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Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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How Can One Person Make a Difference?

This is the question the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is posing next month (November 10) as they engage in a discussion about the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with the author Rebecca Skloot.

As described on the CEHD website, "The featured book... tells the story of Henrietta Lacks (known by scientists as HeLa). Lacks grew up in a poor tobacco farming community in Clover, Virginia. In 1951 doctors at Johns Hopkins took cancerous cells from her body without her knowledge. HeLa cells have played a major role in important scientific and medical advancements. Henrietta Lacks died at the age of 31 and her family has received no compensation despite the billions of dollars that the HeLa cells have generated in the medical industry. Skloot's book raises critical questions about race, ethics and scientific discovery."

The book tells the story that all of us who work in and for research institutions should know and remember. For us in the Center for Family Development, research and evaluation efforts reflect real people. Therefore, thoughtful and careful needs assessment, program development, and evaluation need to respect our participants. While our participants make a difference in their contributions to our understanding of what works, WE also make a difference each day by our thoughtful and respectful implementation of education across Minnesota.

Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues,

I recently read an insightful commentary about the two 2014 Nobel Prize winners working for the welfare of children: Malala Yousafzai, 17, of Pakistan, and Kailash Satyarthi, 60, of India. I was naturally drawn to the piece because it's about inspiring people making tremendous sacrifices for the sake of children. But I was also intrigued because the authors are two U of M graduate students* who are also from Pakistan and India. I encourage you to read the entire commentary, in which the authors offer their perspective on the importance of the Nobel Prize going to leaders from their home countries. 

Copyright © Creative Commons

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India.

Here is an excerpt from their piece, which appeared in the Oct. 17, 2014 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
India's and Pakistan's collaboration for child rights will tremendously boost the global struggle for child development. Today, millions of children are falling into child labor, trafficking, early marriage, violence and sexual abuse throughout the world. The subcontinent is rife with street children who work as street vendors and in other hazardous occupations, and most will never step inside a classroom. The struggle to globally prioritize the welfare of children is the collective responsibility of India and Pakistan -- each having more than 50 percent of its population below age 30.

In the age of globalization, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural learning is an integral component to address chronic underdevelopment challenges. The free flow of knowledge, practices and technologies is an essential tool to help millions of people rise out of poverty.... Even with the current blame game between India and Pakistan over the crossfire in Kashmir, we remain optimistic. As Malala has said: "This is not the end, it is merely the beginning."
May the work highlighted by Malala and Kailash encourage and inspire us to also prioritize the welfare of children in our work in Minnesota.

Trish Olson
Interim Associate Dean, Extension Center for Family Development


Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues,


At the Extension Program Conference last week, I attended a session about storytelling as a tool for evaluation by Dr. Richard Krueger. He told us about a study that predicted the characteristics of a successful Extension educator. Was it content expertise? Was it their ability to explain complex research to lay practitioners? No. While these skills are important, to succeed in the unique environment of Extension education, the number one characteristic was dependability. Everyone on the team an educator works with needs to know he or she can count on the educator. This idea is important to all of us, but especially to new employees grappling with working in regional or county offices where they are expected to work in teams with FD statewide to get work done.

We don't often get the chance to enjoy each other's company.

Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues,

I was in Douglas County in West Central Minnesota this weekend where no roads are straight because of ponds and lakes; therefore, there was much waterfowl flying overhead (duck hunting opener may also have had something to do with that). Geese were constantly honking as they headed to warmer climates. It made me think about the "V" formation and leadership.

Well, I am not the first to think about this. Here's what Robert McNeish, Ph.D., a science teacher from Baltimore, Maryland, had to say about "V" formations and leadership in 1972. I've modified some of the "lessons" with Family Development in mind.

Snow Geese in Flight

Honk if you wish you were in a warmer climate.

Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues,

I often listen to a podcast called "On Being" with host Krista Tippett. Recently she spoke with renowned cellist and songwriter Yo-Yo Ma about a concept I think is important in Extension.

