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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Communiqué August 6, 2014


December 9, 10 and 11 – Ohio Union, 1739 North High St, Columbus

This three-day conference will provide an opportunity for county and state-based faculty and staff members to:

  • Share and broaden their knowledge of the scholarship of Extension work and university research.
  • Build relationships between Extension professionals and university faculty to foster expanded applied research opportunities.
  • Foster dialogue and innovative thinking among OSU Extension and academic unit-based colleagues.

This year’s conference will feature:

  • Nationally known keynote speakers
  • Interactive sessions on the future of Extension
  • Concurrent sessions featuring innovative practices, Extension scholarship, and an opportunity to interact with faculty
  • Poster exhibits featuring innovative programing and cutting edge research
  • Recognition of outstanding work of Extension colleagues and the contribution of community partners
  • Door prizes with amazing gifts
  • Celebration of the 100 year history of Ohio State University Extension

Check out further updates via Facebook and Twitter. Information to link to these resources will be available soon. To celebrate our 100th year, we are asking teams to share their “100” team photo. Think O-H-I-O, but in a 100 formation. We look forward to highlighting your team. Photos can be sent to Andrea Bowlin (

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Interim Southwest Regional Director

–Keith Smith, associate vice president, Agricultural Administration and director, OSU Extension

I am pleased to announce the following administrative appointment effective August 1. Please welcome Barb Brahm as the interim regional director for the Southwest region. This appointment includes the Top of Ohio and Miami Valley EERAs. I am pleased that Barb has accepted this position and look forward to continuing to work with her in this capacity. Further announcement on renewal of a search for a permanent director will be sent early next year.

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Franklin County and Hamilton County CED Positions – Some Thoughts

-Julie Fox, OSU Extension in the City program leader and regional director, Central Region

To explore how we can improve Extension’s impact in our largest urban centers, new county Extension director positions are being added in Columbus and Cincinnati.

With 11.5 million residents, Ohio is the seventh most populous state in the nation and presents unique urban-suburban-rural interdependencies. More than half of Ohio residents live in 10 of the state’s 88 counties, and many others travel to cities for work and recreation. Ohio’s largest cities and counties bring complex opportunities and challenges due to population density and the diversity of residents, labor force, community partners, and visitors.

In support of Extension in Ohio’s three largest cities/counties, new county Extension director positions are being added in Franklin and Hamilton counties. These new program director positions will reflect lessons learned from the current Cuyahoga CED position, as well as from past urban Extension efforts in Ohio and nationally.

What’s unique about these positions?
All CEDs are important to the success of OSU Extension. What’s unique about the two new positions is that these CEDs are charged with discovering new ways to engage with large numbers of citizens, legislators, partners and projects (grants, contracts, gifts, fees). This is an emerging model to explore how we can improve Extension’s impact in our largest urban centers.

Chris Olinsky, assistant professor emeritus and Hamilton County Extension director for the past year, recently shared her insights. Here are a few excerpts.

  • “I worked more than 31 years with Ohio State University Extension, including three years as CED in a suburban county and three years as co-CED in an urban county. … It is important that Extension employees understand some of the unique challenges an urban county presents, especially in obtaining a secure funding base.
  • “Every county has unique challenges, and some rural counties have struggled with funding due to a limited tax base. But the CED role in (an urban) county such as Hamilton is different than being CED in a county where partnerships and collaborations are not likely to be the sole or main funding sources. To make the right connections, you have to be available more than in a smaller county and really feel comfortable being rejected… You can't accept defeat; … it takes more time to find out who the real movers and shakers are in urban counties.
  • “The new CED will not be a faculty member and is responsible for raising funds to secure the position as well as establish the funding base for the office. How is this person’s position being funded in the meantime? Administrative Cabinet has made a commitment to the position while the new CEDs work to establish solid funding. If they do not produce money in a “reasonable time frame” for the county and the partnerships, they are out of a job.
  • “Who truly understands the difference between working in a county with good support and funding and in a place where the staff are not sure if there is money for their next pay check? Who really wants to spend so much time on raising funds rather than doing the educational focus of our work? An Extension employee who has not been in this situation may not truly understand the challenges and frustrations, and may not believe this is an appropriate approach for administrators to take to help a struggling county. That employee may resent the CED, thinking that they have an “easy job” that is well paid. A CED in a well-funded county may resent that their county has to fund the CED position/person while it appears that this urban county is being “saved” by our administrators. My response to this is to ask that employee to give the CED and this approach a chance to be successful.”

