Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes September 30, 2019

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
September 30, 2019
Orono: 102B Libby Hall

Facilitator: Lisa Phelps
Note taker: Hannah Carter

Please note: Due to the confidentiality and sensitivity of some agenda items, these ELT minutes do not represent the full content of each meeting.

Present: Brzozowski, Carter, Harrington, Phelps, Prichard, and Sulinski

Guests:  Laura Wilson and Sarah Sparks

Check ins:

  • Today (September 30) is the last day of the federal fiscal year.
  • Jason Mallar, a temp from the VPR’s office, is working 20 hrs/wk for Extension in the Finance and Operations office. This is a service the VPR’s office provides when campus units lose critical financial staff. Jason is helping people close out grants, although is not working directly with PI’s to, build budgets, justifications, etc. Everyone is encouraged to work directly with the ORA pre-award staff on new submissions.ORA understands we will be relying more on their staff; our staff have done a great job of supporting Extension.
  • It is important for those who manage grants (Principal Investigators) to connect with Michael Bailey about any wage changes that need to be processed on their grants.
  • The NIFA move to Kansas City occurred the last week in September. They lost 75% of their workforce with this move. Some NIFA functions will be minimized as they rebuild their staff and get settled.
  • Next week the PRC is scheduled to meet in Orono to review faculty packets.
  • The Maine Families Program (MFP) grant is requiring minimum base salaries, and HR has approved our adjusting MFP salaries accordingly.
  • Fran will be announcing Safe Zone training for staff. The workshop will take place on campus Tuesday, Dec 17 with a snow date of Thursday, Dec 19 (9:30 – 12:30). Look for registration to be announced on email. Training objectives are as follows.
    • To educate participants on the meaning of various terms, identities, and concepts in relation to sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and gender identity & expression.
    • To spread awareness of the challenges that folks have faced or are more likely to face who identify in the Queer and/or Trans* communities.
    • To facilitate an opportunity for participants to figure out their part in creating change to alleviate some of those challenges.
    • To provide a welcoming environment and safe places within our campus community (and beyond to the communities we serve) for lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans* people by establishing an identifiable network of allies who can provide support, information and a safe place for LGBTQ persons.
  • Fran will also announce a handling Difficult Conversations workshop, also on campus (York Village) on January 9th with a snow date of January 16. Again look for the announcement/registration on email.
  • New employee training took place on September 19. Fran made the decision to go back to offering a new employee training day face-to-face on campus twice a year as the zoom series did not result in the same connection with new staff as is possible during a face-to-face session. The day includes a presentation from the Dean about who we are and what we do, a chance to meet the Communication & Marketing Team, the mandatory civil rights training and optional tours of the new 4-H Center and the D&R Lab.
  • The 2019 Eastern States Exposition has come to an end for this year. Overall, it was a successful event for participants from Maine. Maine really stepped up — Maine 4-Hers went above and beyond.
  • A 4-H Professional Development training is planned for next week on the 4-H Thriving Model.
  • There is an Extension Retirees reception on Tuesday, October 8 at the 4-H Science and Learning Center in Orono from 3:30 to 6:00 pm.
  • Extension staff from around the state, and some ELT members, will be attending Fryeburg Fair this week and supporting the 4-H Challenge at the fair.
  • Extension was well represented at the Maine Climate Council kick-off September 26. Dean Carter is serving as a Council member, and Esperanza Stancioff, Rick Kersbergen, and Glen Koehler are serving on various working groups.
  • It is reported that Dave Yarborough, former Extension Wild Blueberry Specialist, is the interim Executive Director of the Wild Maine Blueberry Commission.
  • Staff are encouraged to use Extension vehicles for travel when possible. Extension’s fleet of cars is an important resource and using them instead of personal vehicle saves money for Extension.
  • As an outreach to military veterans, the Educate to Cultivate (E2C) AgrAbility Symposium is scheduled for Saturday, October 26.
  • In September, Hannah traveled to Burlington, VT for the Journal of Extension (JOE) board meeting.
  • In September, Hannah and Dennis attended the national meeting of Extension Directors and Research Center Directors in Nashville, TN. It was a good networking opportunity to meet Extension leaders from around the country and leaders from National 4-H as well as USDA/NIFA.
  • Appreciation for Jon Prichard for his responsiveness for the multiple requests we have recently gotten from UMaine’s President for partnerships/relationships around the state.


  • Organizational Conference Update – 100+ registrants already. Workshop registrations are pretty balanced. Registrants need to make their own overnight accommodations if needed. VIP invitations will soon be sent.
  • UMS Board of Trustees Highlights – Please keep sending updates to Hannah for the weekly BOT highlights.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) – This group will meet Monday, October 7 and they will continue to work on the offering at the organizational conference. Their future agenda includes how to support LGBTQ program participants and staff.

