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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for December, 2011

Photo: Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824,

Extension Colleagues:

2011 will certainly be remembered in UGA Cooperative Extension as a year of challenges. I continued to be amazed by the creativity and resiliency of our faculty and staff. A sincere thank you goes to each of you for your positive attitudes and continued focus on providing excellent programming during these challenging times. It is now time to take a much deserved break and spend some quality time with family and friends!

We end the year with some positive news on state revenue figures. We finish the year with another month of positive growth in state revenue (the eighteenth month in a row). November 2011 is up 7 percent over the same month in 2010. As we move into 2012, let's hope for an additional year of recovery and continued positive growth.

In late November and December of 2011 I represented UGA Extension at the national meeting of Association of Public and Land Grant Universities in San Francisco, National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, and the annual meeting of the Georgia Farm Bureau. We also dedicated our fourth new cabin at Rock Eagle and I addressed our JCEP Board and the regional directors of Southern State Cooperatives. We also celebrated the graduation of our third class of our Extension Academy for Professional Excellence (EAPE). EAPE is designed to allow faculty to gain management/leadership skills and help them prepare for advancement within Extension. Congratulations to the individuals completing this leadership program and thanks to Mary Ellen Blackburn and Tony Tyson for coordinating this program.

Extension Academy for Professional Excellence
Extension Academy for Professional Excellence 2011 Group II

Things are shaping up for Extension Winter Conference 2012. The planning committee has worked diligently on the program to provide opportunities for professional development, program area discussions, district meetings, networking, socializing and sharing concerns/issues with all your Extension colleagues. During the opening session we will celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act and hear from both Dean Angle and Dean Fox. Our keynote speaker at the final session will be Ron Cates of Constant Contact. Ron is one of the country's leading digital marketing experts and the nation's most popular digital marketing presenter. The host of Email Marketing Radio and Social Media Nation, Ron is renowned for his unparalleled expertise and ability to convey the most advanced marketing technology concepts in an entertaining style. An award-winning business leader, Cates has developed a broad range of solutions for non-profit organizations, marketing professionals and small businesses. He is a popular speaker and educator on topics from developing and maintaining powerful relationships with stakeholders to email marketing strategies and designing effective email communications. I look forward to seeing all of you January 18-20 at Rock Eagle.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson shares news of many new county agents and transfers as well as more personnel changes expected in the new year;
  • Arch Smith reflects on 2011 and gives thanks for family, friends and colleagues;
  • Elizabeth Andress reminds FACS agents to report the programs they present in their counties so administration can share the news with others;
  • Steve Brown encourages everyone to attend Winter Conference for the educational aspect and a little Extension "family" bonding;
  • And, we have a new guest contributor, Laura Perry Johnson. As co-chair of the committee, Laura has agreed to keep us updated on the CAES Strategic Planning process in 2012 with a monthly contribution to Extension E-News.

Happy Holidays from the Associate Dean of Extension office personnel


From all in the Associate Dean of Extension office...

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a very prosperous 2012!


County Operations

Photo: Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

New faces bring optimism!

As we approach the end of the calendar year, things are beginning to look up! State tax collections have been up for 18 months in a row, and for the fiscal year we are 6.8 percent ahead of where we were this time last year. We don't know if that will translate into increased funding for Extension in the next legislative session, but it is a positive indicator.

I announced in this column a few months ago that we had accumulated enough vacant positions that we were beginning to approve filling a few critical county agent positions. I'd like to give you an update on where we are with that process. The district directors have been very busy since July 1, 2011. We have hired 14 new agents and filled 13 other positions with internal transfers. I have included a complete list of these hires below.

Fortunately, we are not done. We continue to have retirements and positions vacated for other reasons that create other critical vacancies. We met with the district directors in early December and approved moving ahead on filling an additional 10 agent positions. We also discussed succession planning in relation to filling some leadership positions in Extension. Ken Lewis has announced that he will retire as Southwest DED at the end of April 2012 and Lannie Lanier plans to conclude his rehire as DED for SE District at the end of 2012. Therefore, we will be conducting DED searches for these two districts during the 2012 calendar year.

