Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes May 4, 2021

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
May 4, 2021
Virtual Meeting (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)

Facilitator: Dick Brzozowski
Note taker: Fran Sulinski

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

Communications & Marketing Team with Guests Cindy Eves-Thomas
and Lynne Holland

Cindy and Lynne outlined issues with ADA compliance on our websites and in our social media. These issues are mostly relate to providing accessible options for individuals who rely on assistive technologies, like screen readers. Problem areas include images without ALT text, social media “postcards” with a picture that contains language that cannot be accessed by screen readers, tabular data with missing header tags on web pages that cannot be read by screen readers, and non-compliant PDFs. The Communications & Marketing Team provides accessibility information during WordPress training and social media consultations. They also provide resources on Plugged-in, including an ADA Compliance Checklist for Web Pages and are available for testing PDFs for accessibility with Adobe Acrobat Pro. They welcome staff questions about accessibility.

Cindy and Lynne expressed that their desired outcome is to make accessibility a routine part of the job of our staff, ensuring our next civil rights review will benefit from our attention on these issues and most importantly our educational offerings are accessible to all.

The ELT accepted their recommendations to place this in the minutes, add it to Hannah’s upcoming Connection, and add a section on web accessibility into our civil rights training.


Extension Foundation (formerly eXtension)

UMaine Extension is currently not a member of the Extension Foundation.  We reviewed our current status as a non-member and determined there was nothing new and compelling with regard to their offerings that would have us reverse our course. If staff have concerns, please connect with your PA.

Fundraising Priorities

The UMaine Foundation sought information about Extension’s organizational wide priorities that could be a part of UMaine campaign. In addition, Extension should think about projects that a UMaine Foundation fundraiser could help us with. The ELT began to brainstorm ideas and will plan to focus on these opportunities going forward.


Roadmap Steering Committee and ELT involvement

The ELT invites the new steering committee, once formed, to utilize ELT members as a resource.


Smith-Lever Funding Restrictions on Teaching for Academic Credit

Federal guidelines prohibit us from spending Smith-Lever 3 (b&c) funds or associated matching funds to support the teaching of tuition-generating/for-credit courses. We have altered the structure of our payroll accounting and budgeting to allow for faculty and staff payroll outside of those restrictions, although we need a mechanism for knowing when it is happening. Most important is knowing the pay source for the College that is paying for this service which would allow for pay mixes to be appropriately adjusted. The ELT will be working on a process that will allow us to have the information that we need given the expectations of our Smith-Lever 3(b&c) funds.

SalesForce Update

Dennis updated the ELT on progress implementing SalesForce as Cooperative Extension’s unified CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool: The SF Implementation Team and Dean Hannah Carter recently attended a 90-minute presentation and proposal by a team of SalesForce staff and design experts. The presentation included a proposed matrix of solutions for Extension that were built upon the master SF database and included:

  • PARDOT.com as a “marketing automation” tool that would consolidate our professional and marketing communications from the multiple ways we are doing it now (Constant Contact, MailChimp, email lists, etc) to a single world-class communication system.
  • LINVIO.com as an e-commerce and events management platform that includes a question/ticketing system.
  • SalesForce SocialStudio (basic) – a tool that allows for deep analytics of Extension’s social media and digital presence.
  • SalesForce Accounting Subledger – an interface between our e-commerce efforts and PeopleSoft accounting at UMaine.
  • SalesForce Customer Community – allows for data entry by non-University people such as volunteers.

Next steps – each element of the proposal will be evaluated by the implementation team as an appropriate and cost effective fit for Extension. The evaluation will be done by reaching out to our ad-hoc team members and a cross-section of Extension staff across the state. It is clear that the full proposal as presented may exceed our budget for the project.

Next-next steps: Developing an implementation timeline

Announcements & Congratulations

Congratulations to Cooperative Extension educator Caragh Fitzgerald on the award of $35,374 from the USDA through the University of Delaware for a project called “Boots-2-Bushels: Improving Farm Viability Through Comprehensive Education And Hands-On Training For Veterans And Farmers With A Disability”. The project is a market gardening education and training program for military veterans, their family members, and farmers with disabilities in Maine and will be a collaboration with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), and United Farmer Veterans of Maine.

Congratulations to Cooperative Extension Professor John Jemison for his award of $204,331 from USDA/NIFA through the University of Vermont for a research project titled Education and On-farm Research to Improve Long-term Sustainability of Hemp in the Northeast. This effort will result in an intensive education program for growing medicinal hemp in Maine and Vermont.

Search Updates

 4-H Youth Development Professional – Somerset – Preparing for HireTouch
Assistant Extension Professor and Fish Nutrition Specialist – Reviewing Applicants
Assistant Extension Professor/Dairy Specialist – Screening applicants
Climate Services Specialist/Assistant Extension Professor – Negotiation Stage
Community Education Assistant CL2 – Horticulture Coordinator (Part-time) York – Failed search/No longer accepting applications
Extension Agricultural Engineer Professional – Accepting applications
Instructional Designer – Advertising internally
Program Coordinator – Bryant Pond – Offer Stage
Statewide Small Business Educator & Assistant Extension Professor – Preparing for HireTouch

2021 ELT Meeting Dates

Meetings are from 8:30 am to 11:30 am via Zoom – unless otherwise noted

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
June 2 Sulinski Phelps Virtual