 state legislators have retired or decided to run for other offices since the new redistricting map was released in February. That means at least one-fourth of the 201 seats in the legislature will change hands this fall, marking the largest turnover since the last redistricting year in 2002.

    To track who is running where, MinnPost has compiled an interactive map of every candidate who filed to run in the upcoming election. Click on a district to see the candidates, or search with your address in the sidebar on the site.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Extension promotional items are available to order from the Extension Store. Imprinted with the Extension wordmark and website address, these items will help make Extension visible at your events and meetings. These items are available at wholesale price to Extension staff.

    • Notecards/invitations (pkg of 25), wholesale price $10.00
    • Pocket folder (pkg of 25), wholesale price $16.00
    • Color-changing pencils (pkg of 50), wholesale price $21.00  

    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. For a complete listing of Extension promotional items and information on how to produce new promotional items, visit the Promotional Items webpage.

    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

    As a reminder, Fiscal Year 2012 deadlines are:

    June 13 - Requisitions and PO Vouchers (any invoice that is matched to a PO)
    June 20 - Non-PO Vouchers & expense/travel reimbursements (Reminder: University policy states that all expense and travel reimbursements should be submitted within 30 days of the scheduled trip return.)
    June 25 - A/R Billing (customer maintenance requests) - establish customers
    June 28, noon - A/R Billing (customer profile exists) - create invoices
    June 29, noon - Purchasing Card (PCARD) reconciliation & deposits

    More information can be found by reading the complete University of Minnesota FY 2012 closing procedures.  For questions regarding these deadlines, contact your accounting representative or Extension Finance and Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    The University policy on cell phone and PDA augmentation will be changing as of July 1, 2012. Extension follows the University policy and therefore will be implementing the changes. Next week, all faculty and staff who currently receive a cell phone or PDA augmentation will receive an email outlining the specific changes. If you receive an augmentation, please watch for that email. Contact David Werner at werne012@umn.edu  with any questions.

    David Werner
    Chief Operating Officer

    Materials from many sessions that were offered at the 2012 Extension Staff Conference are available online. Slides and/or handouts from seven sessions have been posted. Photos that were taken at the event are also online for viewing. Visit the ESCC staff conference site on the Extension intranet to access the available conference materials.

    Shelly Tschida
    Executive Assistant to the Dean, and
    ESCC Member

    From now through June 10, you can save up to 25% on all Extension clothing items.  Choose from three different shirt styles - polos, dress shirts and t-shirts - in University of Minnesota colors.  Embroidered with the Extension wordmark, these items will help make Extension visible at your events and meetings.  

    With only a limited time to receive the sale discount, place your order today!  Visit the UMBookstores website to view a photo and description of each item and to place your order.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    On Friday, June 8 Extension Information Technology, Extension Store and Extension Registration are moving from Coffey Hall to 130 Learning and Environmental Services (LES).  If you need assistance on June 8, please leave a message at our help desk 612-624-6700 or submit an online help ticket.  Our staff will be monitoring voice mail and web requests throughout the day, and will respond to all requests in a timely manner. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition.

    Karen Matthes
    Director, IT Support and Training

    Keep everything, share anything. The Office of Information Technology has announced the introduction of Google Drive to the expanding list of Google Apps available for the University of Minnesota. Drive provides a new way to access and share files and folders, at any time and on any device. It will replace and enhance what is known as Google Documents today. For more information, see Google Drive.

    University of Minnesota Brief
    June 6, 2012 Issue

    Important due dates for submitting financial transactions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 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, FY 2012 deadlines are:

    1. June 13 - Requisitions and PO Vouchers (any invoice that is matched to a PO)
    2. June 20 - Non-PO Vouchers & expense/travel reimbursements (Reminder: University policy states that all expense and travel reimbursements should be submitted within 30 days of the scheduled trip return.)
    3. June 25 - A/R Billing (customer maintenance requests) - establish customers
    4. June 28, noon - A/R Billing (customer profile exists) - create invoices
    5. June 29, 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 2012 closing procedures.  For questions regarding these deadlines, contact your accounting representative or Extension Finance and Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    With an extremely strong pool of candidates to choose from, the search committee for the Community Vitality associate dean position has narrowed it down to four finalists. Each of these finalists will be brought in for interview seminars as noted below.

    Dr. Brent Hales received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2000 in rural sociology. He is currently associate professor in the Department of Economic and Workforce Development, University of Southern Mississippi. His seminar is scheduled for Thursday, May 24, 9:15-10 a.m.

    Dr. Scott Chazdon received his Doctor of Philosophy in sociology from the University of Denver in 1996. He is currently interim associate dean for the Extension Center for Community Vitality and prior to this interim role was evaluation and research coordinator. His seminar is scheduled for Thursday, May 24, 3:15-4 p.m.

    Dr. Maureen Kilkenny received her Ph.D. in applied economics in 1987 from the University of Minnesota. Her most recent role was that of professor, Department of Resource Economics at the University of Nevada. Her seminar will be Friday, May 25, 9:30-10:15 a.m.

    Dr. Cindy Wilcox received her Ph.D. in leadership and cultural systems from Unions Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2003. Her seminar will be Tuesday, June 19 (seminar time TBD).

    Each candidate will be requested to respond to the following seminar topic: "Based on scholarship and your professional experience, what do communities of place need to be vital; and how can applied research and Extension education lead to community level impacts across Minnesota?"

    The 30-minute presentation will be followed by a 15-minute Q&A. Extension staff are invited to participate in the seminars by joining us in Room 401 in Coffey Hall, or by participating online via UMConnect live stream.  Recordings will also be available after the interviews and will be announced in enews, in June. 

    You may provide feedback for Dr. Hales, Dr. Chazdon and Dr. Kilkenny to the search committee no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 1. Request a feedback form from Naaz Babvani.

    David Werner
    Chief Operating Officer

    The Spring 2012 issue of Source magazine is hot off the presses and en route to your offices. Source is also available online and many of the stories about Extension's impact across the state will be featured on our home page, shared through social media and sent via email to Extension staff and friends over the next few months.

    This issue of Source highlights the many ways Extension keeps the land-grant vision alive and relevant today. Read how Extension's 4-H youth explore the sciences and improve water quality through aquatic robotics. Discover how Extension's Master Gardeners give back to their communities through community gardens. Find out how Extension ensures safe pork and healthy pigs, brings robotic milking to Minnesota dairies, and yields surprising findings on turfgrass

    This issue also features Extension's impact to engage Ojibwe youth in science, put locally grown food in school lunchrooms, and raise awareness of food insecurity in Minnesota.

    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.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    The following individuals have been elected to the Extension Faculty Consultative Committee (EFCC) by their respective groups. They begin three-year terms in July.    

    Denise Trudeau-Poskas, Community Vitality campus faculty representative
    Lori Rothstein, Community Vitality regional educator alternate representative
    Jennifer Skuza , Youth Development academic faculty representative
    Amber Runke, Youth Development academic  faculty alternate representative
    Diane DeWitte, local educator representative
    Brenda Postels, local educator alternate representative
    Susanne Hinrichs, regional director alternate representative
    Joel Haskard, Extension partnership representative
    Kathryn Draeger, Extension partnerships alternate representative

    Cynthia Messer
    EFCC Secretary

    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 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 myU University software for faculty, staff and student 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
    Employee Communications Manager

    A recording is now available for the April webinar and panel discussion "Challenges of Feeding 9 Billion People: Implications for Cooperative Extension," sponsored by North Central Cooperative Extension Association.

    All University federal employees will soon have the opportunity to elect Roth (after-tax) contributions, in addition to, or in lieu of, traditional (pre-tax or tax deferred) Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions.

    The pay period of May 7, 2012, is the first cycle in which employees will have the ability to elect Roth TSP contributions from their paychecks. Extension Human Resources will send an email to federal employees on May 7 with detailed information about how to elect Roth TSP contributions, rules on contributions and deferral limits.

    Visit the TSP website to watch a video about Roth contributions and to view a comparison of Roth vs. Tradition Contributions. For questions, contact Deb Page at brick007@umn.edu.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    A very warm spring, preceded by a dry fall and winter, invited many questions from Minnesota's farmers and gardeners. Extension specialists and educators worked with the media to provide answers, reinforcing our reputation as a source for credible, research-based information.

    Julie Weisenhorn gave gardening advice on Minnesota Public Radio and KARE 11; Mark Seeley and Liz Stahl explained weather patterns, soil moisture and fertility in the Farm & Ranch Guide; Lisa Behnken talked ideal corn-planting dates in the Rochester Post-Bulletin; Jochum Wiersma addressed small grains planting in Ag Week; and Jeff Coulter, Jeff Gunsolus and Kent Olson reached farmers with "Five ways growers can plan for spring drought" via Ag News Wire, which is distributed to hundreds of local and ag news sources. Many other specialists and educators communicated research-based recommendations via newspapers, radio stations, websites and social media.

    If you have an idea on how you or your program team can address a newsworthy topic to reach audiences via the news media, contact Julie Christensen, public relations and news media manager, or Catherine Dehdashti, public relations coordinator.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Coordinator

    Many Extension-supported computers are currently running Microsoft Office 2007--a software tool that will soon be out of date.  By the end of October, Microsoft will stop releasing software patches and updates for Office 2007, which will make it vulnerable to threat.

    To avoid a lapse in fully-supported software, Extension IT is planning to upgrade all Extension supported machines to Office 2010, the newest version currently available.  All machines are scheduled to be updated by the end of October.  

    Extension IT will handle the upgrade in multiple ways:

    • Regional Office staff: please contact your regional support staff to arrange a time for an upgrade;
    • Twin Cities staff: download the software yourself by following the installation instructions on the Extension intranet.  Contact the Extension IT help desk at 612-624-6700 with questions;
    • Staff scheduled to get a new computer after June: Office 2010 will already be running on the new machines.

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

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    Tourism Works for U!

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    Tourism is a key sector in Minnesota, the U.S. and the world. The University's Tourism Center is celebrating National Tourism Week with a poster session Tuesday, May 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Paul Student Center, Minnesota Commons Room. All Extension staff are welcome to attend and will get a chance to meet University personnel involved with tourism research and education who will present their work and discuss this industry that generates $950 billion in the world and $11 billion annually in Minnesota.

    The event is free, but please RSVP to tourism@umn.edu by May 7.

    Ingrid Schneider
    Tourism Center Director

    Intranet Double-Take

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    Have you noticed lately that you must enter your log-in information twice before entering the Extension intranet?  If you have, you are not alone.  For a brief period of time, everyone who enters the Extension intranet through the homepage is required to sign in twice to enter the site. 

    The double sign-in is a result of University Office of Information Technology transitioning the University's web authentication services.  Because there are so many websites and systems involved, OIT is handling the transition process in phases.  This has created an overlap of authentication on the Extension intranet, thereby creating a forced double sign-in. 

    OIT is expected to transition the Extension intranet to the new system in early to mid summer.  Until then, please continue to sign in twice to enter the site.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    The University of Minnesota Office for Public Engagement is hosting a public engagement symposium, "Strengthening the University of Minnesota as an Engaged University: Community Perspectives," on Tuesday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to noon at the McNamara Alumni Center. This symposium will engage participants in a critical conversation on how the University can strengthen its partnership work with communities. For more information and to register for the symposium, please visit the event website.

    Diana Martenson
    Organization and Program Development Specialist

    The 2013 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. 

    Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 18, 2012 and will appear on paychecks received on July 11.

    Faculty and P&A
    The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by Extension associate deans and unit heads 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.

    Any 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.

    Bargaining Unit
    AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information will be available in these respective contracts once they are available online in the near future.  Each unit negotiated a slightly different salary increase agreement.

    For more information, visit the 2013 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

    New districts lines were announced in late February to reflect changes in Minnesota population demographics.  Be sure to identify your new representatives so you can get to know who they are and what issues they are endorsing.

    To learn more about a legislator's views on a matter, visit the Support the U website. The site also provides several other resources and information about how you can support the U.

    As always, if you are invited to testify at a legislative hearing, you need prior approval.   Notify your Center leadership as opportunities come up, and then send the following information to Sarah Greening: committee, agenda topic, date and time of the hearing.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    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!"  As part of this second annual national event, we encourage everyone to wear purple on Friday, April 13 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 one's deployment, and feel connected, active and supported.

    Please join Extension in taking this opportunity to appreciate and celebrate these young heroes. Help spread the word to "purple up" on April 13 so that Minnesota's military youth can see the support of their community!

    Amber Runke
    Extension 4-H Programs Manager, and
    Operation: Military Kids Program Specialist

    You are invited to attend a screening and discussion of "Farm School Growing Our Future." This 30-minute documentary by Extension, the Minnesota Department of Health and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) provides an in-depth look at farm to school partnerships in Minnesota and how communities can work together to improve children's health and education and strengthen local economies. After a successful premiere in the Twin Cities last month, Extension is organizing nearly a dozen screenings throughout the state this spring.  Don't miss this opportunity to invite others and come together with community leaders, schools, farmers and parents to build healthy, sustainable communities.

    Visit Extension's Farm to School website for details and to RSVP to the regional screenings, or to learn about Extension's farm to school efforts. 

    Stephanie Heim
    Extension Educator, Farm to School

    The Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) is here to provide leadership on issues of concern to civil service and bargaining unit staff.  The committee works in cooperation with Extension's Dean Durgan.  We are currently looking for new members to be on the committee. 

    All Extension employees in the following groups are encouraged to join: campus and regional civil service/bargaining unit, community nutrition educators, 4-H program coordinators, Master Gardener coordinators, community program specialists and assistants, and county 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 our website or contact us at escc@tc.umn.edu.

    Kristina Kainz
    Community Nutrition Educator, and
    ESCC Committee Member

    All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  If you have not yet filed a REPA, complete it as soon as possible.

    You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension intranet to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

    For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Extension civil service and bargaining unit staff are invited to attend the Extension Staff Conference on Thursday, April 26. The conference will be held in Chaska at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Visit the Extension Staff Conference section of the intranet to view an outline of the agenda, book a hotel room, register and read about special sessions and activities.  The deadline to register is Friday, March 30.

    The Extension Staff Consultative Committee has really raised the bar on this year's event to provide staff the opportunity to immerse in high-quality professional development based on input obtained via the pre-conference survey. Not only does this event bring together Extension staff from across Minnesota, it is a valuable tradition of staff development in our organization.

    I am encouraging all civil service and bargaining unit staff to attend and take advantage of the event offerings. We look forward to this annual immersion in learning and teamwork to advance our skills, our programs and our organization.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    The main barrier to learning new technologies is having the time. "Quick Bytes," a new online enrichment resource for technology learning, makes it easy to keep up with technology as part of your weekly routine. With only about 30 minutes a week, you can learn about a current digital tool. You can even have the learning units sent right to your email!

    Quick Bytes are bite-sized introductions to a wide variety of today's technology.  A new Quick Byte unit will be posted online each Thursday. Quick Bytes is open to all Extension employees and is coordinated by Extension IT.

    Find out lots more and start learning with Quick Bytes.

    Amy Baker
    Chief Technology Officer
    and
    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    Over the last few weeks, you may have seen examples of the University's Support the U campaign rolling out across the state. The Support the U program invites faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, community members and others to be advocates for the University and tell others about our positive impact in Minnesota and beyond.

    The University recently launched a series of regional ads featuring stories from U advocates. Extension's Connie Schwartau, program coordinator in Food Science & Nutrition, and her husband Ron, are featured in the Southwest regional ad. Read and listen to the Schwartau's Support the U story!

    In support of the university's 2012 legislative advocacy efforts, President Kaler submitted customized op-eds to newspapers statewide that highlight the U's impact on and value to the state of Minnesota and its various regions. Examples of the op-eds from across the state:

    In addition to these efforts, the U needs your support as well. Check out the Support the U website, which offers tools and resources that make it easy to support the U by telling your story and engaging others.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean and Communications Director

    I am pleased to announce that Renee Pardello has accepted a new role in Extension as assistant dean. Renee will be reporting to senior associate dean Dick Senese and will be coordinating Extension's international programs and the Extension promotion systems. She will begin her new position on March 1.

    Renee has been involved in international projects for more than ten years, working at the village to the country-wide level.  She has also served in several leadership roles in Extension since 2000, as a program leader and interim associate dean for natural resources and most recently as assistant dean in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

    Promotion has been identified as a priority in the Extension Strategic Plan. In addition, Extension has continued to increase efforts in international programs and Renee will coordinate these activities as well as lead grant-writing efforts to obtain funding for international programming.

    Current international activities include:

    • Extension is a participant in and is providing funding for the new UM multidisciplinary global partnership program in Morocco.
    • Extension is a participant in the UM Foundation-led FAO and the World Food Program.
    • Extension is providing leadership for the establishment of extension programs in Tanzania and Kisii, Kenya.

    Please join me in welcoming Renee to this new role.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Newly created name badge and tent card Word templates are now available for download.  These templates include Extension's wordmark and fonts and can be printed on office printers in color or B&W using Avery products, or other similar office products.

    Use Extension name badges and tent cards to identify speakers or participants and to enhance Extension's presence at events and meetings. 

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Extension centrally maintains staff email lists (formerly known as "Addressbooks") that allow Extension staff to communicate with various segments of the Extension community.  A Staff Email List resource page is available on the Extension intranet that provides more information, including a feature to view members on each list.

    To access and use these lists, you can click on the individual email addresses on the intranet resource page, or you can upload all of the lists into your University Gmail account.  Instructions to upload the staff email lists are on the IT section of the intranet.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Last week, Extension hosted 65 people representing every area of the state for the sixth annual Extension Legislative Action Day at the capitol. This event included citizen advocates with varied backgrounds such as county Extension committee members, county commissioners, statewide citizen advisory groups and regional sustainable development partners, as well as Extension's regional directors and Extension educators. Participants worked together to prepare for meetings with legislators during a workshop on communicating Extension's public value, presented by Laura Kalambokidis, associate professor and Extension economist, and Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean and director of communications.

    Following the workshop, Extension participants joined the greater University's Legislative Briefing at the McNamara Alumni Center. A record crowd of about 550 attendees packed the Alumni Center (and approximately 100 tuned in via webcast) to hear University President Eric Kaler talk about the University's legislative request. President Kaler also reinforced the critical importance of each person sharing the stories of how the University of Minnesota has shaped his or her life.  Read the president's legislative briefing remarks on the University website.  

    The following day the Extension participants went to the capitol to meet with senators from their districts to tell their Extension stories and ask for support for the University and Extension.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff

    Government Relations Resources

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    In 2012, there will be many legislative issues to be aware of and one of the first will be the release of the new district map of Minnesota, scheduled for February 21.

    As always, if you have been formally invited to testify at a legislative hearing, you need prior approval. Please contact Sarah Greening with the following information: committee, agenda topic, date and time. If you meet with legislators or staffers, please complete the legislative database form. More information and resources are available on the Government Relations section of the Extension intranet, as well as the University's Support the U website.

