MU Extension new employee orientation

Support team roles and responsibilities

Each new faculty will have a support team comprised of the following:

Regional Director | Orientation Staff | Program Director | Regional Mentor
Program Coach(es) | State Specialist Mentor | County Program Director

The team will be identified and agreed upon by the regional director, program director and orientation coordinator before the new faculty arrives. Following are the roles and responsibilities of each member of the support team.


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:

  • Assess their core competencies and develop a plan for needed training

  • Understand their role and expectations

  • Demonstrate knowledge of MU Extension, its processes and systems

  • Design, implement and evaluate quality programs with  documented learner impact

  • Build and nurture positive relationships with the regional director, colleagues and the public

  • Develop, promote and conduct programming appropriate to diverse audiences


  • Work with the new faculty member to assess core competencies and determine additional training needs

  • Develop a supportive relationship with each new faculty member

  • Meet with the new faculty member to provide direction and assistance in the following areas:

    • Get to know MU Extension

      • Explain regional assignment

      • Discuss roles and relationships of staff (state, region, county, regional director)

      • Explain funding of MU Extension

    • Our processes and systems

      • Explain procedure for reimbursement of expenses

      • Review performance expectations including:

        • Position description

        • Plan of work

        • Individual development plan

        • Reporting requirements

        • Performance appraisal system

      • Introduce MU Extension technology

        • Technology availability

        • Specialist's use of technology

      • Program development/evaluation

    • Program development/evaluation

      • Explain outcomes-based program development and the program logic model 

      • Explain the difference between program and activity

      • Introduce county plans of work

      • Discuss regional programming/multi-disciplinary programs

      • MU Extension "Strategic Directions for the 21st Century"

      • Confer about evaluation strategies

      • Suggest program resources available

      • Discuss night meetings

    •  Get to know your community and region

      • Review role of extension councils

      • Provide tips on working with the news media

      • Make suggestions on developing community contacts

    • Relationship building

      • Discuss relationships with regional director, office secretary, CPD, regional mentor, state specialists, extension council

      • Confer about balancing work and family

      • Discuss importance of partnerships.

    •  Professional development

      • Review orientation components

      • Assess core competencies

      • Explain PIEs and PDEs

      • Make recommendations for professional development

      • Explain purpose of Community Development Academy

    • Diversity

      • Review MU Extension diversity policy

      • Make suggestions for developing programs and marketing to a diverse audience


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:

  • Experience a warm welcome from MU Extension

  • Develop a support network

  • Identify resources available to develop their full potential as a member of the MU Extension team.


  • Provide support to the regional director for the overall orientation of new faculty in MU Extension.

  • Work with the program director and regional director to contact, appoint and consult a support team for each new faculty member.

  • Cooperate with the regional director and program director to develop a schedule for the first two weeks of a new faculty member’s orientation.

  • Develop a supportive relationship with each new faculty member.

  • Take the new faculty member through his/her beginning orientation process.

  • Maintain responsibility for the following:

    • First day meet new faculty

      • Welcome new faculty, introduce them to MU Extension

      • Introduce them to the MU Extension web site and the staff resources page

      • Provide basic information about MU Extension to new faculty with backup information and resources in a notebook

      • Review the orientation schedule

      • Arrange a meeting with benefits staff

      • Arrange for faculty identification card

      • Have lunch with program director

      • Meet communication staff to develop news release

      • If time allows, tour of MU campus

    •  Follow-up communication
      • Schedule follow-up visit and meet with new faculty in their headquarter office
      • Communicate with Beverly Coberly, Associate Vice Provost for Programs, regional director and program director regarding the new faculty member's progress
      • Evaluate orientation process with new faculty and members of the support team
    • Cohort training and support
      • Facilitate cohort group trainings as provided in the orientation plan
      • Coordinate communication among cohorts who have started their MU Extension careers in the same six-month period through e-mail and/or teleconferences
    • Mentor training

      • Develop and facilitate training for new faculty mentors


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:

  • Recognize available program resources and professional development opportunities

  • Gain an understanding of priority programming in his/her area of responsibility


  • When requested, assist the regional director in identifying appropriate support team

  • Have lunch with new faculty on their first day to welcome him/her and to share vision
    of MU Extension and role of the regional specialist

  • Assist new faculty in becoming familiar with resources available to help them in the
    development of their program

  • Provide counsel and direction to new faculty in the following areas:

    • Program development/evaluation

      • Make available the list of priority programs and a copy of the statewide program plan for their content area; discuss the implications

      • Provide list of state specialists who might serve as program resources

      • Explain educational resources (notebooks, web sites, printed materials, etc.) available

    • Professional development

      • Discuss professional associations, memberships, etc.