Yo-Yo Ma shared how he sees each concert hall as a "separate instrument" in his ensemble, along with the orchestras and artists he accompanies. Each concert hall or other venue has its separate, unique qualities. Some halls are "dry" and work well with the spoken voice. Some, like Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall, reverberate to make the sounds blend. He emphasized that an artist must know the characteristics of this "additional instrument" in order to make the music meaningful to listeners.

I think there's a lesson here for Extension educators.

Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues,

In case you have not heard, I am filling in for Dr. Karen Shirer, Associate Dean for Extension Center for Family Development, while she takes some time this fall to tend to her health. While this situation was unexpected for both of us, I believe her leadership style is one where she has "well-insured" the Center to continue to thrive during her partial absence (she is working some so I can consult with her).

Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.

Jamais Cascio

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or ideas to move our Center forward during this interim time.

Interim Associate Dean,
Patricia Olson, Ph.D.

Family Matters: Update on the Center for Family Development

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Dear Colleagues and Friends:

The dog days of summer are here but fortunately we continue to have below average temperatures. August brings summer vacations for many, shopping for back to school (even for those of us who do not have anyone in school), and the State Fair. Before you jump into your August activities take a few minutes to hear about what is happening in Family Development. This blog post includes:

Please take a few minutes to give your thoughts on this blog or on anything else you wish to say. Happy August!

sun.jpgMessage from the Associate Dean

Happy Summer Solstice! Summer has arrived and brought warmer days, a ton of rain, and likely a bumper crop of mosquitos. In this blog, you will find a reminder to register for the Family Development Conference on July 16 and the NEAFCS Professional Development Day on July 17. With the recent record rainfalls and flooding, I share some reflections on climate change and what is means for our work. You will also find information about the UMN Employee Engagement Survey and program business planning. Five new SNAP Ed Educators are introduced and a fun day at the office is highlighted.

Enjoy a safe and joyful July 4th!

Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Reminder: FD Conference on July 16, 2014

Heather Lee reminded me that we are trying to get a final count for our upcoming Family Development conference.

Register Now

Please complete your registration by July 3.

This conference will take place on Wednesday, July 16, from 10-4. It will be at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

This conference will be a great opportunity to:

  • Get to know fellow Family Development staff and the center's programs
  • Find out about our rich history and where we're heading in the future.
  • Understand more about the "nuts and bolts" about being in Family Development.
  • Reflect on the importance of your role in Family Development, and explore ways to collaborate with other FD staff to build a stronger future.

This is the first time that we have attempted to gather all Family Development staff for this event. We hope that you will all be able to join us. [If not, please discuss with your supervisor and indicate that you will not be attending on the registration survey.]

Remember, if you plan to attend the NEAFCS-MN affiliate event on July 17, that is a separate registration process. See the messages from Brianna Routh regarding this event and how to register.

Hope to see you all next month!

Reflections on Climate Change

Our recent record rainfall has turned my attention to the big issue of climate and its implication for our work in Extension. Earlier this week a report was released by a national think tank about the economic implications of climate change for the future of business and industry in the United States (see the report). This report spurred my thinking to reflect what the increasing incidence of large, adverse weather events will have for families and their capacity to thrive in this challenging environment. Right now in Minnesota we have an opportunity to find out.

Recently, a webinar was given by Cornell Cooperative Extension highlighting their work in disaster recovery and response. It provides a good primer on how state Extension programs can and do respond as well as may stimulate your thinking about how to respond to Minnesota's current disaster.

Lastly, Extension is working to update and make resources available about the recent flooding events for agricultural producers, families, households, and communities. You can find resources on the Flood recovery and preparation resources available page of Extension News. In Family Development, we provide information and education on long-term financial recovery for families and on helping families and children through the stress of disasters. You can find Family Development resources at the Families in Tough Times page.