    Sarah Greening
    Chief of Staff
    and
    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    You are invited to nominate outstanding colleagues for the 2011-2012 Extension Dean's distinguished awards for civil service and bargaining unit staff. The award categories are: distinguished campus and field support staff, program staff and community nutrition educator.

    The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 2. Guidelines and more information on how to nominate are available on the Dean's section of the Extension intranet. For questions, contact Shelly Tschida.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Many Extension program teams are active in social media networks, whether sharing content with Facebook fans, chatting with Twitter followers or providing news or other updates on Google+. We've all learned that listening and building trust and credibility in online communities is essential. It's also important to ask yourself, "What am I trying to accomplish?" If you haven't done this and you're active in social media, it's a good time to step back and take another look. Are you using a holistic approach, making sure social media efforts are integrated into your overall marketing and communications plan--and not a group of isolated activities?

    One way to do this is to create a social media plan. Begin by reviewing the fundamentals: who's your audience, what's your message and what are you trying to accomplish? For example, are you trying to increase workshop participation? Are you driving traffic to your program web pages? Or are you interested in building key relationships? Also be sure to set objectives that are measurable so you can determine where you should continue to focus your efforts.

    For more tips on creating a social media plan, review Extension's social media guide or contact your center communications manager.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Library course pages are available in existing Moodle sites and on the University Libraries homepage ("Course Resources" tab). These pages can be designed for credit and noncredit courses, workshops and other educational offerings.  The course page brings together databases for finding articles, 24/7 "Chat with a Librarian," course reserve readings, and more.

    A custom page can be created for you by contacting, Kristen Mastel, Extension outreach and instruction librarian.  For more information, see a sample library course page or noncredit course page.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    AFSCME "Day on the Hill"

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    AFSCME's Annual "Day on the Hill" will take place on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.  This is an event where AFSCME members jointly visit the legislature in order to lobby for more money, or fewer budget cuts, for the University of Minnesota.

    The University supports AFSCME in this effort of emphasizing the University's importance to the state of Minnesota. Therefore, the University has agreed to allow AFSCME Union members to participate in the "Day on the Hill" activities without loss of pay.

    Supervisors of AFSCME employees are encouraged to work with their interested AFSCME employees to arrange for maximum participation in this day's events.  Participating AFSCME employees shall be allowed time off with pay that is not subtracted from vacation, sick leave or compensatory time balances.  The expectation is that employees interested in attending the event contact their supervisors ahead of time so the appropriate staffing arrangement can be made in the department.

    For questions contact Extension HR.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Questions have surfaced about whether it is permissible to hold classes or events on caucus night, February 7.  Consistent with Minnesota State law, at their December 2005 meeting, the Board of Regents approved a resolution authorizing the University of Minnesota to schedule classes and events on caucus night.

    Pursuant to this resolution, all classes and events scheduled for caucus night will be held as scheduled with the expectation that instructors will make reasonable accommodations for students/participants who wish to participate in party caucuses.

    If a faculty or staff member scheduled to teach on Tuesday night wants to attend their party caucus, or if enough of their students/participants indicate that they will be attending caucus so that holding class becomes impractical, instructors may either cancel class or make reasonable alternative arrangements.

    Sarah Greening
    Government Relations

    University Travel Policy now requires pre-travel registration of all staff/faculty international travel for University purposes. Staff and faculty are required to register international travel as of January 1, 2012.  Please note that there is no travel approval process associated with this policy.  Any travel approval requirement is still managed within your department, college or center.  

    The updated policy will make it easier and more efficient to provide travelers with helpful information prior to departure, and to provide travelers with prompt assistance overseas should circumstances demand it. Visit the University's travel website for answers to commonly asked questions.

    David Werner
    Chief Operating Officer

    The North Central Cooperative Extension Association is hosting an online professional development opportunity on "The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People: Implications for Cooperative Extension." This two-part workshop and panel discussion will draw on national experts to introduce emerging challenges in the food system and to initiate a discussion of opportunities for Cooperative Extension.

    The workshop webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. with a panel discussion on Thursday, April 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

    The agenda will address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people from perspectives in agriculture, natural resources, consumers, and youth and workforce development. Additional details and how to connect will be available closer to the event.

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

    More than 100 new photos have been added to Extension's online image gallery. The image gallery now contains more than 500 professional quality photos in the following categories: agriculture, environment, family, food, garden and youth. These high-quality photos can be used with the Extension marketing templates to visually communicate and add interest to Extension communications marketing materials.

    The image gallery also hosts Extension's staff photos.  Photos taken at the Extension program conference in October have been added to this site, replacing previous photos. High-resolution versions of each photo are available to download from the gallery.

    New photos will continue to be added to the image gallery throughout the year. For questions or comments about the image gallery, send an email to epromo@umn.edu.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications 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 Supervisor

    Copyright workshops will be available in February and March to take in-person on the Twin Cities campus and online. Nancy Sims, UM 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 virtually, as the sessions fill up quickly.  

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach and Instruction Librarian

    Check out the latest issue of the Extension retiree newsletter.  In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights a new Facebook group for Extension retirees.  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

    Four candidates have been selected to interview for the position of Associate Dean, Center for Youth Development.  The candidate seminars will be presented on the St. Paul campus, Room 401, Coffey Hall. All Extension staff are invited to attend via UMConnect.

    During the seminars, each candidate will be requested to respond to the following:  "The Extension Center for Youth Development plays an important role in youth programming, teaching, research, scholarship and partnership building.  As we move further into the second decade of the 21st century, many youth serving organizations are facing unprecedented funding challenges while at the same time being required to show their effectiveness.  What is your vision for the Extension Center for Youth Development for the next five years given the constraints we are facing?"

    Seminar candidates, dates and times:

    • Jill A. Pinkney Pastrana, current department chair and associate professor, Department of Education Studies, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. (Read more: U of WI staff profile)
      Seminar:  Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 a.m.
    • Angela M. Eilers, current vice president of Academic Outcomes, Sophia Learning.  (Read more: online bio)
      Seminar:  Wednesday, January 25, 2:45 p.m.
    • Willie B. Dean, current president/CEO, YMCA, Arlington, Texas.  (Read more: YMCA staff profile)
      Seminar:  Thursday, January 26, 11:15 a.m.
    • Dorothy McCargo Freeman, current state 4-H leader & assistant director, Extension Center for Youth Development.   (Read more: ESP National bio)
      Seminar:  Friday, January 27, 11:15 a.m.

    You may provide feedback to the search committee no later than January 27 by requesting a feedback form from Naaz Babvani, babva001@umn.edu, Extension Human Resources. 

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Windows 7 Features

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    Windows 7 has been making its way onto Extension computers as computers are replaced or reimaged. Below are a few features of Windows 7 that may be helpful to you in your work:

    • Pin programs to the taskbar: In previous versions of Windows you could pin programs to the Start menu for easy access, but with Windows 7, you can also pin programs anywhere on the taskbar. By pinning a program to the taskbar, it's right there in front of you so you can open it with a single click. (read more)
    • Sticky notes:  Use Sticky Notes to write a to-do list, phone number or anything else you need to remember. Sticky notes appear on your computer Desktop and have many colors to choose from. (read more)
    • Jump Lists: Jump Lists are lists of pictures, songs, websites and more, grouped by the program that you use to open them--which means that now you can open files you need from the same taskbar button that you use to open the program. To view the Jump List for a program, right-click the taskbar button, or drag the button toward the desktop. Then, click the item in the Jump List to open it. (read more)

    IMPORTANT: If your computer is running Windows 7 and you do not connect to a Twin Cities or coordinate campus network, you will need to connect via VPN once every 180 days to maintain an authentic copy of Windows.

    For more information about Extension's support and installation of Windows 7, contact the IT helpdesk at 612-624-6700.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    University Travel Policy now requires pre-travel registration of all staff/faculty international travel for University purposes. Staff and faculty are required to register international travel as of January 1, 2012.  Please note that there is no travel approval process associated with this policy.  Any travel approval requirement is still managed within your department, college or center.  

    The updated policy will make it easier and more efficient to provide travelers with helpful information prior to departure, and to provide travelers with prompt assistance overseas should circumstances demand it. Visit the University's travel website for answers to commonly asked questions.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance/Cluster Director and RRC Manager

    Did you receive an e-reader over the holidays? Explore our e-book collections and download to your device or view from your computer.

    Try Google Books to search through the full text of millions of books - this is very different than a MNCAT search which only searches author, title and possibly table of contents. If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book. If you see one you like, click "Get this book in print" "Find in a Library" to see if we have it. Also explore HathiTrust, which brings together the immense collections of 60+ partner institutions in digital form.

    WorldWideScience is a global search engine with the aim to spur academic discovery by sharing knowledge.  From a single search form you can search over fifty databases in English and now 22 multilingual sources (with translation to the searcher's native language using Bing translator) and seven multimedia sources.

    Kristen Mastel
    Outreach & Instruction Librarian

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

    • Friday, December 16, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/5/2011 - 12/18/2011)
    • Friday, December 30, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/19/2011 - 1/1/2012)

    The payroll system has a window for processing each pay cycle.  Having timesheets in on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

    For questions about payroll processes and deadlines, visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet or contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174. 

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    The popular perennial calendar, Minnesota Gardening 2012, makes a great holiday gift for Minnesota gardening enthusiasts.  This award winning 12-month calendar is filled with beautiful color photos and timely tips for lawn, garden and houseplant care.  This year's special feature provides information on conserving wild bees.

    Extension and University staff can purchase the calendar through the Extension Store at the wholesale price of $7.50 plus shipping per copy.  When purchasing copies for official University use with an EFS number, login to your existing Extension store account to receive the wholesale price, which includes tax exemption.  (If you do not already have an account, contact the Extension Store at Shopext@umn.edu.) To purchase for personal use, enter the coupon code "MGC2012" in the shopping cart.

    Julie Weisenhorn
    State Master Gardener Director and
    Assistant Extension Professor, Horticultural Science

    Beginning December 13, all Extension employees will receive a weekly email version of In The News, a sampling of Extension news clips from local, regional, statewide and national sources.  

    In The News is distributed every Tuesday and features news stories with significant Extension mention, bringing more visibility to media coverage about Extension programs and people.  (Brief references to Extension, pre-event and calendar items are not included).  If you have an online news article or broadcast to add to In The News, please check the regularly updated online home of In The News to confirm that it has not already been discovered, and then forward the link to extnews@umn.edu.

    If there are others outside of the Extension staff community whom you think would like to receive In The News, send them an email with a link to the In The News section of the News website where they can subscribe to the mailing as well as to the various RSS news feeds available.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Coordinator

    Communicating the value of Extension in a consistent, professional manner is vital for all of our work.  For staff who create flyers, fact sheets, PowerPoints, brochures and other print and electronic marketing communications materials, it is especially important to understand how to prepare materials with appropriate Extension branding in order to strengthen and unite Extension's presence across Minnesota.  Staff who are creating Extension materials should now be using the downloads and templates that can be accessed from the Extension intranet.

    Templates have been created at the general Extension level as well as for each center.  Center templates incorporate specific visual elements that connect materials across the center.  All templates have been predesigned with Extension's official fonts, colors, required statements and other identity elements.    All the user needs to do is insert text and photos.  Video demos are available on each download page and additional training opportunities will be scheduled in 2012. 

    Comprehensive brand guidelines are being developed and are scheduled to be released early in 2012.  These guidelines will be helpful for programs or events when it is necessary to work with a professional design vendor. 

    Please send questions and comments about Extension marketing and communications materials to your center communications manager or to Sarah Bjorkman.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications 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 Supervisor

    The University goes to great lengths to prevent unauthorized access to information such as your email and personal records. For that reason, internet passwords (i.e., x.500 passwords) are set to expire once per year. Every year you receive an email notification from the University requiring you to change your University Internet password.

    As a reminder, the University will never ask for your user ID or password, and you should never reply to ANY email request asking for that information. Always go to the University account website to change your University password. For questions, contact the Extension helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    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, November 18, 2011 (for pay cycle: 11/7/2011 - 11/20/2011)
    • Friday, December 16, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/5/2011 - 12/18/2011)
    • Friday, December 30, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/19/2011 - 1/1/2012)

    The payroll system has a window for processing and corrections each pay cycle. Having timesheets in 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

    All Extension educators, professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2011 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 3. The plan of work submission templates are available on the Extension intranet. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    A personal holiday has been added for academic employees on the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses (including all Extension regional offices except Morris and Crookston, where those campus schedules should be followed) to bring their total up to 11 holidays, consistent with other employee groups and other campuses. This personal holiday must be taken between December 23 and January13. If not used during that time period, it is lost. Approval and tracking of this holiday is the responsibility of the local unit.

    Extension academic staff members situated in Extension county offices should work with their supervisor and generally follow the county holiday schedule and take no more than 11 holidays. For more information visit the University's Personal Holiday website.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The University Office of Public Engagement has announced the 2012-13 Engaged Department Grant Program. Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded to 6 - 8 departments to plan, establish, implement, and evaluate strategic initiatives that advance the integration of public engagement into the departments' research and teaching activities.

    The application deadline is December 9. Please notify Extension's Grant Manager, Dianne Sivald, no later than December 1 if you intend to submit an application.

    Dianne Sivald
    Grants Manager

    The Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture is once again seeking nominations to honor outstanding Minnesotans and University of Minnesota graduates who help feed the world.  The deadline to submit nominations is January 15.

    Established in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, the Siehl prize is awarded annually in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach), production agriculture and agribusiness. Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.

    More information about the prize and how to submit a nomination may be found on the Siehl Prize website.

    John Byrnes
    Program Director, Agricultural Stakeholder Outreach

    The University's travel policy was recently updated and changes will take effect on November 1. As good stewards of our funding, I ask that each of you please take the time to review the policy and adhere to its requirements. It is especially important to note the new 30-day requirement for travel reimbursement submissions. I have asked all Extension accounting staff to support this new requirement, so please work with your accounting staff to ensure that your travel reimbursement requests are submitted within 30 days of the travel.

    You can access the revised employee expense worksheet and view other changes to the travel policy on the Finance and Planning section of the Extension intranet.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Extension staff with federal benefits
    Detailed information about the upcoming 2012 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 14-December 12) will be sent via email. While you may not be planning to make any changes, we strongly encourage you to review your plan's 2012 brochure to learn of any changes in coverage.
    If you wish to enroll in the University dental and/or flexible spending accounts benefits for 2012, you must complete the online form through University benefits enrollment by November 30.

    Extension staff with University benefits
    Open enrollment for University benefits is November 1-November 30. This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your University health plan coverage. The University is implementing significant changes that will impact benefits in 2012 including increasing employee premiums and copays, and selecting Medica as our sole medical plan administrator.  These details are not yet final, but will impact your 2012 benefits.  We urge you and your family members to review benefits options for 2012 during the open enrollment period.  The University Employee Benefits department will be communicating with you about changes.

    For more information on coverage and rate changes, please view the Open Enrollment web page and stay tuned to Extension enews.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) recently announced that starting January 2012, Adobe Presenter will no longer be bundled with Adobe Acrobat Pro, and University support for Presenter may be discontinued. OIT is collecting information about Adobe Presenter usage from University employees to help determine the University's renewal strategy with Adobe.

    Extension has many individuals and program teams who use Adobe Presenter and it is important for the University to hear from everyone who is using this software. They even encourage people who do not use Presenter to answer the survey. We urge everyone who uses, or thinks they might use, Presenter to respond to the Adobe Presenter survey so that OIT has an accurate representation of user needs.

    UMConnect is not affected by this change and will continue to be supported by Extension and the University.

    If you have any questions about Adobe Presenter, UMConnect or this survey, contact Karen Matthes.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    Extension has started a new monthly faculty and staff Q-&-A-style feature, intended to help our audiences get to know Extension better. The first installment, featuring Farm to School Coordinator Stephanie Heim, was shared on Extension's Facebook Page and can also be found on the News website.

    In addition to helping our external audiences learn more about Extension through our people and programs, we hope employees find it interesting and beneficial as well.

    We encourage you to share these monthly Q&A's, typically posted during the last week of each month, in your social networks. If you have an idea for a future Q&A feature, contact Catherine Dehdashti.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Writer/Coordinator

    The Extension Regional Office in Worthington will be moving to a new office location October 20-24. The new address is 1527 Prairie Drive, Worthington, MN 56187. Due to limited phone service during this time, you can contact Holli Arp directly at 507-360-1004 for immediate assistance, or leave a message on the main phone line, 507-372-3900.

    Holli Arp
    Regional Director, Worthington

    Moodle Basics Resources

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    Did you miss the Moodle Basics session at Program Conference, but would still like to learn more about it? All of the Moodle course materials are available for self-study on the University's technology training center (UTTC) website. On the site you have access to resource materials for creating basic Moodle 2.0 course websites, including information on grading, course collaboration, assignments and quizzes. Several of the resources are available to download and you can also view demo courses.

    In addition, we will also be working to design Extension-specific templates for the new Moodle 2.0 platform. Stay tuned to Extension enews for more information.

    Contact the business applications team at extapps@umn.edu if you have any questions about Moodle.

    Allison Jacobsen
    Business Applications Manager

    There will be a planned interruption to IT services at the University of Minnesota beginning on Saturday, October 1 at 6 p.m., with all services restored by Sunday, October 2 at 6 a.m. During this time you will not have access to several University services including:

    • Extension website (limited availability)
    • Extension intranet
    • network shares (H: and S: drives)
    • Moodle
    • Netfiles
    • Listservs
    • PeopleSoft Financials
    • Data Warehouse

    View the University's IT website for additional information and a complete list of affected applications.  If you need to work on or access files from shared drives during the outage period, we suggest that you save them to your hard drive before the outage begins.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    The University of Minnesota is celebrating the inauguration of Eric W. Kaler during the week of September 19 and Extension will be featured in two of the week's events: the St. Paul campus tour on Monday, and the Urban Research and Outreach Center open house (see UROC article below) on Tuesday.

    During the tour of the St. Paul campus, Extension will feature our work in turfgrass as an example of Extension research and education that impacts the economy and the environment through industry and consumer audiences. Brian Horgan, associate professor, Extension turfgrass specialist  and horticulture program leader, and Bob Mugaas, Extension professor in horticulture, will lead President Kaler and Dean Bev Durgan through a tour of the Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education (TROE) Center. TROE is a living laboratory on the St. Paul campus where researchers discover how to grow better grasses in our harsh climate, manage water use, and reduce the runoff of pesticides and herbicides.

    Also during the St. Paul campus tour, President Kaler will see another example of Extension research and education as the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) features the Bee Lab. Marla Spivak, Extension entomologist, CFANS professor and 2011 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" winner, will give a tour of the only bee research, outreach, and teaching program in the Upper Midwest.