We are happy to have quite a few new faces on board in Extension and look forward to several more over the new few months. While we haven't necessarily turned the corner yet, it appears we have at least hit bottom with our budget woes and we look forward to better days ahead.

Hires since July 1, 2011

Southwest District
Thomas ANR Andrew Sawyer New Hire 11/01/11
Tift 4-H Ashley Davis New Hire 12/01/11
Cook ANR Tucker Price Transfer from Crisp 02/01/12
Northwest District
Bartow ANR/CEC Paul Pugliese Transfer from Cherokee 07/01/11
Floyd 4-H Elizabeth Brewster New Hire 08/01/11
Haralson 4-H/CEC Dorothea Graham Transfer from Douglas 11/01/11
Rockdale 4-H Brittney Johnson New Hire 11/01/11
Fayette ANR Kimberly Jackson New Hire 12/01/11
Bibb 4-H Kelly Ashley New Hire 12/19/11
Carroll ANR Paula Burke New Hire 01/01/12
Cobb ANR Neil Tarver New Hire 02/01/12
Fayette 4-H April Nasworthy New Hire 02/01/12
Dekalb EFNEP Von Baker Transfer from Muscogee 02/01/12
Southeast District
Burke 4-H Heather S. Brannen New Hire 08/01/11
Bulloch ANR Carol H. Knight Transfer from ADS 10/01/11
Effingham 4-H Abby Smith New Hire 11/01/11
Liberty 4-H Kasey Bozeman New Hire 11/01/11
4-H PDC Kathy Baldwin Transfer from Bleckley 11/01/11
Wayne 4-H Kaye Lynn Hataway New Hire 12/01/11
Glynn ANR Don Gardner Transfer from Bryan 12/01/11
Emanuel 4-H Robbie Jones Transfer from Pierce 12/01/11
Bleckley ANR/CEC Bryan McElvany Transfer from Treutlen 01/01/12
Washington ANR Brent Allen Transfer from Johnson 01/01/12
Northeast District
Madison ANR Adam Speir Transfer from BAE 09/01/11
Jackson ANR Sam Ingram New Hire 11/01/11
Barrow 4-H/CEC Wanda McLocklin Transfer from Jackson 01/01/11

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Photo: Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060,

Winter conference offers a unique opportunity

There are several reasons why the University of Georgia has traditionally been recognized as having one of the top Cooperative Extension programs in the nation. In my opinion, the top reason is a strong commitment to agent training. We are strong because we have a strong local presence led by the best agents who are well trained by the best specialists anywhere. We commit a lot of time to training. Training can take place in a lot of different venues, like one-on-one mentoring, district-level updates, statewide in-service-training programs (including Winter School), and on-the-job training. Our downsizing has challenged the typical on-the-job training succession that we once took for granted, forcing us to place new agents in very challenging situations. That reality puts even more pressure on our in-service training programs to give those agents the tools they need to do their jobs.

Despite the critical need for training as we fill a few of the many vacancies in county operations, we have chosen to replace this year's Winter School with a Winter Conference. We will minimize training opportunities in order to address an even more critical need - to reconnect as a unified organization. Budget constraints have forced us to conduct virtual Winter Schools during the last three years. While these served a purpose, we have lost some of the glue that has held us together in the past.

For some of you, attendance at this Winter Conference is not an option. For others, it may be a choice that you can make. I hope that everyone recognizes the value of a unified Extension network within our land grant university. Our organizational structure within Cooperative Extension is complex, sometimes making it difficult to pull us all together around a common cause. Cooperative Extension is a collection of agents, specialists, support staff and administration, all having different lines of reporting. Yet, if we can't pull it all together when we need to, we have no identity, and our collective strength is greatly diminished.

So, if attending Winter Conference is optional for you, I hope you will choose to participate. A great agenda is coming together that will offer something for everyone. At this point in our history, it is of utmost importance that we not only refocus on our mission, but reacquaint ourselves with the people that make this organization so great.