A webinar is planned for July 10, 2014 for county emergency managers, local public health, local elected officials, professionals who work with families, and county extension offices. Resources and programs offered by Family Development will be highlighted, including:

  • Recovery after Disaster -- The Family Financial Toolkit: materials that will help households document damaged and lost property, where to seek assistance, and making informed decisions.
  • Cleaning your Home after a Flood
  • Family resiliency during this stressful time
Two webinars will be held on July 10; the first one from 9 to 10 am and repeated again at 12 to 1 pm. 

Look for more details in the near future.

The Employee Engagement Survey Results

During the fall of 2013, the University conducted a University-wide employee survey studying two primary factors that help to define an engaged employee: commitment and dedication; and effective work environment. On May 21, Dean Durgan presented the results for Extension.

Dean Durgan has asked each unit to identify one or two strategies that will be implemented to enhance employee commitment/dedication and an effective work environment. At the Family Development Conference on July 16, we will discuss the results for the survey for the center and brainstorm possible strategies to address. If you have not viewed the webinar, it is archived on the Intranet webpage devoted to the employee engagement survey.

Business Plan Development in Family Development

Over the next year, we will be focusing on creating new program business plans for our two program areas (Family Resilience and Health and Nutrition) and CYFC. Recently, Health and Nutrition began laying the ground work by embarking on a six-month portfolio planning process (i.e., business planning). When complete, the Health and Nutrition Portfolio Plan will describe the program area's work over the next few years. Stephanie Heim (chair), Ryan Johnson, Mary Caskey and CeAnn Klug serve as a task force to gather and compile relevant information on behalf of all Health and Nutrition staff to move this work forward.

Trish Olson, program leader for Family Resilience, has been working with program teams to develop updated program business plans. You will be hearing more about these efforts over the coming year.

What should we call our new site?

We are creating a new consumer-focused website that brings together existing content from multiple Family Development websites. It will have four sections: Healthy Homes, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, and Healthy Futures. We are looking for your input on what to call this site.


Introducing New SNAP Ed Educators

Please join me in welcoming five new staff members to welcome to Extension and Family Development:

Kanko Akakpovi began her position as a SNAP-Ed Educator on June 2. Her office is located in Rice County. She previously served as a Community Nutrition Educator in Steele and Rice counties since 2010 and most recently was with EFNEP in Ramsey County. Kanko holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from St. Cloud State University. In addition to her time with University of MN Extension, she has previous experience in residential care for disabled clients and food service. Kanko immigrated to the United States in 2004 from Togo West Africa.

Nancy Brewster earned a Business Degree from Boston University with a concentration in Food Administration and Hospitality. She comes to Extension with experience as a Cultural Liaison with the Hispanic Community; working with children and adults in the Educational Field. Nancy enjoys leading an active lifestyle, dancing to tropical rhythms and interacting with people of different cultures.

Andrea Kronbach joined the Southeast Region in her new role as a SNAP-Ed Educator based out of Steele County on June 9. Most recently, Andrea was with Rice County Public Health as a public health educator. Andrea began her U of MN Extension Health and Nutrition work in 2006 as a nutrition education assistant and as program coordinator for the South Central area in 2008. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Life and Child Development from Minnesota State University Mankato. In addition to her time with University of MN Extension, she has previous experience with Nicollet County Social Services.

Samantha Stewart received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in Community Health Education with a minor in Biology. She went on to receive her Master's in Public Health in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both her academic and professional interest includes working with youth in the area of chronic disease prevention. She grew up in central Minnesota area in the small city of Cold Spring near St Cloud and is looking forward to working back in the state of Minnesota to tackle the issue of obesity/chronic disease prevention.

Anne Ulrich has accepted the SNAP-Ed Educator position housed in Mahnomen County. She has previous work experience teaching school age children at the Wee-Care Early Learning Center in Bagley and interning with Clearwater County Nursing Service. Annie holds a Bachelor's degree in Community Health from Bemidji State University.