    Watch Extension's Facebook page for photos of the events.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean and Communications Director

    In addition to the many marketing and communications templates available to Extension staff on the Extension intranet, we've recently created basic Word templates and several poster templates to support your marketing communications efforts. 

    The basic Word templates are 8 ½" x 11", black-and-white documents intended for simple, primarily internal documents such as project reports, meeting agendas, planning documents and other informal correspondence.

    The large-format poster templates are available as PPT and Publisher documents and can be customized with your content and photos. On the download page you will find tips for creating great posters, print and production specifications, and video demonstrations on how to use the templates. The page also provides a link to the Extension image gallery where you can download photos for your poster that can be scaled to a larger size without compromising the quality of the photo.

    As we continue to create and roll out tools and resources that support Extension marketing and communications, we encourage and welcome your feedback.  Please share your questions and comments with your center communications manager or send to epromo@umn.edu

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Have you seen the photos from Maroon and Gold Day at the State Fair--including new University President Eric Kaler discovering the wonders of Minnesota 4-H? You can take a look by connecting with Extension when you "Like" us on Facebook!

    Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow Extension to communicate and share updates and timely content with our most important stakeholders. And first and foremost, that means you--Extension's faculty and staff.

    When you connect with Extension on Facebook, you can keep track of select news, read interesting stories, and join in conversations about issues that matter to Minnesotans. We also encourage you to share Extension's content within your social networks, and post photos, videos or comments on Extension's Facebook wall.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Extension's line of clothing items has been updated to include the new Extension wordmark and new clothing options.  Extension partners with University Bookstores to offer nine basic clothing items year-round, including short-sleeve polos, long-sleeve dress shirts and a t-shirt. All items are available in women's and men's sizes for a better fit, and the Bookstores provide a convenient exchange system to be sure you get the right size.

    Embroidered with the Extension wordmark, these items will help make Extension visible at your events and meetings.  We encourage you to wear the clothing items anywhere you are representing Extension.

    Visit the clothing section of the Extension intranet to view a photo and description of each item and to place your order.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    We are more than halfway through the Minnesota State Fair and fairgoers have once again had many opportunities to experience the University and Extension.  Extension's presence at the State Fair represents the many ways we connect with our audiences, from the traditional face-to-face demonstrations to the use of technology to reach people from a distance.

    A few Extension highlights of the fair include:

    4-H

    • The 4-H building includes more than 6,000 4-H exhibits and performing arts shows that showcase the knowledge and skills 4-H'ers have acquired throughout the year.  See the 4-H website for daily highlights from the State Fair.
    • Social media enthusiasts can join the conversation about 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair on Twitter. Follow Minnesota 4-H on Twitter and use "@MN4H" in tweets commenting on 4-H exhibits, workshops and demonstrations (large Twitter wall screens are on display in the 4-H building and the cattle barn).
    • About 2,200 "blue ribbon" kids exhibit livestock in the animal barns. Competition results are delivered on the 4-H State Fair Results website, where visitors can stay informed and connected through their handheld devices.

    Master Gardeners

    • Master Gardener volunteers are available in the Agriculture Horticulture building to answer gardening questions every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Visitors can also watch Master Gardeners present gardening education throughout the day on the Agriculture Horticulture Building stage, The Dirt.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications

    As part of the Celebrate U! employee appreciation event that took place on the Twin Cities campus on August 24, University faculty and staff were offered an insulated lunch bag as an appreciation gift.  Extension Human Resources will be mailing the Celebrate U! gift to all of our off-campus employees who were unable to attend within the next few weeks. Note that Twin Cities-based staff members who were unable to attend the event should review the Celebrate U! website for instructions about the gift.  Our supply is for non-Twin Cities-based staff.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The following Extension faculty and staff have announced their retirement through the University's retirement incentive option (RIO.) Based on the requirement of accepting RIO, all staff must retire by January 2012. Individual retirement announcements and celebrations are being planned by work teams and supervisors and will be announced in Extension enews and email. Please join me in thanking these employees for the many contributions they have made to Extension and Minnesota.

    Rose Allen, Educator, Family Development
    Shirley Anderson-Porisch, Educator, Family Development
    Melvin Baughman, Program Leader, EFANS     
    Ray Bisek, Educator, EFANS
    Cindy Bigger, Educator, Community Vitality
    Neil Broadwater, Educator, EFANS
    James Carlson, Regional Director, Brainerd
    Rita Colchin, Community Nutrition Educator
    Shirley Doering, Educator, 4-H Youth Development
    Tim Dolan, Educator, Community Vitality and EFANS
    Mary Duncomb, Educator, 4-H Youth Development
    Kendall Dykhuis, Educator, EFANS
    Nancy Frosaker-Johnson, Regional Director, Moorhead
    Donna Geiser, Educator, 4-H Youth Development
    Colleen Gengler, Educator, Family Development
    Jan Gilman, Educator, Family Development
    Elaine Greenfield, Administrative Assistant, IT
    Kent Gustafson, Educator, Community Vitality
    Jayne Hager Dee, Regional Director, Farmington
    Cheryl Hays, Organizational Training Unit Coordinator
    Susan Hooper, Educator, Family Development
    Robert Hursch, Information Technology Specialist
    James Kurtz, Educator, EFANS
    Karen Lilley, Web Manager
    Jim Linn, Extension Specialist, Animal Science
    Pat Morreim, Regional Director, Andover
    Robert Mugaas, Educator, EFANS
    David Nelson, Educator, Community Vitality
    Bob Olen, Educator, EFANS
    Kathleen Olson, Educator, Family Development
    Phyllis Onstad, Educator, Family Development
    Barbara Piehl, Educator, 4-H Youth Development
    Lee Raeth, Director of Field Operations
    Willa Reed, Administrative Specialist, Dean's Office
    June Rhoads, Administrative Specialist, RDU
    Bobbie Roberts, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources
    Dorothy Rosemeier, Exec Director, WC Sustainable Dev Partnership
    Harlan Rosenthal, Educator, 4-H Youth Development
    Byron Schneider, Associate Professor, Youth Development
    Wayne Seidel, Educator, EFANS
    Russell Severson, Educator, EFANS
    Carol Skelly, Community Program Associate, 4-H Youth Development
    Joan Sigmundik, Administrative Specialist, Community Vitality
    Jaclyn Smith, Master Gardener Coordinator
    Toni Smith, Outreach Director, Field Operations
    Barbara Sorenson, Educator, Community Vitality
    Minnell Tralle, Educator, Family Development
    Joyce Walker, Assistant Director, Youth Development

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    The search for the new Extension associate dean for youth development is underway. Earlier this summer, I appointed a search committee: Jon Brekke, 4-H Foundation Board; Tamie Bremseth, 4-H program leader; Pat Morreim, regional director; Deb Moore, associate director Youth Work Institute;  Pat Jirik, 4-H educator; Ann Nordby, web manager; Eli Sagor, natural resources educator; and chair, Karen Shirer, associate dean for family development.

    The search committee has completed work on the position description which is now posted online. Please take a minute to read the description and encourage qualified applicants to apply online. The committee will begin reviewing applications this fall and our plan is to have a new associate dean in place by January 2012. In the meantime, I will continue to meet with the Extension Youth Development leadership team to ensure a smooth transition during this time of change.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Did you know you could make a free phone call from Gmail?  There are a couple of ways to do this:

    1. In Gmail under the Chat area, click on the Call Phone link to open the dialer to enter a phone number.
    2. Click on any phone number link in an email message to dial the number.

    If you connect to a public or private Internet that may block this traffic; you can first connect to the University's VPN to get around those settings.  Please use common courtesy for people around you when placing these calls, because without a headset it will be like speaking into a speakerphone.

    Currently these calls are offered for free through Google Chat, but we will send out a notification if this policy changes.  Google often makes changes before we are notified so be attentive if they try to sell you a service or charge you a fee.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    NetFiles will not be available from 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 27 through 3 p.m. Sunday, August 28 in order to complete a scheduled upgrade. This upgrade will include new features to allow for easier file sharing, easier upload process and the ability to upload multiple files or entire folders.

    Some users create a "ticket" in order to share documents in NetFiles. This ticket creates a URL/link providing people access to a file or folder stored in NetFiles. Password-protected tickets will not work after the upgrade and will need to be recreated (which is easier with the new share feature).

    Visit the NetFiles website for more information, or view an introductory video.  Questions or comments should be directed to University Technology Help at (612) 301-4357 (1-HELP on campus), or netfiles@umn.edu.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    Whether you're a hardcore gardening enthusiast or curious about the latest challenges facing Minnesota gardeners this summer, you'll want to check out Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning show on Friday, August 12. During the 10 a.m. segment, Julie Weisenhorn, state director for the Extension Master Gardener program, and host Marianne Combs will talk about the latest in Minnesota gardening news, seasonal trends, and resources and take caller questions. MPR reaches 900,000 listeners each week, and many of its audio archives, such as Julie's Midmorning segment from April 15, 2011, remain available online and via podcast subscription.

    If you have an idea on how you or your program team can address a newsworthy topic to reach the public via the news media, contact Julie Christensen or Catherine Dehdashti.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Check out the summer issue of the Extension retiree newsletter.  In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights a survey of Extension retirees and media moments such as Extension's efforts to help Minnesotans make informed decisions about the late spring planting situation. 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

    Nominations for the Minnesota Association of Extension Educators (MAEE) awards are due August 12.  All Extension employees are eligible to nominate a colleague for an award in the areas of innovation and technology, effective leadership, scholarship, and teamwork; self-nomination is also encouraged.

    Award winners will be honored at the MAEE awards banquet at Extension's Program Conference in October.  Details and nomination forms are available on the MAEE awards website.  For questions and additional information contact Carrie Olson, 320-589-1711 or olson166@umn.edu.

    Cindy M. Petersen
    MAEE Awards/Public Relations Committee

    In the next couple weeks, Extension will begin its annual cycle for academic promotion.  This year, in addition to the promotion process for campus and regionally-based educators with academic rank, we are pleased to introduce a promotion process for educators without academic rank. All eligible employees will be receiving a communication from Extension Human Resources with information and links to timelines, guidelines and resources. 

    As an organization, promotion processes are indicative of the academic nature of our work and provide a reflection of our professional credibility.  Extension is proud to offer its educators these promotion opportunities. 

    Mike Schmitt
    Senior Associate Dean

    For program teams interested in adding a blog to their online presence, a new blog resource section has been created on the Extension intranet. Blogs are a great way to provide news and commentary to a website in an interactive way.  Extension's blog resources feature blog basics, guidelines, policies and a blog request form. A set of blog templates have also been created that align with Extension's identity and are consistent with the Extension website look and feel, seamlessly integrating blogs with web content.

    To discuss more about blogging, or to find out if creating a blog is right for your program, contact your center communications manager (Joyce Hoelting, Community Vitality; Heather Lee, Family Development; Rebecca Noran, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences; Wendy Huckaby, Youth Development).

    Danny Sussman
    Extension Webmaster

    Extension has honored 75 families, one from each participating county, with the 2011 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year Award. The award recognizes the families' contributions to agriculture and their local communities.  The awards will be presented at the annual Farmfest at the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls on August 4. An Extension news release provides the names of all, and highlights the businesses of some, recognized families. Profiles of all the families can be found at on the University's farm family website.

    Julie Christensen
    News Media and Public Relations Manager

    Last year, Microsoft Office 2010 was released and includes improved security and new collaboration and graphic editing features. Extension IT will gradually upgrade Extension software to Office 2010 by installing it on all new computers as the Office product.  If you are currently using Office 2007, you will find the same user features in Office 2010 and training is not necessary. Office 2007 documents are fully compatible in Office 2010.

    For staff who are not scheduled to get a new computer anytime soon but would like to have Office 2010 installed, call the help desk at (612)624-6700 to schedule an installation. Visit the Office 2010 website for detailed information about the product.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    File Sharing

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    With more people working outside office walls or from a distance, there is an increased need to share documents between multiple sites.  The University offers Netfiles, an online file storage tool, as a secure way to share files with staff and colleagues.  Other file sharing services such as Dropbox.com and similar services are also free and easy to use; however, some of these tools are not secure and do not have approval from the University's Office of the General Counsel for files created for University business. 

    Visit the Extension intranet for more information about how to access and use Netfiles. For more information about file sharing, call the IT help desk (612)624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for the remaining 2011 calendar year.  Beginning July 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business increased from 51 to 55.5 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses increased from 19 to 23.5 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred from January 1 to June 30, 2011, but reimbursed after July 1, will be reimbursed using the rates for that time period. The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM 1612) & travel policy have been updated to reflect these rate changes.        

    Visit the Finance and Planning section of the Extension intranet for more information about University expense and travel reimbursement.      

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    Extension now has a mobile view of the Extension website for people accessing the website with an Android or iOS mobile device.  Viewers will automatically view a mobile friendly version that fits in the smaller dimensions of the mobile device screen.  The mobile view simplifies the user browsing experience and eliminates the hassle of horizontal scrolling or zooming. 

    Check out some of the Extension website pages and sections that are currently mobile including the Extension homepagenews site, extreme weather site and Master Gardener section of the website.

    This is one more step toward our goal of ensuring that regardless of how they access the web, all Extension audiences find one comprehensive, easy-to-use Extension website when they are searching for education, information and resources.  

    Tom Stanoch
    Web Designer

    A new book entitled, "Voyageur Skies: Weather and Wilderness in Minnesota's National Park," chronicles the seasons in Voyageurs National Park through University of Minnesota Extension climatologist Mark Seeley's account of how weather and climate has shaped the park's pristine landscape. Retired Extension photographer Don Breneman shows the many stunning facets of the park as they appear through his own lens.

    How has the climate in Voyageurs National Park changed in recent years and what does this mean going forward? Climate change is already impacting Minnesota's water resources. While celebrating the spectacular beauty to be found in Minnesota's only national park, VOYAGEUR SKIES facilitates wider discussion and understanding of implications for the future if the quality of the state's resources is to be preserved.

    As an introductory offer, Extension staff will be able to purchase signed copies (by both author and photographer) of "Voyageur Skies" for $29.99 each plus S/H and tax through the Extension Store.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Coordinator

    The North Central Cooperative Extension Association (NCCEA) is hosting a series of webinars that are offered as a way to explore Cooperative Extension's role and program priorities for its work on metropolitan food system issues.  This webinar series is an expansion of a NCCEA symposium on metropolitan food systems that was held in May in Kansas City, MO.

    The purpose of each webinar is to share key discussion points from the Kansas City meeting, and to engage participants in dialog that will develop a broad roadmap of critical priorities for Cooperative Extension programming associated with metropolitan food systems. For more information, view the NCR webinar series webpage.

    Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your colleagues (or yourself) by nominating them for an award from the Minnesota Association of Extension Educators (MAEE).  Apply for one of the following awards: Innovation and Technology, Effective Leadership, Scholarship or MAEE & ESP Teamwork.  MAEE is a professional organization of Educators working in county, regional and state positions within Extension representing professional development, personnel policy and public awareness interests of its members.  Any current Extension employee can nominate a colleague but must fulfill eligibility requirements to receive an award.

    Completed nomination forms are due August 12.  For a description of each award, eligibility details and information about how to submit a nomination, please visit the MAEE awards website.  Award winners will be honored at the MAEE awards banquet at the Extension program conference in October.  For questions or additional information contact Carrie Olson, 320-589-1711 or olson166@umn.edu. 

    Cindy M. Petersen
    MAEE Awards/Public Relations Committee

    Are you looking for new, efficient ways to communicate with staff in your office, other offices or while you are travelling?  If you haven't already, give Google Chat a try.  Google Chat is an instant messaging tool that is available to all University staff through the Google Apps software suite. It enables you to collaborate and chat via text, audio and video in real-time with one or more University employees at a time on your computer. It is an excellent tool for short, relatively simple communications. In addition, Google Chat uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which allows users to call, video or text chat from anywhere in the world for free.  All you need is an internet connection.

    Visit the Google Chat section of the Extension intranet for more information or call the IT Help Desk 612-624-6700.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    The University's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) program is seeking faculty and staff within University of Minnesota to provide expertise for a federally-funded regional development plan for central Minnesota. The Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Plan (CMSDP) is a two-year project designed to kick-start central Minnesota's economy and sustainable housing and transportation. 

    In partnership with Staples-based Region Five Development Commission, RSDP will tap experts from throughout the University in such areas of transportation, housing and land use, while relying on the guidance and input of residents of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties. For details on faculty and staff opportunities, contact project coordinator Jean Coleman at colem470@umn.edu or (612) 588-4904.

    Kathryn Draeger
    Statewide Director, University Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships program

    Important due dates for submitting financial transactions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 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.

    FY2011 deadlines:

    • June 15 - Requisitions and PO Vouchers (any invoice that is matched to a PO)
    • June 22 - Non-PO Vouchers (Single payment requests including expense/travel reimbursement. Reminder: University policy states that all expense and travel reimbursements should be submitted within 15 days of the scheduled trip return.)
    • June 24 - A/R Billing (customer maintenance requests) - establish customers
    • June 29, noon - A/R Billing (customer profile exists) - create invoices
    • June 30, noon - Purchasing Card (PCARD) reconciliation & deposits

    Additional deadlines have been sent to all Extension staff who routinely prepare financial documents for accounting transactions. For questions regarding these deadlines, contact your accounting representative or Extension Finance and Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    In June and July, Extension IT is offering half-day Google Apps training workshops in several locations throughout the state. The workshop will focus on Google Docs and Google Sites and is designed for people who prefer a hands-on lab learning experience. For a complete description, dates, locations and registration information, visit the Information Technology Training Calendar on the Extension intranet. For additional information, contact Karen Matthes or your Regional Office support staff.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    Recovery after Disaster: the Family Financial Toolkit is a comprehensive online resource that will help families that have been affected by a disaster answer questions like: "Where do I start?"  "How am I doing financially?" "Where will I live?" Developed by University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with North Dakota State University Extension Service and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the toolkit is based on methods that worked for families who experienced floods in Rushford (2007) and the Red River Valley (2009). The toolkit discusses strategies and provides tools that can help families move along the road to financial recovery.

    A national webinar is taking place for Extension staff on June 7, 1-2:30 p.m., to review the toolkit and other resources available through national Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).  For more information and to join the webinar, visit the Family Financial Toolkit website.

    Karen Shirer
    Associate Dean, Center for Family Development

    Several new Extension center-specific marketing resources have been added to the print and electronic  downloads and templates available on the Extension intranet. The new templates and resources include: flyers, brochures, postcards, multi-page Word documents, bookmarks and more. 

