Extension ConnEXTion

April 2014 (print-friendly version)

A Quick Look at 2013...

It’s an annual tradition that I report on the interesting organizational facts that I discover while surfing SOARS, Extension’s electronic Stories, Outcomes, and Accomplishments Reporting System. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that SOARS is a treasure chest of good news about OSU Extension’s work across the state. SOARS is the primary source for all federal and state reports, briefings and presentations; the annual academic report to the Provost; budget support materials at all levels; press releases and media alerts; marketing and social media efforts; and many more communications efforts. Thanks to each of you who contributed to our good news bounty through entering your 2013 information and impact statements to SOARS.

As promised, here are a few interesting facts I discovered while surfing SOARS:

In 2013, OSU Extension had 183.5 FTE paid on federal and state dollars. This represents 35.5 fewer FTE than when the recession began in 2008 but 9 more than 2012. The number of recruitments for us is on the increase. As we enter the second year of the biennium, we are hopeful that this 183.5 FTE of dedicated people will serve as a strong foundation for building a future OSU Extension Service what will thrive in a leaner economy and support Oregonians in ways not yet imagined.

Over 14,000 volunteers (14,248 to be exact) helped Extension deliver educational programs across Oregon... Extension can achieve greater results and build community capacity with the help of volunteers. Even though the number of Extension employees has decreased, the number of volunteers has stayed consistent since 2008. We value the public good that comes from collaborating with volunteers, a contribution of over a million hours of service – the equivalent of about 567 FTE.

2,077,254 Oregonians engaged at some level with Extension, compared to 2,040,878 reported in 2012... These numbers include contacts made in group educational events or via phone, interactive video, mail, e-mail, newsletters, site or office visits. They do not include web hits or mass media. I wouldn’t be surprised if we increased our outreach via the web by a much larger percentage during 2013 as Ask an Expert and the "virtual Extension office" became the new normal.

Extension enhanced community outreach and engaged scholarship through 114 grants, resulting in over $9 million of revenue. The grants varied in size from a few thousand dollars to million-plus figures. Leveraging state dollars is one of the key objectives that our state funders use to measure Extension’s success. These extramural funds are possible because base capacity is provided by state and federal appropriations.

Extension faculty authored 270 scholarly publications or peer-invited presentations. Scholarship is defined as intellectual and creative work validated by peers and communicated... The medium and the review processes varied greatly, but the creative and intellectual work of OSU Extension faculty is being adopted and integrated by peers and publics beyond the university and the state.

Extension faculty and staff received 84 awards recognizing their good work. These included five local, 28 state, 17 regional, 26 national and one international awards from community organizations, professional associations and academic societies, as well as five college honors and two university achievements. It is a continued privilege to work with such a dedicated and high performing group of people.

Deb Maddy
Associate Provost for University Outreach & Engagement
Associate Director of OSU Extension

Extension ConnEXTion Newsletter Survey Results

Thank you to all who responded to the Extension ConnEXTion newsletter survey. The insight provided will help determine the direction we take with the newsletter to better meet the needs of our community. The results of the survey are below.

How often do you read ConnEXTion?

  • I was not aware of the newsletter 7%
  • I never read the newsletter 9%
  • Checked it out once 6%
  • On occasion 28%
  • Regularly 31%
  • I read every issue 20%

Which sections of the newsletter do you find valuable? Please check all that apply. (All sections may not be published in every issue.)

  • O&E News 38%
  • Leadership article 45%
  • Extension News 77%
  • County News 58%
  • Staff Achievements 56%
  • Professional Development 58%
  • Staff News 62%
  • Tech Tips 48%
  • Extension Events Calendar 54%
  • Personnel Updates (right rail link) 44%
  • Extension Blogs (right rail link) 11%
  • Past Issues (right rail link) 8%

Currently, ConnEXTion is sent out bi-monthly (every other month). How often would you like to receive it?

  • Monthly 44%
  • Bi-monthly 35%
  • Quarterly 21%

How do you currently view the newsletter?

When asked what was missing, respondents spoke out that they wanted to hear more from Extension leadership. They would like for Deb Maddy, Dave King, and Scott Reed to keep them abreast of important happenings/events in their respected domains. Also, survey respondents reported that they would like to build more connections with county Extension offices. Stories about what is occurring in each county or a faculty/staff highlight might help to connect the office across the state. It was noted that since it’s rare that Extension employees are able to connect with each other face-to-face, that having more stories about what is happening in each county will allow the community to better connect between face to face visits.

We also wanted to know what the readers thought about the design and format of ConnEXTion. Many of the survey respondents would prefer to see the newsletter listing a title of the articles with a link to the article as well as a short, focused paragraph under the title to give more information about the article. Respondents are busy and may not have the time to weed through the articles themselves to find topics relevant to them. Many suggested that we use the same format as "OSU Today" as it is easy to quickly scan the articles to find information that pertains to the individual.

Overall, survey respondents were mostly satisfied or neutral about the ease of navigation, pertinent information, topics of interest, and timeliness of information. Although very few were dissatisfied with these aspects of the newsletter, it does show room for improvement.

The input on the survey was valuable and will be used in determining how we present Extension news in the future. Please keep us up to date with any concerns or suggestions for improvement.

Journal of Extension Publications, February 2014

Congratulations to our OSU Extension colleagues who have articles published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Extension (JOE):

Did You Know?

JOE's current acceptance rate is 26.6%. JOE is a rigorous journal in which Extension professionals and other scholars can be proud to be published. For more information on JOE’s submission and readership statistics, see JOE by the Numbers 2013.