Hard Day of Work at 4H Foundation Golf Tournament

The Minnesota 4H Foundation held its annual golf outing at the Medina Country Club on June 23. I had the pleasure of being on one of the Extension-sponsored teams. The weather was perfect and the team made a respectable showing. My team members included Todd Iverson with UMN Government Relations, Jim Mulder (retired director of the MN Associate of Counties), and his wife Carmen. Please know that this is not a typical day of work for me but one I thoroughly enjoy when given the opportunity.


From the Left: Todd Iverson, Karen Shirer, and Jim and Carmen Mulder

Message from the Associate Dean

sunshine.pngAlthough summer does not officially start until later in June, Memorial Day serves as the kick-off for Minnesota's summer tourism season. And our weather is now cooperating for the time of year! Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to learn what is happening in the Center for Family Development.

In this blog posting, you will learn about salary increases for staff and a number of changes in the Center for Family Development. We also continue to hire in the SNAP Education program and information is included about new employees. I also include links to two new important reports that were recently released on early childhood and children of immigrants.

As a reminder, hold the date for the Family Development Day on July 16 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. More information will be coming out soon about this event as well as about the NEAFCS Professional Development Day on July 17.

Lastly, on June 3 and 4, Family Development is hosting the North Central Region's Family and Consumer Sciences Administrators at the Landscape Arboretum. State leaders from ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IA, WI, IL, IN, OH, MI, and, of course, MN will meet together to discuss joint programming opportunities across our state. We also spend much of our time gathering information for a report on the value of FCS being prepared by the Battelle Group. I am hopeful that this report, when completed, will provide us with information to talk about the value of programming with key stakeholders. Stay tuned for more in the future!


A Note about FY2015 Salary Increases

In May of most years, salary increases are determined for all faculty and staff in Extension and at the University. The University authorized salary increases for all staff this year -- good news! There are differences by class of positions in terms of how increases are awarded. Please review below the information for each of three employee groups to find that which applies to your position.

P&A: As in past years, salary increases were awarded based on merit. To assess merit, a new online performance appraisal was used for all P&A staff as well Civil Service and Bargaining Unit. Supervisors submitted your score and it was used to determine your increase. If you are in a P&A position, your supervisor will be sharing with you how increases were given.

Civil Service: All Civil Service positions received a 2.5% increase for FY2015. Next year, for FY2016, salary increases will be determined on merit. More information will be forthcoming.

Bargaining Unit: Annual increases are negotiated between the bargaining unit and the university. If you are a CNE or administrative support, you likely fall into this category. Check with your local representative or Human Resources regarding the contract terms for salary increases.

Changes in Family Development

Beginning July 1, the Food Safety Education team will be changing the administrative unit to which they report. They will join EFANs and Joelle Feirtag will become the program leader for the team. This change stems from a need to strengthen our food safety education and outreach across the full food system spectrum. As a result, Extension will enhance its contribution to MNDrive and other large efforts related to Food Science. In addition, Stephanie Heim will serve as liaison for Health and Nutrition with the Food Safety Education Team. In FD, our need for food safety education has grown as we have expanded our work with Farm to School, Healthy Food Access, and other multi-level, multi-institutional efforts.

Cathy Jordan will be stepping down as director of the Children, Youth and Family Consortium on June 30 to take a joint position between her academic faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics and Extension Center for Community Vitality. After 10 years as director, Cathy will be investing her energies in two primary areas, community-engaged scholarship and a developing interest in nature-based education for youth at risk for academic failure or disengagement.  In her new role, Cathy will continue to co-lead with Jennifer Skusa the Educational Disparities Initiative Area. On July 1, Trish Olson will serve as interim director for CYFC as we develop plans for Cathy's replacement.


Hou Vue-Her, Project Director for Health and Nutrition, has taken a new position with the Minnesota Department of Health beginning in early June. Houa joined us in 2011 and has been instrumental in launching our diabetes prevention education and in securing external funds for Health and Nutrition programs. We wish Houa the best in her new position and we will greatly miss her.