    All the materials were developed in Word or PowerPoint and incorporate Extension's visual identity, wordmark and required statements, so they are easy to use while offering consistent, professionally designed materials across all Extension centers and programs. New materials include several items specific to 4-H and the Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Additional templates will continue to be added as we work with each of the centers to address their program marketing needs.   Extension staff should use these templates whenever producing marketing materials in-house.  Instructional resources are available on the intranet to assist you in using these Word and PowerPoint templates.   Live and online training sessions are also being scheduled to provide staff more in-depth learning opportunities. 

    Because photos are such an important part of our communications and marketing materials, we have also created an online image gallery of professional photographs that all staff can use when creating marketing materials for Extension.  In addition to photos representing the work of Extension, you can also find individual staff photos on the photo image gallery. 

    As we continue to create and roll out tools and resources that support Extension marketing and communications, we encourage and welcome your feedback.  Please share your questions and comments with Aimee Viniard-Weideman or  Sarah Bjorkman.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    The National Urban Extension Conference was held in Des Moines earlier this month.  More than 300 attendees, including 15 from Minnesota, experienced an excellent staff and professional development program.  While the conference was labeled as "Urban Extension" in its marketing, it was more of a blueprint for "Extension of the Future." 

    Sessions focused on issues such as food systems, human health, financial literacy, and the environment.  Other sessions centered on the role of technology in teaching and learning, public engagement, communications, accountability, and best teaching practices.  Keynoters addressed diversity, poverty, cultural awareness, societal trends and generational learning.  While these topics may be perceived as being associated with "urban" audiences, all of these issues are applicable for Extension in Minnesota whether you are in the Twin Cities or in greater Minnesota.

    Several University of Minnesota Extension faculty presented at sessions or accompanied posters.  They included Dorothy Freeman (who presented a keynote), Toni Smith, Claudia Cody, Jennifer Skuza (who is also University of Minnesota's Extension representative on the planning committee), Abby Gold, Maki Kawase, Karen Jeannette, Margo Herman, Shelley Sherman, Nancy Hegland, and Joyce Strand. 

    Mike Schmitt
    Senior Associate Dean

    A cold, rainy spring has meant delayed crop planting for Minnesota farmers. It has also meant more chances to reinforce Extension's reputation as a source for credible, research-based information.

    Several Extension faculty and educators have been busy with state, regional and local media covering this topic. Liz Stahl and Russ Severson, explained the late-planting situation to a broad audience on MPR's Morning Edition, and David Nicolai helped WCCO-TV present accurate information to metro viewers. Seth Naeve, Jeff Coulter and Nicolai reached farmers with related research-based information for decision-making via Ag News Wire columns, which are distributed to hundreds of local and ag news sources. These columns appeared, for example, in Minnesota Ag Connection and Tri-State Neighbor. Local educators such as Jodi DeJong-Hughes and Dan Martens (and several others) gave interviews to ag and local newspapers and radio stations.

    Extension Communications and Public Relations appreciates the participation of those who enthusiastically fulfill the media requests we bring to them and who help us proactively pitch them as experts to the news media. If you have an idea on how you or your program team can address a newsworthy topic to reach audiences via the news media, contact Julie Christensen, public relations and news media manager, or Catherine Dehdashti, public relations coordinator.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Coordinator

    Minnesota Idea Open is hosting its second community challenge on June 21. The Idea Open, which started last year, brings everyday Minnesotans together to help solve our state's most critical issues. This year the Idea Open is looking for answers to the question, "How would you use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota?" Starting June 21, people from all over Minnesota will be able to submit ideas to the challenge. In the meantime, check out the MN Idea Open website to sign up for updates and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

    Renee Pardello
    Assistant Dean,
    Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    In February, the University approved RIO, an opportunity for voluntary retirement for eligible employees.  In April, Extension also received approval to offer VERA to coincide with RIO.  In order to take advantage of both programs, eligible employees must submit their intent to retire by May 15.

    For more information about RIO, visit the University RIO website. You can read Extension-specific FAQs about RIO on the Extension intranet. 

    If you have additional questions about RIO, contact the Benefits Service Team at 612-624-9090 or 800-756-2363, option 2 or send an email to benefits@umn.edu.  For questions about VERA, contact Leslee Mason, human resources director, or Kathy Murphy, federal benefits counselor.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    In May and June, Extension IT is offering a half-day Google Apps training workshop in several locations throughout the state. The workshop will focus on Google Docs and Google Sites and is designed for people who prefer a hands-on lab learning experience. For a complete description, dates, locations and registration information, visit the Information Technology Training Calendar on the Extension intranet. For additional information, contact Karen Matthes or your Regional Office support staff.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    Whether you need to learn Excel Pivot Tables, upload a presentation in Adobe Connect or use the TurningPoint clicker technology, there are several online training videos and workshops available to you anytime. Links to these applications and more can be found on the Extension IT Training Resources section on the Extension intranet.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  If you have not yet filed a REPA, the final deadline for filing is April 22. 

    You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension intranet to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

    For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Tourism is a key economic sector in Minnesota, the United States, and the world.  The University of Minnesota Extension's Tourism Center is celebrating National Tourism Week with a poster session on Tuesday, May 10, 10:30 a.m. - noon at the St. Paul Student Center, Minnesota Commons Room. All Extension staff are invited to attend.  You'll meet University personnel involved with tourism research and education. They'll present their work and discuss the tourism industry, which generates $950 billion in the world and $9.2 billion annually in Minnesota.  All who attend will receive a Mall of America Super Savings Coupon Book ($9.95 retail value) and Nickelodeon Universe Mystery Ride ticket ($6.00 minimum value; both are available while supplies last). Further, you can enter to win prizes including a Mall of America Fun package valued at $400!

    Joyce Hoelting
    Assistant Director, Extension Center for Community Vitality

    Earlier this week, Dean Durgan sent an email to all Extension staff about the University's Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) with a link to University resources and Extension-specific FAQs.  The Extension FAQs have recently been updated with information about the RIO Agreement form and the Federal Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA).  These FAQs will continue to be updated as more information is available, so be sure to use them as a resource when making decisions about RIO.

    RIO is an opportunity for voluntary retirement for eligible employees.  Faculty, P&A, Civil Service, Represented Bargaining Unit, and Federal employees may enroll in RIO beginning February 15 through May 15, 2011. For more information about RIO, and to determine if you are eligible, visit the University RIO website.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Extension has received approval to offer the Federal Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) to coincide with the current University Retirement Incentive Option (RIO).  In order to take advantage of both programs, eligible employees must submit their intent to retire by May 15.  Those eligible for VERA will soon receive an email containing all of the necessary information and forms.  For questions contact Leslee Mason, human resources director, or Kathy Murphy, federal benefits counselor.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    As the Red River Valley prepares for a crest this weekend, Extension is moving its coordinated system from flood preparation into recovery. Extension's role is to provide research-based educational resources to assist Minnesotans in preparing for and recovering from the flood. Read the Dean's article from the March 3 issue of enews for a detailed explanation of Extension's role.

    Staff can access the most up-to-date information by visiting Extension's flood website, or by calling Extension's toll-free phone services - Flood (a.k.a. Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077) and AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

    Extension's flood response is coordinated by Minnesota's Extension Disaster Education Network (MN-EDEN) team to ensure consistency across the state.  MN-EDEN will evaluate needs and ensure non-duplication of efforts within Extension or with other agencies. Contact Bob Byrnes, with your program ideas and questions about Extension's flood response.

    Bob Byrnes
    MN-EDEN response coordinator

    In recent months, Extension staff have experienced sporadic issues with attaching files in Gmail from network locations (i.e. Active Directory shared drives) in both Chrome and Internet Explorer (IE).  Google is aware of this issue and they are working to resolve it.  Until Google creates a universal solution to this issue, Extension IT has identified some interim solutions that you can try:

    1. Use a different internet browser; if it doesn't work in Chrome try Internet Explorer or FireFox.
    2. Drag and drop attachments.
    3. Save the file to the desktop and add them through the "Attach a file" link in the email.
    Visit the Email and Calendar section of the Extension intranet for additional Google resources and training materials.  For questions, contact the IT helpdesk at 612-624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  The filing process was halted in February and March due to issues with the filing software, but all issues have been resolved.  If you have already filed a report on or after February 28, you do not need to file another REPA at this time.  If you have not yet filed a REPA, the final deadline for filing is April 22.

    You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension intranet to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

    All individuals filing a REPA must also complete the conflict of interest training.  The training module should be completed no later than April 15.

    For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources. You may also contact the Office of Institutional Compliance, Conflict of Interest Program's REPA Helpline (612/626-1462) or at repamail@umn.edu.  Technical issues with the EGMS system should be directed to the EGMS Technical Helpline (612-624-1600) or repa@egms.umn.edu.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The University goes to great lengths to prevent unauthorized access to information such as your email and personal records, and for that reason, internet passwords (i.e., x.500 passwords) are set to expire one year after the password is set. Every year you will receive an email notification from the University requiring you to change your University Internet password.  When you receive the email, be sure to follow the instructions to update your password by the deadline indicated (usually within one week of receiving the notification).

    As a reminder, the University will never ask for your user ID or password, and you should never reply to ANY email request asking for that information. Always go to the University account website to change your University password.  For questions, contact the IT helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    Employees with a remaining balance in their health care and/or dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for Plan Year 2010 must submit claims to Employee Benefits by March 31, 2011. Claims must arrive by campus mail or be postmarked by March 31. Qualifying Plan Year 2010 expenses are those incurred between January 1, 2010, and March 15, 2011. Pursuant to IRS regulations, any of these funds remaining in accounts after March 31 will be forfeited. To view your account balance, see Flexible Spending. For more information, call the Employee Benefits Service Center at 612-624-9090 or 1-800-756-2363, option 3.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director
    (from U of M Brief, March 9)

    Media Moment

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    Video: Supporting military youth through Operation: Military Kids

    A video featuring Operation: Military Kids (OMK), which supports military youth in Minnesota in discovering positive ways to cope with deployment, is now available on Extension's YouTube channel. The video was created to pitch the timely program to the news media and to feature the program on the internet. YouTube makes it easy to share videos by email or on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites--just click the "Share" button below the video for options.

    The topic of military families is newsworthy as approximately 2,500 troops from Minnesota are preparing to be deployed in the coming months. In addition, more than 15,000 youth have already been affected by the deployment of a parent or loved one.

    If you have an idea on how you or your program team can address a newsworthy topic and engage viewers with Extension, contact Catherine Dehdashti.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    PR Coordinator/Writer

    As communities across Minnesota prepare for unprecedented spring flooding, I want to keep you updated on Extension's role and resources in flood education and our plans for coordinating a system-wide response.  Extension's role is to provide research-based educational resources to assist Minnesotans in preparing for and recovering from the flood. Staff can access the most up-to-date information by visiting Extension's flood website, www.extension.umn.edu/Flood, or calling Extension's toll-free phone services - Flood (aka Farm) Information Line (1-800-232-9077) and AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678).

    During the spring flood season, Extension's flood response will be coordinated by Minnesota's Extension Disaster Education Network (MN-EDEN) team to ensure consistency across the state.  MN-EDEN will evaluate  pre- and post-flood needs and ensure non-duplication of efforts within Extension or with other agencies. Bob Byrnes is the MN-EDEN response coordinator and is charged with ensuring that our efforts are not only coordinated within Extension, but also with our many partners across the state. Contact Bob Byrnes 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 preparing for and recovering from floods supports the work of many partnering agencies.

    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

    In the Feb 17 issue of enews, I announced that the draft of the Blue Ribbon Listening Sessions Report was available on the intranet for employees to review. In addition, I invited employees to share ideas through an online form. February 28 was the deadline for responding and I want to thank those who replied. The final Blue Ribbon Listening Sessions report with the addendum of additional comments is now available on the intranet.

    Extension's executive committee will be using the information gathered during this process to inform the next phase of Extension's strategic planning, including a work session with the Extension Leadership Council in April.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    If you have visited the Extension intranet in the last week, you may have already noticed its new design.  If you haven't yet had a chance, I encourage you to do so soon. Enter through any one of the "Extension Units" on the right side of the homepage and you will see several prominent changes to the site:  an updated banner and footer apply Extension's new identity elements; a wider page format helps readers scan and read content much easier; and the new format provides the ability to navigate between intranet sections regardless of where you are on the site.  All of these improvements make it easier for Extension staff to find the information you need, when you need it.

    We will continue to update and organize content and make additional improvements to the site based on your needs and feedback.  Please send comments or questions about the intranet to Sarah Bjorkman, bjor0180@umn.edu.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    Extension centrally maintains staff email lists (formerly known as "Addressbooks") that allow Extension staff to communicate with various segments of the Extension community.  These lists have recently been reviewed and updated to make them more reliable and applicable to our internal structure.   A Staff Email List resource page has been created on the intranet that provides more information including a feature to view members on each list.

    To access the latest revisions of the Extension staff email lists, you can click on individual addresses on the intranet resource page, or you can upload all of the lists into your Gmail account.  When Extension migrated to Gmail in November, 2010, you were instructed to to upload the old staff email lists into your Gmail account.  In order for all of the recent revisions to take effect, you'll need to delete the old email lists and upload the revised versions.  Instructions to update your staff email lists are on the IT section of the intranet.  Contact Sarah Bjorkman, bjor0180@umn.edu with questions.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Due to a storm that occurred on February 21, the Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) informational session has been rescheduled for Friday, March 4, 10-11 a.m., in the Coffman Memorial Union Theater. If you are unable to attend in person, this session will be broadcast through UMConnect. For more information or to check system requirements for participating online, visit the University Human Resources website. A recorded version of the RIO presentation will be posted on the site through May 15.

    More information about RIO is available on the Retirement Incentive Option website. If you have additional questions, contact the Benefits Service Team at 612-624-9090 or 800-756-2363, option 2 or send an email to benefits@umn.edu.

    U of M Office of Human Resources

    You are invited to nominate outstanding colleagues for the 2010-2011 Extension Dean's distinguished awards for civil service and bargaining unit staff. The award categories are: distinguished campus and field support staff, program staff and community nutrition educator.

    The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 4. Guidelines and more information on how to nominate are available on the Dean's section of the Extension intranet. For questions, contact Shelly Tschida.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    The Board of Regents approved the Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) at its meeting on February 11. RIO is an opportunity for voluntary retirement for eligible employees. Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) will provide a lump-sum contribution to the State of Minnesota Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP), following the last day of employment. The amount of the contribution will be roughly equivalent to 24 months (52 pay periods) of University subsidy, depending upon the employee's UPlan coverage level, permanent residence, and work location as of the last day of employment.

    Eligible employees may enroll in the program beginning February 15 through May 15, 2011. Three informational RIO seminars will be held on the Twin Cities campus on February 21 and 22. The sessions will also be broadcast through UMConnect for those who are unable to attend in person.  Visit the University Human Resources events website for session details. Additional information about RIO is available on the HCSP website and on the University Human Resources website.

    If you have questions, contact the Employee Benefits Service Center at (612)624-9090 or (800)756-2363, option 2 or send an email to benefits@umn.edu.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Extension employees are encouraged to take five minutes to complete an online survey about climate change in Minnesota by Friday, February 18.  The survey is conducted by Extension's Climate Initiative team and will allow them to assess perspectives and educational needs in order to refine Extension's work on climate change.

    Employees in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS) took the survey earlier this year and do not need to take it again.

    Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete the survey. The results and comparisons will be shared in a future issue of enews.

    Bev Durgan
    Dean

    Tech Tutoring

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    Extension Tech Tutoring provides Extension employees an opportunity to learn specific software skills or concepts on an individual basis. Examples of tutoring sessions include: adding narration to a PowerPoint presentation; sharing documents through NetFiles; creating electronic forms; and many other skill building opportunities.

    Tutoring sessions can take place from a remote location through UMConnect, or if you are on campus, we can meet in person. Check the Extension Tech Tutoring section on the Extension intranet for a list of applications we are able to assist you with. Contact Karen Matthes or Chery Hays Day to schedule an appointment for 30-60 minutes.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    The Extension Center for Youth Development will hold a free public symposium, Exploring the impact of deployment on military youth and families: Recent research findings, withAngela J. Huebner, associate professor in Human Development at Virginia Tech. Huebner will present findings from several studies of both adolescents and parents and their experience of parental/spousal deployment since September 11, 2001 (9/11).

    The event will be held on Wednesday, February 23, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, Minneapolis campus.  For more details, and to register online, visit the Extension Youth Development website.

    Wendy Huckaby
    Communications Manager, Youth Development

    One of the programming priorities of Extension's federal USDA stakeholder, the National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is climate change. In Minnesota, we are looking at opportunities to expand our programming and grants in support for this important and complex issue that cuts across many program areas in Extension.

    In an effort to assess the perspectives and educational needs, Extension's Climate Initiative team is asking for a few minutes of your time to help us refine Extension's work on climate change. Please take five minutes to complete an online survey by February 18. The survey will allow the team to compare Extension responses with other agency staff and with the general public.

    Similar questions were asked of a representative population of Minnesotans this fall through the MN Center for Survey Research, and in internal surveys conducted by the MN Department of Natural Resources and the MN Department of Health. Employees in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS) also took the survey earlier this year and do not need to take it again.

    Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete the survey. The results and comparisons will be shared in a future enews article.

    Bev Durgan

    Effective January 1, the Extension Nutrition Education Assistant (NEA) title has changed to Community Nutrition Educator (CNE). CNEs provide direct delivery of the Extension Simply Good Eating program and the new title more accurately reflects their work in community nutrition education and parallels other similar paraprofessional positions. "Assistant" has frequently caused confusion with partners and participants. While CNEs are supervised by Extension educators and program coordinators, a CNE receives training, uses research-based curricula and establishes program sites and relationships with partners. This name change does not change the great work CNEs are doing across Minnesota.

    Sue Letourneau
    Health and Nutrition

    Before you take vacation, be sure to double check your vacation balance on the University's Employee Self Service website. As a faculty or professional and administrative (P&A) employee you earn vacation at a rate of 6.76 hours per pay period. While this measure amounts to 22 days/year, it is accrued on a biweekly basis and you need to ensure that your current vacation balance is equivalent to, or more than your vacation request. Additional information regarding vacation for faculty and P&A employees can be found on the HR section of the Extension intranet. For questions, contact Deb Page.

    Deb Page
    Assistant Director, Human Resources

    Extension staff who use the U of M Secure wireless network will need to make a slight configuration change to continue connecting to the network.  This applies to Extension staff on the Twin Cities campuses and regional offices.  Users who use the U of M Secure wireless network must change their computer configuration settings to "trust" the "AddTrust External CA Root" certificate authority. Alternatively, staff can use the regular U of M wireless network that requires authentication on your web browser only.

    For help configuring your computer, see wireless setup guides, or call the Extension helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    AFSCME Day on the Hill

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    AFSCME's Annual "Day on the Hill" will take place on Tuesday, March 22.  This is an event where AFSCME members jointly visit the legislature in order to lobby for more money, or fewer budget cuts, for the University of Minnesota.

