Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes May 11, 2020

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
May 11, 2020
Zoom Meeting

Facilitator: Fran Sulinski
Note taker: Lisa Phelps

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

Tuesday, May 12th faculty meeting

The PAC has invited the ELT to attend the May 12th faculty meeting which is being held virtually. The ELT will participate in the meeting from 11-11:30 and will cover the following topics: current hiring, “Defining Tomorrow” submissions, budget update, travel update, reopening update and answer questions faculty may have.

Micro Credentialing/Digital Badging Defining Tomorrow Proposal

Laura Wilson would like to submit a microcredential “Defining Tomorrow” proposal but rather than have the proposal just focus on 4-H, she would like to submit it to be more inclusive of all extension programming. But before she does this, she would like our support. Lisa shared a link to the rough draft of the proposal and the ELT is supportive of Laura submitting a more inclusive proposal.

New ELT Meetings Schedule

The ELT scheduled our regular meetings through September 2020. Our new meeting structure consists of weekly meetings on Monday and Thursday (and more as needed), and longer half day meetings every 2-3 weeks.

Extension Restart (Back from Remote) Strategy

As of Monday, May 11, 2020, there is no schedule yet for Extension to return from remote work. Although given recent statements by Governor Mills, it appears the state is exploring a phased “restart” plan that also includes geographic-specific guidance (“Rural Reopening Plan” – https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-introduces-rural-reopening-plan-2020-05-08). With that in mind, the ELT is discussing how such a return will be implemented by Extension when the time comes. The ELT is preparing a shared google sheet to provide reopening guidance to Extension offices, and as a place where each office will be able to document their reopening plan, and to review and learn from the plans of other offices. As we wait for guidance, we are asking county offices/units to start talking about the following questions and fill out the google sheet for their office/unit.

  • How can you safely & effectively social distance office space?
  • Identify office touchpoints (doorknobs, light switches, copy machines, office equipment, etc.) and consider a plan to remove some of them for now (such as brochure racks).
  • Cleaning responsibilities (with regularity) and who does this?
  • Outside groups using our spaces (as in the past) – not continuing to do that for the foreseeable future.
  • Meeting rooms and size issues with regards to social distancing. How many people could use it given the space size?
  • Explore how the public could come into the office to drop off samples, soil test kits, forms, etc.? (Limit how far into the office the public comes in and how many people can come in at one time.)
  • Common space issues (break room, copy space, supply space).
  • What do your staff meetings look like given social distancing?

The Extension Staff Directory

The staff directory is externally available to our clients and includes the opportunity to upload and continually update information about our expertise, education and research. Please take the time to update your info on Extension’s Staff Directory. Does anything need changing, particularly your area(s) of expertise? Click on “More Details” below your listing to check your profile page. Does it need updating, too? If so (or if you don’t see a “More Details” link), go to the Staff Directory Form on Plugged In to update or add a profile. You are welcome to return to this form whenever you need a change made to your listing. Upload or revise your profile by going to the Plugged-in Home page and scroll down to Directories to find the form. The information available helps Extension staff, University colleagues, as well as clients know our work and they can access us appropriately.

Grants Management System

Dennis has been attending presentations by vendors of grants management systems that, if selected, would replace PARS and provide user- and administrator-friendly management of grants from conception through the life of the award. It is clear that a new system will significantly improve the whole process for all aspects of grants for everyone involved, making it likely that Cooperative Extension and the University’s support from grants will increase. The new system will be implemented over the next 12 months and ORA will be seeking help, advice, and beta-testing from veteran Principal Investigators during implementation.

Staff Expertise Directory Who Serve Commercial Fruit and/or Vegetable Farmers

Extension staff involved in serving commercial fruit and vegetable farmers have designed an expertise staff directory (for internal use) and have drafted a protocol for responding to questions and requests from clients (commercial farmers/growers and want-to-be farmers). The directory is designed so that specific questions can be efficiently routed to the appropriate staff person for quick response. More details to follow.

4-H Summer Learning Series

Lisa shared that given all of the cancellations to date of 4-H summer programming, 4-H staff are working together on a summer Learning Series that will be inclusive of multiple 4-H project areas, including animal science.

Announcements & Congratulations

Congratulations to Sheila Vaillancourt on the occasion of her retirement! We wish her the very best and could not thank her enough for all of her contributions to Extension! Sheila’s last day of work for Extension is Thursday, May 28th, 2020.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Faculty Award for Applied Research was given to Dr. Colt W. Knight, Assistant Professor of Extension and State Livestock Specialist for the Maine Pastured Poultry Project. The project was funded by a grant through the Maine Food and Agriculture Center and focused on generating data-based recommendations for pastured poultry producers including feed intake, water utilization, feed conversion ratios, forage utilization, heat stress, and dressing percentages of 5 breeds of common broilers.

Search Updates

Assistant Financial and Operations Manager (Orono) – paused
4-H Youth Development Professional (Community Central) – paused
Crops Entomology Educator (Aroostook County) – paused
Extension Crops Specialist (Aroostook County) – going forward with interviews
Sustainable Agriculture Professional (Aroostook County) – paused
4-H Science Professional (PT) – paused
Research Associate (Highmoor Farm) – paused

2020 ELT Meeting Dates

Meetings are from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, unless otherwise noted

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
May 11 Sulinski Phelps Virtual
June 4 Phelps Carter Virtual
June 25 Carter Prichard Virtual
July 8 Prichard Harrington Virtual
July 29 Harrington Brzozowski Virtual
August 19 Brzozowski Sulinski Virtual
September 2 Sulinski Phelps Virtual