Welcome these New SNAP Ed Educators to Family Development

New SNAP Ed Educators continue to be hired and I am pleased to report that we have added 15 new staff since early April. Below are the names and information about 10 new and returning employees. In addition, these individuals have also been hired and their bio sketches will be included in an upcoming blog: Samantha Stewart (Cass County, May 27), Andrea Kronbach (Steele, June 9), Kanko Akakpovi (Rice, June 2), Anne Ulrich (Mahnomen, June 9), and Nancy Brewster (Hennepin, June 2).

Deanna Beaulieu began on May 12, 2014 and is also located at the Hennepin County Extension Office in Eden Praire. Deanna is in the process of completing courses for the Community Health Worker Certificate through Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Deanna comes to Extension from the Native American Community Clinic where she has worked as a community health outreach worker. Deanna teaches beading classes and has helped facilitate the Women's Health Beading Workshops, where women gather to bead and cancer education and nutrition education are woven into the class, creating a relaxed and open learning environment.

JoDee Christianson started work on May 12, 2014 in Stearns County Extension Office. JoDee has a ten year work history with Extension, seven years as a 4-H Program Coordinator and three years as a Community Nutrition Educator. Through her work with Extension JoDee has demonstrated great skill as an educator. She has valuable experience working with agencies and has built many great relationships with in both Stearns County and Benton County.

Abdikadir Ibrahim started May 5, 2014 and is located at the Hennepin County Office in Eden Prairie. Abdikadir is a U of MN graduate and is currently working a M.S. degree in Educational Leadership through Mankato State University. Abdikadir has years of experience teaching within the East African community; working with youth, parents, adults and older adults. He comes to us as an instructor for I Can Prevent Diabetes. He holds a certificate as a Bilingual Parent Facilitator (fluent in both English and Somali).

Megan Janssen joined the team in the Northwest Region as a SNAP-Ed Educator. She is housed in the Crookston Regional Extension Office. She has experience as an Extension Agent-in-Training and as an Extension Associate with NDSU Extension Service, Grand Forks County. Megan holds a degree in Community Nutrition from the University of North Dakota. Megan starts as a SNAP-Ed Educator on May

The Southeast Region is pleased to welcome back Rachel Jones! Rachel began her position as Blue Earth County Health and Nutrition Educator on April 14. She previously served as a Community Nutrition Educator with SNAP-Ed since 2008. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition to her time with University of MN Extension, she has substitute teaching experience with the New Richland and Mankato school districts. Rachel is a native of the Mankato area and lives with her family in rural Lake Crystal.

The Northwest Region welcomes Kathryn Lien as a new SNAP-Ed Educator housed in the Clearwater County Extension Office. Kathryn worked for eight years as the Community Nutrition Educator in Clearwater County. She has completed college course work in the areas of gerontology, social work and home economics. She is excited about the future of the SNAP-Ed program and is looking forward to new challenges with SNAP-Ed. Kathryn started as a SNAP-Ed Educator on April 23, 2014.

Carolyn McQueen started April 7 as the new SNAP-Ed Educator located in Crow Wing County. She worked as a Community Nutrition Educator in Cass County for a little over a year. Before that, she was employed as a substitute teacher, teacher assistant, management assistant, and as a Title One assistant for her hometown school for eleven years. Carol is looking forward to making new contacts throughout Crow Wing County and the surrounding area, and to embark on their mutual goal of helping others to a healthier lifestyle.

Elizabeth Quillo is the newly hired SNAP-Ed Educator in Todd County. She will be working with agencies in Todd County and the surrounding Counties. She is proficient in Spanish and is happy to provide classes in both English and Spanish. Elizabeth currently lives in Long Prairie; however she grew up in Ecuador. Her past experiences in Nutrition Education include her work in Ramsey County with the EFNEP program (primarily among Spanish-speaking participants), Spanish Breastfeeding educator for CentraCare in Long Prairie, and many programs in Ecuador and Peru. She is excited to begin a bilingual community garden class which will incorporate nutrition and cooking with a focus on seasonal and local produce.