    The University supports AFSCME in this effort of emphasizing the University's importance to the state of Minnesota;  therefore, the University has agreed to allow AFSCME Union members to participate in the Day on the Hill activities without loss of pay.

    Supervisors of AFSCME employees are encouraged to work with their interested AFSCME employees to arrange for maximum participation in this day's events.  Participating AFSCME employees shall be allowed time off with pay that is not subtracted from vacation, sick leave or compensatory time balances.  The expectation is that employees interested in attending the event contact their supervisors ahead of time so the appropriate staffing arrangement can be made in the department.
    For questions contact Extension HR.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Extension is offering various technology training webinars in February and March for UMConnect, Google Forms, Media Mill and Adobe Presenter. Sessions are free of charge and are available at a distance so you can participate from your office. The sessions will help build your technology-based skills and create efficiencies in your work. 

    View the technology training calendar on the Extension intranet for specific workshop topics, descriptions and instructions on how to attend.  For questions, contact Karen Matthes.

    Check out the winter issue of the Extension retiree newsletter.  In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights Extension's online presence and winter media moments such as Extension's response to helping homeowners deal with ice dams. 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 Office of Human Resources will hold its Brown Bag Financial Series from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays in February. Upcoming sessions include "Remaining Confident in a Volatile Market," Feb. 9; "A Perspective on Today's Economy," Feb. 16; and "Investment Perspectives Webinar," Feb. 23. The first two events will be held at 210 Donhowe and online through UMConnect. The third session will be a live webinar broadcast directly from the corporate offices of Vanguard Funds in Philadelphia. Registration is required for session #3. For registration and more information, or to participate online, see Brown Bag finance.

    U of M Brief February 2, 2011

    Several communications and marketing templates that include Extension's new identity elements are now available to download from the Extension intranet.  Downloads include: new PowerPoint templates, customizable Word documents and HTML email banners (an example is used in this newsletter). 

    These are the first in a series of tools and resources that are being developed to support Extension staff in creating professional, consistent and easy-to-use communications and marketing pieces.  As part of the rollout, Extension Communications is also working with center associate deans and communications staff to create templates and resources that fulfill specific center needs. Stay tuned to the intranet and enews for more information.  In the meantime, you can begin to incorporate Extension's new identity into your marketing efforts by using the templates that are available now.

    As we continue to implement tools and resources that incorporate Extension's new identity, we encourage and welcome feedback to ensure that we fulfill the greatest needs.  Please share your questions and comments with Aimee Viniard-Weideman, Sarah Bjorkman or your center communications staff.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    The Effort Certification (ECRT) system has changed and the new system will be implemented on February 14.

    A 20-minute tutorial and two job aids are available to assist Principle Investigators (PIs) and researchers with effort certification in the new ECRT system. Extension PIs and researchers are encouraged to review the tutorial before the February 14 rollout. 

    Extension will also host an ECRT webinar to orient staff to the look of the new system; highlight features, procedures, and deadlines; and address questions.  The date and time of the ECRT webinar will be announced in early February.  The session will be recorded and available online for those who cannot attend and will be available as an ongoing resource. The tutorial is not required to gain access to ECRT, nor is it a prerequisite for future classes.

    Dianne Sivald
    Grants Manager
    and
    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    There are several key statements that must appear on Extension materials to indicate that we uphold federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, as well as University equal opportunity policies. To meet these requirements, Extension will be automatically including required statements on all print and electronic templates and downloads available through Extension Communications to make it easier for staff when creating communications and marketing materials. 

    One of the required statements is the Disability Access Statement (ADA) which has recently been revised to ensure greater consistency in Extension's response to disability requests.  The statement includes policy language along with contact information of the person who will respond to disability requests.  Since the contact number is a small detail and is sometimes overlooked, we have included a default statement in all Extension templates and downloads that lists the Extension Store number. However, the best and preferred option is to replace the Extension Store number with the name and number of a contact in your office who will handle requests.

    Regardless of what number is listed, all disability requests will need to be coordinated by the program team/office that is distributing the materials or holding the event. If the Extension Store receives the request, they will forward the request to the appropriate Extension contact(s).

    For questions, contact your center communications manager or Sarah Bjorkman.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    University Vice Presidents Pfutzenreuter and Mulcahy have identified three key areas as targets for improving the University's Enterprise Financial System (EFS). One target is financial reporting enhancements.  (This refers to UMReports and is not related to the web reports accessed through the Extension finance website.) A Reporting Work Group has been established and charged to coordinate a series of listening sessions in which you will have the opportunity to share existing or new financial data and reporting requirements. We encourage all interested staff to participate in one of the scheduled sessions listed below (seating will be limited by room capacity):

    • Monday, January 24, 3-5 p.m., 402 Walter Library (room capacity - 92)
    • Thursday, January 27, 1-3 p.m., G 55 Peik Gym (room capacity - 94)
    • Tuesday, February 1, 9-11 a.m., 355 Borlaug Hall, St. Paul (room capacity - 182)

    A separate session is being set up for faculty on the Twin Cities campus in mid-February and an additional (non-travel) option is being developed for staff located outside of the Twin Cities. If you are unable to attend one of the listening sessions above and would like to participate, a survey will be made available beginning Thursday, January 20. Further communication regarding the additional sessions and survey will be sent out in the near future.
    At the conclusion of the Listening Sessions, the reporting work group will work to prioritize the list of reporting issues/needs based on participant input. This final document will serve as the financial data and reporting requirements.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

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

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    If you are looking for Extension news, check out the  redesigned Extension news media website  for easier access to news releases, links to Extension in the news, Ag News Wire, features, multimedia and more. The site offers RSS feeds and subscriptions, as well as links to Extension's YouTube channel, Twitter feed and sharing icons for social networking tools. Because URLs for news items changed when the items migrated to the new format there are a couple changes you should know about:

    • Links to 2010 news items from program pages have been redirected.  Please check the links on your pages to be sure they go to the correct pages.
    • If you had an RSS feed for Extension news, you'll want to visit the site to re-subscribe since the old feed has ended.

    Please contact Catherine Dehdashti with any questions.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    PR Coordinator

    One of the snowiest Decembers in state history conspired with other factors to plague homeowners whose roofs are prone to ice dams. Extension housing technology experts Patrick Huelman and Richard Stone spent much of the holiday season helping reporters understand what causes the ice dams and how homeowners should respond. The Extension ice dam web page that they shared with reporters has received approximately 20,000 visits in three weeks. Several news segments and articles provided readers with the information Patrick and Richard gave reporters and many news pieces can be found online, including from Minnesota Public Radio, Rochester Post-Bulletin and Pioneer Press.

    If you have educational information and resources that speak to issues challenging Minnesotans, working with the media is a good way to share Extension's value. For more information, read Dealing with The Media or contact Catherine Dehdashti. Please contact Catherine when working with metro-area reporters or when you would like help connecting with outstate and niche media.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    PR Coordinator

    If you are a supervisor, now is the time to direct your staff members to complete their self evaluations for calendar year 2010. They should return the completed forms to you by January 24 so you can prepare and schedule annual performance evaluations from late January through February.  Completing a performance evaluation for each of your staff members is required by University employment contracts.

    After conducting the performance evaluation, send the completed form to Extension Human Resources by March 31 for the personnel file. Find the correct performance evaluation form and instructions on the employee website. Contact Leslee Mason with additional questions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    2011 Business Mileage Rate Change

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    The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2011.  Beginning January 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business increases from 50 cents to 51 cents per mile.  The standard mileage rate for moving expenses increases from 16.5 to 19 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2010, but reimbursed in 2011, should be reimbursed using the 2010 mileage rate.

    Read more about the 2011 business mileage rate change on the employee website. Please contact Extension Finance and Planning staff for questions.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    We are nearing the end of 2010, and if you haven't already, be sure to update your Extension publications and marketing materials with the new Extension wordmark.   University brand policy requires Extension (and all other University units) to transition to the new wordmark by the end of this month.  This does not include large quantities of items that still contain relevant content, or signs and other costly items that do not naturally need to be replaced at this time. The rollout of the new wordmark will continue to be made in a fiscally responsible manner by replacing more expensive items when their stock is depleted or when a new order is being placed.  All other Extension publications and marketing materials should be updated with the new wordmark, including stationery, name badges and social media icons.
    The following resources have been created to assist you with updating your materials:

    Additional resources that utilize the new wordmark and other Extension identity elements, including PowerPoint templates, HTML email banners, customizable Word documents and blog templates, will be available for easy downloading from the employee website in the new year.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    Google Calendar Tips

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    • You can view another person's calendar or room or equipment resource calendars.
    • If you want to invite guests to a meeting, just edit the event details and enter the person's name or email address.
    • Need to schedule a meeting with several people? Use the find a time feature.
    •  Create another calendar for yourself or for a work team or project and share it with the people in your workgroup. You can even share your additional calendar with people outside of the University.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    VERA Application Reminder

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    The deadline for receipt of application for a federal VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) is December 23, at 4:30 p.m., in the Extension Human Resources Office, 260 Coffey Hall, St. Paul.  Extension staff who meet the eligibility requirement for VERA were notified in August. 

    Read more about Extension's VERA request in the August 15 issue of Extension enews. Questions should be directed to Kathy Murphy.

    Kathy Murphy
    Federal Benefits Administrator

    All Extension educators, 4-H program directors, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2011 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 3. The submission templates are available on the employee website. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    Adobe Presenter 7 Updates

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    Updates for your Adobe Presenter 7 software are not automatic. It is important that you regularly check for software updates which may improve usability, performance and security vulnerabilities. Instructions to check for Presenter 7 updates are on the IT section of the employee website.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    When the roof of the Metrodome collapsed on Sunday morning, the Vikings-Giants game moved from Minneapolis to Detroit.  Extension Community Economics Educator, David Nelson, and Extension Analyst, Brigid Tuck, had earlier written a research report  that calculated the economic impact of a previous game's move. David and Brigid agreed to be promoted in an Expert Alert the next day to let media know the University had people who could give unbiased insight to the news.

    That afternoon, David and Brigid were interviewed by a host of major metro reporters. Within hours, stories appeared on Minnesota Public Radio, FOX-9, and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, just to name a few.

    Extension coordinates Expert Alerts with the News Service.  If you think you could be promoted to the media as an expert on a timely topic, contact Catherine Dehdashti.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Communications and Public Relations

    Dear Colleagues,

    As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that Extension programs achieve a level of quality and professional standards expected of a land grant university, Extension tenure/tenure-track faculty and educators with academic rank participate in promotion processes that recognize their accomplishments in teaching, research and outreach. 

    In addition to these promotion processes, Extension will introduce a promotion process for Extension educators who do not have academic rank. This includes local/county educators and youth development educators with regional responsibilities. The promotion process for educators without academic rank will take effect in January, with the annual application beginning in July/August. The policies and procedures on promotion for educators without academic rank are available on the employee website.

    Promotion is a professional indicator of personal and organizational success. I am pleased that we will now be offering this to our educators without academic rank. Promotion systems that encourage faculty and educators to actively engage in scholarship and peer review support and enhance the quality of our educational offerings.  I am confident that our promotion systems will continue to increase the credibility of Extension's work within this research university.

    I want to thank the ad hoc committee who spent many hours discussing the issues, reviewing and making recommendations, and preparing the final policies and procedures: Brad Carlson, Rebecca Harrington, Nancy Hegland, Barb Liukkonen, Jennifer Skuza, Trisha Sheehan, Betsy Wieland and Nathan Winter. Thanks also to Mike Schmitt, senior associate dean, and Leslee Mason, human resources director, for your work with this committee.

    Bev Durgan

    Please complete survey
    If you haven't already done so, please take a few minutes to fill out the Google Migration Survey. We want to know what you think about UM Google Apps and the migration process to help inform and improve future IT initiatives, and to equip you with the tools and resources you need to best utilize Google Apps in your work.

    Check your spam
    Both Google and the University apply spam filters to our incoming email, so it is possible for incoming email to end up filtered by either Google or the University. It's a good idea to monitor your email flagged as spam, since good email occasionally ends up flagged as spam by mistake.

    Make Gmail your Firefox default email
    When you click on an email address on a webpage in Firefox, the browser automatically opens the default email application (mailto) to compose the email. For most of us this is set to Outlook. Change the default to Google Apps so that Gmail will automatically open. Note: If you want to change this setting in Internet Explorer, please contact your tech support person or the IT helpdesk at 612-624-6700.

    Gmail: drag and drop attachments
    If you use Firefox 3.6 or higher or Google Chrome as your browser, you can add attachments to an email by dragging and dropping them onto the email.

    Do you have email stored in Outlook PST files?
    If you have email stored in Outlook PST files and would like to move them to Gmail, follow these instructions to copy your old email into Gmail.

    For a complete list of Google tips and to access additional Google Apps learning tools and training resources, visit the Google Apps employee webpage.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    The Sponsored Project Administration (SPA) will be closed on December 28-30. Extension's grants team is planning ahead to ensure that Extension's grant applications are completed and approved prior to SPA deadlines.

    The most important due dates for sponsored projects (grant) materials to be submitted to Extension in conjunction with the SPA deadlines prior to the closure are: 

    Monday, December 6 (4:30 p.m.) Deadline for fully-signed PRF, budget and Statement of Work for industry-funded agreements that the sponsor requires to be completed (fully-executed) by December 31.

    Tuesday, December 15, (noon) Deadline for:

    • Complete (ready-to-submit) Grants.gov proposals (with fully-signed PRFs) due to sponsors between December 23-January 4.
    • Paper or other electronic proposals with fully-signed PRFs due to sponsors between December 21-January 3.  Includes rebudgeting requests; requests to open additional budget accounts; no cost-time extension requests (either agency-approved or SPA-approved); prior approval requests; materials needed to issue subwards; PI-approved subaward invoices that need to be paid.

    It is highly unlikely that extensions to these deadlines will be approved. Extension educators planning to submit a grant proposal prior to the University closure should notify the appropriate center accountant immediately.

    Dianne Sivald
    Grants Manager

    The Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota is holding a seminar series in the spring of 2011 titled, "New Curricula for Sustainability Studies: Making Places That Maintain Abundance and Alleviate Scarcity." The seminar will bring together a diverse group of faculty and graduate students to discuss, critique, synthesize and apply curriculum ideas for sustainability studies in a wide range of disciplines.  It  will examine essential meanings of 'abundance' and 'scarcity' and will serve as a curriculum design workshop for faculty who are participating in, or exploring innovation relating to, the pursuit of sustainability by developing pedagogical (and andragogical) materials for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education.

    Participants will meet biweekly on Tuesdays from 2:30-5 p.m. in 235 Nolte Center on the East Bank Campus, beginning January 25.

    Faculty and graduate students interested in participating in this seminar are requested to submit a short description of their background and interest.  For submission instructions and further information, visit the Institute for Advanced Study website.

    Nick Jordan
    Agronomy & Plant Genetics, CFANS

    Google Tips

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    Gmail spell-check options
    Learn more about how to check spelling in your email messages and how you can add words to your browser dictionary.

    Organize your email with labels
    Labels do all the work folders do and give you an extra bonus: you can add more than one to a conversation. Once you've created a label, you can view all the messages with that label by searching, or by clicking the label name along the left side of any Gmail page. Read more about how to organize labels.

    Compose a new message in a new window
    You can compose a new message in its own window, allowing you to move back and forth between your new message and other email messages.

    Insert a calendar invitation with Gmail
    Create a calendar invitation in Gmail by clicking on the Invitation link right under the subject. When you click it, a small window appears that displays the availability of the people you are emailing (within the U of MN TC domain).

    Can I share my calendar with people outside of the University?
    The University only allows full calendar sharing between Google Calendar users within the same campus. In order to maintain the integrity of privacy and security of University information and business, only free/busy information will be sharable (for scheduling meetings, etc.) outside of each domain, including between campuses and with non-University Google accounts. View more Google Q&A.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    A couple months ago, we announced that name badges with the new Extension wordmark were available to order. Many of you completed orders and have already put them to good use at events and workshops. Since the initial implementation, we have received several requests to add the M to the wordmark and increase the text size of the name, title and unit text lines for better readability. Based on those requests, we have updated the design and will begin fulfilling orders with the new design immediately. Everyone who has ordered a name badge with the previous design will receive a replacement - sent to the address indicated in the original order.

    As we continue to implement tools and resources that incorporate Extension's new identity, we encourage and welcome feedback to ensure that we fulfill the greatest needs.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Through a partnership with KIMT-TV (CBS News 3) and Iowa State University Extension, University of Minnesota Extension began a monthly news segment appearing on the network in July. The pilot agreement called for one Extension MidDay Moment every two weeks, rotating between Iowa State and the U of M, and continuing through December 2010.

    KIMT-TV reaches approximately 275,000 households in the Mason City-Austin-Albert Lea and Rochester market.

    Since July, four MidDay Moment segments have aired live during the noon news update and have featured Extension faculty and staff addressing timely news topics: financial disaster recovery in the wake of the September flooding (Phyllis Onstad, family resource management educator); National 4-H Science Day (Melissa Koch, Mower County 4-H program coordinator and a local 4-H participant); school menus and fresh, local foods (Stephanie Heim, farm to school coordinator); and choosing healthy beverages (Kelly Kunkel, health and nutrition educator).

    Extension Communications will evaluate the pilot project and 2011 participation over the next few months along with the centers that chose to participate-Family Development and Youth Development.

    As always, if you are willing to conduct media interviews that tie your area of expertise to timely news events, please contact Julie Christensen or Catherine Dehdashti. For tips on understanding what makes something newsworthy, see News Values on the Employee site.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    On October 20, cell phone numbers for Extension faculty and staff were added to the online staff directory.  Cell phone numbers will be listed for Extension staff who receive reimbursement for their cell phones.  This new addition will make contacting your colleagues easier and provides a one-stop place for employee contact information.  Contact Bobbie Roberts, Extension Human Resources, with questions or changes to your current listing. 

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    We are midway through Extension's migration to Google Apps, which is scheduled to be completed by November 12, and the migration has gone very well thus far. We have appreciated everyone's effort and support through this process and we look forward to a successful migration of remaining Extension staff throughout the next couple of weeks.

    For those of you who have not yet had the time to clean up your email, don't panic!  You should proceed with your migration as scheduled.  If your mailbox does not fulfill the requirements to transition to Gmail, the system will notify you during the process of specific items you need to clean up in order to make your mail ready for migration. 

    The Extension Google Apps employee webpage contains detailed migration instructions, information on how to forward UMGmail  to a county system, and links to University and Google resources. Extension Organizational Training will also be holding two webinars in November that will give attendees an introduction to Gmail and Google Calendar. Below are specific calendar issues you should know about:

    ·         Invitees and/or resources you have invited to meetings in UMCal/Outlook will be disconnected from the meeting when you migrate to Google Calendar.  The meeting will show up on their calendars, but they will not be automatically notified if the meeting is rescheduled or cancelled.  Meeting owners will be responsible for re-inviting staff and resources to the meeting. (This is a one-time happening and will not occur when you schedule future meetings in Google Calendar.)

