News Briefs Blog

2017 September News Briefs

Administration News from Glen:

Just as the Wyoming 4-H world is feeling a sense of relief at the completion of State Fair and the winding down of the 4-H year, the campus is humming.  Classes started on Wednesday so there has been a noticeable sense of excitement and energy about the campus and…. Students trying to find their way around.

There were a couple of UW News items released this month that I thought I should mention.

In an August 14th release, UW announced the formation of an Engagement Task Force.  The release states that the task force was launched…

“To facilitate collaboration between the university and its constituents, President Laurie Nichols has launched the UW Engagement Task Force to assess what the university does already; assess what UW and its constituents need and want the university to do; benchmark itself against peer institutions; and then use these analyses to make decisions on the scope and vision for what community engagement means at UW and for Wyoming.”

The College of Ag and Natural Resources is represented on the task force by Associate Dean Bret Hess, Director of the Ag Experiment Station.   I encourage you to look back and read the entire release. This effort is obviously important to UW Extension as statewide engagement is central to our mission.  http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2017/index.html

A second news release was shared Monday August 28th regarding travel reimbursement.  The text of the release follows.

“With the implementation of the WyoCloud Financial Management System, there are several changes to procedures and processes around the University of Wyoming campus. One of these changes is the university’s shift to using a per diem policy for employee meals during business-related travel.

The official travel policy is being amended to incorporate per diem for meals while traveling. The per diem amount, a specific amount of money an organization gives an employee per day to cover meals and incidental expenses when traveling for work, will be based on federal rates, but departments have discretion to set rates that do not exceed that amount. Federal per diem rates can be found at the U.S. General Services Administration website.

A full list of the procedures and processes changes may be found on the WyoCloud website under “Procedures and process changes” in the Communications section.”

As I understand, this means that for single day travel, you still have to submit a receipt for reimbursement for meals and the reimbursement is taxable income. However, for multi-day travel, you can only request per diem as reimbursement for meals. Receipts are not needed and will not be reimbursed if submitted. The per diem calculator file is completed and attached to your expense report to claim per diem for meals. We have had some reimbursements rejected recently because claims were made using receipts.

Reimbursement based on receipts has been common operating procedure in Extension for many years so this is a change in thinking for us. But there are advantages to per diem reimbursement as opposed to keeping receipts one of which is simplicity.  If you have questions about this or other reimbursement issues please contact me, Kelly Crane, Mary Kay Wardlaw, Joleen Pantier or your department accountant.  As you know, the new accounting system is a work in progress.

Best Regards, Glen

Miscellaneous Updates from Mary Kay:

REMINDER: John P. Ellbogen Foundation Wyoming Communities, Agriculture, & Rural Living Project Fund competitive grants!!! $28,000 available…Application Deadline is September 1, 2017

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

Professional Development:

Connecting Extension and Research Conference,will be held December 12-14, 2017 in Laramie. Registration will open at 11:30 am and the conference will begin with the keynote speaker at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, December 12th . The conference will conclude at noon on Thursday, December 14th. The TENTATIVE schedule highlighting daily events follows:

  • Tuesday, December 12th – Keynote Speaker, WACDEP and ESP Association Award Presentations, New Employee Introductions, Dinner and Mixers
  • Wednesday, December 13th – Workshop sessions, WACAA and WEAFCS Association Award Presentations, Highlight of Ellbogen Programs, Dinner with UWEX, CNP and AES Award Presentations
  • Thursday, December 14th – Administration and Association Officers Breakfast, conference moves to Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC), Poster Sessions, WAE4-HA Association Award Presentation  and Administrative Update

There is not a specified time for face-to-face association meetings during the conference so a couple of options are outlined below:

  • Zoom conference as was done last year – scheduled by the Association President
  • Face to face meeting the morning of December 12th and conclude by 12:30 pm
  • Face to face meeting the afternoon of December 14th (please note this option would be after the Administration and Association Officers Breakfast)

If your association requires meeting space at the Hilton Convention Center on Monday morning or at the LREC on Thursday afternoon, please contact Joanne Newcomb as soon as possible. Joanne is responsible for the logistics and is the liaison for meeting space. Her e-mail address is JNewcomb@uwyo.edu

Association award presentations will be scheduled throughout the conference. Each association will have 10 minutes to highlight their award recipients. During the virtual conference last year several of the associations were very creative in their recorded award presentations and they were fun to see. This year, the presentations could also be a recorded piece or a live presentation. Instructions for the association award presentations will be e-mailed directly to association presidents.

