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Coming Up for Air...

Dear Colleagues,

mar072014-Karen.jpgLast summer I launched an occasional blog to keep you informed about the happenings in the Center for Family Development. Unfortunately, I have not posted since mid-October but I am back with new energy and ideas to share with you about the center and our work. Much has occurred since I last posted and in this post I begin to share changes, new efforts and more.

After you read the blog, please take a few minutes to add a comment. Let me know what you would like to see in this blog and any other feedback that would be useful. Thank you ahead of time for your input.

Managing change...

In November, a re-designed health and nutrition program was announced. The plan included new position classifications for educators in the SNAP Education program and their supervisors. These changes resulted in the layoff of employees and hiring for the new positions. The Health and Nutrition continues to implement the model. In the near future, a webinar will be held for all Extension staff and key partners about the new Health and Nutrition model. Look for more details soon.

I bring up this organizational change effort because of what I learned about change and transition. Typically I think of myself as someone open to change with a strong desire to try new things. In addition, I had written curricula and publications on managing change in the past. But I found myself very challenged by the changes that needed to be made to accommodate the loss of funding for the SNAP-Ed program. To help cope, I turned to resources readily available on the Internet and want to share a few resources with you.

As I read about change, I was reminded that sometimes change can be overwhelming and difficult to accept. Numerous resources are available on the Internet and elsewhere to help us manage stress and strong emotions, cope with conflict, and build our resilience during times of change. Here are a few to get you started on thriving through periods of transition.

Dealing with Stress

These Family Development resources have been developed for various audiences by UMN Extension faculty and staff, and community partners.

Transition and Changes: Practical Strategies

This fact sheet from Colorado State University Extension provides an overview of strategies for managing changes and transitions as well as background information change and transition.

University of Minnesota Employee Assistance Program

If personal efforts at managing stress are not helping, consider the UMN Employee Assistance Program. EAP provides cost-free and confidential professional consultation and referral services for University employees, academic staff, and faculty who have work or personal concerns. Spouses/partners and dependents are also eligible for EAP services.

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

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