    ·         Recurring meetings will convert to individual entries.  You will need to delete and reset the reoccurrence.

    ·         You will need to reset permissions on your calendar in order for specific individuals to schedule on your calendar.

    All Extension staff are expected to use Google Calendar by November 19; however, several other University units have not yet made the transition, and it may be necessary for Extension staff to schedule appointments with those University staff members directly by email (or by another means) as an interim solution until all University units make the transition to Google Calendar. If you are not sure whether someone has moved, contact them directly.

    For questions about Extension's transition to Google Apps, visit the Extension Google Apps employee webpage or call the Extension IT helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    Beginning October 25 Extension faculty and staff will start migrating their calendars and email systems to U of M Google Apps, with all of Extension's migration to Google Apps completed by November 19. Please take a moment to review the Extension Google migration schedule to determine your scheduled migration day.

    If you are in a regional or county office, you should have received notification from your supporting regional director with detailed migration information. If you are in a Twin Cities campus location, you should have received notification from your supporting IT department. If you have not yet received notification regarding Extension's Google migration, please contact your supporting regional director or IT department immediately or call the Extension IT helpline at 612-624-6700.

    The long-term goal of the University is for all faculty, staff and students to adopt Google Apps. However, at this point, several University units have not made the transition, and people that you may want to include in a meeting may not yet be using Google Calendar. It may be necessary for Extension staff to schedule appointments with those University staff members directly by email (or by another means) as an interim solution until all University units make the transition to Google Calendar. If you are not sure whether someone has moved, contact them directly.

    As with any project, there may be bumps along the way, but we are confident that with your support and understanding-along with the planning and processes that have been put in place-we can look forward to a successful migration. For questions about Extension's transition to Google Apps, visit the Extension Google Apps employee webpage or contact Rex Wheeler at rwheeler@umn.edu.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    A new featured added to the Office of Human Resources, Employee Self-Service website allows you to view all University financial reimbursements made to you online. You will need to authenticate with your University x.500 login and password to view the payment information. The page is automatically displayed in a web report format, and you also have the option to download as an Excel spreadsheet.

    To view your reimbursements, visit the University's Employee Self-Service, and select the appropriate "Reimbursements/Payments" link, depending on if you wish to view pre- or post-June 30, 2010, information.

    For questions, contact Extension Finance and Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    The first-ever InCommons Collaboration Challenge recognizes and supports innovative local collaborations in solving community problems. Communities across Minnesota are facing tough problems - economic and otherwise. Many people are working alone, disconnected from others addressing similar issues. Some are struggling to achieve scale and gain critical mass. Others are stymied because of the status quo, "that's just how we do it here."

    In spite of this reality, organizations, leaders and community members are working together to advance solutions to a variety of challenges. The InCommons Collaborative Challenge celebrates these efforts. The University and Extension are not eligible to enter, but many of our community partners are; consider nominating them on the InCommons website. The deadline to complete a nomination is Friday, October 29. The first-place winner receives $25,000 toward implementation of their idea.

    Diana Martenson
    Organization and Program Development Specialist

    The Fall 2010 issue of Source magazine-which includes two fully produced videos for the first time-is now available on the Extension website. There are several ways you can take advantage of Source's content as you communicate about Extension's impact in Minnesota.

    In addition to using print copies of the magazine in communications with key stakeholders, you can:

    - Print copies of individual articles from the website;
    - Link to individual articles or videos in your program e-newsletters and blogs; and
    - Share articles or videos in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

    To obtain specific URLs for either video, click on the video on the Fall 2010 Source webpage, and then click on the "YouTube" icon in the lower right corner of the screen. This option takes you to the video on Extension's YouTube channel, where you can share and/or shorten specific video URLs.

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

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Extension IT has worked with Extension Regional Directors and campus administrative leadership to create a detailed Google migration schedule for Extension based on office location.  All Extension faculty and staff will be expected to make the move to U of M Google Apps between October 25 and November 12, with all of Extension's migration to Google Apps completed by November 19.  Please take a moment to review this schedule to determine when you will be requested to transition your email and calendar systems to Google Apps.

    To make the transition as smooth as possible, you will need to review and prepare your current email environment.  If you have not already, take time as soon as possible to clean up your current email system: delete large emails (over 25 MB) and executable files such as .zip, .tar and others that contain an .exe attachment; ensure that you have no more than 6 GB of total emails in your mail account; and rename folder names that are longer than 39 characters.  

    Although it will take time and effort to make the transition to Google Apps, there are many benefits in doing so.  Following are just a few of the advantages Google Apps provide:

    - Improved speed and stability of email and calendaring
    - Same "umn.edu" e-mail address--no need to change 
    - Increased mail storage (1GB to 7GB)
    - Better email and calendar support for more mobile devices including 'push' support
    - Google Chat instant messaging client with video support
    - Ability to share documents easily with other users at the University
    - Automatic threading of email messages to keep conversations together

    We will be providing detailed migration instructions as your scheduled migration date draws nearer. For questions or comments related to the Extension migration to Google Apps, please contact the Extension IT helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    Lorem Whether you are already using social media to reach your audiences, or wondering what social media is and how you could use it, check out the new social media guide on the employee website. This site features resources for using social media as a strategy to achieve your business objectives. It outlines Extension's policies, standards and best practices for social media. We will continue to add more resources and tools over the coming months.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    As the November election races ramp up over the next month, it's important to be reminded of Extension's guidelines regarding activity in partisan political activity. Extension faculty and staff (and all University of Minnesota employees) who would like to participate in politics are permitted and encouraged to be civically engaged, as long as behaviors are consistent with Board of Regents policies. See campaigning or running for public office

    In terms of supporting candidates and the campaigns of others, the main thing to remember is to conduct such activities as a private citizen and not in the identity of your University position. It is not appropriate, for example, to use professional credentials in advocating for an individual.

    Likewise, financial contributions and other supportive activities are acceptable as long as they are made without reference to Extension and/or the University.  Each individual should use good judgment about the wisdom of visible partisan participation and the impact on his/her job effectiveness.  If you have questions, talk with your supervisor or the Extension Government Relations unit.

    Sarah Greening
    Assistant Dean, Government Relations

    Questions have surfaced from staff about whether they may hold meetings on Election Day, November 2. Extension follows University of Minnesota guidelines, but there are no policies currently in place prohibiting meetings on Election Day. This differs from scheduling meetings on caucus nights because of the limited time people have to attend caucus meetings. Minnesota polls are open from early in the morning into the evening, to accommodate a variety of work and meeting schedules.

    We recommend that staff do not schedule Extension conferences that would inhibit citizens from getting to the polls. There is the option of absentee voting if something is scheduled and cannot be changed.

    Extension staff should refer to their employment contract or policies regarding voting during work time and can contact Extension Human Resources with questions about staff voting policies.

    Sarah Greening
    Assistant Dean, Government Relations

    Over the past few months, questions have been surfacing about the mandatory furlough and office closure that is happening at the University of Minnesota this winter. The University will be closed the week between the Christmas and New Year holidays.  Extension regional offices that are located on coordinate campuses should follow their campus closure dates.  All other Extension regional offices should follow the Twin Cities campus closure dates.  

    County offices will not necessarily close during the holiday closure dates; however, regardless of whether the county office is open or closed, the furlough is mandatory for CSBU staff and they should not work during the campus closure dates.

    All University civil service and bargaining unit staff (CSBU) are required to take a mandatory, unpaid, three-day (twenty-four hour) furlough during the closure period.  The reduction in pay for these mandatory furlough days will be reflected on the check received January 12, 2011. Supervisors have the latitude to change the actual furlough days if absolutely necessary for program reasons. Payroll documentation is necessary; send completed forms to Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

    During the closure, the heating in University campus buildings will be greatly reduced to save on utilities and other costs and there will be minimal or no staff working during these days in most offices. University professional and administrative faculty and staff (P&A) are strongly discouraged from working on campus unless they are required by their supervisor or responsible administrator to report to the worksite or if their research programs require daily attention.  P&A staff should consult with their supervisor or responsible administrator regarding how to continue to fulfill job duties within the context of their appointment during the temporary holiday closure.  Or, they may elect to use vacation days if they intend to use this time for personal reasons. Supervisors are responsible for documenting work plans or vacation time during the closure. 

    Extension staff may also elect to take additional, optional voluntary furlough days with supervisory approval.  For more information, read Voluntary Furlough , Extension enews, July 1, 2010.

    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 experience difficulty logging on to the homepage of the Extension employee website.  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 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 employee site, 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 Sarah Bjorkman at bjor0180@umn.edu.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    As announced in Dean Durgan's column today, all Extension faculty and staff, led by Extension IT, will be transitioning their current email and calendar systems to U of M Google Apps between October 25 and November 12.

    To make the transition to GMail (the Google Apps email system) as smooth as possible, you will need to review and prepare your current email environment. Extension IT has created a Google Apps section on the employee website that includes guidelines for cleaning up email in Outlook.  There, you will also find Google migration instructions, learning tools and other resources that will be helpful later on during the migration process.

    Cleaning up your current email system will be the single most effective way to ensure a smooth transition to GMail.  Large emails (over 25 MB), more than 6 GB of total emails in your mailbox, and folder names that are longer than 39 characters will all cause issues when migrating. 

    We are encouraging all Extension faculty and staff to complete their email cleanup effort by Friday, October 1.  The following week, Extension IT will be working with University IT to review and identify mailboxes that are still unable to migrate due to the issues listed above.

    Thank you for your support in this initiative.  For questions or comments related to the Extension migration to Google Apps, please contact the Extension IT helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    In March 2010, Extension implemented the new Extension wordmark for use in all print and electronic materials.  The rollout of the wordmark is occurring throughout the 2010 calendar year, allowing for a natural and fiscally responsible replacement of Extension materials and publications. 

    As part of the rollout, Extension Communications will continue to update and replace Extension-wide print and electronic identity elements as their stock is depleted or a reprint is necessary.  This week we are implementing the new name badges and electronic letterhead. 

    The name badges include Extension's new wordmark in maroon and white and have been reduced in price from the old version.  Name badges can be ordered through the employee website.

    Extension Electronic letterhead is available in Microsoft Word format on the employee website and should be used for official University electronic communications.  Several download options are available based on Extension center, regional office, county office and unit.  

    Templates for MS PowerPoint, fact sheets and other print and electronic communications are being developed and will be made available in the next few months.   Stay tuned to the employee website and enews for more information. In the meantime, please continue to update your electronic and print marketing and communications materials with the new wordmark .

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    This week, Extension Communications launched In The News, a sampling of Extension news clips from local, regional, statewide and national sources.

    In The News will be sent weekly to the Dean's Leadership Council, program leaders, regional directors and center communications contacts. Others wishing to subscribe to In The News should email extnews@umn.edu with the subject line "Subscribe to In The News."

    In The News features news stories with significant Extension mention (not brief references to Extension, pre-event or calendar items.) News items are compiled primarily from Google News searches and submissions from employees. If you have a news article or broadcast to add to In The News, please check the website to confirm that it has not already been discovered, and then forward the link to extnews@umn.edu.

    In addition to the weekly In The News email, news headlines about Extension are updated online Monday through Friday.

    Julie Christensen
    News Media and Public Relations Manager

    Check out the summer/fall issue of the Extension retiree newsletter.  In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights summer media moments such as the Farm Family of the Year recognition, Extension's crop educators in Itasca County, as well as Extension's presence at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.  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

    As part of the Celebrate U! employee appreciation event that took place on the Twin Cities campus on August 25, University faculty and staff were offered a ceramic mug and spoon as appreciation gifts.  Extension Human Resources has received the Celebrate U! coffee mug and spoon gift for all of our off-campus employees who were unable to attend the event.  Regional Directors will pick up and distribute the gifts to regional office staff, nutrition education assistants, 4-H program coordinators and Extension county support staff.  Most regional directors will pick up their supplies while attending the 2010 Extension Program Conference in early October. 

    Jo Ann Hardy
    Human Resources Manager

    Funders look for grant proposals from applicants who are prepared for success. They look for clearly defined short- and long-term goals. They look for applicants who know their target audiences and who know what knowledge gaps or needs their grant proposal will serve. Funders also look for proposals that include innovative ideas and established partnerships with other universities and institutions. Finally, funders look for applicants who clearly identify the need for financial support and demonstrate the capacity to manage an award of grant funds.

    Realistically, preparation for writing a winning grant proposal begins long before the application process. Dedicating time to focus on planning is time well spent to prepare now for future grant success.

    Dianne Sivald
    Grants Manager

    New ESCC Members Sought

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    The Extension Staff Consultative Committee (ESCC) is looking for more members to serve on the committee. The purpose of the committee is to provide leadership for staff issues and concerns by working in cooperation with Dean Durgan, Extension leadership groups, and Civil Service and Bargaining Unit staff. The committee also plans the ESCC Staff Day held each spring.

    Staff from the following categories may serve on the committee: clerical/technical bargaining unit, civil service, nutrition education assistants, 4-H program coordinators, Master Gardener coordinators, community program specialists and assistants. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month and members are expected to attend all meetings when possible. Supervisor approval is needed before joining the committee.

    For more information visit the ESCC section on the employee website or email committee co-chairs Lorelei Finley, swens451@umn.edu, or Sonja Meline, melin046@umn.edu.

    Lorelei Finley
    County 4-H Program Coordinator

    As you know, the University has signed an agreement with Google to provide email and calendar services to all University faculty, staff, and students.  As a result of this agreement, University Office of Information Technology is expected to discontinue support for all current University email clients and UMCal sometime around the end of 2010 (actual date has not yet been confirmed).  In response, Extension IT has developed plans for an Extension-wide transition to Google Apps in summer-fall 2010 that will occur in two phases: Phase I will include Regional Office support staff in August and September (after the bulk of state and county fair efforts have subsided); and, Phase II will include all remaining Extension faculty and staff and will occur in October and November (after Program Conference). 

    We will be providing information about Gmail and Google calendar, including instructions on preparing for and managing your migration, through future issues of Extension enews as well as individual email messages.

    For questions or comments, please contact anyone from the Extension Google Migration project team:  Rex Wheeler (project manager), Karen Matthes (training), and Billie Wilson (technical).

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    Extension recognized the contributions of 74 farm families with the 2010 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year Award, presented at Farmfest on August 5. An Extension news release provides the names of all, and highlights the businesses of some, recognized families. Profiles of all the families can be found at on the U of M Farm Family of the Year website. The July 26 issue of Extension Ag News Wire also featured a column from Dean Durgan about the importance of farm families in Minnesota. That column was printed in 20 newspapers across the state in the last 3 weeks.

    Julie Christensen
    News Media and Public Relations Manager

    Most funders require additional supporting information at the time a grant application is submitted. This information can be time consuming to organize and assemble when trying to meet a funder's deadline. This necessary information includes:

    • Curricula vitae (CV) for lead project personnel;
    • A list of all other grants the applicant is working on (including the names of funders, the names of lead project personnel, and the project start and end dates); and
    • A list of the applicant's non-grant collaborative projects and publication co-authors (needed to quickly identify potential conflicts of interest).

    To reduce the stress of meeting funder application deadlines, always keep this information up to date and readily accessible so it can be easily inserted into a funder's application forms.

    Dianne Sivald
    Grants Manager

    The 2011 Minnesota Gardening calendar is now available from the Extension Store at Early Bird Special pricing. Now through Labor Day you can purchase any number of copies for $6.50/copy. After September 6, the price returns to the normal wholesale cost of $8.00/copy.  The suggested retail price is $13.99.

    Timely tips for each month guide the gardener through the growing season, and the beautiful photos offer inspiration year round. This year's special feature describes edible landscaping, incorporating fruits and vegetables in the home landscape. Profits from the sale of the calendar support the Master Gardener program. The calendar is produced jointly by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Minnesota Extension.

    Jennifer Obst
    Communication Specialist, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station

    In the News

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    Lawn weeds can invade and compete for nutrients needed for healthy turf grass. Jason DeRusha of WCCO's popular "Good Question" segment had received a question from a viewer asking how to distinguish a weed from a desirable plant. The reporter met with Bob Mugaas, Extension horticulturist and turf grass specialist, giving Mugaas' expert answer (along with an entertaining nod to Abbott & Costello) in this video.

    To see more recent Extension news headlines, visit http://blog.lib.umn.edu/umnext/news/in-the-news/

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations and News Media Coordinator

    Since last fall, the University has been working with colleges, departments and units to transition to Google Apps, a suite that includes email, calendar and other communication and collaboration tools.  Extension is planning an organization-wide transition to Google Apps for all Extension faculty and staff in fall 2010--after the bulk of state and county fair efforts have subsided.  Extension IT is currently working on a detailed project plan to ensure a smooth transition for all staff.  Updates and announcements will be distributed via listservs and Extension enews, and willbe posted to the Extension Google Apps employee webpage throughout the duration of this project.

    The long-term goal of the University is for all faculty, staff and students to adopt Google Apps. Most immediately, CFANS faculty and staff on the Twin Cities campuses are scheduled to make the transition beginning July 12.  This may affect some Extension staff, especially Extension staff who hold joint appointments with CFANS or who are directly supported by the CFANS IT department.  Those staff members should email the CFANS IT helpdesk with any questions about the CFANS transition to Google Apps. All other Extension staff will wait to transition with Extension in fall 2010.

    Since CFANS staff will be changing their calendar client from UMCal to Google Calendar, it may be necessary for Extension staff to schedule appointments with those folks directly by email (or by another means) as an interim solution until Extension makes the transition to Google Calendar in the fall.  For questions about Extension's transition to Google Apps, stay tuned to the Extension Google Apps employee webpage or contact Rex Wheeler at rwheeler@umn.edu.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    In the News

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    After the June 17 tornados caused destruction across Minnesota, Extension family resource management educator Phyllis Onstad, provided many critical tips for people on the process of financial recovery in her timely June 18 news release Putting the pieces back together after a tornado, which was published in several news outlets, including the Hampton News and The Pine City Pioneer. She also developed a release, Document losses, expenses as first step in financial recovery after tornado, about a key practice for disaster recovery.

    To see more recent Extension news headlines, visit the Extension In The News website.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations and News Media Coordinator

    University Libraries has created a usability survey, using Usabilla, to collect feedback from University and Extension staff on their recently redesigned website. The survey, which takes as little as three minutes to complete, focuses on capturing information about what portions of the site you are most likely to use and which areas need improvement. You can add comments to all of the questions. Please take a moment to check out the Libraries website redesign survey today.