Training for Working with Minors, which is required for all UW Employees who have some role working with minors, will be scheduled during the Connecting Extension and Research Conference. This training will fulfill your requirement as an authorized adult/program staff for any program(s) in which youth participate.

Contact Reporting is due October 9, 2017

Reporting Tips: 

Training Plan Update- A separate training plan is no longer required as part of the documentation for evaluation purposes. We do encourage you to include identified training needs in your Annual Statement of Goals. Please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or Kim Reaman if you have questions about this change.

UW Online Reporting gathers two types of contacts for Extension programs: direct contacts and indirect contacts. Both types of contacts are used to complete the annual reports required by NIFA as well as for publication on the University of Wyoming websites and in materials distributed to county, state, and federal legislators. It is an important part of how we share the full extend of our outreach through Extension programs.

Direct contacts are those are contacts in which you can identify an individual’s gender and ethnicity. Typically direct contacts are generated through face-to-face workshops/presentation, individual consultations, farm visits, office visits, etc. Contacts made via phone, e-mail, or direct mailings can be counted as direct contacts IF you can know the gender and ethnicity of the individual(s) with whom you are corresponding. Reporting direct contacts is also part of our managerial responsibility for Civil Rights Compliance (see the Civil Rights Tips for more information).

Counting direct contacts is easy if you thing about it in terms of what’s being taught. The same individual can be counted each time they participate in a new educational program or teaching. An example would be if you offered a full day workshop and you taught three different topics during the day, you could count that one individual three times. If it is a multi-day workshop, such as a camp, you could also count the same individual as a direct contact each day. If you co-teach with a colleague, each of you can report those direct contacts.

Persons attending fairs and exhibitions are not counted as direct contacts unless they view a demonstration, stop and personally talk with you at a booth, or actively participate in another way of learning. If they are idle spectators walking by, they are not counted.

Indirect contacts are contacts in which we cannot visibly determine race or sex. These contacts are generally made thought media outreach: TV, radio, website, social media, e-mail, newspaper, etc. Some of the medial outreach is easy to document because there are analytical programs associated with them. For instance, you can track the number of “likes” or “shares” on a Facebook post of the number of hits on a website or blog. In media outreach like TV, radio or newspaper articles, it would be unrealistic to believe that the entire potential audience heard or read your piece. For consistency in reporting, please document 25-30% of the potential audience when you do not have exact statistics.

Personnel News from Ann:

  • Laramie County, 4-H Youth Development Educator – Position #4977, based in Cheyenne. This is a non-extended term position with a focus on non-traditional programming. The position will split time between working with the military 4-H program and 4-H Youth Development in Laramie County.  Screening will begin September 13, 2017. This benefitted position is currently .75 FTE with the potential of full-time pending renewal of grant funding.

 

  • Lincoln County, 4-H Youth Development Educator – Position #4205, based in Kemmerer. This is a non-extended term position. Responsibilities include management and oversight of the South Lincoln County Arena. Screening will begin October 13, 2017. This benefitted position is 1 FTE.

 

  • Assistant University Extension Educator, extended term track Agriculture and Natural resources, and 4-H Youth Development –Position #4453, based on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Ethete, Wyoming. Position is scheduled to open soon.

 

  • A warm welcome to Natasha Charlson in the Crook County Extension Office. Natasha has filled the office assistant, senior position. Reach out and say hello if you are in Sundance.

 

  • Bidding a fond farewell to Alex Mansur, Campbell County Office Assistant. We wish Alex the best as she moves on to new adventures.

 

2017 August News Briefs

Administration News from Glen:

Change … Change … Change – The pace of change the last year has seemed dizzying at times; particularly as it has been accompanied by budget reductions. No change has seemed more disorienting than the new accounting system and the dramatic philosophical shift in its underpinnings. That said, I do see many benefits as I begin to organize my work within it. I’ll report a benefit here. We have struggled with the problem of timely reimbursements all my years at UW. It has caused real problems for employees, particularly newer employees. Well here is a success story. Shortly after the system went live, I forced my way through to submit two travel expense reports I had been holding since late June. It took me a couple of hours and some help to complete the first one and thirty minutes to finish the second. I informed Joleen Pantier of my inputted expense report on Thursday, July 20th. She checked it over (and maybe fixed it) and submitted it. The reimbursement was in my account on Tuesday morning – July 25th. That is an improvement! I guess we can be optimistic that other aspects of change at UW will work out as well.

