Extension Leadership Team Minutes March 23, 2016

Extension Leadership Team Minutes

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
102B Libby Hall

Present: Fran Sulinski, Jon Prichard, John Rebar, Dennis Harington, Richard Brzozowski and Lisa Phelps.

Note taker: Richard Brzozowski
Facilitator: Dennis Harrington


  • Shane Moeykens, Director of Research Administration and EPSCoR
  • Jen O’Leary, Director of Strategic Communications
  • Michele Lodgek, Central Database Developer, UMaine Extension

And Justice for All Posters

Fran has a supply of newly revised “And Justice for All” posters. There are some important changes to the poster.  Fran will distribute the posters in the near future.

Office Space

Extension is giving up some office space in Corbett Hall.

ES 237 Report was submitted

The current number of participants as reported in the 2015 ES237 4-H enrollment report to NIFA was 17,300. The ELT appreciates the hard work and dedication of all the Cooperative Extension staff  (4-H, Eat Well, Horticulture, Ag, Nutrition) that provide programs for youth in Maine and FoodCorps members.

Faculty Meeting, April 27

The faculty Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) is convening a faculty meeting on Wednesday, April 27th from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.  The meeting will originate from the Penobscot County office with Tandberg opportunities statewide.  The ELT has been asked to send a representative to provide an update to the faculty. The PAC is to create a list of potential questions for the ELT member to address.  John Rebar has a potential conflict.  However he can participate, if he is able to be connected by Tandberg (perhaps at the Falmouth office).  Several other ELT members are available to participate. One topic as requested by PAC for this particular meeting is “What can the faculty do to deal with our budget scenario?”

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

Shane Moeykens, the new EPSCoR director, participated in part of this meeting. Shane is interested in learning more about Cooperative Extension. It was helpful for us to learn more about EPSCoR and its projects. FMI see https://umaine.edu/epscor/

UMaine Extension currently partners with EPSCoR on the aquaculture research project through 4-H.

Next steps

  • Develop a more definitive plan to promote the kits now in use by 4-H at a national level (identifying which meetings, to whom, etc.);
  • What are the strategic targets for the next 3 years? EPSCoR wants to know our priorities and plan accordingly.
  • There is an ongoing dialogue on opportunities but a plan could be helpful. (perhaps an MOU?)

UMaine Marketing & Communications

Jennifer O’Leary joined us at 11:00 am.  She has a new role within UMaine Marketing and Communication.  We discussed her new role and how Cooperative Extension can assist and benefit.   She distributed her plan for key themes and talking points.  The plan involves “Quarterly initiatives” that include:

  • Enrollment (fall)
  • Legislative session (winter)
  • Business community outreach (spring)
  • General (summer)

Next action steps:

  • Because she is trying to get the University seen as a “good news” place (branding), we ought to share appropriate and important talking points with Jennifer – such as success stories (at a minimum) and other major Extension highlights.
  • Consider identifying key people in the community with whom Extension works and with whom President Hunter ought to connect. Consider advocacy (ie. value of UMaine scholarship programs) – provide names of individuals.
  • Submit key Extension events (annual meetings, conferences, programming, research news, etc.) to Jennifer.
  • Consider gathering and submitting testimonials from Extension clients. Direct these to Jennifer. Consider using focus groups.

Provide any “heads up” to Jennifer. She will get the information and details to Margaret Nagle, Senior Director of Public Relations and Operations in the Division of Marketing

The Extension Professionals Committee Annual Meeting Request

The Extension Professionals Committee (EPC) proposed a 1-2 day annual meeting to take place in September 2016, and has submitted a request for the ELT to support it in concept and with financial support.

The ELT decided not to fund a meeting in 2016 (as this is the same calendar year as the organizational meeting).  It was suggested that the committee plan for an annual meeting sometime in calendar year 2017.  EPC annual meeting committee members should submit a proposal for funding an FY17 meeting sometime in the summer of 2016 so that it can be considered as part of the budgeting process. In the meantime, some of the proposed agenda topics could be transmitted via Tandberg.

Professional promotion and post-tenure review process

The professional promotion and post-tenure review process is currently underway. The ELT discussed and confirmed the timeline for responding to professional promotions and post tenure reviews.

