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Extension > Family Matters > May 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Matters: May 27

sunshine.pngAlthough summer does not officially start until later in June, Memorial Day serves as the kick-off for Minnesota's summer tourism season. And our weather is now cooperating for the time of year! Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to learn what is happening in the Center for Family Development.

This week, you will learn about a number of changes in the Center for Family Development (Changes in Family Development). We also continue to hire in the SNAP Education program and information is included about new employees (Welcome These New SNAP-Ed Educators). I also include links to two new important reports that were recently released on early childhood and children of immigrants (Important Reports Released).

Welcome these New SNAP Ed Educators to Family Development

New SNAP-Ed educators continue to be hired and I am pleased to report that we have added 15 new staff since early April. Below are the names and information about 10 new and returning employees. In addition, these individuals have also been hired and their bio sketches will be included in an upcoming blog: Samantha Stewart (Cass County, May 27), Andrea Kronbach (Steele, June 9), Kanko Akakpovi (Rice, June 2), Anne Ulrich (Mahnomen, June 9), and Nancy Brewster (Hennepin, June 2).

Changes in Family Development

Beginning July 1, the Food Safety Education team will be changing the administrative unit to which they report. They will join EFANS and Joelle Feirtag will become the program leader for the team. This change stems from a need to strengthen our food safety education and outreach across the full food system spectrum. As a result, Extension will enhance its contribution to MNDrive and other large efforts related to Food Science. In addition, Stephanie Heim will serve as liaison for Health and Nutrition with the Food Safety Education Team. In FD, our need for food safety education has grown as we have expanded our work with Farm to School, Healthy Food Access, and other multi-level, multi-institutional efforts.

Cathy Jordan will be stepping down as director of the Children, Youth and Family Consortium on June 30 to take a joint position between her academic faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics and Extension Center for Community Vitality. After 10 years as director, Cathy will be investing her energies in two primary areas, community-engaged scholarship and a developing interest in nature-based education for youth at risk for academic failure or disengagement.  In her new role, Cathy will continue to co-lead with Jennifer Skusa the Educational Disparities Initiative Area. On July 1, Trish Olson will serve as interim director for CYFC as we develop plans for Cathy's replacement.

Hou Vue-Her, Project Director for Health and Nutrition, has taken a new position with the Minnesota Department of Health beginning in early June. Houa joined us in 2011 and has been instrumental in launching our diabetes prevention education and in securing external funds for Health and Nutrition programs. We wish Houa the best in her new position and we will greatly miss her.

Important Reports Released

Two new reports and websites were recently announced, both of which can help to inform our programming. Take a few minutes to browse the website.

Extension Staff Day in Bemidji and Mankato

Extension recently held staff days at which administrative support, nutrition education, 4-H, and other staff participated. Two awards were given for which I am particularly proud. Betty Wistrom, SNAP-Ed Educator for southern St. Louis County, received the Dean's Distinguished Community Nutrition Educator Award at the session in Bemidji. In her letter of nomination, Betsy Johnson, Betty's previous supervisor, wrote, "Betty is truly an outstanding CNE who serves as an exemplary representative for the University of Minnesota Extension locally, regionally, and statewide." Betty moved to a SNAP-Ed Educator position in January, and continues making many contributions to Extension.

Deb Page, Assistant Director, Extension Human Resources, received the Extension Distinguished Dean's Staff Award Nomination. I wanted to acknowledge Deb's award because of the support she gave all of us in Family Development as we were restructuring the Health and Nutrition Program this past year. I know that many employees who were leaving the organization found her assistance and advice very helpful as they navigated the severance process. In addition, Deb was always available to answer staff's many questions and address their concerns. Thank you, Deb!

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

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