A Call to Action Reminder From the Director
I first printed these thoughts in the Communiqué a year and a half ago, but the main goals in my previous call to action for our organization remain very relevant today – and I believe they are even more important as we continue going through times of change and uncertainty.
I am confident in our ability to adjust to changing client needs, stakeholder expectations, and our own mode of operation. But to do this, we need to remain flexible in our program planning, listen carefully to our clients/local stakeholders, and move forward with optimism. As we do so, I expect everyone in OSU Extension to help:
- Enhance our accountability.
- Demonstrate greater statewide impact.
- Cultivate organizational unity and civility.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Enhance Our Accountability
Accountability is a major part of our Ohio State culture, and this expectation extends to each of us in Extension. County commissioners and other local stakeholders are asking for more accountability. Budget challenges – as well as the university’s culture (as President Gee says – excellence to eminence) – mean that we will continually be asked to be more accountable. We need to constantly evaluate the quality of our work to improve our impact on clients’ lives.
We need to make sure we’re ALL doing our jobs well, and that we have the right people in the right positions. We have good people, but we also need to make sure we’re accountable for our actions. The strategic plan is still our guide; in fact, a number of other states are following our model. The current update to our organization is a significant part of that effort, and it remains a “work in progress” this summer.
Demonstrate Greater Statewide Impact
Whether you’re working on a signature program, a statewide special interest team, a local project, or a joint effort across county and EERA lines, I encourage you to keep improving how we:
- show measurable impacts for our clientele; and
- communicate this to stakeholders; we can’t assume people know what we’re doing, or the true impact of our activities.
Cultivate Organizational Unity and Civility
I cannot emphasize enough that we are ONE organization. We all must work with the same mission and the same vision guiding our actions – for the same clientele. I know we will continue to succeed as an organization by working together. We are critical to the success of individuals, families and communities in this state; our key stakeholders realize this and are behind us all the way. It is important that we keep working hard to serve others – even while the final outcome may be uncertain.
Through all of the meetings, discussions, and changes throughout the Extension system, I’ve also become increasingly aware of the need for continued civility as we interact with stakeholders, clients, and each other. It can be a challenge during times of stress to remain civil as we respond to situations and people. I am pleased with the professionalism of our staff, and I encourage you to continue setting a good example as you work through often-tough situations with a variety of people.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
I know all of us are concerned about OSU Extension’s future, and many things are happening across the organization. Often, this can mean multiple interpretations of the same situation; however, it is important that we are all on the same page. Remember…unless you get an official communication from OSU Extension, it’s likely a rumor – whether it’s about personnel issues, structure updates, program direction, administrative processes, etc. If you are unsure about something, ask your supervisor for more information.
We will continue to:
- define what’s going on as best we can;
- explain OSU Extension’s philosophy and key elements; and
- help you respond to clientele needs quickly, thoroughly, and clearly.
Again, it is important that we all work together to enhance our accountability, demonstrate greater statewide impact, cultivate organizational unity and civility, and communicate well. As we continue the process of updating and refining our structure, I commend each of you for your enthusiasm, your commitment to OSU Extension, and your help moving our organization forward. Thank you!
OSU Extension Commitment to Affirmative Action and Diversity
Periodically, as director of Ohio State University Extension, I feel it is important to reconfirm Extension's commitment to affirmative action/diversity.
Mere words will not achieve our goal of establishing a diverse community in which each employee can learn, grow, and prosper in an atmosphere of mutual respect, civility, and intellectual challenge. I want OSU Extension to vigorously pursue programs and practices that assure an environment free of the barriers of discrimination in education and employment.
Accordingly, it is the policy of Ohio State University Extension to ensure equal employ-
ment and educational opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status. The policy applies to all levels of personnel administration including, but not limited to: recruitment, hiring, training, classification, compensation, benefits, promotions, transfers and layoffs.
Ohio State University Extension will not tolerate any harassment, intimidation, discrimination, or retaliation against applicants, employees, or students who exercise any right protected by Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act or Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veteran's Readjustment Assistance Act, as amended, such as filing a complaint or assisting the administration of any of the above acts, as amended.
The following statement is the approved tag line that should be used in all recruitment advertisements:
Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration; Associate Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Director, Ohio State University Extension; and Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868.
More affirmative action information is available on the University's Human Resources Web site at http://hr.osu.edu/elr/affirmativeaction.aspx, or on the OSU Extension Human Resources Web site at http://extensionhr.osu.edu/diversity/diversity.htm.
Pulse Survey Results and Responses
Your colleagues responded to a 2010 monthly pulse survey in the following ways:
*Mean scores could indicate strong agreement.
- I am committed to OSU Extension. (mean of 8.55)
*Mean scores could indicate agreement.
- I receive adequate support in completing my job responsibilities. (mean of 6.53)
- Sustainable funding will require more cost recovery efforts. (mean of 6.95)
- Issues in Extension must be addressed through a multi-disciplinary approach. (mean of 7.71)
To remain relevant to clientele, Extension delivery methods must change.
(mean of 7.76)
- OSU Extension remains the front door to the university. (mean of 6.45)
- OSU Extension should identify new programs only when a strong research base exists to support them. (mean of 6.43)
- The biggest threat to work in my county/unit is budget reduction. (mean of 7.86)
*Mean scores indicate neither agreement nor disagreement.
- OSU Extension is heading in the right direction. (mean of 5.67)
- Use of new signature programs will result in increased funding for Extension. (mean of 5.51)
- I can find time to collaborate with others to address critical issues relevant to Extension. (mean of 5.96)
Your colleagues also shared their opinions and insights in response to the open-ended question in the same pulse survey – “What additional efforts can be made to increase state legislators’ understanding of Extension’s impact on their constituents?”