Darlyce Rangaard, SNAP-Ed Educator, Health and Nutrition, works in the southwest regions and is located in Redwood County Extension Office. Darlyce is energetic, self-motivated with 20 years' experience in foodservice management in school settings. Darlyce enjoys cooking, gardening and having fun in the kitchen and helping people. Since August 2009, Darlyce was the SNAP-Ed Community Nutrition Educator in Lyon County promoting health and nutrition education through classroom nutrition education, and cooking and shopping classes.

Shirley Vang started her position as SNAP-Ed educator for the Central Region on May 12th and will be working out of the Ramey County Extension office. She has a background in nutrition and most recently worked as a Lifestyle Coach with the Diabetes Prevention Program at the YMCA. She has also worked as a diet tech in area hospitals. She is very excited to join SNAP-Ed where the focus is education and can teach in both English and Hmong.

Extension Staff Day in Bemidji and Mankato

Extension recently held staff days at which administrative support, nutrition education, 4-H, and other staff participated. Two awards were given for which I am particularly proud. Betty Wistrom, SNAP Ed Educator for southern St. Louis County, received the Dean's Distinguished Community Nutrition Educator Award at the session in Bemidji. In her letter of nomination, Betsy Johnson, Betty's previous supervisor, wrote "Betty is truly an outstanding CNE who serves as an exemplary representative for the University of Minnesota Extension locally, regionally, and statewide." Betty moved to a SNAP Ed Educator position in January, and continues making many contributions to Extension.

Deb Page, Assistant Director, Extension Human Resources, received the Extension Distinguished Dean's Staff Award Nomination. I wanted to acknowledge Deb's award because of the support she gave all of us in Family Development as we were restructuring the Health and Nutrition Program this past year. I know that many employees who were leaving the organization found her assistance and advice very helpful as they navigated the severance process. In addition, Deb was always available to answer staff's many questions and address their concerns. Thank you, Deb!

Important Reports Released

Two new reports and websites were recently announced, both of which can help to inform our programming. Take a few minutes to browse the website.

Widening the Opportunity Bottlenecks in the Early Years: Parenting is Key
Children of Immigrants Data Tools

A Little Bit of Silliness

The Memorial Day weekend is behind us but it is just the beginning of the summer boating season. Here is some of what you can expect as you drive the highways of MN this summer: Talking Boat

Let me know what you think. Please take a few moments to share your comments below.


Message from the Associate Dean


Shirer-Johnson Wedding Picture

Life at work and home has been very busy and eventful of late. In early April, my daughter, Allison, was married — see the picture of Allie and her new husband, Mike, on the right. We had a wonderful celebration at our home in Circle Pines with immediate family. The next day I headed to Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD) in Washington, DC. I wondered why I scheduled this trip immediately after the wedding but in the end was so glad I participated. See the first article below about some of the lessons learned. Kathy Olson, Ellie McCann, and Kathy Brandt also attended the conference.

In this post, you will also find information about new faculty hires and an award for a SNAP Ed Educator as well as a map showing the location of the SNAP Ed Educators and the Regional Coordinators. In addition, four professional development opportunities are described including the joint meetings with Family Development and the National Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in Minnesota. Lastly, please take a few minutes to comment on any of the postings here and your thoughts for future items to include in the blog.

Enjoy the warming April weather. 


Learnings from PILD

Public Issues Leadership Development Conference, also called PILD,  is sponsored by the Joint Councils of Extension Professionals. For Family Development, the National Association of Family and Consumer Sciences represents our interests on the Joint Council. EFANS, Community Vitality, and Youth Development also have national organizations that represent them. The mission of PILD is to provide leadership and advocacy skills to affect public issues. Conference sessions focused on enhancing public advocacy and education skills and broadening understanding of public issues that impact Extension and its clientele. On the last day of the conference, a team of Extension Educators and staff visited with members of the MN congressional delegation on Capitol Hill.