Happy holidays to everyone. I hope you can all get some much needed rest and family time and come back in January committed to help us pull Cooperative Extension back together and maintain our reputation as one of the very best.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Photo: Elizabeth AndressElizabeth Andress, Interim FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4860,

A good time to reflect and show appreciation

Last month I wrote about being mindful of how we choose our programming to best help families and add value to our local communities. This month I'd like to talk about this being the time of year for typical messages showing appreciation to others and wishing them health and prosperity in the coming year. It is also a time for many to give gifts to show that appreciation and to show a connection to special people in our lives. I am going to attempt to pass on some reflections from the past year as well as show my appreciation for what the dedicated employees of UGA Cooperative Extension contribute to the well being of others.

I have worked in Cooperative Extension in various states and several different roles for 33 years. Nevertheless, when I assumed the role of interim program leader in July 2010, I still had a lot to learn about yet another level of leadership and management in the organization. I appreciate those who helped me learn and grow, and those who helped me navigate through some demanding times. And, I have been proud to see our FACS and other agents in another light and watch as many of you have grown and taken on new leadership experiences over the past 18 months. Quite a few FACS agents have engaged in professional development through the Extension Academy and ExTEND programs. In addition to their own professional growth, ExTEND participants conduct projects that are beneficial to many in the organization.

At the risk of leaving out some worthy mentions, I would like to highlight a few more specific collaborations and accomplishments in counties. In October, I elaborated on the many awards won by our FACS agents and specialists in their professional association. This month, I would like to extend kudos to very valuable activities that may not by themselves be award winning, but certainly are extremely valuable. Several Extension agents in FACS and ANR deserve recognition for going the extra distance to assist with Dr. Judy Harrison's work in produce safety. Many thanks to Susan Howington and Frank Hancock (both of Henry County) and Amanda Tedrow (Clarke County) for their dedicated help with these projects. There has been some additional collaboration among program areas this past year. For example, Janet Hollingsworth and Lisa Jordan have provided leadership on new foods factsheets about some Georgia commodities. This includes garnering support from commodity commissions.

We will soon be going through GA Counts to pull end-of-year reports. To describe significant impact, we count more on program evaluations sent either directly to specialists or to our temporary evaluation specialist, Dr. Irina Kunovskaya. I looked earlier this week and noticed we have many fewer evaluations logged in this year compared to past years. I saw some names multiple times, like Jan Baggarly (Bibb Co.), Peggy Bledsoe (Houston Co.), Andrea Scarrow (Colquitt Co.), Joan Mason (Sumter Co.), Susan Howington (Henry Co.), Rachel Hubbard (Lanier Co.), Michelle Melton (Forsyth Co.), Christa Campbell (Elbert Co.), Ines Beltran (Gwinnet Co.), Nancy Bridges (Oglethorpe Co.), Edda Cotto-Rivera (Dekalb Co.), Suzanne Williams (Dougherty Co.), Jackie Ogden (Chatham Co.), Janet Hollingsworth (Appling Co.), and Joann Milam (Washington Co.). I also saw multiple reports from the radon group, especially Becky Chenhall and the GTIPI staff. I know some other reports are not listed, and that my method only looks at standard evaluations sent to Irina. Our EFNEP agents report in another system, as do those in projects such as Wash Your Paws, Georgia!, Money Matters and Relationship Smarts. So please do not be offended if you are not included in this listing but do regular program reporting. I want you to know that we look at activity and are searching for ways to summarize our statewide accomplishments and impact this last year in Extension FACS. One of my goals is to be able to cite specific, quality work and productivity. To do so, we need to know what your programs and outcomes are.

If you conduct programs and are not sending your evaluations to Irina or the specialist designated for certain project reports, we need your information and your contributions. Send your evaluations in as soon as possible, and if you still have some that have not been mailed in yet this past year, we need them NOW. We also are in the process of hiring a new associate dean for Extension and outreach in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences and we want documented statewide impact stories to share with the candidates during interviews as well as with the chosen program leader.

I look forward to continuing this dialogue at Winter Conference 2012 where we hope to highlight some specific county programs. And, I look forward to returning to a more active specialist role and engaging in additional food safety and food preservation initiatives. Thank you again for your tremendous outpouring of support and cooperation over the past 18 months I have served as interim program leader. I enjoyed the opportunities, as well as challenges, and hope to be able to help compile a great picture of what we have accomplished statewide this past year.


4-H and Youth Development

Photo: Arch SmithArch Smith, 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H,

We are in the middle of the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas and are about to celebrate the beginning of a new year. This time of year I always count the many blessings and opportunities that have been afforded my family and me.

