Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes January 4, 2021

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
January 4, 2021
Virtual Meeting (8:30 AM – 11:30 AM)

Facilitator: Fran Sulinski
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.


Everyone wished the team a “Happy New Year” and discussed how nice the time off had been.  Many members of the ELT took the three days between the holidays as vacation, so it was about 11 days off and people felt refreshed and ready to take on the new year.  Dick was with us this morning and thanked everyone for their support.  He’ll be coming back to work, possibly beginning with half days for a while.  There is a new employee orientation this week for Extension’s newest employees and we are looking forward to welcoming them!


One-time Credit for Counties

Due to both increased budget scrutiny and needs that arose during COVID, we are going to return a portion of county funds back to the counties to be utilized for technology needs (laptops, software, cameras, etc.)  This is a one-time occurrence and each county coordinator will be receiving an email on 1/5/2021 explaining the amount that was returned and the expectations around spending that money.

Update on New Positions

Since the last ELT meeting, there have been a couple of updates on positions.

  1. Dairy faculty position is moving forward.  Rick K. is chairing the search committee.  SFA is interested in a split appointment and is deciding what that will be (Research vs. Teaching).
  2. Dean Haddad in CLAS had a faculty position in Native American Food Sovereignty approved, it would be a 80/20 split with Extension (financial responsibility) but it would be a faculty position in Extension, so 80/20 (Extension/CLAS) in regard to responsibilities.  Extension would be the academic home of this faculty position and they would go through our continuing contract process.  There would be an MOU created for the position and the Provost and President are both very supportive of this position.
  3. Ag Engineer position – Hannah spoke with John Belding with the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) right before the holidays.  With an increased focus on infrastructure after the Economic Recovery Committee report, it is time to move forward with this position.  There may be an opportunity for matching funds to help support this position through the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (https://mainemep.org/).  The position could be housed in the AMC and the position could work with the team there to help support their work. This position would be funded for three years by Extension one-time funds with the hopes that after three years it would be funded by outside sources (like MMEP) and revenue.
  4. Other positions?  The ELT is open to hearing requests about other positions if they include ideas for additional funding and if they are in collaboration with another entity–the three positions listed above are unique in that they are joint or shared positions (two of them with entities that Extension has not partnered with before).


Goals for 2021

ELT members discussed our professional goals for 2021. There were individual goals as well as common goals that emerged through our conversation. We are excited by the work that the Theme Committees are doing and are eager to see what their outcomes will be. We also are excited about the virtual organizational conference scheduled for March. This will be a year of change–and discussion centered around the ELT restructuring and what that might look like and what changes may occur after COVID–will there be some programs that are discontinued? Will some programs that were developed because of COVID continue, etc.? The focus areas of revenue generation and internships are exciting given the positive momentum they both will bring into the organization.

There was a little discussion around other organizational goals and the consensus is that this is not the year for Extension to take on additional goals–between COVID and the changes that will come from restructuring and the theme committee work–there is not the bandwidth for individuals to take on more.

January Extension Connections Topics


Disappearing Google Drive Data

FYI – at some point each year UMS:IT deletes the email of former employees and when that happens Google deletes Google Drive files that are owned by that person. Once deleted the University has 25 days to request they be un-deleted or they are lost forever. Since we are using Drive more than ever it is important to understand what may be under the control of departing staff and plan for a transfer of shared materials.

If someone is leaving, they need to make sure they transfer the files to someone. Even if the files were shared, they go away when the creator of the files leaves.  For more information about the differences between “my drive” and “shared drive” please refer to this comparison document.

Announcements & Congratulations

Congratulations to Dr. David Handley on the award of $14,595 from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry for a project titled Expanding Maine’s Fresh Vegetable Market through Improved Winter Squash Storage. In this project, Dr. Handley will determine the most important factors causing storage breakdown of squash and develop appropriate, effective control strategies. Mitigation will improve and expand the market for squash in Maine, enhancing profitability for Maine’s vegetable farmers.

Congratulations to Dr. David Handley on the award of $30,872 from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry for year 2 of a project titled Expanding Maine’s Berry Industry to Improve Farm Profitability. In this project, Dr. Handley will determine the adaptability and performance of new varieties that will provide farmers with critical information they need to select the best performing plants for their farms and could result in significant improvements for present fruit quality and yield standards.

Congratulations to Dr. Leslie Forstadt on the award of $120,116 from the USDA Farm Service Agency to fund the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program. The program assists in the resolution of disputes between participating USDA agencies and their program participants and provides agriculture-specific training to certify mediators to mediate with the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program.

Search Updates

Administrative Specialist CL2 (PT) (Somerset) – Offer made
Assistant Extension Professor and Fish Nutrition Specialist – Advertising

2021 ELT Meeting Dates

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

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
January 25 Phelps Carter Virtual (8:30-11:30)
February 25 Carter Prichard Virtual (1:00-4:30)