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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Communiqué May 8, 2013


Featuring the Work of OSUE Field Specialists

Throughout the year we will be spotlighting the work of our field specialists. In this issue we feature James S. Bates (Family Wellness).

My team and I are really excited about a CYFAR (Children, Youth, and Families at Risk) grant we just received from the USDA. Our vision for this five-year project includes bringing together fatherhood education, nutrition education, and youth development education into a single program delivered in the context of food grilling. Specifically, we will work with two county Extension offices in northeast Ohio and with a community organization called Fame Fathers to strengthen the father-child relationship, improve healthy grilling skills, and empower youth for stronger academic performance and future leadership in their families and communities.

In addition, to the fatherhood-youth grilling project, I am excited about the opportunities I have to participate in various other outreach and engagement efforts. The flexibility of this position is what facilitates these opportunities. I have the flexibility to pursue scholarship related to current events that affect Ohio families such as the recent drought, casino gambling, sudden shale wealth, tragedy and violence in schools, and aging. I can teach on topics that families are most interested in learning about and that affect them daily.

I received a call last week from a journalist at the Akron Beacon Journal who wanted to know how parents should address the culture of gambling that has been fostered by the recent casino openings across the state. The issue of gambling addiction among teens and adults will increasingly become a phenomenon that lawmakers, counselors, and family life educators must face. Another hot topic in Ohio is how sudden shale wealth affects families and communities. I have started working with Polly Loy and others on the Shale Energy Work Group on a project to understand how the infusion of new and unanticipated wealth impacts family dynamics between parents and their adult children and grandchildren and issues of inheritances.

Not only have I been able to work closely with my colleagues in FCS, I’ve been extremely fortunate to forge working relationships with a number of the dedicated and competent professionals in ANR, CD, and 4-H. I’ve been invited to participate with grants, writing projects, regional meetings, teaching events, and professional development opportunities with folks outside of FCS. Many see the work of Extension as multidisciplinary and value the work of a family life educator like myself.

In addition, to the projects described here, this coming year, I will continue to make contacts with Extension colleagues and organizations that work in family life educational program evaluation and analysis. I will also be working on a program designed to help grandparents and grandchildren develop stronger relationships by using current technology.

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Update on Educational Technology Specialist Positions

Advisory Team: Jerry Thomas, Eric Barrett, Jamie McConnell, Karen Bruns, Brian Raison, and Ryan Schmiesing

The Educational Technology Specialist pilot program that was approved by Administrative Cabinet earlier this year is set to launch on July 1. Through an application and interview process, we have identified three individuals and are currently recruiting for the final position. Working as part of a team, each Interim Educational Technology Specialist will serve as a primary contact for one of the program areas, but ultimately work across the Extension organization.

  • Primary Contact for 4-H Youth Development: Heather Gottke
  • Primary Contact for Family & Consumer Sciences: Jamie Seger
  • Primary Contact for Community Development: Kimberly Roush
  • Primary Contact for Agricultural & Natural Resources: reposted

Over the next several weeks, the planning team and the Interim Educational Technology Specialists will be meeting to develop strategies for working together, identifying priority areas, and gaining new information on current or potential resources that are available. When the final position is filled and specifics finalized, we will share more information on how to engage with the individuals serving in these positions.

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Ask an Expert – OSUE Online Widget Update

The Ask an Expert online widget has been updated recently on the OSU Extension state and county Web pages. The top menu tab on the state and all county pages has been changed to the eXtension orange color to make it stand out. You can see this by going to any county page – for example,

When a visitor clicks on the tab or widget button, he or she is directed to a new page: This page allows users to choose a widget type (general or landscape/yard/garden specific) and provides a link to find specific county office contact information.

This update improves visitor self-selection for the type of questions they want to ask. Master gardener volunteers automatically get the landscape/yard/garden questions to answer, with assistance from OSUE faculty and staff when necessary. Other topic questions can be more efficiently sorted by the wranglers for our Extension professionals to answer in a timely manner.

OSUE has several future goals to make the Ask an Expert widget process even more effective:

Training will be offered later this summer on using Ask an Expert, including how Extension professionals can improve their eXtension profiles and write answers in a way that increases their “find-ability” on search engines.

Improve our response time from OSUE professionals.