    Kristen Mastel
    Assistant Librarian, Magrath Library

    Important due dates for submitting financial transactions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 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. 
    FY2010 deadlines include:

    - June 17, noon - Requisitions (requests that are $50,000 and over)
    - June 17, noon - PO Vouchers (any invoice that is matched to a PO) 
    - June 23, 2 p.m. - Non-PO Vouchers (Single payment requests including expense/travel reimbursement.  Reminder:  University policy states that all expense and travel reimbursements should be submitted within 15 days of the scheduled trip return.)
    - June 23, 4:30 p.m. - A/R Billing (customer maintenance requests)
    - June 25 - Purchasing Card (PCARD) reconciliation
    - June 29, noon - A/R Billing (customer profile exists)

    Additional deadlines have been sent to all Extension staff who routinely prepare financial documents for accounting transactions.  For questions regarding these deadlines, contact your accounting representative or Extension Finance and Planning.

    Madonna Monette
    Finance Director

    Creating products and publications is just another way Extension specialists and educators can help Extension's programming achieve its intended impact.  The Program Resource Unit has recently updated a products and publications resource section on the employee website to help you create, manage and sell your products.  The page includes time saving informational resources to:

    - Get started
    - Identify information to have on your publication
    - Make a publication available for sale
    - Manage a publication, and
    - Determine your Center contact for publications assistance 

    In addition to print publications, you can now sell your virtual products as a download in the Extension Store.  Your Extension Center and/or program team earns back 80% of all gross sales revenue.  A new decision guide illustrates the different types of Extension publications and shows an example of each.  For details on selling your products through the Extension Store, contact Erik Bremer.

    Neil Anderson
    Director, Resource Development Unit

    On June 1 and 2, the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences hosted a series of presentations by Mario Piedra, director of EARTH University.  The presentations were part of an ongoing effort that started in 2009 called "Extension in the World" - an effort focused on evaluating Extension's role and potential impact in international work. 

    Both days of the June presentations are now available via UMConnect web recording. The June 1 presentation focused on EARTH University's three educational approaches in Central America. The June 2 presentation discussed biodiversity and how to strike a balance between production and conservation.

    Renee Pardello
    Assistant Dean, Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    All University employees will receive the paycheck originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 30, 2010, on Thursday, July 1, 2010.  This is a one-time occurrence. You are receiving this notice so you can make accommodations for this one-day change in the pay date. In particular, if you have set up auto pay to cover any bills, we ask that you plan accordingly and make adjustments with your bank, if needed. For those with Direct Deposit, the funds for that pay period will not be available until Thursday, July 1.

    In earlier communications, you learned that in fiscal year 2009-10 (FY10) there are 27 paydays instead of the usual 26. Anticipating that the budget shortfall for FY10 would be more significant than in FY11, the decision was made to move this extra pay date from Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to Thursday, July 1, 2010, thus moving the financial impact from FY10 to FY11.

    University Office of Human Resources
    Original message sent to all University faculty, staff and student employees on 5/25/2010

    The Policy Fellows Program, offered by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, is now seeking applications for the 2010-11 program.  

    This nine-month program, sponsored in part by Extension, offers participants practical training in public affairs leadership for emerging leaders seeking new experiences and skills. The program equips participants with three core leadership competencies to inspire, organize and work effectively with others to advance the public good: mindfulness, strategic effectiveness in context, and persuasion and collective action.

    The deadline to apply is June 14. For application instructions and additional information, visit the Hubert H. Humphrey website; or contact Kate Cimino at 612-625-8330 or cspg@umn.edu. You can also contact a fellow alumni or Extension staff member such as Bruce Schwartau, Mary Ann Hennen, Toni Smith, Toby Spanier and Cindy Bigger to hear about personal experiences. If you are interested in participating in the program, contact your supervisor.

    Dick Senese
    Associate Dean, Community Vitality and Public Engagement

    Extension P&A employees have elected new Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators (CAPA) representatives who will serve for the next three years. They are: Neil Anderson, director, Resource Development Unit; Danny Sussman, webmaster, Information Technology; Renee Obrecht-Como (alternate), associate program director, Health & Nutrition Programs; and Dave Nicolai (alternate, write-in candidate), Extension crops educator, Regional Office, Hutchinson. Thank you to those who have served the past three years: Neil Anderson, Dave Nicolai, Karen Lilley and Claudia Cody.

    CAPA ensures that P&A concerns and perspectives are considered in the areas of University governance and representation, compensation and benefits, communications and professional development. The council meets regularly with University administrators, sends representatives to the University Senate and committees, and is represented in all college, campus and administrative units. Extension P&A employees can get involved by bringing their concerns and ideas to their elected CAPA representatives.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    The North Central Region's Sustainable Communities Task Force-a task force made up of Extension representatives from the 12 states within the North Central Region- is conducting an inventory of Extension materials related to sustainable communities. The goal of this project is to create a searchable database of Extension resources from across the 12-state North Central Region related to food systems, energy, built environment design and development, mobility, natural resources, community capacity and knowledge, and regional economy.  The resources can be curricula, fact sheets, video, etc.

    There is no submission deadline, and anyone within Extension can participate.  Please add your sustainability resources, programs, curriculum, or other materials to the online inventory collection.

    Cynthia Messer
    Extension Professor, Tourism Center

    The Extension office in Dodge County is the latest contributor to Minnesota Reflections-an effort by Minnesota libraries, archives, historical societies and museums to digitize content related to our state's history.  Minnesota Reflections is the first project of the Minnesota Digital Library which supports education, scholarship and enrichment through Internet access to the digitized collections.  The Extension, Dodge County collection, which spans the years 1923 to 1982, exemplifies changes in agriculture science and technology throughout the years and reflects educational programming in rural Minnesota.  

    To view the Dodge County documents and other collections, visit the Minnesota Reflections website. Currently, University of Minnesota Libraries is investigating avenues to capture Extension's "born digital" documents.  For more information, or if you are interested in submitting a project, visit the Minnesota Reflections Phase 7 website, or contact Marian Rengel at mrrengel@stcloudstate.edu

    Kristen Mastel
    Assistant Librarian, Magrath Library

    Check out the online version of the spring 2010 edition of the Extension Retiree Newsletter. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights the Extension website and the Minnesota 4-H Science, Technology and Engineering (SET) initiative. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Renee Pardello recently accepted a new position as assistant dean in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS). In her new role, Renee's three primary areas of responsibility for EFANS are programming, personnel, and finance and grants. Her work will include driving next steps for multidisciplinary initiatives, working closely with the evaluation team to strengthen capacity to report on impacts, providing tools to program leaders to aid them in their work with teams, helping bridge collaborations with Extension and other units on grants, managing the promotion process for educators, and pursuing ways EFANS can operate effectively as an Extension center.

    Renee has diverse experience in program development, implementation and evaluation on multiple levels (rural, urban, across cultures) and during different circumstances (challenging budgets, famine, coup d'état). This experience comes from work throughout West and Central Africa and within non-formal and formal educational organizations in Minnesota. She has worked with multiple audiences: youth, volunteers, local Extension educators, natural resource professionals and community leaders.

    Renee has been with Extension since 2000, most recently as a program leader for the Water Resource Management, Environmental Science Education and Housing Technology program areas. She is currently leading EFANS initiatives in international work and multidisciplinary, water-related programming.

    Please join me in welcoming Renee to this new and important role for EFANS.

    Greg Cuomo
    Associate Dean, Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    Community partners and University of Minnesota faculty and staff will host the official opening of the University's Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) - a facility that signifies the University's commitment to the state's growing urban communities.  The open house will take place Wednesday, May 12, from 1-6 p.m. and will highlight the many research, outreach and education programs in the facility.  Extension programs that will have a presence at the UROC, including Urban 4H Youth Development, Simply Good Eating, Hennepin County Master Gardeners and Operation Frontline, will showcase their community partnerships along with providing hands-on demonstrations.

    The event is free and open to the public and will be held at the UROC facility in North Minneapolis, 2001 Plymouth Avenue North.  Welcome festivities will begin at 3:30 p.m. followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and brief remarks by President Bruininks at 4 p.m. More information can be found on the UROC website.

    Barb Grossman
    Director of Urban Operations

    Extension's central SurveyMonkey account has been extended through May 2011 to support Extension's survey needs. The list of surveys in the central account is very long, which makes it difficult to search and find current and past surveys.  To help keep the account tidy and provide more efficient search efforts, please take some time to download and delete surveys that you no longer need and file existing surveys into the appropriate SurveyMonkey folder.  It is best practice to always download your survey results to your computer so as not to rely on SurveyMonkey to store your data.

    The Extension SurveyMonkey account will continue to be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis to ensure viability as a centrally supported tool.  Call the IT Help Desk at 612-624-6700 for the login and password to access this account.

    Although SurveyMonkey will continue to be supported by Extension IT, we would like to encourage people to also try UMSurvey, the University-supported tool. You can find more information on the UMSurvey website, including an orientation video to help you get started.

    Allison Jacobsen
    Business Applications Manager

    The Arboretum's 2010 exhibit "Powerhouse Plants: Veggies By The Yard" will be on campus this year. Five designs have been created by Arboretum gardener Ted Pew, and will be on exhibit to encourage the home gardener to make space for some healthy, delicious vegetables in their gardens.

    Master Gardeners will be planting all five designs in front of the Plant Growth Facilities Building on the St. Paul campus. Once a week throughout the season, they will harvest the vegetables, weigh and measure the produce, and blog about their successes and challenges on the Veggies By The Yard blog. In addition to the campus site, twelve other Master Gardener groups throughout Minnesota will also be planting one or more of the planting designs and blogging about their experiences. For more information contact Julie Weisenhorn.

    Julie Weisenhorn
    State Master Gardener Director

    In March, the Government and Constituent Relations section on the Extension employee website was extensively updated to better serve Extension administrators, educators and staff who work in advocacy roles for federal, state and local government relations. 

    On the section, you will find tools on general advocacy; guidelines for meeting with elected representatives; information on how to reinforce Extension's important value to the state; and resources for effective advocacy at the national, state and local level.
    It is important that all Extension staff continue to support and advocate for Extension and the University.  To help us maintain a collective advocacy effort within Extension, remember to follow our government relations guidelines:

    - If you have been formally invited to testify at a legislative hearing you need prior approval.
    Send the following information to Sarah Greening: committee, agenda topic, date and time

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

    Contact Gwen Gmeinder or Sarah Greening with questions, comments or additional suggestions for how to improve the government relations section of the website.

    Sarah Greening
    Assistant Dean, Government and Constituent Relations

    The University's Office of Information Technology is making a change in the way email messages in trash or deleted items folders are handled. In the past, messages in the trash or deleted items folders have been auto-filed by the University. Beginning May 1, OIT will no longer auto-file these email messages; instead all messages marked as trash that are older than 30 days will be permanently deleted and cannot be restored.

    If you've been in the practice of storing important information in your trash or deleted Items folders, it is recommended that you take this opportunity to go through those folders and move important messages or messages you want to save. For additional assistance, contact the Extension helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Unit Director

    On Monday, April 19, all University of Minnesota faculty and staff will receive a voice mail and email asking them to complete the 2010 Pulse Survey. Beginning in 2004 and administered every other year, the Pulse Survey is designed to measure the opinions or "pulse" of University employees in order to improve the organization's performance or health.  Results of the survey will be provided to all employees and will be used to make continuous improvements in the workplace.  You can view past Pulse Survey results on the University's HR website.

    This year's survey is 30 percent shorter with better, faster reporting of results at the University and unit levels. You have a unique perspective of the University of Minnesota and by completing this survey your voice can impact positive change at the University.  The final deadline for completing the Pulse Survey is May 7.  If you do not receive an email with instructions on how to complete the survey, send an email to irr.surveys@umn.edu.

    Leslee Mason
    Human Resources Director

    The statements Extension is required to use on all print and electronic materials have recently been revised to include new guidelines on using key statements on electronic communications.  These statements must appear on all Extension communications materials-whether printed or electronic-and indicate that we uphold federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, as well as University equal opportunity policies. 

    For definitions and information on how to use these statements, visit the required statements webpage on the employee website.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    The University goes to great lengths to prevent unauthorized access to information such as your email and personal records and for that reason, internet passwords (i.e., x.500 passwords) are set to expire once per year. Every year you receive an email notification from the University requiring you to change your University Internet password.  When you change your password, you will also need to update your email settings and Smartphone settings. Instructions on updating your email and PDA settings can be found on the IT section of the Extension employee website. 

    As a reminder, the University will never ask for your user ID or password, and you should never reply to ANY email request asking for that information. Always go to the University account website to change your University password.  For questions, contact the Extension helpline at 612-624-6700.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    Entries are now being accepted for the Sixth Annual Minnesota Cup. The statewide competition rewards breakthrough business ideas with more than $130,000 in prize money across six categories: clean technology and renewable energy, biosciences, high tech, social entrepreneurship, general, and students 19-25. Nearly 4,000 participants have benefited from the competition since 2005. Last year's winners have gone on to secure $8 million in funding as well as new partnerships, patents, and distribution agreements. For more information, see Minnesota Cup.

    U of M Brief
    March 31, 2010

    Last fall, Dianne Sivald was hired as grants manager for Extension to provide oversight for the entire grants process, from proposal preparation through project management and final closeout.  Before coming to Extension, Dianne managed state and federal grants for Minnesota Public Radio.  

    Dianne provides guidance to Extension faculty and staff in the preparation and submission of grant proposals and budgets. To initiate the grant proposal process, Extension faculty and staff should contact Dianne as early as possible to ensure there is adequate time to prepare a high-quality proposal with an accurate budget, comprehensive supporting documentation and necessary approvals.

    Dianne will also monitor Extension's grant projects for compliance with state, federal, University and funder policies, with the goal of setting a high standard of accountability to the University and to funders.

    If you are planning to prepare a grant proposal, a pre-proposal or a sub-award proposal, please notify Dianne at dsivald@umn.edu or 612-626-4554.

    Mike Schmitt
    Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research

    On Sunday, March 21, from 6 a.m. to noon, the University's Office of Information Technology will be updating their operating system causing intermittent email and listserv outages.  During this time, Extension staff will not have access to their email accounts and will not be able to send messages to University listservs. Updates regarding this outage will be posted on the OIT system status website as they become available, as well as during the morning of the outage.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    On February 8-9, Extension, in partnership with the Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network (MFAN), hosted a series of webinars to inform Extension staff about the resources available to them through the efforts of Extension and MFAN. MFAN provides business, financial and family guidance to farm families on a variety of topics including:  financial statement preparation; debt restructuring; business reorganization; farm transition; and, farm family issues including family finances and debt, communication and stress.

    The webinars were recorded via UMConnect and can be accessed on the Extension employee website. The target audience for these webinars is Extension staff who receive questions regarding the MFAN program and those who work with and provide business and financial guidance to dairy and swine farm families.

    Ellie McCann
    Extension Educator, Family Relations

    Last month, Extension launched a new homepage and web design that incorporates the new Extension wordmark. This week, the new Extension wordmark is being implemented across Extension for use in all print and electronic materials and publications.  This new wordmark fulfills the requirements of the University brand policy that was approved by the Board of Regents in May 2009. 

    The rollout of the new wordmark will occur throughout the 2010 calendar year, allowing for a natural and fiscally responsible replacement of the majority of Extension materials and publications.  University brand policy requires Extension (and all other University units) to transition to the new wordmark by December 2010.  Throughout the remainder of 2010, the new Extension wordmark should be applied to all new print and electronic materials. Existing materials should to be used through the end of 2010.

    Downloadable wordmark files and instructions on how to use the new wordmark are available on the employee website. Extension's PowerPoint templates have also been updated to reflect the new wordmark.  Additional designs and templates that utilize the new wordmark and other Extension identity elements will be developed soon.

    We are also implementing a new stationery system that is consistent with the University's new brand policy.  Extension, like all other units, will now use the University's letterhead and business card format. In addition, we have worked with the University Print Shop to develop an online order system for Extension staff that will make ordering faster and easier.  The online order form can be accessed on the Extension employee website.  Samples of the various stationery products are also available to view. 

    If you have questions, contact Sarah Bjorkman or Aimee Viniard-Weideman.

    Aimee Viniard-Weideman
    Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

    UMConnect Upgrade

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    On March 14, the University Office of Information Technology will be upgrading UMConnect. If you use UMConnect for web conferencing or if you have published Adobe Presenter presentations, there are a few things you need to know to prevent losing content you may have stored on the UMConnect server. Read more about the UMConnect upgrade on the Extension employee website.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    The University of Minnesota announces the sixth recruitment for the School of Agriculture Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems. The Chair, which is supported by a $1.9 million endowment, represents a strategic opportunity to explore and influence the future of Minnesota agriculture at a time when it must increasingly respond to both global markets and local opportunities.  This is a full or part time appointment for up to one year. The focus of the Chair will be on the role of agriculture in developing sustainable communities, landscapes and food systems. 

    The deadline for applications is Friday, April 16.  For more information about the position including duties, qualifications and application instructions, visit the MISA website.

    Helene Murray
    Search Committee Co-Chair, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

    As local leaders grapple with a tough economy, the Center for Community Vitality has issued a series of tip sheets for local leaders on engaging with the public to make better informed, sustainable decisions. Civic engagement is always important, but it's especially so during these difficult times of budget cuts when publicly funded organizations must do more with less.

    Written by Leadership & Civic Engagement educators, the tip sheets provide ideas for conducting effective community meetings, resolving differences and improving outcomes. We hope Extension educators and regional directors will pass these tip sheets on to the local leaders they work with, including elected officials. Extension staff should also find these tip sheets useful in their work. View the tip sheets on the Extension website under the U-Connect program in Community Vitality.

    Mary Ann Hennen
    Area Program Leader, Leadership & Civic Engagement

    Preparing for Spring Flooding

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    While climatologists monitor the risks for flooding in western and southern parts of the state, the Minnesota Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) team is preparing resources in order to quickly respond to community needs.

    In the event of major flooding, research-based information and resources will be made available on Extension's Disaster Response website in addition to being shared with the public via the news media. Through state and local partnerships and grassroots efforts, citizens will also be able to pick up Extension materials on damage prevention, flood recovery and coping with stress from the Salvation Army, American Red Cross and at evacuation shelters.

    If you haven't visited Extension's website for Flood & Rain recently, check it out to become familiar with the types of helpful information featured. If you are contacted by a member of the EDEN team with a request to review or create materials for this effort, we thank you in advance for making the request a priority.

    Bob Byrnes
    Minnesota EDEN Director and Regional Director

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

    Lee Raeth
    Director of Field Operations

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

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

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

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

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

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

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2010. Beginning January 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business decreases from 55 cents to 50 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2009 but reimbursed in 2010 will be reimbursed using the 2009 mileage rate. For more information see the rates section of the University policy, Traveling on University Business.