In my April News Briefs I laid out a plan to complete a strategic plan for UW Extension. If you paid any attention to our time schedule you would know that we have not followed it very closely. There are many reasons for that but the big one was our emerging understanding of what an Extension plan should look like as it is developed to nest within the university and college plans. The university plan was recently approved by the trustees and a draft of the College of Ag and Natural Resources plan will be shared soon. We have been working on a draft plan that fits the format and expectations for a current 2017-2022 strategic plan for Extension and takes into consideration the stakeholder input and effort put into the development of our aborted 2014-2020 academic plan. We will have a draft of the University of Wyoming Extension Strategic Plan 2017-2022 to you soon for your consideration and input.

It is fair season, the best time of the year for most of us in Extension. I am looking forward to State Fair. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Safe Travels, Glen

Cent$ible Nutrition Program News from Mindy:

The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is excited to welcome two new employees to our team. Shelley Balls is the new CNP Assistant in Afton and started on July 31st. She will be covering North Lincoln County, Teton County, and Sublette County. Shelley just completed her internship with Utah State University to become a registered dietitian and spent the summer working as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the summer feeding program in Afton.

Sandra Biller is the new program manager at the state office on campus and started this position on July 31st. She comes to us from the Albany County Extension Office where she was the CNP Assistant. Her experience as a CNP educator and enthusiasm for reporting, direct education, and multi-level interventions will make her instrumental in training new employees, continuing training for all CNP staff, and conducting site visits across the state. Welcome Shelley and Sandra!
We will have two new positions coming available in the month of August- a CNP Assistant in Albany County and an Office Associate at the state office. These positions will be posted at https://jobs.uwyo.edu. Please share with anyone who may be interested.
August and September will be busy as we wind down the last two months of our 2017 grant. On August 14, a new Food and Physical Activity Questionnaire will be released across the county. This questionnaire will take the place of our current entry and exit survey, and will be implemented in the 2018 grant year. The new questions focus more specifically on targeted behavior changes in the areas of diet, food safety, and food resource management. In September, we will hold the first part of Initial Training in Casper. Six new educators will be attending this training.

As UW continues to cycle through changes, we would like to take a moment to sincerely thank Ann Tanaka and Theresa Chavez for all of their support of CNP and look forward to working with them in their new roles at Information Technology. Ann and Theresa, you have helped all of us more times than we can count and it is always a pleasure working with you. Thank you for all you do!
Have a great August!

Personnel News

Welcome Selena Gerace to UW Extension. Selena will serve as the Outreach Coordinator for a recently funded NSF EPSCoR Track II research and extension project exploring the socio-economic and ecological implications of reducing carbon emissions in the upper Missouri River Basin. As Outreach Coordinator, Selena will work with project team members across UW, Montana State, and the University of South Dakota to  deliver project-related outreach and to engage with regional stakeholders. Selena, originally from Mt Shasta, CA, completed her BA in Politics at Whitman College and just completed her MS in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming. She has worked with the Ruckleshaus Institute at UW on the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative, and has experience in facilitation and negotiation. Selena is located in the Agricultural and Applied Economics department, room #218. Her phone number is 766-5615 and can be reached at sgerace@uwyo.edu as well.

 

2017 July News Briefs

Administration News from Glen:

I am still trying to understand all of the implications for Extension budgets of Dean Galey’s July 3rd email memo on the University budget system. He described it as a “brave new world” for budget management at the University. Hopefully it is not as extreme as Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. (You may need to be an English lit major or have lived through the seventies to get the brave new world analogy.) I am not going to recreate or rephrase Dean Galey’s memo here as I thought he communicated well and I don’t yet understand all the nuances of the system or its implications myself. If you have questions, I would encourage you to re-read Dean Galey’s email (July 3, 2017) and/or call or email me. I’m happy to discuss it. If you didn’t get the email or somehow lost it, please get back to me and I will forward Dean Galey’s memo to you.

As my understanding of the University’s approach to budgeting and management grows, I am more confident that it can work well for us. But it is a big change. The probable loss of some funds in program revolving accounts is a big concern and I do not have clarity on how access to those funds will play out. Even so, I am confident that going forward we will be able access the funds needed to serve our clientele and do our work. And that is the most important consideration. I know how busy you are right now. I appreciate your hard work and commitment to the University and the people you serve.

Be very careful in your travels.

Best Regards, Glen

Miscellaneous Information from Mary Kay:

REMINDER: John P. Ellbogen Foundation Wyoming Communities, Agriculture, & Rural Living Project Fund competitive grants!!! $28,000 available…Application Deadline is September 1, 2017

FYI…The new time sheet that everyone will be using is linked below with some new explanations. Please note after you add your electronic signature (and your local supervisor if appropriate), send directly to Ann Roberson for associate directors’ approval. Ann will then send on to the Ag Business Office. Cool Trick: By typing the month followed by a comma and the year, the file will automatically populate the daily calendar within the time sheet.

