As Dr. Henning mentioned in his recent e-newsletter, he has appointed a committee to gather input about the future of Cooperative Extension, the Creating Our Future Committee. The charge to the committee is to consider how Cooperative Extension can be relevant, effective, and efficient in 2025. As you may have noticed, this is a rather broad charge, and during this process we will need your help and participation.
This type of effort has been conducted periodically in Extension. As some of you may remember, in the late 1990’s Speak Out About Cooperative Extension forums were held in 14 counties across the state, including participants and non-participants of Extension programs. It has been ten years since the Re-envisioning Extension effort was conducted. Much excellent information was gathered during those processes, and many recommendations were made that helped to guide Extension decisions. So, it is time to examine ourselves once again. Trends in the economy and publicly funded budgets and the upcoming plan of work cycle certainly make such an effort timely, as well.
The Creating Our Future Committee has had one electronic meeting and one face-to-face meeting in the past month. In addition, a discussion of this effort was held with the State Extension Council at their summer meeting last week. The committee will begin its efforts by gathering information about Extension and its future from as many different stakeholders as possible. This includes agents, faculty, staff, Extension leaders, Extension clientele, partners, and the general public. Technology will allow for a broad based input. Other items that the committee has discussed include:
As you can see, we have asked more questions than we have answered, but these are the important areas we are working on. I plan to send these updates about the committee deliberations after each meeting. You will be hearing more from us about the various input mechanisms. In the meantime, please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions to me or any member of the committee. I have listed the committee members below. Thanks for your help with this important process.
Rick Maurer, Committee Chair