Marie Barni, Cuyahoga County Extension director, also summed up her thoughts about leading OSU Extension in the Cleveland area.

  • “Serving in the role of CED for a large, urban county is really one of a ‘navigator of opportunity.’ In larger counties, there are a multitude of stakeholders, agencies, initiatives, other post-secondary institutions, and even political wills. To be most effective and of the highest worth to others, the CED must be able to navigate all of these factors and align Extension’s mission and expertise to highlight the value-added it has to offer. If this can be done well and contribute to shared impacts, Extension’s reputation shifts from that of a non-mandated service to an essential service. And it’s at this junction that enhanced and new partnerships develop (which) can often lead to new and diverse funding streams. And with additional funds come additional staff and resources, thus increasing Extension’s scope and reach throughout the county. This multiplier effect is one of the more significant rewards of being a CED in an urban county. You get to experience how Extension (staff) truly can make a big difference, appreciated by many.”

Extension in the City – National Perspective
The challenges related to Extension in large cities is not unique to Ohio. For example, the June 2014 Journal of Extension included an article about Kentucky’s Urban Extension Focus ( It includes a recommendation that county coordinators are needed in Kentucky’s largest counties. A new National Urban Leaders Network formed this past year, with representatives from more than 20 states, including Ohio. This group is studying funding trends, staffing models, program focus, and other issues for what some states refer to as urban Extension, metro Extension, or Extension in the City.

Want to know more about OSU Extension in the City, what makes city Extension unique, and the value of our rural-suburban-urban interdependencies? Watch for future Communiqué articles or attend the next OSU Extension in the City team meeting in Columbus on August 21. For more information, contact Julie Fox (

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OPERS Health Care Eligibility Requirements are Changing in 2015

Beginning January 1, 2015, to qualify for retirement, OPERS members will be required to either have at least 20 years of qualifying service and be at least 60 years old, or have 30 years of qualifying service at any age.

This means OPERS members who are eligible to retire with an effective date of December 1, 2014 or prior, will have until November to decide whether or not to retire under the current health care eligibility rule of 10 years of qualifying service. It is important for employees to review the facts and determine how it applies to their particular situation before making a decision. Those who determine it is the right time to elect retirement must:

  • Terminate public employment and be off the payroll no later than November 30, 2014.
  • Apply for retirement.
  • Have a benefit-effective date on or before December 1, 2014.

OPERS has encouraged employees who are considering their retirement options to take proactive steps in making their decision. Potential retirees should:

  • View the retirement planner at
  • View the “Your Path to Retirement- Learn, Plan, Act” page at
  • If deciding to retire, file early.

Calls and questions about retirement decisions and an individual’s specific situation should be directed to OPERS at 800-222-7377.

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The Full Monty: Advanced Strengths Development Workshop – August 21

  • The “full Monty” is a British slang phrase of uncertain origin. It is generally used to mean "everything which is necessary, appropriate, or possible;” or ‘the works.’ – Wikipedia
  • 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 his or her teammates.

In this advanced strengths workshop, participants will have the opportunity to discover their complete strengths profile. Most awareness workshops provide you with your top five strengths/themes; but 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 is facilitating this workshop from 9am-noon on August 21. Cost is $140 per participant. To register, go to If you have any questions, contact Jodi Termeer ( 614-292-3114).

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Strengths-Based Management and Supervision Workshop – September 10

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.

This information can 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

Previous participation at a StrengthsFinder awareness workshop is required. Beth Flynn is facilitating this workshop from 9am to noon on September 10. Cost is $75 per participant. To register, go to If you have any questions, contact Jodi Termeer ( 614-292-3114).

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