To learn more about publishing in JOE, see the JOE Submission Guidelines and Help for JOE Authors.

If you’re interested in becoming a JOE reviewer, review the criteria and application instructions found in the JOE FAQs.

O&E Colloquium Presentation Available for Download

The 2014 Outreach and Engagement Colloquium was held on Wednesday, April 16.

The afternoon included a keynote address by Dr. Lou Swanson, Vice President for Engagement and Director of Extension at Colorado State University, followed by a panel discussion.

During the keynote, Dr. Swanson shared six things universities must do differently in the next five years in order to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century.

The presentation, in PowerPoint format, is available for download on the O&E Colloquium website

Grant County's Gary Delaney Retires; Successor Hired

After 19 years of service in Grant County Extension, Gary Delaney has retired, effective March 31st, 2014. A retirement pie social was held for Gary on March 28th, to celebrate his dedication to the agricultural and 4-H communities in Grant County. Local newspaper the Blue Mountain Eagle covered Delaney's retirement celebration

Gary's successor is Shanna Northway. Shanna is taking over duties as the agriculture and 4-H faculty in Grant County and serving as the Grant County leader. Shanna began transitioning into this role in March. She has been working with Carol Waggoner on 4-H related activities and events.  

The Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper recently did a story on Shanna's new position with the Grant County Extension Service.

Please join us in congratulating Gary on his retirement and welcoming Shanna to OSU Extension Service!

New Extension and AES Logos Available

New logos are available for all OSU Extension County Offices and Agricultural Experiment Stations.

The new logos are available for download from the Employees website. They are available in both EPS and PDF formats.

Questions on the new logos can be directed to Erik Simmons, Outreach Design Leader.

Leadership Development Program for Executives

The division's new Leadership Development Program for Executives strives to prepare the next generation of executive leaders for the roles within the division and beyond through assessment, challenge, and support.

This program is aimed at faculty members who have significant professional experience within their assignment and a documented record of performance that indicates potential success in an executive leadership position. Applications for the 2014-2015 cohort are due by May 30, 2014. 

Visit Outreach & Engagement's Leadership Development Program for Executives website to learn more about the program.

Joys, Sorrows, and Well-Wishes


  • Elizabeth "Liz" Blann, retired staff member from Jefferson County Extension Service, passed away on April 1st, 2014. A memorial service was held for Liz on April 14th, 2014 at the Madras Christian Church. Donations in her memory may be mad to OSU Extension Service Jefferson County, 4-H Program or the local food bank.

Is something happening in your office that you’d like to share?

Perhaps a birth of a son or daughter or grandchild? Recognitions received? Has someone in your office experienced the loss of a loved one? We would like to hear from you!

Although we are spread across the miles, it’s important that we stay connected. Please help us in achieving this goal!

New Monthly Website Training Session Series

Tamara Hill-Tandquist (EESC) and Victor Villegas (ECTU) have launched a series of monthly online website training sessions.

The first session, Drupal Basics 101, was presented via Adobe Connect on Thursday, April 3, 2014. The webinar covered how to create a webpage, creating links, adding photos and videos, creating announcements, and linking to your social media pages. The session was recorded and is available on the Extension Technology Help website, along with other Drupal resources.

The trainings are geared towards Extension county, AES, and program website content editors and website managers working on Extension-themed websites, but are open to anyone and no registration is required. A list of upcoming sessions and topics is included below.

Upcoming Drupal Website Webinars

  • Writing for the Web, May 1st at 10am
    How to structure your content, making your pages pretty by using headings, list items, and paragraph tags. How to make your content scannable and easy to read. How to organize your menus.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO), June 11 at 10am
    How to bring value, deep linking, cross linking, promoting your stuff online, frequency of posts, importance of photos and videos, and social media.
  • Drupal Free-For-All, August 2014
    Bring your Drupal questions, we'll try to answer them.
  • Copyright Issues and Model Release Forms, September (Extension Conference)
    What is legal; what is not.
  • Cleaning Up Your Website, October 2014
    Tips and suggestions for improving your Extension county website.
  • Videos: How to Use and Create, November 2014
    How to create and upload videos to MediaSpace or YouTube, link to them, and promote them on your site.
  • Google Analytics, January 2015
    Learn how to track website visits, popular (and not so popular) links, and file downloads.

For more information about the series, or if you need direct support, you can contact Victor Villegas.

Tag, You’re It: Setting Your Ask an Expert Profile to Match Your Expertise

We regularly receive feedback from experts complaining that they are getting questions that are outside their area of expertise, or, who aren’t getting any questions assigned to them. Are you one of those? If so, chances are you haven’t set your tags in your Ask an Expert profile to match your areas of interest and expertise.

Our Question Monitors (one for each program area) try their best to send questions to the appropriate expert, but they can’t know everyone’s expertise. They rely on tags to help them find you. Every question that comes in is assigned descriptive tags by our monitors. For example, our Question Monitor tagged this beachgrass removal question below with "horticulture" and "weed issues". 

When the Question Monitor seeks to match the question to an expert, the system will compare these two tags (along with location) to those you’ve entered in your preferences. If there is a match, then chances are better that you will get that question. And it reduces your chance of getting questions outside your areas of expertise. If everyone does this, the system will become more accurate and “smarter.” So help us — and you — by taking 3 minutes to set your tags.

Here’s a simple guide to setting your tags (PDF) in Ask an Expert.

Jeff Hino
Learning Technology Leader