    Dave Werner
    Chief Operating Officer

    In October, the University announced new Social Networking Guidelines that apply to the use of tools like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube, among others, for official University of Minnesota business. Specifically, the U recommends not tying a social networking site to any individual's e-mail address. Given the nature of our work in Extension, distinct value often comes when audiences recognize faculty and staff as members of the University and members of Minnesota communities.

    Because many Extension programs may use social networking tools for education and marketing, the U guidelines may need further refinement to address Extension's evolving use of social media.  A small work team has been formed to review the guidelines and develop best practices in social media for Extension. If you have questions or ideas,  please send them to any team member: Sarah Bjorkman, Employee Communications Manager; Julie Christensen, Public Relations and News Media Manager; Allison Jacobsen, Business Applications Manager; and Danny Sussman, Webmaster.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    The winter 2009 edition of the Extension retiree newsletter is available online as a blog. The new blog format follows the same format as Extension enews, making it easier to search for and find past retiree articles and issues. The blog also provides links to the employee newsletter so retirees can stay updated on what is going on in Extension. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Materials from many sessions that were offered at the 2009 Extension Program Conference are available online. Slides and/or handouts from eight sessions have been posted. Photos that were taken at the event are also online for viewing. Visit the program conference page on the employee website to access the available conference materials.

    Amy Baker
    Program Resource Director 

    Eating healthy may seem like a tough task. It takes a lot of time and money to ensure daily doses of this and that. But Extension's Operation Frontline Minnesota program argues against that misconception. In chef-led courses, participants are learning how to easily make the healthiest food choices with limited resources. Executive Chef Seth Bixby Daugherty is involved with the initiative and says the culinary lessons are for everyone. For more information, visit Extension's Operation Frontline Minnesota website. Using Chef Daugherty's expertise, University Relations produced an audio clip called "Healthy Eating Boot Camp" for use as a University of Minnesota Moment radio feature

    If you have an idea for an audio clip or U of M Moment radio feature, visit the communications section of the employee website for News Media Content Strategy and contact Catherine Dehdashti.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Extension email lists are updated daily with new employees and retirees.  To have the latest Extension address books installed on your computer, you must perform a manual update by following the "Adding and Updating Extension Address books" instructions on the employee website. These instructions are compatible with Outlook 2003 and 2007.

    It is recommended that you update your address books at least quarterly to ensure effective communications with Extension employee groups.  If you use the Extension email lists frequently, you may want to consider updating more often.  Contact the Extension IT Help Desk at 612-624-6700 with questions.

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is in the final stages of testing for the implementation of Google Apps to University staff, faculty and students.  OIT is planning a phased implementation beginning as early as December and is currently working with departmental technology staff to determine the appropriate timing for each department.

    Extension IT sees great potential with Google Apps and the benefits it could provide as a communication and collaboration tool, and is working with OIT to plan a scheduled Extension-wide rollout. Throughout this project, you can stay up-to-date about Extension's implementation plan and timing of the rollout by visiting the Extension Google Apps webpage.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    IREE Request for Proposals

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    The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), a signature program of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, is pleased to announce its 2010 request for proposals for Large, Seed and Early Career Grants. IREE anticipates making $2.5 million available for four to seven Large Grants, with totals ranging from $250,000 to $750,000; $750,000 for five to six Early Career Grants, with totals ranging from $120,000 to $150,000; and $750,000 for 10 to 15 Seed Grants, with totals ranging from $50,000 to $70,000. Please visit the IREE funding website or complete details. Email questions to the IREE grants team at iree@umn.edu.

    Dick Hemmingsen
     Director, Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment

    A wet and cold October has made the 2009 harvest incredibly challenging for Minnesota producers. Management decisions for harvesting, handling, drying or storing crops are proving complex for even the most well-managed operations, not to mention concerns about feeding certain crops to livestock and insurance claims.

    Extension continues to lead an ongoing response, using news media interviews and the Late Harvest website to share information and help farmers make informed decisions. All told, Extension experts have been quoted or cited in more than 40 news stories during the last month, from The Caledonia Argus to Minnesota Public Radio. You can view many of the stories on Extension's In the News site.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    Extension Promotional Items

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    Extension promotional items are available to order from the Extension Store.

    Imprinted with the Extension wordmark and website address, these items will help make Extension visible at your events and meetings, and are ideal to use as gifts of recognition or door prizes.  These items are available at wholesale price to Extension staff, making them a more affordable purchase.

    • #09987 Carabiner Key Tag with LED Light, wholesale price $4.35
    • #09988 Biodegradeable Bags (Packet of 100), wholesale price $40.25
    • #09989 Recycled Ice Scraper, wholesale price $3.00  

    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. For a complete listing of Extension promotional items and information on how to produce new promotional items, visit the Promotional Items webpage.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Are you interested in publicizing your workshop, webinar or other facet of your Extension work in the news media? A new decision guide, which was distributed to attendees of the Program Conference session, "Getting the Word Out: Media Relations," is now available on the employee website. The decision guide features six steps to help you think through your audience and purpose before you communicate with audiences via the news media. A decision tree is also included to aid program teams in reaching the news media efficiently and effectively.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    By now you should have received an email that all University of Minnesota IT systems and applications will not be available for use from Saturday, October 24 at 2 a.m. through Sunday, October 25 at 7 a.m.  During this time you will not have access to University email, network shares (H: and S: drives) and PeopleSoft Financials.  View the University's IT website for additional information and a complete list of affected applications.  The Extension website (including MyPrograms) will not be affected. 

    Please plan for this outage accordingly by storing documents that you may need to access on your desktop or hard drive and respond to all urgent email before the outage begins. Call the Extension IT helpline at (612) 624-6700 with questions.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

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

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

    Billie Wilson
    Information Technology Supervisor

    In addition to sending Extension enews out to employees via email, the online version of enews will now also be available as a blog. The new blog format makes it easier to search for and find past articles and issues and provides an area to leave comments on the articles.  

    All issues of the newsletter that were published in 2009 and all future issues will be available on the blog.  Archive issues that were published prior to 2009 will remain available on the Dean's Office section of the employee website.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    Three Extension educators in the Center for Family Development recently presented at this year's National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science Conference (NEAFCS) held in Birmingham, Ala.  Extension Educator in Food Science, Suzanne Driessen's presentation was entitled, "Safe Handling of Fruits and Vegetables:  Considerations for Educators." Rosemary Heins and Becky Hagen Jokela, Extension educators in family resource management made two presentations: "Action Plans for Making Dollars Count," and "Teaching Financial Education Across Generations."

    The presentations highlight Extension's work in the areas of food science and family resource management and how it applies to educators on a national level.

    Becky Hagen Jokela
    Extension Educator, Family Resource Management

    Extension's mission statement is to connect University resources with community needs and we do this by offering research/scholarship-based programs that have measureable outcomes and impact for the residents of Minnesota.  In difficult financial times, it can seem that organizations are more focused on money than mission.  While grants are vital to our financial future, grants are not simply about the funding.  Grants provide many research/scholarship opportunities for Extension's programs and faculty.  Programs can benefit from the accountability reports that funders require, because it helps to demonstrate the impact of our work. Next time you see a request for proposals (RFP,) don't think about money without thinking about scholarship potential as well. 

    Mike Schmitt
    Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research

    In the News

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    Making time for one media interview can be worth more coverage than you might guess. Extension horticulture educator Terry Nennich found that the effect of cool weather on pumpkin crops had a warm reception in the media when his interview with the West Central Tribune (requires log-in) was published by at least six other news outlets, including KMSP-TV (FOX). This can happen when news outlets are owned by a larger corporation and share news, or when a wire service such as the Associated Press picks up the story. As coverage expands, more reporters eventually come calling for their own story. Bottom line in this case: a five-minute phone interview with a reporter can often help you reach thousands of Minnesotans.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    This year's State Fair provided an exciting opportunity for 4-H to be featured in news media across the state. With Wendy Huckaby, youth development communications manager, sending regular "tweets" on Twitter about events and other updates, 4-Hers were featured on a variety of radio, television and newspaper outlets. Fortunately, the H1N1-related media coverage, from the Star Tribune to the New York Times, did not overshadow the stories being told about the projects and learning 4-Hers were exhibiting at the State Fair. Check out Minnesota Public Radio's heartwarming video on the llama costume contest illustrating how 4-H youth learn and have fun. The Star Tribune also wrote an in-depth article about 4-H, and how its diverse programs and partnerships position the program to weather the current challenging economic times.

    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    This fall, the University will be introducing UM Google applications for use by faculty, staff and students. In addition to email, Google Apps provides a suite of communication and collaboration tools that makes it easier to work with others. Using Google Apps will be optional for faculty and staff. In the next month, the Extension IT team will be testing how Google Apps works with our existing email configuration and developing a plan for Extension. For more information, check out the Questions & Answers section on the University's Google Initiative webpage.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training Director

    Revised EEO Statement

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    The Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policy has recently been revised and approved by the Board of Regents. The policy, which was formerly two policies - Diversity, Equal Employment and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity -- was submitted for a series of reviews and merged into one document. The new policy incorporates language that protects individuals from discrimination and harassment based upon their gender identity and gender expression. This change is important as it reflects the protections that are available under Minnesota law.

    As a result of the policy change, the language of the Equal Opportunity Statement has been revised.  Be sure to incorporate the revised statement on all Extension publications and materials.  

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    On August 26, the University's Office of Information Technology officially launched UMSurvey, an academic online survey tool which is available to current students, staff, and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The tool is self-service, so users can create and publish surveys on their own. It is free of charge, ad-free and assures data integrity and security.  It will be supported centrally by the UMSurvey specialists at OIT Services. For more information on how to use and access the tool, and best practices for survey research, visit the UMSurvey website.

    Extension will continue to maintain its central SurveyMonkey account at least through May 2010-the end of our current contract.  After that date if Extension decides to replace SurveyMonkey with UMSurvey, we will develop a migration plan and work with current SurveyMonkey users to move to the new system.

    Allison Jacobsen
    Business Applications Manager

    Check out the summer 2009 edition of Extension Update, an e-newsletter for Extension retirees. In addition to news about our retirees, this issue highlights the Extension intern program, Extension's involvement with the emerald ash borer invasion, and examples of Extension work in the media. If you have ideas for articles of interest to retirees, please send them to Gwen Gmeinder.

    Gwen Gmeinder
    Government Relations Associate

    Starting with this issue, the employee newsletter will be published semimonthly on the first and third Thursdays of each month under the new title Extension e-news. Due to the change in publication schedule, the deadline for submission has been adjusted to noon on the Monday before publication. Submission guidelines and resources on how to create articles for Extension e-news can be found on the Dean's section of the employee website.  For questions, contact the editor: extenews@umn.edu.

    You can read more about these changes in the July 30 Dean's Column.

    Sarah Bjorkman
    Employee Communications Manager

    The Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership (NMSDP) coordinated a resource team visit to Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center in March 2008. The team's recommendations, actions taken by Boulder and next steps are outlined in their report. Some recommended actions include offering cohort opportunities for learning through the Woodland Advisor and Master Naturalist programs; connecting Master Naturalist volunteers to school forest programs; and developing an online forum to continue to discuss ways for Boulder Lake to engage people that live, work and play in forested landscapes.

    For more information about this project or the NMSDP Forestry Team program visit the website.

    Okey Ukaga
    Executive Director, NMSDP

    Changes in University Email

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    On Monday, August 17 the University's Office of Information Technology will be making adjustments to email that will affect all Extension employees who use University email clients such as GopherMail and Outlook.  The maximum email message size will be 25MB and Trash and Sent folders will be auto-filed after 30 days. It is important to note that when emails are auto-filed they will remain easily accessible in an archive folder.  Also, large attachments can be shared through Netfiles instead of sending them through email. 

    More information about these adjustments can be found on the Information Technology section of the employee website.  For additional assistance, contact the Extension IT helpline at (612) 624-6700.

    Karen Matthes
    Organizational Training

    The popular perennial calendar, Minnesota Gardening 2010, makes a great holiday gift for Minnesota gardening enthusiasts.  This award winning 12-month calendar has beautiful color photos and timely tips for lawn, garden and house plant care.  This year's special feature provides information on using vines in Minnesota home landscapes.

    From now until September 6, Extension and University staff can purchase the calendar through the Extension Store at the wholesale price of $6.50 plus shipping per copy.  Purchases made after that date will be $8.00 per copy plus shipping.

    Jennifer Obst
    Coordinator, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station

    Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your colleagues (or yourself!) by nominating them for an award from the Minnesota Association of Extension Educators (MAEE). In addition to the Teamwork and Effective Leadership Awards that have been presented in previous years, this year MAEE is introducing new awards recognizing innovation and scholarship. MAEE is an organization of professional educators working in county, regional and state positions within Extension representing professional development, personnel policy and public awareness interests of its members. Any current Extension employee can nominate a colleague, but you must fulfill eligibility requirements to receive an MAEE award.

    Nomination forms are due on September 4.  For a description of each award, eligibility details and information about how to submit a nomination, please visit the MAEE awards website. Award winners will be honored at the MAEE awards banquet at the Fall Program Conference in October. For additional questions contact Nancy Hegland.

    Andrea Lorek Strauss
    MAEE Awards/Public Relations Committee

    In the News

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    Educators from the Extension Center for Community Vitality were joined by residents of Grand Rapids and Jeff Horwich of Minnesota Public Radio (and other panel members) to discuss "What Makes a Small Town Thrive" on June 22. Ben Winchester, research fellow, and Jodi Horntvedt, educator in leadership and civic engagement, gave their informed perspectives on why some small towns in Minnesota are dying while others are thriving despite large challenges. Maxine Norman, educator in leadership and civic engagement, also participated from the audience, describing her Connecting Rural Communities initiative.

    If you have ideas for a radio program, visit the communications section of the employee website for Tips on Developing a Radio Broadcast, and contact Julie Christensen or Catherine Dehdashti.

    Catherine Dehdashti
    Public Relations Coordinator

    Extension in Minnesota is a national leader in partnering with other states to address today's issues that often cross state lines. Flood response in the Red River Valley, Emerald Ash Borer research, and financial security education are all examples of timely issues that Minnesota faculty and educators are addressing with other states.

    As we continue to look for ways to increase both our impact and funding, Extension program teams should look across state lines for opportunities to initiate or strengthen partnerships with other states. Federal agencies, nonprofits and industry often recognize and value states that work together by rewarding multi-state collaborations when making funding or grant decisions.

    Professional societies as well as regional and national conferences all provide opportunities to develop the necessary relationships with colleagues from other states that lead to joint programs. Recently, eXtension has placed much emphasis and many resources on forming communities of practice, which enables faculty from multiple states to collaborate. And, many of our departmental faculty have worked across state borders via Multi-State Research Committees overseen by the Agricultural Experiment Stations. These multi-state committees have resulted in great regional projects like the US Pork Center for Excellence. 

    Many of the issues we are dealing with are not unique to Minnesota, thus working with other states provides an opportunity to leverage other resources by expanding our scope. 

    Mike Schmitt
    Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research

    If you are planning to use copyrighted material in an article, publication, presentation or program materials, you must obtain permission. The University's Copyright Permission Center works closely with publishers, rightsholders, and the University of Minnesota Office of the General Counsel to help you get the permission you need. Their effective process makes it worth the nominal fee they charge. 

    You can submit your permission request online. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to get permission and be aware of the center's busiest months-before the start of a school term.  See their deadlines and plan accordingly!

    Neil D. Anderson
    Director, Resource Development Unit

    The Master Gardener program's main office has moved to 155 Alderman Hall on the St. Paul campus, while maintaining a satellite office at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where the program manages the Yard and Garden desk and phone line.

    Both locations offer work space for consumer horticulture Extension educators and Master Gardener program staff visiting campus as well as work space and computer access for Master Gardeners volunteering with state projects.

    State Program Director, Julie Weisenhorn, will maintain the satellite office at the Arboretum. The new Master Gardener Administrative Specialist, Bridget Barton, will manage the new state office location in Alderman Hall. The new mailing address and phone number are: U of M Extension Master Gardener Program, Department of Horticultural Science, 155 Alderman Hall, 1970 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, (612)624-4211.

    Julie Weisenhorn
    State Master Gardener Director and
    Assistant Extension Professor, Horticultural Science

    IT Operations will be performing maintenance on Extension servers this Sunday, June 19, from 6 a.m. until noon.

    During this time, please do not enter data into MyPrograms or any other web form located on Extension websites and do not use queries and reports that rely on our database servers.

    The Extension website may have sporadic availability during the maintenance period on Sunday, but email and network shares (H and S drives) will not be affected.

    Rex Wheeler
    IT Operations Manager

    The environmental science education team is excited to announce the new Prairies & Potholes field guide to selected native species commonly found in Minnesota prairie and wetland ecosystems. Illustrations and descriptive text help novice naturalists identify representative grasses, soils, woody plants, seasonal flowers, mammals, insects, aquatic and upland birds, wetland plants, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

    The field guide provides an excellent introduction to the prairie biome for Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, teachers, youth, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Orders can be made through the Extension Store for $4.95 per copy.

    Renee Pardello
    Extension Program Leader
    Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    MISA Board Nominations

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    The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) seeks your help in identifying individuals who may be willing to serve on the Board of Directors. The purpose of MISA is to bring together the diverse interests of the agricultural community with interests from across the University community in a cooperative effort to develop and promote sustainable agriculture in Minnesota and beyond.

    Beginning September 1, the following vacancies will be filled: two sustainable agriculture practitioners (e.g. farmers and ranchers); and one representative of the sustainable agriculture community (e.g. nongovernmental organizations, business, government and citizen representatives). A term on the MISA Board is three years and you may nominate yourself or someone else to serve.

    More information can be found on the MISA website.

    Helene Murray
    Coordinator, Agronomy and Plant Genetics

    As part of our Centennial activities this year, we've identified an opportunity for friends of Extension to help celebrate our shared history: an Extension Centennial 4-H project for county and State Fair exhibits! Minnesotans of all ages are invited to participate.

    "Honorary" 4-Hers can submit photos and memorabilia representing Extension's work over the years in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food/nutrition, youth, families and communities. Submission criteria and other details can be found on the Extension Centennial site.

    We are promoting this project to 4-H families and partners, agricultural commodity group representatives, other friends of Extension and state and local news media. Regional directors and center communications contacts are also sharing the news with groups in their networks.

    We hope you'll think about groups you work with who may be interested in this unique opportunity and take a few moments to share the details with them.

    Thanks for helping to spread the word about the Extension Centennial 4-H project!

    Wendy Huckaby
    Youth Development Communications Manager
    Julie Christensen
    Public Relations and News Media Manager

    If you missed the UMConnect meeting on the emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation hosted by the MN EDEN team and presented by Dr. Jeffrey Hahn, Extension entomologist, the EAB presentation is available for viewing online. The information about Extension resources will assist county and regional Extension staff respond to consumer inquiries.

    Gwen Gmeinder
    MN EDEN team