UWE Time Sheet Instructions

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

Professional Development:

A couple of questions have come up regarding the schedule for the Connecting Extension and Research Conference, December 12-14, 2017 in Laramie. Registration will open at 11:30 am and the conference will begin with the keynote speaker at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, December 12th . The conference will conclude at noon on Thursday, December 14th. The TENTATIVE schedule highlighting daily events follows:

  • Tuesday, December 12th – Keynote Speaker, WACDEP and ESP Association Award Presentations, New Employee Introductions, Dinner and Mixers
  • Wednesday, December 13th – Workshop sessions, WACAA and WEAFCS Association Award Presentations, Highlight of Ellbogen Programs, Dinner with UWEX, CNP and AES Award Presentations
  • Thursday, December 14th – Administration and Association Officers Breakfast, conference moves to Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC), Poster Sessions, WAE4-HA Association Award Presentation  and Administrative Update

There is not a specified time for face-to-face association meetings during the conference so a couple of options are outlined below:

  • Zoom conference as was done last year – scheduled by the Association President
  • Face to face meeting the morning of December 12th and conclude by 12:30 pm
  • Face to face meeting the afternoon of December 14th (please note this option would be after the Administration and Association Officers Breakfast)

If your association requires meeting space at the Hilton Convention Center on Monday morning or at the LREC on Thursday afternoon, please contact Joanne Newcomb as soon as possible. Joanne is responsible for the logistics and is the liaison for meeting space. Her e-mail address is JNewcomb@uwyo.edu

Association award presentations will be scheduled throughout the conference. Each association will have 10 minutes to highlight their award recipients. During the virtual conference last year several of the associations were very creative in their recorded award presentations and they were fun to see. This year, the presentations could also be a recorded piece or a live presentation. Instructions for the association award presentations will be e-mailed directly to association presidents.

Training for Working with Minors, which is required for all UW Employees who have some role working with minors, will be scheduled during the Connecting Extension and Research Conference. This training will fulfill your requirement as an authorized adult/program staff for any program(s) in which youth participate.

Cent$ible Nutrition Program News from Mindy:

The Cent$ible Nutrition Program recently submitted our plan for EFNEP and SNAP-Ed for the 2018 grant year. In 2018, we will continue to deliver direct education one-time lessons and series to income-qualifying participants as well as further develop PSE interventions around the state. Our PSE objectives for the 2018 grant year remain the same as the last two years, focusing on the Grazing with Marty Moose curriculum, farmers’ markets/local food, the Department of Family Series referral system, and written agreements with agencies serving our target audience.

The regional director of SNAP-Ed, Star Morrison, visited us in June. We spent a day with Marianne Kerzman, our DFS liaison and a day on the Wind River Indian Reservation, meeting CNP’s partners and learning about the PSE interventions CNP is currently working on.

In June, we released the newest version of our cookbook for small families, now called Simply Cent$ible Nutrition-A Cookbook for One or Two. This cookbook is used primarily with our older audiences and with small families. The newest version includes revised recipes and updated nutrition information to meet the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.

Our three open positions closed in June and we are in the process of interviewing for all three. In anticipation of our newest employees, we will hold initial training the week of August 7th in Casper.

To cap off the busy month of June, the CNP curriculum committee met in Casper to spend a week thoroughly revising and updating our adult curriculum. This meeting resulted in downsizing the current 17 lessons into 8 standard lessons, which the committee will finish editing and writing this summer, with the curriculum slated to be implemented in mid-2018 to the beginning of 2019.

We are looking forward to a great rest of the summer before a busy fall of reporting.

WyoCloud Training information from Cath:

The WyoCloud Team is excited to announce that online training for the WyoCloud Financial Management system is now open!

Everyone should be doing the minimum required trainings:

  • Basic Navigation in the System
  • Creating an Expense Report
  • Creating a Requisition

In order to receive access to the WyoCloud Financial Management system by go-live on July 17th, trainings must be completed one day prior to this date.

Here are the steps to access to the three trainings:

  1. Go to UW home page
  2. Click on WyoWeb
  3. Click on WyoCourses
  4. Sign in with your UW ID and password
  5. Click on “WyoCloud Financial Management… WYOFM PREREQ”, you will see a list of the training modules
  6. At the bottom of the page, there is a link to start your trainings

When you complete the courses, you won’t receive any confirmations confirming you are finished. Also, we are in the process of getting county staff access to be able to take the system training as well.

Thank you!

