Southern Region Program & Staff Development
Conference Call
June 18, 2007


Alabama: Rebecca Dollman
Arkansas: Lisa Ferris, Allisen Penn, and Rich Poling
Florida: Nick Place
Georgia: Mary Ellen Blackburn (chair), Richard Rohs
Kentucky: John Mowbray and Paul Warner
Louisiana: Debra Davis and Robert Richard
Mississippi: Julie Sexton and Ronnie White
North Carolina: Mitch Owen
Oklahoma: Joyce Martin (secretary)
Puerto Rico: none
South Carolina: Della Baker
Tennessee: Herb Byrd (vice-chair) and Joseph Donaldson
Texas: Scott Cummings and Chris Boleman
Virginia: Nancy Franz
West Virginia: none

Mary Ellen Blackburn called the meeting to order and welcomed the group.

Joyce Martin, secretary, stated that the March 2007 conference call minutes were posted on the Southern Region Web site. Nancy Franz made a motion that the minutes be accepted as posted. Motion carried.


Update on SEAL and PSD Conference

Scott Cummings announced that he had been working with Carla Wood, University of Georgia, regarding the conference. The Westin Hotel at the Atlanta Airport has been confirmed as the conference site. There has been overwhelming support for shortening the conference to Monday-noon to Wednesday-noon or Tuesday-noon to Thursday-noon. There has been some concern about joining both conferences. Questions that we should discuss: (1) do we move forward? (2) do we put the two conferences together or keep them separate. Lots of options. Chris Boleman indicated that there is not a lot of extra materials developed since the last conference. He suggested that we offer a volunteer management track for volunteers as they work with advisory leadership. A general thought would be to combine both conferences and offer three tracks. The room rate at the hotel is $135 per night.

Debra Davis suggested that given the content, that we separate SEAL from the other conference. Chris Boleman would like to combine the conferences. Nick Place would like to bring volunteers. Advocacy is of great interest in Florida for using advisory committees for advocacy. Scott wants to get as many staff from Texas to attend this conference. He asked that everyone email him to validate the number of rooms each state will need. Mitch stated that the NC Director is supportive of the SEAL conference. Southern Region Directors voted on both SEAL and PSD conferences. Julie Sexton thinks its ok to wait until new materials are available. Scott suggested that we look at successes and barriers of this conference. He also, suggested that we talk to Paul Warner to make sure we are not moving too far away from the original intent of the SEAL conference. Paul stated that when SEAL was approved by the Directors that the intent was not just a conference but "products" to adopt for each state then one year later come back with more materials. Chris made a motion that the conference would contain three tracks including one for Advisory Leadership. Nick seconded the motion. Motion passed. Discussion followed regarding the length of the conference; two and half days or three days. Scott reminded everyone to email him ASAP regarding the number of people and the number of rooms needed by each state.

Nominating Committee

Scott is looking for two people to serve on the nominating committee. He asked for volunteers for the committee but will appoint volunteers if needed. The secretary position will be open and the 1890 position needs further review. Scott will work with Mary Ellen and Paul on this issue.

Update on CECP Modules

History - Herb Byrd indicated that Randol Waters is waiting to get feedback from the reviewers. Julie has reviewed the reviews and she will help with the changes. In July, she will finish the review suggestions and the module will be complete by the PLN meeting. Lisa Ferris indicated that she prepared pre/post test questions and has completed many revisions already and is waiting on the approval by Randol.

Writing Impacts - Mary Ellen reported that the module needed a self-assessment but had no additional information. Nancy Franz is hopeful that they can complete the module when Heather Boyd, a new faculty member comes on board in Virginia.

Facilitation - Debra Davis reported that the module is ready for review. She is comfortable with the content, but not happy with the presentation style. She wants to spruce it up. A blind review will be forwarded to Mary Ellen. If anyone would like to review this module, let Mary Ellen know.

Presentation Skills - Allisen Penn reported that the module is finished except the questions. She indicated that they could add or subtract from the platform they are using in Arkansas. They will make the review available on the Arkansas platform. The CECP platform is difficult to work on. HTML code is not her background or interest. They will then migrate to the CECP platform. Julie indicated that the problem is an accessibility issue but that they are very close to having a new platform. Mary Ellen will be contacted when it is ready for review.

Web Instructional Design - Julie Sexton reported that she has not started on the module yet due to the other responsibilities.

eXtension Collaboration Area - Julie reported that Lisa and Debra are also on the PSD CECP pilot team for Moodle training and will attend training in mid-August. The new platform pitfalls will be shared as well as how to move courses.

CECP Evaluation - Nancy and Scott are on the program evaluation committee. No additional information regarding moving courses has been announced.

