Communiqué January 10, 2011

Director's Thoughts - A Call to Action (revisited)

As we all know, this continues to be a time of tremendous change in the economy worldwide, our clients’ needs, stakeholders’ expectations about our services, and our own mode of operation. I remain confident in our ability to adjust to changing expectations - and the impact we have on all Ohioans. We are being flexible in our program planning, we are listening to our clients/local stakeholders, and we continue to move forward with optimism.

The call to action I proposed last January involved four main goals, which I believe are still very pertinent to our organization. I’ll quickly re-summarize those below:

Enhance Our Accountability
Accountability will remain a major part of our culture. County commissioners and other local stakeholders are asking for more accountability. Our accountability to and within the university is continuing to change as we move ahead with our cultural transformation across the university. Continuing budget challenges mean that we will likely be asked to be even more accountable in the future. Some questions - have you met with your advisory committees and explained our structure? Have you set up a meeting with the commissioners or at least the newly elected commissioner to talk about our structure and impacts you are making in your county and area?

Demonstrate Greater Statewide Impact
We have great signature programs, and they are making tremendous impacts across the state. Other cross-county and EERA activities are also making significant impacts on our clients. I encourage you to keep improving how we show measurable impact within EERAs for our clientele, and how we communicate this to stakeholders. We can’t assume people know what we’re doing or the true impact of our activities. In recent meetings I've had with clientele groups, it is obvious they are fairly uninformed about what impacts you are making (general statement) and how the new structure works.

Cultivate Organizational Unity and Civility
Our collaborative efforts are extremely vital in emphasizing to our clients and stakeholders that we are ONE organization – no matter where they meet us throughout the state. We have one mission and one vision guiding our actions, and I know we will continue to succeed as an organization and as one university by working together. As I've said before in meetings with separate program areas - do not, and I repeat, do not downplay or belittle another program area. We are ONE Extension. We are especially critical to the success of individuals, families and communities in this state during these stressful times; and I am proud that our Extension professionals set good examples as we work with clients and others who are encountering challenging situations.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Again, I know all of us are concerned about OSU Extension’s future, and there are many things happening at once across the organization. This often can mean multiple interpretations of the same situation; however, it is important that we are all on the same page. Extension administration will continue to:

  • define what’s going on as best we can;
  • explain OSU Extension’s plan and position;
  • set an example of excellence; and
  • respond to clientele needs quickly, thoroughly, and clearly.

Final Thoughts
I am reiterating this message, because I believe it is of utmost importance that we continue to enhance our accountability, demonstrate statewide impact, cultivate unity and civility, and communicate well. Despite budget cuts, our priorities remain the same – addressing our impact areas, conducting signature programs, assessing local needs, continuing the reorganization and restructuring, and remaining a reliable source of information. I also envision that we will continue to streamline programs, increase efficiency, be proactive, and share tremendous successes as we move forward this year.

As I’ve said many times…the talent in this organization (YOU) is unparalleled. We are tenacious, creative, brimming with knowledge and applicable skills for real-life situations – and we’re well-equipped to meet the needs of Ohioans. As we begin 2011, I am confident that each of you will maintain your enthusiasm for working with our clientele, your commitment to OSU Extension, and your positive outlook for our future. Thank you!

Pulse Survey Results

Recently, your colleagues responded to the monthly pulse survey in the following ways:

*Mean scores could indicate strong agreement.

  • I am committed to OSU Extension. (mean of 8.47)

*Mean scores could indicate agreement.

  • I receive adequate support in completing my job responsibilities. (mean of 6.95)
  • Providing pulse survey results in the Communiqué represents an effective news source. (mean of 6.66)
  • I feel OSU Extension is committed to diversity and its related initiatives. (mean of 7.77)
  • I am familiar with competency-based human resources management as part of the strategic plan. (mean of 7.13)
  • I am satisfied with the flow of communication in the organization. (mean of 6.00)
  • I am satisfied with the level of communication I receive from my supervisor. (mean of 7.17)

*Mean scores indicate neither agreement nor disagreement.

  • OSU Extension is heading in the right direction. (mean of 5.98)
  • I understand the direction and the focus of OSU Extension in the next five years.
    (mean of 5.91)
  • I feel that Extension administrative cabinet is receptive to my ideas and suggestions.
    (mean of 5.62)
  • I feel that rewards in Extension are often aligned with individual performance.
    (mean of 5.23)

Additional information is available online. In addition to the mean for each question, it is also important to note the distribution of responses across the scale. Open-ended comments are included for the first three questions which are repeated in each pulse survey, as well as comments for the other questions.