Personnel News from Ann:

A special welcome to Cori Enders and Monique Kennedy in the Sheridan County Extension Office as the new administrative assistants. Cori has taken the full-time administrative assistant position and Monique Kennedy will be joining her on a part-time basis. We wish them both the very best in their first fair season! Hold onto your hats girls! 🙂

We extend a fond farewell to the administrative assistants who have recently left their Extension positions: Sunny Gillespie in Crook County and Annie Erickson in Uinta County. We wish them both continued success. They will be missed.

2017 June News Briefs

Administration News from Glen:

As you may know the Trustees approved the University’s FY18 operating budget this week. This was shared in a UW Communication via email on Wednesday. The big news with the budget is the change in the way reserve funds are to be managed. It appears reserves for equipment, facility replacement and other purposes will be held and managed centrally. This is a big change from the more decentralized management approaches of the past. Because Extension doesn’t hold or manage many physical facilities, we do not hold large reserves. However,  we do have program accounts that are used to hold program fees and registrations and fund program development efforts. Almost all of us have one of those accounts. I don’t have any specific information about how these will be handled but I am confident we will continue to be able to gather registrations and fund program development. When more clarity is available on the implementation of the Trustees’ decision with regards to reserves and our access to program accounts, I/we will share.

Change just continues in our work life at UW. Although the specifics of practices governing the “how” are a little unclear at this point, I am confident  we will be able to fund our programs, do our work, and serve our clients next year and in the future. If I can help you do that please give me a call.

Safe Travels, Glen

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

Professional Development:  Connecting Extension and Research Conference

The UWEX/AES Joint Conference has a new name….Connecting Extension and Research Conference! Please remember the conference will be December 12-14, 2017 in Laramie. It will feature a key note speaker; concurrent sessions and poster sessions delivered by colleagues; opportunities to network and explore how to collaborate on educational programs; and time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues in Extension and the Research Centers.

 

Because we value colleagues sharing their knowledge and experience, the Extension Administrative Team will provide professional development scholarships in the amount of $500 to six colleagues whose workshops are selected for a concurrent session. “How?” you ask…each lead presenter will be entered into a drawing for one of the six professional development scholarships. The scholarships can be used for any professional development as determined by the recipient. Start thinking about a workshop you would like to teach at the Connecting Extension and Research Conference.

 

Workshop proposal forms will be e-mailed mid-August to all Extension and AES employees. The workshop proposal forms will be due by October 1 and notification of the workshop selections will be completed by October 15.

 

Leadership Roles in your Professional Association

As you know, educators who submit a proposal and are selected through a review process to present a scholarly output at their national meeting receive an additional $500 toward attendance costs. The Extension Administrative Team also wants to recognize and support employees who assume a leadership role that requires their attendance at their professional association meeting by making available an additional $500 while they are active in a leadership role. I will be working with each current Association President to determine appropriate leadership roles for this financial support.

Kim

Cent$ible Nutrition Program News from Mindy:

The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is happy to welcome Kelsi Goldfarb to the team in Laramie County as a CNP Assistant. Kelsi has been working part-time and as a volunteer for the program. Her first day as a full time employee was May 31. We also have hired a CNP Assistant covering Lincoln, Teton, and Sublette counties – Shelley Heap. She will be starting her position August 1.

We currently have three positions open – a CNP Assistant on the Wind River Indian Reservation and one in Sheridan County. The third position is a state program coordinator, senior to help with training and site visits. Megan will function as assistant director and take on the new PSE, reporting, and evaluation requirements of the SNAP-Ed grant. If you know anyone interested in these positions, please direct them to the UW Human Resources job site at https://jobs.uwyo.edu.

We had a great year piloting our new Grazing with Marty Moose curriculum with the addition of policy, systems and environmental changes. The new curriculum was taught at 26 qualifying youth sites across Wyoming with 372 nutrition and physical activity supports adopted, reaching 5,415 youth.

We are looking forward to the summer season with our focus on SNAP benefit acceptance at Farmers’ Markets, incentive programs at the markets, and gardening. According to an article in the Journal of Community Development, the value of accepting SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets is clear: it improves access to healthy foods among low-income residents and it adds to farmers’ revenues. SNAP benefits are accepted in several markets in Wyoming with many of the markets offering incentive programs. The markets that accept EBT are Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Laramie, Green River, Jackson, Sheridan, Riverton, and Rock Springs.

Gardening is another way to increase access to healthy foods among low-income residents. Many of our educators are partnering with UWE Initiative Teams and other local community agencies to increase food access to the low income audience through gardening, donations of locally grown produce, and food preservation. We are excited about the partnering opportunities and the potential impacts for our audience.

