ELT Minutes, October 24, 2014

Extension Leadership Team Minutes
October 24, 2014
Richard Randall Student Center – Augusta
9:00 – 3:30

Facilitator: Jon Prichard

Note taker: Dennis Harrington

Present: Lisa, Dennis, Fran, Jon & John

UMaine Human Resources

We have had a number of ongoing challenges with UM Human Resources in recent months. Fran has been working with John Young of HR to detail some of the issues, many of which stem from being perpetually understaffed and undertrained. The focus is on improving communication and the activation of new and temporary staff, and student workers.

Changes to Federal Grant Management Guidelines

Dennis attended a recent meeting of Extension and Experiment Station administrators in the USDA northeast region. A session was offered to help understand pending changes to Federal guidelines for management of Federal grant funds. The new guidance includes many small rule changes that will have some effect on the way grants are submitted and managed. Dennis will be communicating with Extension staff to understand and apply changes that are most likely to matter in crafting new proposals. The rule changes will take effect December 26th, 2014.

Maine 4-H Foundation

The fall meeting of the Maine 4-H Foundation was held on October 22nd at Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center. At the meeting the board approved their budget for 2015 which included approving $72,578 in programming support for the Maine 4-H program. This funding is significant and important and the University of Maine of Cooperative Extension staff appreciates the support and partnership with the Maine 4-H Foundation Board.

Revenue Generated by Extension Programs

Dennis presented input that was solicited from a focus group of Extension faculty and professional staff about policies for the disposition of funds generated by Extension programs (workshops, classes, courses, events, conferences, seminars). In the recent past 100% of revenue from programs has been used to fund the cost of the programs, and surpluses if any were given back to faculty and staff to control. As part of the FY15 budget plan this is no longer possible and beginning January 1, 2015 a new plan will be implemented that will allow for some of this revenue to be directed towards support of Extension operations expenses such as in-state travel, postage, telecommunications, and fringe benefits. The focus group feedback included thoughts about the percentage that will be directed to support the general Extension budget, and what programs may be exempt. The ELT acknowledges that this change will require more careful planning of expenses related to a given program and the associated fees that are charged to participants. In the coming weeks Dennis will consolidate focus group feedback and ELT decisions to communicate the details of the new policy.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

President Hunter recently announced that Jeff Hecker has been appointed to the position Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, a position that he has held as an interim appointment since 2013. The ELT would like to thank Jane Haskell for her excellent work representing Cooperative Extension as a member of the search committee; and for our staff across the state for participating in person or via technology in the two public sessions held on campus. Extension was well represented and engaged the candidate on a number of meaningful issues. John Rebar expressed his gratitude to staff for their engagement on this important process.

Maine Science Festival

The Maine Science Festival will be held in Bangor in March of 2015 and the event will be open to youth and adults. The event has potential to increase visibility and economic viability for the region and Extension staff have already been working in support of this event. Planning for the event has already created opportunities for people to learn more about 4-H and our STEM focus. The ELT approved a proposal for partial sponsorship of the event with Lisa Phelps and Laura Wilson as the lead contacts.


Congratulations to Richard Kersbergen and Caragh Fitzgerald who was awarded $20,083 by the Maine Natural Resources Conservation District in Somerset County for a project titled ImprovingSoil Health through Cover Cropping and Reduced Tillage in the Dairy Belt of Maine.

Congratulations to Kate Yerxa and co-PIs Kathy Savoie, Barbara Murphy, Marjorie Peronto who have been awarded $150,000 by USDA/NIFA for a project titled Rural Health and Safety Education: Expanding the Eat Well Volunteer Program to Enhance Food Self-Sufficiency Skills of Rural Mainers. This important work will increase consumption of fresh produce and enhance food self-sufficiency skills of low-income Mainers through trained volunteer peer educators.

Announcement Invitation:

The ELT invites you to submit items to be included in the minutes/announcements of the next regularly scheduled ELT meeting.  This is an opportunity to share with the ELT and the rest of the organization any of the following:

  • Notable programmatic accomplishments
  • Development or fundraising success
  • Significant new partnerships and/or opportunities
  • Important transitions

Please take the opportunity to share your good works through this avenue.  Keep it brief… approximately two to four sentences would be appreciated. To submit an announcement, please contact your PA or appropriate member of the ELT.

Please remember to visit University of Maine’s news site for additional University of Maine Cooperative Extension highlight.

Search Updates:

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 ELT Meeting Dates – 2014 & 2015- Meetings are from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm – unless otherwise noted

November 13 Harrington Sulinski Augusta — 218 Richard Randall Ctr
December 3 Sulinski Phelps Orono — 102B Libby Hall
December 17 Phelps Rebar Orono — 102B Libby Hall
January 23 Prichard Harrington Orono – 102B
February 10 Harrington Sulinski Orono – 102B
March 3 Sulinski Phelps Augusta – specifics TBD
March 25 Phelps Rebar Orono – 102B
April 15 Prichard Harrington Orono – 102B
May 1 Harrington Sulinski Augusta – specifics TBD
May 20 Sulinski Phelps Orono -102B