Please continue to share your opinions via the pulse survey. Your responses are anonymous, and your observations and suggestions provide important insight as all of us work to implement the strategic plan, the restructuring model, and programming.

Cost Recovery Policy Changes as of January 1

Beginning January 1, some of the cost recovery policies have changed. The new policies allow for more money to stay in local units, while creating a greater accountability for charging for programs.

County and state units are now able to keep 100 percent of the facilities and administrative costs (overhead) built into grants and contracts that run through the Business Office. Previously, those costs were distributed for use centrally. The distribution of release time and facilities and administrative costs on Office of Sponsored Programs projects will stay the same, as well as the fees set by self-sustaining units such as Pesticide Applicator Training and the OSU Leadership Center.

Also, units are now able to keep the fees they have collected from local participants in select programs to help with future programming, supplies, or staff costs. Both of these changes give the county or unit director greater flexibility in how funds will be handled in their units.

The new process also simplifies items for units, including the discontinuation of two deposit forms and the creation of tools to help with planning and reporting. The Program Tracking Tool will help educators and program assistants assess, on a per-program basis, the costs incurred for doing a program. This tool will then help county directors combine information in a new annual report called the Program Activity Summary. The summary will provide information to regional directors, assistant directors, and others to help with conversations about what programs are occurring that meet our core goals and what programming should be considered in the future.

You can find more information in the December 2010 Video Communiqué (posted on December 6, 2010), contents of the Business Office session at Annual Conference, or various Business Office training sessions across the state and via Webex starting in January. Sign up for classes via www.regonline.com/fiscal.

OSU:pro Reminders

Extension program data for 2010 must be input to OSU:pro by January 15. Faculty and staff have all of January to enter your professional development and performance goals, and curriculum development information.

Debby Lewis, leader, Program Development and Evaluation, conducted targeted training sessions in December, all via WebEx; and the sessions have been recorded. Visit the “Extension Reporting” section of the Program Development and Evaluation Web site to access the recordings. If you have questions, contact Debby at lewis.205@osu.edu.

EEET Reports and 2010 Deadline

The Program Development and Evaluation Unit will automatically be generating annual summaries for all Extension personnel who submitted EEETs during 2010. There is no need to request your annual summary this year. Your annual report will arrive electronically via pdf from Kim Bahnsen in the PDE Unit the first week of February; this can then be added to your annual performance report. 

If you used EEETs in 2010 and have not yet submitted them, you have until January 15 to do so. Any forms received after this date will NOT be included in your annual report. Please always have your EEET forms submitted in a timely manner. As a reminder, the most up-to-date EEET forms can be found on the PDE website: http://pde-cms.ag.ohio-state.edu/EEETs/eeet-forms/.

2011-2012 Promotion Guidelines for A&P Extension Educators

The 2011-2012 Promotion Guidelines for A&P Extension Educators have been updated in the Extension Policy and Procedures Handbook (see link). There are two important changes. Peer EEETs for teaching are being replaced by peer evaluation letters used by Extension faculty. A two-thirds majority positive vote is required for recommending promotion.

New Beef Coordinator Position Focuses on Animal Care, Food Safety and Profitability

A newly created position in OSU Extension will address animal welfare, beef management and production, and pre-harvest food safety for Ohioans. The OSU Extension beef coordinator position will be based out of The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, Ohio; and the position will be funded in partnership with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and the Ohio Beef Council (OBC).

“This position is about sharing information across all industry sectors to add economic value to Ohio’s beef production,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of OCA and OBC. The position helps Extension fulfill part of its mission to help Ohio businesses grow and be more profitable.

John Grimes will fill the role of OSU Extension beef coordinator starting this month. Grimes has been employed by OSU Extension for nearly 25 years as an Extension educator in Brown, Adams, and most recently Highland County. Grimes plans to focus programming on increasing consumer confidence and awareness about Ohio’s beef industry. He will also emphasize adding economic value to Ohio’s beef production, adoption of on-farm management practices and marketing techniques that will add value to the state’s feeder calf production, niche markets as a viable marketing option, and efficient forage production and utilization systems.

OSU Cares about Farmers Team Request

The OSU Cares about Farmers team is seeking educators to help with Arthritis OSU Cares project - to begin training in spring 2011. See the attached flier for more information.

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Tri-State Diversity Conference - Early Registration is Due January 14

Mark your calendar for the Tri-State Diversity Conference to be held on February 10-11 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott in Hebron, Kentucky. Jane Elliott, internationally recognized educator and diversity trainer, is the keynote speaker. A pre-conference on Leadership in Dealing with Difficult Multicultural Discussions has been added this year.