Federal POW Update

Several states reported getting letters from the Federal level. Virginia, Louisiana, and South Carolina have received approval letters. Virginia would like Family and Youth indicators from any states.

PLN Update / 2007 Conference

Mitch Owen reported that the conference keynote speaker will be Ron Crouch, Director, Kentucky State Data Center. The focus of the session will highlight funding opportunities both rural and urban. He knows Extension well and his presentation will address new challenges facing urbanization of southern states. A member of the NC Foundation Advancement group may speak. There will be a pre-tour of Churchill Downs. The first morning will be a general session and committees will have plenty of time for discussion.


Mary Ellen asked for ideas on agenda items. Do we want tours or speakers? John and Paul will provide options for speakers and tours. In addition, they might provide restaurant ideas for a committee night out. Mary Ellen asked if we want to use time in committee or have tours/speakers. Rich suggested a Jefferson county staff person might speak on the topic of urbanization. Nancy asked to have someone address "what is different in an urban county regarding staff development?"

PSD Agenda Items

Mary Ellen asked for any issues that need to be on the agenda. Mitch suggested that we need to be proactive about retention of new employees. We need to create the culture. Richard Rohs stated the need to include research from Extension folks. Mitch shared that we might want to meet by ourselves (PSD) or with 4-H to discuss employee engagement. What are we learning that works? Another option would be to meet with Middle Management and/or 4-H to discuss succession planning- Preparing our leaders for leadership positions. Julie has flash game on generational issues. She will send the link. We need to have a discussion with middle managers for needs assessment on critical issues middle managers are facing now and in the next five years. Mitch suggested retention and succession, is it an issue in the southern region? Another issue is using Web 2.0, Blogging, and Twitter. We need to share information about this technology. How can we use technology to network? Mary Ellen asked Mitch to think about new technology, it's application and how we need to explore this topic. Other items of interest might include a tour of businesses, such as Toyota. John will work on speaker and tour ideas to entertain and educate. He will forward committee-meeting ideas to Mary Ellen.

Other Comments

Scott will review proposals for the PSD conference in October.
Mitch indicated that we would have time for the committee night out at the August meeting. John and Paul will make suggestions for the "Night Out".

State Reports

Alabama - Rebecca reported on the leadership programs in Alabama.

Arkansas - Rich shared that an announcement for the Ag and Extension department head position will be posted soon. Allisen- The Faculty Leadership program is going well. Web in-service training including process skills such as how to teach, evaluation, professional image- good Extension professionals has been developed.

Florida - Nick Place completed Extension Symposium with 500 state and county faculty; evaluation indicated this was very good. Cindy Higgins is collecting dissertation data from 340 new county agents/faculty. She has received over 200 responses. They are making major changes to the planning and reporting system.

Georgia - Mary Ellen reported that Greg would be taking a new position as a district director. His position of Reporting and Accountability will be open. The new Associate Dean is in place. She is working on the Academy to develop succession-planning leaders.

Kentucky - John stated Kentucky has a new Director of Extension and they are working on the Leadership succession program and sharing four-year POW materials. They are also planning to strengthen the Civil Rights Plan update.

Louisiana - Debra -POW and annual reports were received and approved.

Mississippi - Julie reported planning for Professional Improvement conference. The keynote speaker will be the Under-Secretary of USDA. They held a statewide secretary conference and providing prizes and freebies. Two awards per district were given for secretary innovations- $500 award for best portfolio. They do have a professional secretary association.

North Carolina - Mitch shared about the orientation for faculty and specialists forgetting them on board, it is more focused. CED training for new and aspiring CED's utilizes the NC director competencies. They will modify the program to four three-day sessions. Also, provide leadership programs for commodity groups.

Oklahoma - Joyce reported that Oklahoma has just completed CED training and this was the second year for Career Ladder promotions. New event planned for this year will include a Division wide conference in addition to an Extension conference in January.

Puerto Rico - no report.

South Carolina - Della shared information about the new employee orientation, evaluating and competency training.

Tennessee - Joseph highlighted the Economic Impact for UT Score Card outreach report.

Texas - no report.

Virginia - Nancy reported that Heather Boyd would become the new Program Evaluation specialist effective August 1. They will search for a new staff development person. In addition, they are moving to the Ag Extension Education department and will be revamping the new employee orientation program.

Paul, as advisor to our group reported nothing new at this time.

Mary Ellen shared additional information about the conference. Nina Boston has available a state reporting system template on the web to enter state reports. Just cut and paste your state report.

With no further business, Mary Ellen thanked everyone for participating and the meeting was adjourned.

August Meeting: August 28-30, 2007 Louisville, Kentucky