Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes October 13, 2020

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
October 13, 2020
Virtual Meeting (1:00-4:00 PM)

Facilitator: Hannah Carter
Note taker: Jon Prichard

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

Alfond Donation

The Harold Alfond Foundation’s historic investment in Maine and its people includes a $240 million commitment to the University of Maine System to bring transformative change to the state’s largest educational, research, innovation and talent development asset. Dean Hannah Carter reported that there may be opportunities for Extension to partner and access some of these funds.

Brightspace Update

Lisa Phelps has been informally acting as Extension liaison on Brightspace, and will continue to do so. It looks like Brightspace may be available for Cooperative Extension to use for clients, customers, volunteers and stakeholders who do not have @maine.edu email addresses by January 2021. More information will be shared once it is known.

Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) Moving to Libby

ARI will be moving into Libby Hall in the next several months, to help facilitate their collaboration with Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant.

Accessibility to Extension Programs

Dick Brzozowski has been conferring with Fran Sulinski regarding accessibility to Extension programs, in the interest of seeing if there is anything more we could be doing in this area.

Annual Maine Extension Aggie Meeting

Planning for this is in the works. It will be a virtual meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 18.

Extension Roadmap

The ELT reviewed the summary of the recent organizational survey.  We agreed that responses to the survey suggested five themes:

  • Enhancing Collaborations
  • Continuing Remote Work and Internal Operational Possibilities
  • Programming to Meet Future Expectations
  • Generating Revenue
  • Successful Communication and Marketing

Hannah will be forming five committees, one for each of the themes, and asking them to explore their theme and make recommendations for next steps. We discussed and finalized the timeline and plan for this process.  Hannah will be communicating with all staff regarding this process, themes, and next steps.  She will strongly encourage each staff member to join at least one theme committee.

COVID and HOC 2 Updates


  • Piscataquis County would like to make their conference room available for use by appropriately-sized groups. Dennis Harrington evaluated the request with the help of the University EOC and HVAC engineers. It has been determined that the office’s conference room does not have an adequate HVAC system to provide ventilation for groups during the pandemic.


  • Penobscot County discussed the possibility of changing their HOC to allow for their conference room to be available for use by appropriately-sized groups, but has put that request on hold.

Particularly in regards to public use of conference rooms, etc., County offices need to understand  their HVAC systems, and Dennis to direct them to some resources which may be helpful.  We will deal with these on a County by County basis.  We will allow public use of office space only if the HVAC system is appropriately sized and maintained.

Grants Update for FFY20

During the twelve months ending September 30th (Federal Fiscal Year 2020) UMaine Cooperative Extension was awarded approximately $2.95 million in competitive grants to fund applied research and educational programs that meet the needs of Maine people. Funders include both Federal and State of Maine agencies as well as other non-profit organizations and foundations. These successful awards included approximately $344,000 in support for institutional overhead at UMaine.

UMaine & UMS Spending Policy update

At the most recent meeting of the UMaine System Procurement Advisory Group campus CBOs reported that the spending policies adopted last spring in response to COVID-related budget issues will remain in place throughout the academic year, and may become the model for the future. It is unlikely that TCards will be reissued for anything except out-of-state travel (although this is currently unallowable) and special purchases. For Cooperative Extension, we have been allowed a few selective PCards for the purchase of fresh food for nutrition and preservation programs. For the future, purchasing will need to be done through MarketPlace or through departmental PCards.

Announcements & Congratulations

Congratulations to Dr. Ellen Mallory on her award of $46,662 from USDA/NIFA through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)  for a project titled Identifying Gaps in Knowledge and Capacity to Help Farmers Adapt to a Changing Climate. In this one-year project, Dr. Mallory will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to identify agricultural service provider’s knowledge gaps and training needs as related to helping farmers adapt to climate change.

Congratulations to Dr. John Jemison on his award of $22,993 from the USDA/NIFA‘s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program for a project called Assessing the Effect of Reduced Plastic in CBD Hemp Production.  In this 2-year project, Dr. Jemison will work with a Maine-based grower to evaluate CBD hemp performance in a no-till rolled/crimped or mowed rye mulch environment and will evaluate novel stacked cultivation tools to determine if intensive cultivation can reduce weed pressure.

Congratulations to principal investigator Kristy Ouellette and co-principal investigator Mitch Mason on a $9,800 supplemental award for the Maine 4-H Community Central: Engaging Teens in Workforce Development project. Maine 4-H Central works with teens and families in public housing to strengthen workforce development in four targeted areas: STEM (including medical fields), teacher preparation, the Maine food system, and social justice. The funding comes through the CYFAR (Children, Youth, and Families at Risk) program administered by USDA/NIFA.

PARS Changes

The PARS (Proposal and Routing System) system for submitting grants underwent changes on October 5th. The Office of Research Administration (ORA) has sent the following update about logging on the PARS:

  • You will log in using your UMS Single Sign-On. Your old PARS username/password will no longer work.
  • You may now delegate other users to perform many functions on your behalf. For more information click here.

You will be asked to verify your profile information the first time you log in.

We have created a help section to assist with the transition to this new system.   If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your contact at ORA or contact the RIM Helpdesk.

Maine Election Worker Recruitment

The Maine Town and City Clerks’ Association and the Maine Municipal Association have communicated the need for help in administering elections in communities across Maine. Their Website [https://www.maineelectionworkers.org/] says: Citizens are needed to work at the polls on Election Day as well as in advance helping to process absentee ballots. Municipal clerks can explain more details about the work involved with election administration. Training is provided for all positions. The hours of work will vary in each community.

The ELT is supportive of staff taking personal time when possible to volunteer for this work and will do whatever we can to support your efforts.

Search Updates

4-H Science Professional (PT) (Andro/Sag) – Offer made and accepted
Administrative Specialist CL2 (PT) (Somerset) – Advertising
Nutrition Education Professional – Adult Curriculum Coordinator (Somerset/Orono) – Advertising
Nutrition Education Professional – Youth Curriculum Coordinator (Andro/Sag) – Job offered
Parent Educational Professional (Knox/Lincoln) – Preparing to interview
Sustainable Agriculture Professional – Somerset County – Brian Erickson hired

2020 ELT Meeting Dates

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

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
October 28 Prichard Harrington Virtual
November 16 Harrington Brzozowski Virtual
December 11 Brzozowski Sulinski Virtual