- “Need to demonstrate relevance to urban and suburban areas in addition to existing supporters.”
- “Continue to use constituents when talking to legislators and other funders. This is a strong base that we cannot afford to lose. County support is imperative to Extension to survive.”
- “Legislators’ awareness of Extension’s impact is a direct correlation of how well we have communicated that impact to them. … Ensuring that legislators are aware of impacts must be an everyday fundamental goal of Extension administration. It is much too late when accountability comes knocking at our door and then we try to present it. Accountability has to have already been presented, so when it knocks on the door we can welcome it in.”
- “Additional information (about) economic impacts, environmental impacts, and human impacts that OSU Extension brings to the citizens of Ohio.”
- “Start with focusing our efforts on issues that are of ‘high interest’ to them rather than to us…we need to become more ‘customer-focused’ instead of building products and then working to convince our customers that they need to buy them.”
- “First need to more effectively organize around issues that are important to Ohioans: economy, education, health care – couch our impact in terms of these issues, then present outcomes that have benefited large numbers of Ohioans.”
- “I think it is important to encourage our clients to share their opinions with legislators.”
Additional information is available online. To see a complete list of the responses shared and a distribution of the means for each survey question, access this pulse survey link.
Internal Advisory Committee Updates Director
The Director’s Internal Advisory Committee meeting was held on June 24, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with great attendance; and a number of topics were discussed.
First of all, each of the group members shared what is going on in the counties and the many programs and activities that are being conducted. A number of items were mentioned – food preservation, financial literacy, obesity programs, Marcellus shale, animal care standards board training, apple seeds going up in rockets, farmland preservation summit, CARTeens program, 4-H camps at Kelley’s Island, economic development activities, a number of 4-H camps in progress, people getting ready for President Gee’s visits, livestock judging clinics, getting ready for state fair, horse camps, vegetable garden programs, marketing blitz for 4-H, Ohio Department of Energy grant, canner testing, childhood obesity programs, and a new freelance writer for Communications and Technology. This was a wonderful list of programs and activities that are happening throughout the state.
The balance of the time was spent talking about the refinement of our structure and asking for input from the group. Excellent questions were asked, with ensuing discussion. All this dialogue will be taken into the Extension Administrative Cabinet for input.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 23, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Room 111, Ag Administration Building, 2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus.
A&P Promotion - Update for Candidates
It is time for those who intend to submit a vita to be considered for a promotion in the A&P track to request that their regional director assign a person to summarize their EEET teaching evaluation data.
Although we have moved to one statewide committee for the review process, the regional director will identify a person to work with each candidate to review his or her EEETs and any other program evaluation summaries. The candidate will provide copies of all evaluation data to the person identified to write the summary letter. Since this letter needs to be completed and sent to the candidate to include with the final submission of his or her vita in September, it is recommended that you contact your regional director as soon as possible to request that he or she assign someone to this task on your behalf.
Action Leadership Retreat - November 16-17
Participants are currently being recruited for a professional development opportunity in 2011 called Action Leadership Retreat (ALR). Designed for Extension educators (or others with similar responsibilities) with 18 months to three years of experience, the ALR is a professional development opportunity built around simulated on-the-job experiences.
Led by a facilitator and two experienced Extension professionals who are trained as observers, ALR is designed to help educators evaluate and reflect on skills in 12 key areas (e.g., conflict management, communication, and interpersonal skills) important for success as an Extension professional.
This year, we will offer the Action Leadership Retreat on November 16-17. Space is limited to seven participants. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis. For additional information, go to: http://extensionhr.osu.edu/profdev/ActionLeadershipRetreat2011.pdf. Contact Terri Gustafson (614-292-2399; email@example.com) if you have questions or need additional information.
Pre-Retirement Workshop - November 1
The Pre-Retirement Workshop will be held on Tuesday, November 1, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus. If you have questions, contact Terri Gustafson (614-292-2399; firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Self-Disclosure of Criminal Convictions
To: Ohio State Faculty and Staff
From: Kimberly Shumate, interim vice president for human resources
As part of the revised Self-Disclosure of Criminal Convictions and Background Check Policy, please note that effective July 1 all current faculty, staff, graduate associates and student employees, appointees, volunteers, and staff provided by third-party vendors will be required to self-disclose criminal convictions that occur on or after July 1 within three business days of the conviction.
Minor misdemeanors, which include some traffic violations, do not need to be disclosed.
Auxiliary faculty who have a break in service of less than 12 months must disclose any convictions that occurred during the break within three business days of returning to university employment.
Criminal convictions will not necessarily bar continued employment. Once a conviction is disclosed, a determination regarding suitability for continued employment will be made based on the information received and collected regarding the conviction. To self-disclose a criminal conviction, use the form located in the online policy resources. If you have questions, contact Katie Hall (email@example.com; 614-247-8079).
Current CFAES employees must self-disclose criminal convictions to their human resources representatives: college/departments to Linda Riemenschneider (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-292-0459); OARDC to Eileen Kieffaber (email@example.com; 330-263-3932); OSU Extension to Garee Earnest (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-292-2968).
Agricultural Education at the Ohio State Fair
The Ohio Expo Center and State Fair is working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio’s agricultural commodity groups to host an agricultural education program at the 2011 Ohio State Fair. Pass along this information to any 4-H members who may be interested.
While any student or parent can visit the interactive educational stations, students who have completed the fourth grade (2010-2011) and one chaperone can attend the fair for free for one day! In addition, fourth-grade students who submit an essay after visiting the fair are eligible to receive one of four $500 scholarships. The introductory flier and rules are attached. More information is available online at www.agri.ohio.gov/agiscool.