I walked away from the conference with some key lessons learned. One keynoter reminded me again of the importance of social media, especially Twitter, as a resource to get out our messages. Another provided guidance on how to foster common purpose as a way to energize collaborations for action. I purchased a recommended book titled The Power of Invisible Leadership (Hickman and Sorenson, 2014). I learned in the first pages that leadership is about promoting a common vision and mission to move a group to action, and not about getting others to take action on behalf of the leader. I am looking forward to getting deeper into the book and how I can apply it my own work.

If you have the opportunity to attend this conference in the future, I highly recommend it. The conference offers great professional development in its sessions and hands-on experience meeting with elected officials.

Staff Announcements

The Department of Family Social Science recently announced two new faculty members with Extension appointments. Dr. Jenifer McQuire will join the faculty as an Associate Professor in the area of Parenting Education, beginning fall 2014, pending approval from the Provost's office. She can be reached at Jodi Dworkin served as the chair of the search committee and Ellie McCann served as Extension's representative.

Dr. Joyce Serido has accepted an offer to join the FSoS faculty as an Associate Professor in the area of family economics beginning Fall, 2014. She can be reached at Sharon Danes served as chair of the search committee and Jennifer Garbow served as Extension's representative.

Please join me in thanking Jodi, Ellie, Sharon, and Jennifer for their service to hire these new specialists.

Seven new SNAP Ed Educators have been hired over the last month. Please join me in welcoming these new staff members to Family Development:

Darlyce Rangaard, Redwood Falls
Carolyn McQueen, Crow Wing
Elizabeth Quillo, Todd
Rachel Jones, Blue Earth

Kathryn Lien, Clearwater
Megan Janssen, Polk
JoDee Christiansen, Stearns
Dianne Davis-Kenning

Recently, Dianne Davis-Kenning, SNAP Ed Educator and formerly Community Nutrition Educator, was awarded the 2014 Partners in Hope from Heartland Community Action Agency in Litchfield at their annual staff day. Here is what the presenter had to say:

kenning.jpgDianne has worked closely with various Heartland Programs, providing direct services to children and families. She has worked with the Head Start Classrooms in McLeod County, providing education to the children during classroom time and also some education to parents via the Simply Good Eating curriculum and Parent Meetings. She has also collaborated with Heartland and McLeod County Social Services (Parent Support Outreach Program -- "PSOP" and Child Welfare Services) to provide the Kitchen Kamp (Simply Good Eating) classes to at-risk families. She has also agreed to do one-on-one instruction with individuals/families in their home setting. Dianne also worked with Heartland's McLeod Outreach at the Food Distributions that take place in Hutchinson, providing nutrition education, cooking safety, etc., along side Heartland doing Food Support Outreach activities and other education about Heartland programs and services. Dianne had also agreed to be a part of the RentWise/Money Smart Classes that were offered in McLeod County by Heartland's Outreach. During those classes, she provided information to individuals/families about ways to stretch their food dollars, cooking safety, healthy eating, etc.

University of Minnesota Extension services provide practical education and research to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

Dianne is dedicated to the work that she does through the University of Minnesota Extension Services and it shows through in her dedication to the individuals and families that she works with. She has always been willing to collaborate with Heartland on numerous activities and has been a collaborative asset to Heartland and we would like to thank her for that.

Help Us Get the Word Out to our Partners about SNAP Education

In Health and Nutrition, we continue to make great progress hiring SNAP Ed Educators for the new model. Our next push is to ramp up our external communications with partners and we need your help. In the next few months, we will be sharing resources with you for communicating with county and regional partners. To get you started, we have put together a map showing the regions for SNAP Ed (they match Extension's regions) and the counties for EFNEP (Hennepin, Ramsey and southern Anoka.) Click here for a copy of the map.

Thank you for helping us get the word out.

Minnesota Poverty: Call to Action

The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development is one of numerous sponsors for this upcoming conference. As most of you are aware, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's State of the Union address calling on the nation to launch an "unconditional war on poverty." This address signaled a renewed national commitment to fighting poverty through targeted policy resulting in programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, Pell Grants, expansions to Social Security and nutrition assistance. This conference is intended to celebrate this anniversary and renew efforts by debunking false claims and putting forward a proactive vision about how to end poverty.

