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Monday, March 20, 2017

FD Program Business Plans Reviewed

By Patricia Olson, Director of Programs

“I feel a sense of urgency for the work we in Family Development engage in,” Extension Educator Jamie Bain wrote in her January 9 opening column. “Until all Minnesotans share equally in health and wealth, those of us on the comfortable side of Minnesota’s many gaps cannot rest.”

And resting we are not. This year, Extension Center for Family Development (FD) is implementing a program business planning model. We are doing this to operationalize and realize our promise to help Minnesota families make informed decisions leading to better health, financial security, and well-being. We also aim to be accountable for resources that come from taxpayers and to invest those resources wisely.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Reading, Readability, and You

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

Let’s talk about reading.

Reading


Not reading for leisure, but reading for information you need to get something done. If you’re like most people, you scan and skim until you find exactly what you’re looking for, like the instructions for how to get that spot out of your living room rug. And if you don’t spot what you want quickly, you’ll stop reading and go elsewhere.

This “scan and skim” tendency is magnified on the web, where users don’t even necessarily read from top to bottom or word by word. Instead, they often skip around the screen in search of information, and if they don’t find it right away, they’re gone.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Graduate Assistant Joins Extension

Jenifer McGuire, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor — Family Social Science

Laura Janzen started working as a graduate assistant with University of Minnesota Extension in February 2017. Her areas of focus are equity, sexual minority youth, and transgender/gender nonconforming youth in schools.

Before joining Extension, Laura worked for Edina Public Schools as a recreation leader and paraprofessional. She also has been a data collector for St. Louis Park Schools and Bright Water Montessori School in Minneapolis, administering various academic assessments.

Laura will graduate this May with a Master of Educational Psychology degree. For the 2017-2018 school year, she has been placed at Jefferson Community School in Minneapolis for her school psychology practicum and will serve as a full-time school psychology intern to gain her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology. Welcome Laura when you see her.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Divorce Education Article Published

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

The international journal Evaluation and Program Planning recently published an article by Extension staff titled “Relational conflict and outcomes from an online divorce education program.” The authors — Sarah Cronin, Emily Becher, Ellie McCann, Jenifer McGuire, and Sharon Powell — examined the impact of conflict on coparenting outcomes of the divorce education program Parents Forever™. They examined two hypotheses:
  • Reduction in conflict will be significantly related to an increase in positive coparenting behaviors.
  • Reduction in conflict will be significantly related to a decrease in negative coparenting behaviors.
The authors analyzed the data and found they contradicted the first hypothesis and supported the second hypothesis. For a detailed discussion of the results, implications of this study, and lessons learned, see the full article: Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 62.

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Tale of Two Columns

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

When I sat down to write this month’s column, I was torn. On the one hand, program business plans have been on everyone’s minds, and I’m no exception. I’d been reading the 13 program business plans submitted February 24 and thinking about the implications for our center. On the other hand, another, more personal date and topic was on my mind.

Community Gathers at Minneapolis Church to Discuss Transgender Issues

By Judy Myers, Extension Educator -- Children, Youth & Family Consortium

On Tuesday, February 28, nearly 200 community members gathered in Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis to learn about transgender youth research and practice experts.

Registration for this third event in the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) 2017 Lessons from the Field series, "Meeting the Needs of Transgender Youth," was so high that we had to arrange a last-minute venue change. Our fear that the move to a church sanctuary would keep participants from attending were not realized: Plymouth Congregational Church is an openly welcoming and affirming community and several participants who identified as GLBT expressed their appreciation for the large rainbow flag at the church building entrance.

Similar to the inaugural event, Extension SNAP-Ed Educator Nathan Hesse provided participants with an overview of health and nutrition risks for transgender youth who are often homeless and food insecure. Cari Michaels, Extension educator in CYFC, talked about mental health risks and mediators for transgender youth.
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