Work with assistant directors and others to create more specialized "groups" that will also help streamline the question/answer process.

The Ask an Expert review team and OSUE Administration are open to making additional changes to improve the system more. We will also be sharing more specific information about expectations for participating in the Ask an Expert system in the near future. If you have feedback on the updated widget design and current process in the meantime, contact Jerry Thomas (

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2013 Excellence in Extension and Extension Diversity Award Nominations Requested by May 15

The program and personnel subcommittees of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy are accepting nominations for the 2013 Excellence in Extension and Extension Diversity awards. These awards are designed to recognize a select group of Cooperative Extension professionals who excel at Extension programming; make a positive impact on constituents served; achieve organizational changes that support diversity, pluralism, and innovation in programs; and provide visionary leadership for the system.

Awards available include five regional Excellence in Extension awards, the national Excellence in Extension award, and the national Extension Diversity Award. The awards are presented during the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), this year held November 10-12 in Washington DC. Travel stipends up to $1,000 per award, not per individual, are provided by USDA NIFA.

More detail about the awards, including eligibility, can be found online at: and

Nominations may be submitted by a nominee, supervisor or peer. Only two Excellence in Extension nominations per institution will be accepted. Only electronic submissions will be considered by the respective review committees; and nominations must be submitted through a unique link – in Ohio, that is via Keith Smith’s e-mail.

If you would like to nominate yourself or an Extension colleague for one of these awards, please notify Cheryl Buck ( by May 15. Those who are selected to complete a nomination form from Ohio will be asked to prepare the nomination packet by May 29, so OSUE Administration can work with the nominees to finalize the submission before the June 1 deadline. Excellence in Extension 
Extention Diversity Award

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Student Employment Update

Garee Earnest, leader, Extension Human Resources

  • The university is changing the policy on student employment (OSU and non-OSU) and the number of hours they can work during the academic term as well as during the summer off/official school breaks. This was effective as of May 6. The major changes are as follows:

Changes in restrictions to # of hours worked

  • 28 hours/week during academic terms in which a student is enrolled.
  • 38 hours/week during “off” academic term and official school breaks (summer).

Employment beyond graduation

  • Student employee status may be retained for one additional academic session (not semester) following either graduation or withdrawal from enrollment.

Working through the summer

  • Student employee continuing their undergrad may work the entire summer term, as that is considered their “off” term as allowed by policy.

Please review the entire policy and FAQs. If you have questions, contact Marge Hall, Linda Roberts or Kate Lobley.

Student Employment Policy 10.10 -
FAQs -

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Advanced Strengths Development - June 4 Workshop

Leading with your strengths will help your team and organization grow. – Gallup Strengths Center

Gaining a deeper understanding of your strengths and how to utilize them at work increases your chances of success. Each person has a unique combination of strengths. These strengths are utilized in helping one perform at his or her best, overcome obstacles and capitalize on the strengths of ones teammates.

In this advanced strengths workshop, participants will have the opportunity to discover their complete strengths profile. Awareness workshops provide you with your top five strengths/themes; and in this workshop, you will receive your complete profile of your 34 strengths.

*To participate in this workshop, you must have attended a StrengthsFinder awareness workshop. Beth Flynn will facilitate this workshop on June 4 from 9:15 a.m. to noon in room 105, Agricultural Administration building. The registration fee is $125 per participant. Register at

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Social Media Workshops via CommTech – Save the Date

Have you been thinking about using social media to extend your reach? Are you wondering if it’s worth your time? Not quite sure where to begin? Save the date because CommTech is bringing you four opportunities to learn the strategy you need to get started.

July 31 – Wooster
Sept 3 – Columbus
Oct 16 – Lima
Nov – Piketon

Digital technology has changed the way everyone finds and uses information. Each session will start with a keynote address from Mindset Digital entitled “The New Realities.” The session will examine the shifts that have occurred in the way people find and use information. Understanding these shifts will help you get noticed by a distracted audience that is often overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at them daily.

Other sessions include:

  • Developing a social media strategy
  • Guidelines and best practices for Facebook, Twitter, and blogs
  • Hands on time to plan and discuss your social media strategy
  • What other social media channels should I consider?

The cost is $15. Lunch is provided. Watch for more information on how to register.

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