Enjoy the nice June weather!

Mindy

2017 May News Briefs

 Administration News from Glen:

Many things are unsettled at the University as our college and the other colleges and campus units struggle to meet Fiscal Year 2018 budget reduction targets. The Staff Senate and some leaders have discussed and projected layoffs in addition to the personnel losses due to vacancy and voluntary separation. So far as I know, there are no College of Ag and Natural Resources personnel who will be laid off as a result of the FY18 budget reductions. Those FY18 loses have been accommodated through cuts to support budgets and voluntary resignations and retirements.

We closed our county coordinator training this week with a round table on the county budget situations across the state. Though not a perfect measure of the level of distress, it looks like about a third of our county coordinators were asked to propose a reduced budget for FY 2018. That’s probably about the same number as last year. However, some counties are planning to lay off county employees as a result of reduced revenue. My home county of Albany is an example. These are hard times!

Navigating these hard times is challenging and distressing but all in all, I feel pretty good about where we are going into the third year of the revenue downturn. I have to compliment our leadership for their focus on keeping people employed as cuts are implemented. Across Wyoming, there is some optimism that the state is at or near the bottom, and some encouraging signs of improvement. I have my fingers crossed!

Safe Travels,

Glen

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

As I was looking for different resources to share about civil rights and affirmative action I came across a couple of interesting sites that I want to share over the next few months.

The University of Wisconsin Extension, finalized an Inclusive Excellence Action Team Report in 2012. In that report, they describe how oppression plays out a four levels.
• The personal level involves our attitudes, beliefs and feelings (believing that input from men is more important than input from women).
• The interpersonal level involves our behaviors and practices (including only some employees in the office on the mailing list for messages about office logistics).
• The institutional level is rules, systems, policies, and procedures (a policy that requires a probationary period for some categories of employees and not for other categories.)
• The cultural level includes group norms, what we hold dear, maintain and enforce that favor and include some groups more than others (English is the national language, ethnic cleansing).
How do these levels of oppression play out in our local programs, and in the University of Wyoming Extension organization?

Thanks!

Kim

Cent$ible Nutrition Program News from Mindy Meuli:

The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is happy to welcome Diane Davis to the team in Laramie County. She is the new CNP Program Coordinator Senior for the county. Diane’s first day was May 1st. We are also in the process of interviewing and hiring for our two open CNP Assistant positions in Laramie County and North Lincoln County.

April 18-20 we held our annual Spring Fling meeting in Cheyenne at the new CNP offices on the LCCC campus. It was a successful training and we were happy to have several guest speakers attend to talk with us about the new UW accounting system, SNAP-Ed and SNAP, farmers’ markets and EBT, and PSEs (policy, system, and environmental changes). Karla Case of Natrona County CNP/NFS conducted a food preservation workshop where we learned how to dehydrate fruit and make fruit leather.

April 27-28 Megan and I attended the Wyoming Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND) conference in Cheyenne. We are looking forward to a full and busy summer across the state.

Have a great May,

Mindy

2017 April New Briefs

The first draft of the University Strategic Plan was released last week. If you missed the email release of the Plan, it can be found at http://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/_files/docs/stratplan_2017-2022_draft.pdf. If you haven’t read the draft plan, I would encourage you to read it and provide input. The first of four input gathering discussions was held on campus yesterday. The last of the four will be held in Casper and all are available on Wyocast. The Strategic Planning Leadership Council is gathering input Through April 27th. If you have any questions about the Strategic Plan release or providing input please go to UW News  on the UW web site for  instructions:  http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2017/03/uw-releases-strategic-plan-draft,-plans-meetings.html.

As you know, the College Strategic Planning Committee has been meeting regularly since the beginning of the semester. They and college leadership will have a College of Ag and Natural Resources Strategic Plan completed by late summer. The college committee is taking input on vision, mission, and SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) right now. If you haven’t seen the draft document contact your departmental representative on the committee (Kelly Crane in the case of the Extension field or you could contact me).

Departments and academic units like UW Extension (UWE) will also complete strategic plans by late summer. UW Extension’s plan will nest within the University and College plans and will connect to the plans of the college’s departments that have Extension programs.