4-H in Georgia is a very successful program in so many ways and we make many positive impacts on children. Many times the individuals who do the work are not given the appropriate appreciation for their efforts.

During the past year, there has been much discussion about the new county tier system and how it impacts Extension work and 4-H work across the state. In recent months we've seen some new faces with several 4-H associates being added to our ranks and some new agents being hired. Every time I see a new face in 4-H I feel we're making progress.

Realizing that we haven't received raises, that there are fewer county agents and state specialists than there were several years ago, that there are fewer dollars for travel and other operating expenses can make us somewhat disgruntled and less interested in the mission before us. I spent a couple of days over the Thanksgiving break attending National 4-H Congress. It has become a tradition for Miss America to speak to the delegation of young people at congress. This year Miss America spoke about her grandparents who immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia that was under Communist rule. She told of how they were able to escape the harsh dictatorship and live the American dream. She talked about how thankful she was to have the opportunity to be an American and how grateful she was to her grandparents for the risks they took to come to this country and begin a new life. Also during National 4-H Congress, Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld, a retired professor from Georgia State University, shared his story of being a Holocaust survivor. He told of how all the females in his family were separated from him and killed by the Nazis, of how his younger brother also lost his life and how he survived during his ordeal in the Nazi concentration work camp. After the camps were liberated and the war ended, he made his way to the United States, completed his education and had a successful career in America.

During my two days at congress I listened to the speakers and observed the 1,000 or so delegates as they sat quietly and listened intently to the speakers. It reminded me again of what a great country we live in and what a great opportunity we have as Extension workers, and particularly 4-H professionals, to reach out and help improve the lives of others who are less fortunate.

It is my hope that each of you will have a safe and happy holiday season. Most importantly, please know that the work you do, whether you're support staff, state specialist, ag agent, FACS agent or 4-H leader, is important and is appreciated.

On behalf of Georgia's 170,000 4-H members, thanks for all you do, and Merry Christmas!


CAES Strategic Planning

Laura Perry JohnsonLaura Perry Johnson, Co-Chair of CAES Strategic Planning Committee, 229/386-3414,

What is strategic planning and how can YOU be involved?

Strategic planning is just a fancy way to explain the process of assessing where you are, determining what your strengths and weaknesses are, determining where or what you want to be in the future and making a realistic plan to get you there. Individuals, businesses and organizations can follow the same general process of "strategically" making a plan for the future.

Dean Scott Angle has tasked our college with carrying out the strategic planning process so that we will have a concrete plan that will direct us as we move forward and as, hopefully, resources increase. In times of limited resources, strategic planning is even more important so you can focus what resources you do have on the programs and areas where you are best positioned to have maximum impact. The university's current strategic plan targets 2020 and we will focus on this target as well.

The dean appointed a diverse committee of 22 individuals that have already begun to plan how we will carry out this task. See a list of the members at We have organized ourselves into four sub-committees that will work to gather data from the following sources:

  1. Field faculty and staff and stakeholders
  2. Athens-based faculty, staff and students
  3. Alumni and employers
  4.  Key decision makers, peer institutions, experts, funding entities and literature

Data collection will be accomplished in January and February of 2012 in a variety of ways — regional meetings, interviews, campus meetings, reports and surveys. For those in Extension, we would expect you to plug into the process in a variety of ways. County faculty and staff should attend the regional meetings and bring stakeholders (clients, farmers, teachers, county officials, collaboration partners and others). Extension faculty in departments can attend the regional meetings or the Athens-based departmental meetings. Either way, your input will be heard. We also need Extension faculty to encourage their stakeholders to attend the regional meetings and any companies or organizations that employ our graduates to be involved in the process. We will have an on-line survey to capture data from alumni and employers, but we hope to gather input from our CAES employees in a face-to-face manner. This will give us much richer data.

