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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Communiqué April 16, 2014


Vice President's Conversation on the Future of Extension – Update and Survey Opportunity

Graham Cochran and Becky Nesbitt, co-chairs of the VP Conversation Steering Committee

Bruce McPheron, vice president of Agricultural Administration and dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has assembled a steering committee to ask: “What will be the most challenging trends and issues for Ohioans by the year 2035? And what may be the best opportunities to leverage the strengths of the university and OSU Extension to address those issues?” Through June of this year, the steering committee is gathering information from groups of stakeholders (broadly defined as those who have an interest in the future of Ohio and Ohioans) to record their ideas about future trends and issues. During 2014, this process will center on futuring – discussing and researching thoughts and ideas about future trends.

The VP Conversation steering committee has already met with a variety of internal and external stakeholders to explore their thoughts and ideas about the most critical future trends and issues affecting Ohioans in the next 20 years. Additional dialogue sessions are being planned for stakeholders in each of the regions, in the urban/metro areas, and with other identified individuals. If you’ve not yet had an opportunity to express your ideas, visit the survey at to share your thoughts.

In the fall, after the trends and issues have been synthesized and rigorously researched, the focus of the conversation will transition to exploring “the best opportunities to leverage the strengths of the university and OSU Extension to address those issues.” An opportunity for broad engagement among Extension staff will be at the VP's Summit planned during one day of this year’s OSU Extension Annual Conference. The Summit will provide exciting opportunities to learn more about the identified future trends and the opportunities Extension has to anticipate and address these issues.

The VP conversation strategic foresight process will conclude in spring 2015 with a report to the dean and the organization that will combine futuring – best ideas about possible and probable futures, and visioning – an idea of our preferred future, to create and sustain a comprehensive long-term perspective combined with a desired outcome to help make the most of opportunities and be better prepared to respond to the critical needs of Ohioans. To learn more about the VP Conversation, visit

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Ohio State Policy for Safeguarding Children – Brown Bag Sessions

–Vicki Schwartz, associate state leader, 4-H Youth Development

On main campus, Human Resources invites all faculty, staff and students working with minor children throughout the year to attend a brown bag luncheon for a discussion about HR policies related to the safety of minors while they are on campus. Sessions will be held on April 18 and April 29 from noon-1 p.m. at 1590 N. High St. in Suite 430, Room 425A. Read more:

Realizing that most Extension employees will not be able to make these noon meetings, I want to take this opportunity to remind all of us that as OSU employees, we are mandated by the university to report witnessed and  suspected abuse. If you are teaching volunteers and camp counselors about their responsibility as volunteers to report abuse, feel free to use the Powerpoint lessons developed in 2013 for 4-H. Posted behind the staff password-protected portion of the website at, In the section titled Camp Management, there is a ppt for educators and a ppt for educators to use with camp counselors.

The county offices of Children’s Services are also a great resource for teaching local volunteers and camp counselors about how to make a report locally.  Lisa Miller of Lake County has recorded a Hot Topics discussion on this; and it can be found on the same webpage,, at

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North Central Leadership Conference – April 28-30

Several of our Extension colleagues will be presenting papers at the upcoming North Central Leadership Conference (NCLC)  “Next Generation Leadership Footsteps Toward Our Future” meeting in Omaha, Nebraska from April 28-30. The presentations include topics such as Navigating Difficult Conversations (Nate Arnett, Jeff King, and Kayla Oberstadt), Empowering Extension Future Leaders (Karen Argabright and Graham Cochran ), Building Rapport with Elected Officials and Stakeholders (Rose Fisher Merkowitz and Treva Williams), and Situational Analysis: What is it and Why Does it Matter (Jennifer Buckingham).

For more information, contact: Chris Igodan (.1) or visit the NCLC website.

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Farm to Health Series Cards – Now Available

–Dan Remley, field specialist (food, nutrition and wellness) and Linnette Goard, field specialist (food safety, selection and management)

In recent years, consumers have become increasingly concerned with consuming greater amounts of produce because of the health benefits associated with their nutrients and phytochemicals. However, individuals may not be aware of the most nutritious ways to consume, store, cook, or preserve foods to maximize nutrient intakes.

A collaborative team from OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and OSU Wexner Medical Center obtained OSU CARES funding in 2012 to develop informational cards for common Ohio produce items. Published literature was used to determine consumption, storage, cooking and preservation methods that maximize nutrients and phytochemicals during storage, preservation and cooking. Each 5”x7” info card briefly states the most abundant nutrients and phytochemicals found in the relevant category of fruits/vegetables. They also include statements for possible health claims for each nutrient/phytochemical and how each changes with consumption, preservation, cooking and storage. The reverse side provides a recipe using the fruit or vegetable in a way that maximizes nutrient and phytochemical levels. These materials are being distributed through individual vendors at Ohio farmers’ markets in 2014. They are also available on the Local Foods signature program website:

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Mid-Western Educational Research Association RFP Announced

The Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) RFP submission site is now open. MWERA has accepted Extension research related to education over the years: needs assessment, program planning, program delivery, outcome assessment, evaluation, adult education, community education, etc.

The conference will be held in Evanston, Illinois from November 12 to 15. The call for proposals and more information are available at the MWERA website (

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Strengths-Based Management and Supervision Workshop – April 30

There are no certain strengths or set of strengths that create an effective manager. The best managers and supervisors figure out how to bring out the best of each employee’s strengths.

Participation at a StrengthsFinder™ awareness workshop is required. Using one's strengths can help expand a manager’s ability to build his or her work team by selecting the right person for the right position, setting high expectations for team achievement, engaging employees so they are motivated to be successful, and finally, through coaching and workshops, developing each member to be an active participant on the team. 

This workshop will enable supervisors and managers to:

  • Appreciate their personal strengths in their role as a leader of a team.
  • Gain a better understanding and appreciation of the strengths of their team members.
  • Build upon the team’s strengths to create a stronger team.

*To participate in this workshop, you must have attended a StrengthsFinder™ awareness workshop.

Beth Flynn is facilitating this workshop on April 30 from 9 a.m. to noon in room 105, Agricultural Administration building. The fee is $60 per participant. Register at

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Building Employee Engagement and Relationships Using Strengths Workshop – May 6

When you use your strengths, you are able to perform your best work and are most productive. Focusing on your strengths and those of your employees helps increase employee engagement. According to Gallup data, “employees who simply learn their strengths are 7.8 percent more productive. Developing those strengths motivates employees to learn how to best apply themselves and makes them more likely to care whether their activities are profitable.” Thus, utilizing your strengths increases your engagement and commitment to your organization.

This workshop will enable participants to:

  • Learn the benefits of employee engagement.
  • Gain new ideas for how to best engage employees.
  • Identify what drives employee engagement.
  • Discuss how strengths can drive employee engagement.

*To participate in this workshop, you must have attended a StrengthsFinder™ awareness workshop.

Beth Flynn is facilitating this workshop. The fee is $60 per participant. Register at

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