We have pondered the best way to approach the development of the UW Extension plan. As many will recall, we invested heavily in gathering input and developing a plan for the failed 2014-20 University Academic planning effort. We implemented the major elements of that plan with the activation of four working groups; ET&P; 4-H; Horticulture; and UW Extension/R&E Center integration. These working groups have completed their work and have each provided a final report of their considerations and recommendations. Based on some solid counsel from the initiative teams and others, we have decided to consider the development of the 2017-2022 UWE Strategic Plan to be an extension of the 2014-2020 Academic planning effort, utilizing the stakeholder input gathered, the plan developed and the recommendations of the four working groups as the starting point for our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. We will rely heavily on the Extension Administrative Team members and the initiative team chairs to reform our previous efforts into a strategic plan. We plan to use Zoom and other distance technologies to facilitate plan development and gather internal input once a draft 2017-22 UWE plan is developed. This seems the best approach to utilize the excellent planning work already done and to harbor our scarce time and financial resources.

As the prep work for the FY18 budget winds down, my attention will turn to development of our strategic plan. It is my hope that we have a draft of a plan for internal review by early summer. I realize this may not be the best time frame for most in Extension but as I understand University deadlines, it is probably necessary. If you have any thoughts about strategic planning or the planning process please share them with me.

It feels like spring in Laramie and I am ready for it.

Best Regards,

Glen

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

County Coordinator Training

Please remember that a training for county coordinators has been scheduled for May 3rd, 9:00 to 10:00 am via Zoom. The focus of the training will be on the basics of UW Extension Salary Agreements and MOU’s with our County partners. An update on the employee paid benefits will also be provided. Glen, Kelly, Mary Kay, Cath Harris, and Jo Marie Paintin will present and be available to answer questions so please plan to join the discussion.The zoom link is: https://zoom.us/j/814200856

To join by phone Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 814 200 856

Civil Rights Tip: Meeting Locations – encouragement or hindrance?

Any meetings that are open to the public must comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA provides individuals with disabilities civil rights protections like those that apply to race, sex, national origin, and religion. The goal is to select meeting sites that allow a person with a disability to move about freely and independently and participate in and benefit from the educational program being offered. If it is the first time you have offered a program in the facility, it is worth taking time to make a site visit to ensure that the parking lot(s), the building, the meeting space, and the bathrooms are accessible.

Also consider how the meeting location might be perceived by your clientele when selecting meeting space. Perceptions about meeting locations can create a barrier to participation. The following examples illustrate how meeting locations can become a hindrance.

  • If programs are always held in a church meeting hall, people may believe you have to be a member of the church to attend.
  • The local recreational center may offer free meeting space for non-profit groups, but it they charge a membership fee to join the rec center, clientele may think they have to be a member or pay to enter the building and participate the program.
  • Libraries can be intimidating to those who had a difficult time in school.

It may be an inaccurate perception, but to your clientele it’s real and their decision to attend may be based upon that perception. That doesn’t mean educational programs can’t be conducted at these facilities, it simply means we need to be thoughtful in promoting the programs and include specific information about the meeting location. An example could be “The recreational center provides free admission to attend this program”. The goal is to ensure all potential clientele know they are welcome to participate in any Extension program.

Kim

CNP News from Mindy Meuli:

We have had some personnel changes within the Cent$ible Nutrition Program. Debbie Russell retired from the UW Extension in Laramie County and her last day is April 7th. We wish her well in her retirement! We have advertised for her position and will be interviewing in April. We also have CNP Assistant position openings in North Lincoln and Laramie counties. If you know anyone who is interested, please encourage them to apply. The positions are posted at: https://jobs.uwyo.edu.

Megan recently attended the national EFNEP meeting in Arlington, VA. There will be a new behavior checklist for WebNEERS which will be implemented in the new grant year. Stay tuned for more information on this reporting change.

We will be having our annual spring training in Cheyenne, April 18th to 20th. We look forward to seeing everyone. We will have an update on the new UW accounting system in addition to fun with PSEs, food preservation, and puzzles.

Have a great April,

Mindy

2017 March News Briefs

Administration News from Glen:

It seems like this has been a long legislative session. I have been a little anxious, waiting to see if we will sustain any additional cuts for the FY18 fiscal year. I am sure many of you read President Nichols’ report in her Monday letter that the additional cut to the FY18 UW block grant looks like it will be about $500,000. She observed, and I agree, that perhaps we should be grateful it isn’t larger, but it will hurt on top of the dramatic cuts UW has taken. I couldn’t predict how the $500,000 cut will impact the College or Extension.

As you may know, the University is implementing a new financial management software system that will go live on July 1st. I understand it is quite different than the current system and should offer real solutions to some of our long standing problems, e.g., timely reimbursements and payments.  The College Business Office, and to some extent the administration, is immersed in recreating the FY18 college budget in this new system. Because of the legislative uncertainties related to the FY18 budget and the implementation of the new financial management system, the preparation of a budget for UW Extension will probably go differently this year, both in process and time frame. I am not particularly worried about it but wanted you to know that things are working differently (and thus seem a little unpredictable) and time frames for decisions are often short.

