Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes November 14, 2018

Extension Leadership Team Meeting
November 14, 2018
102B Libby Hall

Facilitator: Lisa Phelps
Notetaker: Jon Prichard

Title IX Training

ELT members Phelps, Sulinski and Prichard attended the UMS Title IX training on November 9. The new Dean will be invited and expected to attend this training in the future.

Maine Sea Grant Update

Gayle Zydlewski, Director of Maine Sea Grant, visited with the ELT to provide an update on Sea Grant activities and to continue to build the relationship between the two organizations.

Support for Web Presence

UMaine Extension has a robust workshop and registration system, a very large web presence and many promotional materials (fliers, brochures, posters …) created every day. Much of the work to populate and create this material is appropriate to the role of an Administrative Specialist however some of this work is regularly handled by program professionals and faculty. In other cases Michele Lodgek, Cindy Eves-Thomas and Mary Michaud are asked to execute these tasks for the program staff. The ELT believes much of this work is appropriate to the county/unit administrative specialist staff. Michele, Cindy, and Mary are ready to provide the training and support necessary to facilitate the county/unit administrative specialist’s ability to carry out this work. We do not have sufficient central resources to carry out the many tasks mentioned above especially in light of the fact that appropriate support exists at the county and unit level.

Diagnostic and Research Lab Incident

On November 9th there was an incident at the DRL that, even though it was minor, merited management as a public emergency that included a broad emergency response and appropriate communication. This is the official communication from UMaine during the incident:

At approximately 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9, a small amount of bleach (sodium hypochlorite) was released into a drain after a valve was inadvertently left open during the testing of a new disinfection system at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory, Godfrey Drive in Orono. The chemical release created a chlorine-like odor that required evacuation of the facility.
No injuries were reported. The Orono Fire Department hazmat team and Maine DEP responded. Valves in the disinfection system are being secured, the drain flushed and building ventilated.

Videography Survey Preliminary Results

Fifty-two UMaine Extension staff members have completed the survey as of November 14 (The deadline is Thursday, November 22).  The ELT reviewed the preliminary survey results and what it may mean for possibly supporting videography work.


Congratulations to PI David Handley and Co-PI Tori Jackson who have been awarded $238,186 by the USDA Risk Management Agency for the “Crop Insurance Education in Maine (2018-2020)” program, which will provide Maine farmers the most current and relevant information about crop insurance to help them make informed risk management decisions for their businesses.  Unlike previous years, this award covers the next 18 months instead of the historic 12 months.

Congratulations to PI Alicyn Smart who has been awarded an additional $24,600 from Cornell University and USDA-NIFA for the continued support (Year 3) of the Northeast Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN).  The NPDN acts as a resource for first detectors of suspicious samples, provides resources and training to facilitate the use of the Network’s data collection network, expands that data collection, and develops protocols for participating diagnostic laboratories to ensure the accuracy of diagnostics.

Congratulations to PI Robson Machado and Co-PI Jennifer Perry who has been awarded $73,219 from USDA-NIFA for their “Infotoons and Videos as Delivery Tools for Food Safety Training”.  This project seeks to enhance understanding of the scientific principles underpinning the applied condition of “food safety” in populations of growers, producers, and their employees.  Educational modules will consist of combinations of video, animation and text aspects in short form.  Topics will move from basic to applied science, from explaining what bacteria are and how they grow to why certain regulated practices increase safety.

Congratulations to PI Ryder Scott and Co-PI Lyndsey Smith who have been awarded $89,703 by the Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation the continued support of the “Aspirations Incubator Program YR2″ project (total 6 year commitment $600,000).  With the UMaine effort led by Lyndsey Smith, The Lerner Foundation’s goal is to create a comprehensive mentorship-based pilot program for middle-school and high-school students from eight school districts and 39 communities in rural parts of Maine.  Bryant Pond 4-H Center has named its program “NorthStar” and will work with students in Telstar Middle and High Schools throughout the project.  Programming will include outdoor leadership experiences, adventure challenge, travel and service learning and will utilize Bryant Pond’s staff and facilities to provide mentorship and learning opportunities for students.

Congratulations to PI Richard Brzozowski who has been awarded $180,000 by USDA- NIFA for Year 1 (of 4) of the “Maine AgrAbility Continuation” project.  The primary goal of this project is to enhance each client’s ability to farm, live independently, and improve their quality of life.  In the next phase of growth, Maine AgrAbility will continue to expand its efforts to include clients with disabilities not only from land-based agriculture, but also forestry and aquaculture as well as clients who are veterans, immigrants and migrant workers.

Search Updates

Dean of Extension – Interviews completed
Produce Safety Professional – Christina Hillier hired
4-H CEA – Somerset County – Alice Miller hired
Extension Crops Entomology Specialist – Screening candidates
Administrative Specialist CL2 (Cumberland) – Marvin Tala hired
Administrative Specialist CL2 (Libby Hall) – Interviewing
Administrative Specialist CL1 (Piscataquis) – Annette Moulton hired
Administrative Specialist CL2 (EFNEP) – Interviewing
Assistant Director – Tanglewood – Advertising
4-H CEA – Lisbon Falls – Zachary Glenn hired
EFNEP CEA (2 positions) – Advertising
Parent Educational Professional (2 positions) – Advertising

2019 ELT Meeting Dates

Meetings are from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, unless otherwise noted.

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
December 19 Prichard Harrington Orono: 102B Libby Hall
January 7 Harrington Brzozowski Augusta: Farmhouse 11
January 25 Brzozowski Sulinski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
February 15 Sulinski Phelps Orono: 102B Libby Hall
March 13 Phelps Prichard Augusta: Farmhouse 11