      • Note PIEs and PDEs available to support his/her program effort

      • Share other professional development opportunities that you believe would enable them to better fulfill their role


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:
  • Learn program resources available from academic departments
  • Understand the role of state specialists in the MU Extension program
  • Establish a supportive relationship with campus resource person


  • Establish contact with new regional specialists within the first two-week period (if possible, have lunch with them on their first day of employment)
  • Help them feel comfortable and willing to communicate freely
  • Schedule a time for the new specialist to visit the campus department and to become familiar with resources available to him/her for work in his/her field
  • Identify priority programs and support available to new faculty in developing and evaluating those programs
  • Encourage communication between the new faculty member, his/her regional mentor, and his/her regional director

  • Make a personal visit during the first six months of the new specialist's tenure

  • Provide assistance as needed with promotional materials, mass media, teaching materials and presentations

  • Communicate with the new faculty member, his/her regional mentor and regional director about professional development experiences

  • Confer with the new faculty on: 

    • Program development/evaluation

      • Identify the named programs and share resources available to assist new faculty in implementing, marketing and evaluating these programs

      • Assist the new faculty member in the program development process

      • Recommend other field specialists the new faculty member might contact who have similar interests

    • Relationship building

      • Introduce the new faculty to other state specialists available to assist them in their program effort

      • Provide needed support in answering questions and making recommendation for programming

    • Professional development

      • Make recommendations for professional development to enhance the new faculty member’s subject-matter competencies


Expected outcomes
New faculty will feel strong support as they learn their new job responsibilities. The regional mentor is concerned about the whole person, not just the program aspect of the job.


  •  Establish a personal relationship to help open levels of communication

    • The mentor should contact the new staff member within a week of employment, by phone or in writing.  

    • The mentor should meet personally with the new employee during his/her first two weeks of employment, or as soon thereafter as possible

  • Assist the new colleague in developing a strong relationship with other MU Extension employees and community leaders

  •  Assist in the program development process (this will include program design, budgeting, implementation, evaluation and reporting)

  • Assist in preparation of performance expectations, individual development plan and reports (PRLLS and MPPRS)

  • Counsel as events and activities are planned, publicized and implemented

  • Visit the mentee monthly during the first three months and as agreed upon during the two-year orientation period

  • Assist the regional director and orientation coordinator in the identification of additional needed orientation experiences

  • Work as a team member with the state specialist mentor, campus program director, system program director, regional director and orientation coordinator toward the common good of the mentee

  • Review mentoring tips in the MU Extension Regional Faculty Mentoring Handbook, available on the S drive at


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:

  • Design, implement and evaluate quality programs with documented learner impact

  • Utilize educational resources provided by program coaches.  


  • Assist the new faculty member in learning how to develop and present programs. 

  • Provide an opportunity over two to three days for the new faculty member to observe you in your job role.

  • Share program resources and experience related to some of the following:

    • Program Development/Evaluation  

  • Share copies of your current job description and position description and explain how these are developed

  • Discuss your typical workweek in the office; include time spent in the office, prep time for meetings, one-on-one visits, etc.

  • Discuss how you develop a program, what steps you take and how you evaluate the outcome

  • Plan your time so that the new staff member can observe you working with a group, including how you present yourself and how you have prepared

    • After the meeting, talk about what went on and what follow up is required

  • Describe your philosophy of extension work

    • What is your role as an extension educator who is able to assist people with their highest-priority needs in any problem vs. your role as a specialist in an academic area?

  • Explain why you like working for MU Extension and why it’s a good career choice

  • Our processes and systems

  • Discuss the fiscal resources that support your programs

    • How are you able to generate funding to assist with your program efforts, including fees for services, grants and contracts, endowments, etc.?

  • Explain which sources you use to find various kinds of information, including other regional staff, faculty on the UM and LU campuses, Extension Publications, web pages and other electronic sources

    • Do you have to know the answers to all questions? 

  • Detail which media or delivery modes you use to get information to clients about your programs

    • Do you use newsletters, newspapers, radio, TV, flyers, video, Web pages, satellite downlinks, individual and group meetings, interactive video, other?

  • Relationship building

  • Talk about the importance of establishing professional relationships with other high-quality faculty

    • How do you develop relationships that are mutually beneficial and which help you fulfill goals important in your county plans of work?

  • Visit about how you relate with your regional director

    • What are keys to effective communication?

  • Note the importance of building strong relationships with various community groups, i.e. county commissioners, county office holders, extension council members, business leaders, agencies, others

    • How do you go about building these relationships?

  • Discuss the need to be a self-starter

    • How do you meet the demands of your job within a flexible time frame and little supervision?

    • When is it appropriate to say no?


Expected outcomes
New faculty will:

  • Feel welcome in the county and region

  • Understand county program, policies, practices and procedures

  • Research the area where he/she will be working


  • Arrange to welcome the new faculty member to the office, introducing him/her to the office staff and to his/her personal office space

  • Meet with the new faculty member to explain policies and procedures and provide overview for the following:

    • Welcome and get acquainted

  • Hold an office conference when the new faculty member arrives to help him/her get acquainted with co-workers and secretary(ies)

  • Find time to introduce new faculty to office holders in the courthouse and if appropriate, city hall

  • Take new faculty to the media and give them a news release on the new person

    • If you have a newspaper column or weekly radio or TV show, this too is a good way to introduce a new co-worker.  

  • Our processes and systems

  • Check to see that the new person has adequate supplies and materials to get his/her job or work completed

  • Review office policies and procedures, travel vouchers and other items you feel are needed

  • Make sure that someone introduces him/her to our e-mail system and work out any other local computer arrangements, sharing printers, etc.

  • Review clerical support and expectations of working with support staff

  • Discuss the county budget, funding sources

  • Program development/evaluation

  • If appropriate invite your new co-worker to one or more of your programs and invite other specialists in the assigned counties to do the same

  • Make sure he/she has a copy of the county plan of work

  • Get to know the community and region

  • Invite the new person to attend extension council meetings, give him/her a list of council meeting dates as well as a list of council members

  • Go on a tour of the community, visit with key leaders and volunteers

  • Make suggestions on developing community and regional contacts