Even though many things are uncertain, we do have budgets in place to support our work this year and I am confident that we will have the support needed to do our work next year. I am encouraged by the UW Administration’s commitment to keep current employees employed. I really feel that this is not the time for UW Extension to look inward.  Our success at navigating this downturn as well as future ups and downs will depend on our role in our communities across the state and our impact.  We must continue to approach our educational mission creatively and aggressively.

One of the ways to do that is through better communication. As an organization we always seem to be under some level of condemnation for failure to inform and communicate. Our Extension online calendar is one response to that concern. It was conceived in response to the specific complaint I, and perhaps others of you have received that goes like this, “I went to your web site and couldn’t find what educational programs were available in my community (or on a specific topic) so I assumed you weren’t doing anything.”  I am particularly sensitive to this observation because I find myself dealing with other organizations and businesses that same way. When I need information, my first reaction is to go to the web. I expect the web site to give me what I need. If it doesn’t, I may call or email, …but probably not. In my view, stocking our online Extension calendar with our educational programs and events is imperative in this age of smart phones and online connections. And we need to do this much better as an organization. The calendar is searchable and can easily be targeted to the interests of the viewer, and if listings are complete, it will be a useful and reliable source of information for our clients. That’s my pitch; please use the Extension Online Calendar and stock it with all of your educational programs and events. Thanks for listening!

Regards, Glen

Staff Development/Federal Relations News from Kim:

Civil Rights Tip:

Request for Accommodation and Resolving Issues at the Lowest Level Possible

Requests for accommodation could come in a variety of ways. Some accommodations are so routine that we might not even think of them as an accommodation anymore. An example of that would be food allergies; if we are serving food, we automatically ask participants to list any food allergies they might have and we think nothing more of it.

Other accommodations that can be handled fairly easy might be around limited sight, hearing abilities, transportation or financial restraints. course how the request for an accommodation of this type might be handled depends upon the severity of the limitation. Does someone simply need a large print handout? Do they need a document written in braille? Do they need someone to read the content of the handout to them? What about differing levels of hearing ability? If they sit in the front of the room is that enough? Do they need a sign language interpreter? When you plan an educational meeting, do you consider the level of background noise that might affect someone who has a hearing impairment? If you know a particular person has trouble hearing do you try to stand closer to them when you speak and/or are you more conscientious about facing their direction when you speak? What is the process to provide scholarships for participants that are not able to afford a registration fee?

One of the best ways to effectively manage a request for an accommodation is to begin a conversation with the person whom has made the request. Ask them, “What could I/we do to make this educational experience the most beneficial for you”? How could the program be changed/modified so that you can participate as much as you want? Work with the individual to identify an acceptable accommodation and always try to solve the issue at the lowest level. That alone sends a message to the individual that we care about them and we want them to be able to fully participate in our Extension programs.

If the request for accommodation presents more of a challenge, it will likely require more creativity and dedication to working together to accommodate the request. Do start with the personal conversation though to find out exactly what it would take to provide the opportunity for the individual to fully participate in the program. Be cautious about stopping with what you think is reasonable accommodation. If you begin to think “that’s too much”, contact myself, your supervisor, or someone in the UW Office of Diversity and Employment Practices for advice.

Kim

 CNP News from Mindy Meuli:

Megan and I visited with all of our legislators in Washington, DC in February. We were able to share our impacts and educate Senators Barrasso and Enzi and Representative Cheney on the CNP in Wyoming. We were also able to connect with our DFS liaison – Marianne Kerzman. Marianne has agreed to come to our spring training in April and update us on DFS programming.

Our annual Spring Fling is scheduled for April 18, 19, and 20th in Cheyenne at the new Extension office in the Pathfinder building at Laramie County Community College. The theme is Putting the Pieces (PSE’s) Together. The training will start at 1:30 on Tuesday and conclude at noon on Thursday with a boxed lunch to go. We look forward to seeing everyone for training and have an action packed agenda.

We have two CNP personnel updates – Mary Evans will be covering both Platte and Goshen Counties and Beth Barker will be covering Uinta and South Lincoln counties. Thanks to both Mary and Beth for going full time and covering additional areas.

Megan will be attending the EFNEP National Conference, March 13-17, in Washington, DC and I will be attending the Western Extension Leadership Conference in Spokane that same week. Kali and Jessica will be covering the state office during that time.

Wishing you a March filled with good luck,

Mindy

 

 

 

View our "News Briefs Archive" for February 2017 - January 2011 Issues