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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Communiqué December 20, 2012


U.S Fiscal Cliff Potential Impact on Federal Extension Funding

-Keith L. Smith, associate vice president, agricultural administration and director, OSU Extension

I think we all have many questions about the potential impact of budget sequestration on federal budgets – and specifically the USDA/NIFA/Smith Lever funds for Extension. Rick Klemme, dean and director of the Cooperative Extension division at University of Wisconsin-Extension and chair of the Extension Committee on Policy (ECOT) of which I also serve as a member, has put together an overview of some possibilities related to Smith-Lever funding. That summary is printed here; and I’ve added a few items related specifically to OSU Extension where applicable.

If Congress fails to agree on a budget compromise, sequestration (automatic spending cuts) will begin on January 1, 2013. The current projections of sequestration would be approximately 8.2 percent across-the-board cuts to all departments, including defense.

A number of assumptions go into the 8.2 percent estimated across the board reduction, including:

  • Defense is included in the reductions. If not, the percentage increases.
  • The cuts to USDA are spread proportionately across the agency. The hope is that the reduction for capacity funds, like Smith-Lever, will be less.
  • Federal officials are unable to agree on an extension. A short-term extension would push the cliff’s timing back into 2013. If an extension is reached, it would likely come with budget reductions – somewhat less than the 8.2 percent, with probably more to follow.

Everyone hopes the President and Congress will agree on a long-term solution before December 31 that includes budget reductions and increased revenue. The more increased revenue is part of the solution, the smaller the budget reductions – assuming defense is not held harmless.

An 8.2 percent reduction in federal funding via sequestration will mean an approximately $1 million reduction to Ohio. I believe that our conservative long-term fiscal management will enable us to weather this type of reduction for a period of time. However, almost 100 percent of the federal dollars we receive are spent on salaries and benefits. No reductions-in-force are currently anticipated, although a hiring freeze may be necessary. If so, a reduction in FTEs through attrition (not replacing all personnel who leave) would be another result of the federal budget reduction.

I remain cautiously optimistic that the decision makers in Washington will be able to avoid the sequestration scenario, and we’ll know more about the federal budget plans very soon. I am following this situation very closely, and will work with our Business Office and Administrative Cabinet to quickly address any issues that may arise if sequestration goes into effect for FY2013 (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013).

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CED Stipends to Increase

The stipend that county Extension directors receive for managing their county office(s) will be increased, effective January 1, 2013.

The OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet appreciates the feedback received about the stipend and approved the increase at its December 13 meeting. Cabinet listened to the CED concerns, studied the issue, and made an adjustment accordingly.

OSUE human resources will notify CEDs of their stipend amount in early January. The stipend will continue to be included in each CED’s base salary, and annual review letters will identify the salary and stipend separately. If a CED steps down from the director position, the stipend will be removed from the CED’s base salary.

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Extend Trust – Behavior # 13 of High Trust Leaders

-Keith L. Smith, associate vice president, Agricultural Administration and director, OSU Extension

This is our last article on Covey’s The Speed of Trust book. As we wrap up our series on trust, it is fitting to review the author’s definition that trust = “confidence born of the character and the competence of a person or an organization.” The 13 behaviors of high-trust leaders are as follows:

  • Talk straight
  • Demonstrate respect
  • Create transparency
  • Right wrongs
  • Show loyalty
  • Deliver results
  • Get better
  • Confront reality
  • Clarify expectations
  • Practice accountability
  • Listen first
  • Keep commitments
  • Extend trust

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.

Extend Trust – is different from the rest of the behaviors. It’s about shifting from “trust as a noun to “trust” as a verb. While other behaviors help you become a more trusted person or manager, this behavior will help you become a more trusting leader. When you trust people, other people tend to trust you in return.

Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms. – Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader

An example I would use within OSU Extension is that I trust everyone to do their job well, and do it with the best of intentions for their co-workers and for the organization, but most especially – for our clients. AND – people have extended their trust to us. i.e. homeownership education, health issues, crop yields, youth development activities, business retention.

Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust… Don’t withhold trust when there is risk involved.

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Position Your Team for Growth Executive Workshop- January 31

This hands-on workshop for executives and community leaders will help attendees “Position Your Team for Growth,” and transform team members’ thought processes.” The presenters include Jim Canterucci, an executive advisor, author and speaker; Bobby Moser, former vice president and dean of CFAES and Keith Smith, associate vice president, agricultural administration and director, OSU Extension. The workshop will be held at the Ohio State University Marion campus. This event will be sponsored by the Alber Enterprise Center of Marion. Executive Workshop brochure-rev2.pdf

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Strengths Finder (On-Line Workshop) – January 10

As a leader it is important to know what talents you possess, what you bring to the leadership table. Do you know what strengths you possess? Every leader possesses her orhis own unique set of talents. According to the Gallup organization, "we spend too much time focusing on our weaknesses, trying to make them stronger rather than recognizing our strengths." When you focus on your weaknesses, you miss out on utilizing what you do best for your organization. 

Participants in this workshop will take the Clifton StrengthsFinder inventory to learn their five strongest talents. By focusing on your strengths, you increase your effectiveness as a leader.

What is the Clifton StrengthsFinder inventory?

"Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the national bestseller First, Break All the Rules, and Donald O. Clifton, chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, has created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder(r) Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant "themes" with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success." To take the test, click on

  • Gain a better understanding of yourself
  • Identify your top five strengths
  • Learn how to maximize your strengths to increase your effectiveness as a leader

Beth Flynn is facilitating this workshop 9 - 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $60 per participant.

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Conflict Management for Managers, Supervisors, and Team Leaders - January 17

Conflict is a part of our daily lives at work or at home. How we manage conflict has a direct impact on how fulfilled we feel about our work, the quality of work, and the quality of work from our respective teams or units. Effectively dealing with and using conflict as a positive tool is a major component of success in current or future leadership roles.  

Leaders of organizations and units also realize the impact of conflict on an organization's or team's culture. Do we have an environment that allows for differences of opinion to be openly shared? Do you or your team members have the knowledge and skills to work through conflict situations rather than allowing conflict to undermine the team's or unit's effectiveness?

This workshop will provide participants with a greater understanding of how conflict affects their work and strategies to develop one's conflict management skills. Participants will also complete the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) assessment to identify their preferred mode of conflict management and understand individual and team implications to their style.

More specifically, you'll learn -

  • How conflict is negative and how conflict can be positive in our management and leadership roles.
  • Strategies to create a culture that effectively utilizes conflict situations to strengthen the team or unit.
  • The role of and use of assertiveness and cooperativeness in conflict management.
  • Five approaches to dealing with conflict and when they should be utilized...they include avoidance, competition, compromise, accommodation, or collaboration.
  • Your preferred approach to conflict by completing the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) during the workshop.
  • Specific strategies to deal with conflict situations and increase your capacity as an effective leader.

Jeff King will be facilitating the workshop from 9:00 to noon in room 105 of  the Agricultural Administration building. The registration fee is $60 per participant.

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Chi Epsilon Sigma Members attend TERSSA Conference

Linda Good, office associate in Miami County, 2012 Ohio CES president, and Patty Corfman, office associate in the West Region, 2012 Ohio CES vice president, represented OSU Extension support staff at the annual TERSSA (The Extension & Research Support Staff Association) national conference in November. The conference, held in Montgomery, Alabama, included professional development sessions conducted by Alabama A&M University, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and Auburn University professionals. Linda was selected to serve on the TERSSA 2013 Executive Board as the nominating committee chair.

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