ELT Meeting calendar

Dates for future ELT meetings have been set through June 2020.

eDNA EPSCoR Project

Laura Wilson and Sarah Sparks joined the ELT to provide an update about the new EPSCoR project called eDNA (UMaine eDNA). Check out this video to learn more about eDNA and the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7qVLtt3joo&feature=youtu.be. Utilizing a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, EPSCoR will fund a five-year initiative that aims to revolutionize environmental monitoring, ecological understanding and sustainability of coastal ecosystems. UMaine is partnering with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and other collaborators in education, government agencies, citizen’s groups and local industry statewide. Maine 4-H will be involved with the eDNA project and there will most likely be opportunities for other Extension involvement. Maine 4-H involvement may include:

  • Three new tool kits: harmful species, sustainable fisheries and eDNA inspired TBD.
  • Summer of Science program and a limited number of interns to help with the program.
  • A part-time position to expand STEM Ambassadors to three community colleges that already have a tie to the grant program.

Supporting Family & Consumer Science

In an effort to support Extension staff whose program focus includes family & consumer science, the ELT will support the promotion of “Dine In Day” as proposed. Dine In Day (FCS Day) on Tuesday, December 3rd.

Extension’s Role in Disaster Preparedness

Dick Brzozowski serves as Extension’s point of contact (POC) for the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). When reporting their work, staff are encouraged to include any relevant activities related to disaster preparedness and recovery. Also, when preparing Extension’s annual reports, Jon Prichard will aggregate and report such activities within the appropriate reporting categories (Knowledge Area 807 within the NIFA reporting scheme).

Dick has attended the past 2 EDEN annual conferences and is keeping the ELT aware of EDEN-related work of Extension systems in other states. UMaine Safety is working on getting Extension its own everbridge, or own system for text messages for quick communication. Dick learned more about disaster scenario planning that simulate disaster response. UMaine Extension could have someone from Emergency Management come and work through one of these plans (also known as exercises) with Extension. We encourage Extension staff to participate in the courses offered through FEMA: www.training.fema.gov/emi.aspx. UMaine Extension has connections to thousands of people in Maine (volunteers, clients, stakeholders, etc.), how can we help those people prepare for emergencies? What is our area of expertise in regards to an emergency or disaster? What are the needs of the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in regards to disasters that Extension might address and possibly fill? Is there something missing that we could address? We need to build connections at the county level and continue the conversations on what we should be doing and roles we should be playing in disasters. The ELT may plan to visit MEMA in Augusta to learn more and further develop the relationship. We encourage Extension to also visit the EDEN website: https://eden.lsu.edu/.

Planning and Reporting on MPRS

Faculty and professionals have a Friday, Nov. 1 deadline to report their activities on MPRS. Each year, we receive exceptional impact statements from various staff, and yet some of our stellar programs don’t get reported. The ELT will be monitoring reporting and may make targeted requests for impact statements to be sure the full breadth and depth of our programs are being reported. Jon Prichard is willing to help any staff in writing or fine-tuning their statements.

Marketing and Communications

UMS Director of Government and Community Relations Sam Warren has requested that Extension pay attention to how we market and communicate our activities and events, being sure to take advantage of opportunities to invite public officials, etc. Also, Dean Carter is asking staff to let appropriate PAs know when they have provided interviews with media, so they are aware of stories that could be appearing. Dana Rickman will also share press releases she receives from staff, so that Hannah might include them in her weekly Board of Trustees updates.


Congratulations to Sarah Sparks and Laura Wilson for their role as senior personnel on the recent $20 million Maine-eDNA grant from the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program.  Sparks and Wilson will be developing resources for educators and youth related to this research, including supporting the 4-H Summer of Science and 4-H STEM Toolkit programs, and expanding the 4-H STEM Ambassador program beyond the seven UMS campuses to include three of Maine’s Community Colleges.

Search Updates

Administrative Specialist CL2 – Cumberland County Advertising
Administrative Specialist CL3 – Bryant Pond – Advertising
AgrAbility Outreach to Veterans Professional – Preparing to advertise
4-H Youth Development Professional – York County – Interviewing
Community Education Assistant (4-H) – Penobscot/Piscataquis – Advertising
Crops Entomology Educator – Preparing to screen candidates
EFNEP Education and Training Coordinator – Advertising
EFNEP Nutrition Education Professional – Advertising
Extension Crops Specialist – On hold
Parent Education Program Manager – Waldo – Melanie Bryan hired

2019 – 2020 ELT Meeting Dates

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

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
October 18 Carter Prichard Orono – Offsite retreat
October 30 Prichard Harrington UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
November 18 Harrington Brzozowski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
December 13 Brzozowski Sulinski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
January 2 Sulinski Phelps UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
January 30 Phelps Carter Orono: 102B Libby Hall
February 13 Carter Prichard Orono: 102B Libby Hall
March 9 Prichard Harrington UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
April 2 Harrington Brzozowski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
April 30 Brzozowski Sulinski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
May 15 Sulinski Phelps UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
June 4 Phelps Carter Orono: 102B Libby Hall