Minnesota Poverty: Call to Action
Thursday, May 1, 2014
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Saint Paul River Centre | 175 West Kellogg Blvd |Saint Paul, MN 55102




The website includes all the information you'll need, including schedule, all confirmed speakers, and hotel blocks.

Who Should Attend?

Minnesotans from public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors will gather for a one-day event to learn about the history of the War on Poverty, rededicate efforts, and commit to current anti-poverty movements happening in Minnesota and across the country. Breakout sessions on disparities in poverty will be organized around race/ethnicity, age (youth and seniors), place (rural, urban, and suburban), gender, and veteran status.

Planning Committee:

Minnesota Community Action Partnership, AARP, A Minnesota Without Poverty, Children's Defense Fund, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, and University of Minnesota Extension

HOLD THE DATE: Center for Family Development All Staff Event, July 16, 2014

Recently, you received a message from Heather Lee inviting all FD staff and faculty to a one-day conference at the Landscape Arboretum. In addition, NEAFCS is holding their professional development the day after FD's conference. See additional information below on this event.

Dates for the upcoming Family Development Conference:

All FD staff: Wednesday, July 16 (10-4; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska)

Join all Family Development staff in exploring where we've been in the past and where we can go (together) in the future. Note: All Family Development staff are invited to this event. Costs, including travel, will be covered by FD administration. If you don't think you should attend, please confirm this with your supervisor.

Optional: Thursday, July 17 (9-3; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska)

Explore the past, present, and future of National Extension Council on Family Relations and Family Development Educators. The National President, Kathy Olson, is scheduled to speak along with fun activities, workshops, and networking throughout the day. All FD educators are invited to attend whether or not you are a member of NEAFCS-MN. More details will being coming soon regarding cost, NEAFCS-MN eligibility, and event details.

More Information

If you plan on attending both events described above, Family Development will cover the cost of lodging.

You should have seen an event hold for July 16 placed on your calendar. More information about the agenda and registration will be available in May. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Heather Lee.

NEAFCS Professional Development

Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future of Family Development

Who: All current NEAFCS-MN members as well as all those interested in seeing what it is all about.

We recommend officially joining membership at the Fall conference, but all those who are educating in the area of Family Consumer Science (Family Development) and have a 4 year degree or more are invited to join.

What: Fun professional development and networking opportunity!

We will feature our current National President Kathy Olson as well as sessions looking at the 100th Anniversary of the Smith Lever Act, the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, and the new beginning of powerful movements such as the movement to fight obesity. We will also be taking a tour of the Arboretum display garden and networking with old and new friends and colleagues.

When: Thursday, July 17th, 2014 from 9am to 3pm (optional, but a GREAT opportunity!)

Where: The Fireplace Room in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN

Why: Come learn about NEAFCS-MN, your colleagues, and these wonderful celebrations of past, present, and future

Cost: $25 for non-members and $20 for members

This covers food, the tour, speakers, and the lovely location! For those staying overnight from the FD conference the previous day, we will cover the overnight stay!

Please "Save the Date" and more information as well as registration will come shortly. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Brianna Routh at, Becky Hagen Jokela at, or Deb Botzek-Linn at

What Went Wrong? Reflecting and Learning from Community-Engaged Research Call for Proposals and Registration

Date: July 11-12, 2014
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Cost: $25-$75

Submit a proposal and register to attend this conference featuring keynote address by María Torre, Ph.D. and Brett Stoudt, Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Join others working for social justice in an active dialogue about what it means for communities and universities to practice deeply engaged research that is reflective, questions power dynamics, and works toward shifts in practice.

Something to Make You Smile and Get Active

Renee Obrecht-Como shared this YouTube video with me. Please enjoy!

Call to Action

Please leave comments and your feedback. Also, plan on attending the Family Development Day at the Landscape Arboretum on July 16. Share with partners the map showing where contact information for SNAP Ed and EFNEP. And remember to enjoy the warming spring weather.

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