Comments from a past conference include: "This was the most in-depth conference yet...it keeps getting better each year!" and "I got information at this conference that I would not get anywhere else -- there was something about all aspects of diversity."

The Tri-State Diversity Conference is designed for land-grant universities, including administrators, faculty and staff from Extension, research, and academic programs; private and public university representatives; K-12 educators; community outreach leaders; health and social services professionals; employers and supervisors; human resources staff; and all others wanting to empower greater diversity and cultural understanding within their communities and workplaces.

All workshop information is listed in the registration brochure. To pre-register by January 14, access the link for the brochure.

Write Winning Grants Workshop -- Assistance Available for County Educators and Program Directors

OSU Extension; the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; OARDC; and the College of Veterinary Medicine are offering this top-notch workshop featuring Dr. David Morrison. He was here in 2009 and received glowing reviews; now by popular demand, he is back and you have a chance to learn from one of the best. This workshop will be most helpful to individuals who have been:

  1. Successfully writing for and receiving local funding (contracts for services and local foundations) and want to go for state/federal dollars and/or larger foundation funding.
  2. Writing and submitting, but have not been successful in efforts to be awarded state and federal funding. 

Review the attached flier to get more workshop details and links to registration by location. If you're not sure you should attend, talk with your assistant director, regional director, or Jackie LaMuth (614-292-6470), leader, Resource Development and Management. Be sure to review the Grant Application Writer's Workbook options; you'll need to select one (NIH, NSF, USDA, or any agency) after you register.

Assistantships: Extension administration will award a limited number of assistantships to reimburse the mileage and registration fee of county Extension program professionals (educators and program directors) who register and attend the February 10 workshop at either the Wooster or Columbus locations. To take advantage of this opportunity, e-mail Jackie LaMuth (lamuth.1@osu.edu) with your choice of location, estimated roundtrip mileage, and method of payment (personal check, office check, or 100W); and then register online for the workshop. We will send you a reimbursement form to complete after the workshop. Assistantships will be awarded on a first come, first-served basis, so don't delay.

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Regional Delivery Systems in Cooperative Extension - January 25 Webinar

A webinar on Regional Delivery Systems in Cooperative Extension will be presented by George Morse on January 25 at 1pm ET. Morse is professor emeritus in applied economics, University of Minnesota. Morse worked as an extension economist and professor, specializing in community economic development, at South Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Minnesota. He is the lead author of “The Minnesota Response: Cooperative Extension’s Money and Mission Crisis,” iUniverse, 2009.

State Extension services are facing steep budget cuts and many are reorganizing. Some are narrowing the scope of their services - running the risk of reducing public value, leading to further budget cuts. Other states are exploring ways to do more with less by changing the way they do business. This webinar reports on regionalization and specialization efforts as a means of increasing both the efficiency and effectiveness of program delivery. Will these structural changes increase Extension’s public value and stabilize its funding? Five aspects of structural change will be examined for seven states, with preliminary results on impacts from one state.

There is no fee to attend this webinar. Use the following link to access the event: http://breeze.msu.edu/ncrcrd/. Additional instructions are available in the attached flier.

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OSUE is Partnering with USDA Rural Development for Regional Economic Development

OSUE educators are training community leaders from 26 Ohio counties as part of the Stronger Economies Together Initiative, a partnership with USDA Rural Development and the nation’s Regional Rural Development Centers (Ohio affiliates with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development [NCRCRD]).

Ohio was chosen as one of the eight target states to pilot the program designed to guide rural regions through a process of developing practical regional economic development strategies. Community leaders from two regions in Ohio will participate in the program, which entails 20 hours of training; economic analysis tailored for each of the regions; and technical assistance. The introductory session was held in November 2010 in Lima (Allen County) and Logan (Hocking County). The sessions, being conducted in various communities throughout the regions, will resume in January and should conclude in late spring.

Community leaders participating in Ohio represent the following counties: Adams, Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Brown, Gallia, Hancock, Hardin, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Pike, Putnam, Ross, Scioto, Van Wert, Vinton, and Washington. For more information, contact Becky Nesbitt (nesbitt.21@osu.edu) or Nancy Bowen (bowen.1@osu.edu).

National Outreach Scholarship Conference - October 2-4

The National Outreach Scholarship Conference will be hosted by Michigan State University on October 2-4. The call for proposals will be open soon; see the attached overview for more information.

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