Board Excellence Newsletter - Fall 2016
Information for Local K-State Research and Extension Board Members
Volume VI, Issue 4 — Fall 2016
From the Associate Director
The U.S. Department of Labor will implement rule changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) effective December 1, 2016. The primary change was to move the salary level required for the executive, administrative, and professional (“white collar”) exemption to ensure that the act’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented. The final rule will raise the salary threshold from $455 a week ($23,660 annually for a full-time worker) to $913 a week ($47,476 annually for a full-time worker).
Upon comprehensive review of the FLSA existing rules for higher education, Cooperative Extension systems nationwide have determined that the primary expectations and responsibilities of agents/educators is as educators. As such, the “bona fide teacher exemption” within the FLSA requires no changes in extension agent/educator work expectations or minimum salary with this upcoming rule change.
I want to stress that we will continue to work to bring salaries up for extension educators. Boards, in consultation with the area/regional director, will continue to make salary adjustments to move individuals to the most appropriate level. Our long-term objective has been to be competitive in our salary structure. This is not a new requirement as result of the rule change within FLSA. Additionally, this rule change raises awareness of overtime and creates an opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of work-life satisfaction in managing the responsibilities and expectations of extension educators. There will be times when long hours are necessary to fulfill important work as a professional. That is part of being a professional. I encourage our extension educators to also seek satisfaction both in work life and in family life. As board members, I hope that is your goal for the extension educators in your local unit.
— Daryl D. Buchholz, email@example.com
Board Member Orientation
Plan now for an orientation for newly elected board members. The New Board Member Orientation module is designed to be presented to new board members after their election, but before they take office. The local unit director, other agents, and current board members are the intended presenters. Depending on the number of newly elected board members, it may be beneficial to include several continuing members to form a group large enough to interact productively. Allow approximately 60 to 90 minutes for the orientation. Because of the time required, the orientation may need to be scheduled outside the regular board meeting time.
Extension District Election Changes
District governing body election dates have changed with recent revisions in the Kansas election law. Beginning in 2017, those elections will be in November. Since a primary election is not authorized or required by law for extension districts, the declaration of intent to become a candidate shall be filed with the county election officer no later than noon on September 1, 2017. With the election law change, the governing body of each extension district will now organize annually in January by electing from among its members a chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer.
The Kansas PRIDE program partnered with 48 Hours of 4-H, inviting 4-H clubs to partner with PRIDE organizations for volunteer opportunities during Week of PRIDE. In the spring of 2016, 356 adults and 241 youth in 25 PRIDE communities spent 2,309 hours planning and implementing projects and raised more than $26,460 to invest into their communities. Seventy-four youth from 15 4-H clubs assisted in 11 communities.
Best Practices for Working with PDCs: Orientation
In “Best Practices for Agents Working with PDCs” agents are encouraged to conduct an orientation to help members understand the responsibilities of serving on a Program Development Committee. Last year, Jennifer Wilson, Riley County director, shared a new tool that she and the agents developed to orient PDC members. Here’s her description:
“Each agent contributed questions about their program area or an extension program they might have participated in. The questions were then arranged like a bingo card. The Extension Bingo Card was used as an ice breaker. PDC members were asked to find someone who had done the things on the card. We asked that participants sign no more than twice on each card, and to be sure to introduce themselves to the other players as they exchanged cards. After 10 to 15 minutes, we went over the card as a way to review our local programs with the PDC. It was a huge success! We had lots of great interaction, and many people said they learned a lot of new information about extension programs.”
For more resources related to PDC Orientation, check out the Board Leadership Module “Program Development Committee Orientation” and the PDC Resources website.
Watch for Links to Agent Performance Review
An important responsibility of being a board member is giving input to an agent’s performance review. Soon after October 1, board members will receive access to the agent’s Performance Review, Impact Reports, Professional Development Plan, and Action Plans for the coming year.
The Impact Report highlights “what happened” as a result of the agent’s programming during the past year. The Action Plan helps focus the agent’s educational program and leads to more measurable impacts. The Professional Development Plan is a proactive plan intended to enhance the agent’s effectiveness through participation in professional association meetings, workshops, graduate study, or in-service opportunities.
All of these should be reviewed before providing input into the Performance Review. After adding comments, the performance review is submitted electronically to the appropriate administrator who will compile all responses and conduct the review with the agent.
Board Leadership Assessment
Between now and January 1, local extension boards are encouraged to review and complete the Excellence in Board Leadership Assessment. This tool is designed to help boards assess their effectiveness and identify areas to strengthen in the future.
The assessment will be sent to the regional extension director by January 1 and boards that score at least 60 points will be recognized at Partnership Meetings in January and February. This assessment came about several years ago when the State Extension Advisory Committee discussed strategies for strengthening leadership of local boards. To view the form go to the Board Leadership Website and click on Excellence in Board Leadership Assessment in the lower center of the page.
Volume VI, Issue 4 – Summer 2016
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
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