In March, we will begin to sort through all of the data collected and begin to form a report that will go to the dean by June 1, 2012. The goal for public presentation is July 2012. This timeline will allow the dean and administrators to use this system-wide input as they develop the budget request for the coming year.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on what we are trying to accomplish and the process. Now why should YOU be involved? If I have learned anything from my experiences in this so far, it is that we have an incredibly (and impossibly) complex and diverse organization. Many of us suffer from tunnel vision and only have an understanding of our small piece of the puzzle. I hope we all seek to gain a broader understanding of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a deeper appreciation for those areas we do not understand or are not involved in. As you participate in the process, your role will be to represent your segment of our organization and help others understand what you do and why it is important. As you do this, you will also learn a great deal and be a better ambassador and employee.

We have six regional meetings scheduled to gather data from field faculty and staff and stakeholders. All meetings will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Please mark your calendar now for a session that fits your schedule.

January 12 Tifton Tifton Campus Conference Center
January 25 Griffin Stuckey Auditorium
January 31 Eatonton Rock Eagle 4-H Center
February 15 Gainesville Georgia Mountain Center
February 21 North Atlanta Location to be determined
February 29 Lyons Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center


The CAES Strategic Planning website is constantly being updated. Please bookmark this site ( and check it frequently for new information. You may also furnish input (signed and anonymous) by emailing or using the online comment form.

Thank you in advance for your participation and input. It has been said, "The outcome is determined by those who show up!" Please show up!

Personnel actions since November 1, 2011

New Hires

  • Chatham County, Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens—Elizabeth "Liz" Lubrani, Event Planner, 11/01/11
  • Cobb County—Becky Griffin, CEA ANR (grant funded), 11/28/11
  • Colquitt County—Caroline Horne, Secretary, 11/24/11
  • Effingham County—Abby Smith, CEA 4-H, 11/01/11
  • Fayette County—Kimberly Jackson, ANR, 12/01/11
  • Grady County—Sharon Liggett, Archway, 01/01/12
  • Houston County—Kelli Barnes, CEPA VISTA, 11/01/11
  • Jackson County—Sam Ingram, Public Service Rep, 11/01/11
  • Liberty County—Kasey Bozeman, CEA 4-H, 11/01/11
  • Randolph/Calhoun County—Tasha Bentley, CEPA VISTA, 11/01/11
  • Richmond County—Suzanne Holmes, PA, 12/01/11
  • Rockdale County—Brittany Johnson, 4-H Agent, 11/01/11
  • Sumter County—April Bowen, 4-H Operation Military Kids, 12/06/11
  • Thomas County—Andrew Sawyer, CEA ANR, 11/01/11
  • Tift County—Ashley Davis, CEA 4-H, 12/01/11

Part-time Positions:

  • Bleckley County—Susan Newby, PA (county funded), 11/01/11

Temporary Part-time Positions:

  • Chattooga County—Kelli Salmon, 4-H PA, 11/21/11
  • Douglas County—Elaine Hopkins, 4-H PA (county funded), 10/03/11
  • Douglas County—Jeremy Cheney, 4-H CEPA, 11/01/11
  • Meriwether County—Lucinda Smith, 4-H PA, 11/17/11
  • NW District Office—Lisa Carlino, Accounting Assistant, 12/01/11


  • SE District Office—Phil Torrance, PDC ANR, 11/01/11

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Haralson County—Dorothea Graham, CEC, 11/01/11
  • NW District Office—Alita Bailey, transferred from Accounting Assistant to Administrative Specialist I, 12/01/11
  • SE District Office—Kathy Baldwin, PDC 4-H, transferred from Bleckley County, CEC-4-H, 11/01/11


  • Calhoun County—Paul Wigley, CEC, 01/01/12
  • Mitchell County—Rad Yager, 01/01/12
  • NW District Office—Evelyn Baughman, Administrative Specialist, 01/01/12
  • SW District Office—Debbie Dotson, Administrative Specialist, 01/01/12
  • SW District PDC 4-H Office—Sue Cromer, Administrative Associate, 01/01/12
  • Towns County—Robert Brewer, Senior Public Service Associate, 12/31/11
  • Turner County—Merilyn Collins, 4-H CEPA, 01/01/12


  • Grady County—Michele Cone, Secretary, 11/25/11
  • Pierce County—Stephanie Murray, PA 4-H, 11/19/11
  • Richmond County—Myles Black, PA
  • Taylor County—Robbie Morrison, CEPA 4-H, 01/04/12

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