Recognition “Shout Outs”

An ELT member recently became aware of a concern that as an organization, we highlight the work of some of our employees but not all and that we may favor some over others. Although these announcements are not intentional, the ELT needs to be mindful of this. We discussed the criteria for “shout outs”.  We also discuss how to minimize emails to All Staff. Extension personnel are encouraged to submit “shout outs” for themselves or others to ELT for the minutes. See such announcements of recognition at the end of these minutes.

Liability Lawsuits & Policy

Dennis Harrington reported that the UM System has been the subject of recent liability lawsuits that have carried a significant cost to defend and dispose. Consequently the UM System is basing more and more of their policy and practice decisions on inherent potential liability. Extra attention is being paid to making sure that the University is not unnecessarily liable for the actions of service vendor; for example a caterer should be liable for serving or selling food that makes people sick, not the University. In that instance unless we have a service agreement in place, accompanied by a proof of insurance, the University could be found unnecessarily liable. At Cooperative Extension we pay vendors to do things like teach courses and workshops, provide transportation, or provide food for meetings among other things.

Dennis Harrington is working with various UM System entities to help them better understand our programs, and the services our vendors are providing, with the intention that new policies work as well as possible for us. We are asking the UM System to clarify vague or evolving policies as soon as possible so that our staff can better understand their options in obtaining services. We are hoping for better clarity soon.

In the meantime please feel free to work with Dennis or Renae Byard in clarifying the best way to purchase service, especially if you intend to pay someone with an honorarium.

Private applicators license payment

A question arose from a staff person who is required to obtain and maintain a private pesticide applicators license as part of their work requirements.   The payment for such a license is $15 (coverage for three years). After discussing the situation, it was suggested that the payment for obtaining and maintain these licenses be paid with programming funds generated by the county or unit.  If program funds are not available, then the faculty or staff member ought to go to their respective PA.


Congratulations to University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Centers at Blueberry Cove, Bryant Pond, and Tanglewood for being chosen to receive the Maine Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s 2016 Award of Recognition!  This award recognizes individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, or industries in Maine who have made noteworthy contributions to wildlife management or conservation, or to education of the public about wildlife. In the award letter the Society praised the UMaine 4-H Centers for their long-term commitment to providing affordable, environmental education for Maine’s youth, and said: “Developing ecological literacy and an ethic of stewardship, as well as skills in the outdoors, are critical to the long-term health of our environment. We applaud the excellence of your work, and the dedication of your staff.”   The Award will be presented at the Chapter’s annual meeting on April 26.

Penobscot County Office Renovations

Penobscot County Extension Office Kitchen Renovations
Penobscot County Extension Office Kitchen Renovations

Renovation of the Penobscot County Extension office conference room is complete and the space is available for Cooperative Extension events. The conference room now includes updated technology and a new commercial kitchen designed for teaching. For scheduling please contact Theresa Tilton at 942-7396.

The 4-H STEM Ambassador program has expanded to UMaine Farmington

Through the determination and dedication of Sarah Sparks, Dave Allen, Laura Wilson and Greg Kranich the 4-H STEM Ambassador program has expanded to UMaine Farmington and has been a huge success as is outlined in this story: http://www.centralmaine.com/2016/03/24/rsu-9-umf-collaboration-gets-students-excited-about-steme-district-and-aspiring-educators/

The 4-H STEM Ambassador program now includes UMaine Presque Isle, UMaine Machias, University of Southern Maine, UMaine Augusta and the University of Maine reaching more than 600 youth and providing valuable learning experiences for undergraduate students.

Search Update:

Assistant Extension Professor and Food Scientist – Accepting Applications

Administrative Specialist CL2 (Oxford County) – Accepting Applications

Assistant Extension Professor/Extension Livestock Educator – Accepting applications

4-H STEM Professional – Accepting Applications

Program Coordinator Bryant Pond – Pending job Offer

ELT Meeting Dates –2016 – Meetings are from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm – unless otherwise noted.

April 29 Sulinski Phelps Orono – 102B
May 12 Phelps Rebar Orono – 102B
May 26 Rebar Prichard Augusta – Farm House 11 conf. room