Dean’s Wisline 5/1/2017 FAQs:
Q: Several counties are beginning their budgeting processes for the next year. What is the timeline for discussing future budgets with county officials?
A: Each county works on a slightly different budget timeline, and Assistant Deans, Regional Directors and County Department heads will be working together to engage counties in budget discussions based on the county needs. This work has already begun in some counties and we expect to continue in earnest through September of 2017.
Q: What Information Technology will be provided to Cooperative Extension staff located in counties going forward?
A: nEXT Gen surveys and work group reports indicated a wide variety of IT services and support available to Cooperative Extension colleagues around the state. A recent Huron analysis showed the cost to standardize and centralize IT services across Cooperative Extension to be prohibitive at this time, so we are exploring other options to provide consistent and predictable IT service to all of our educators. Assistant Deans will be discussing this topic with counties in their contract and MOU negotiations.
Q: Why can’t colleagues currently serving in interim appointments compete during internal recruitments (e.g., the Area Extension Director recruitment currently underway)?
A: An important priority for the nEXT Gen project is to limit the number of layoffs needed to meet our UW budget reduction. Because of that, Cooperative Extension has left many positions vacant and has used interim appointments to fill other roles. Staging recruitments to first open the application process to those in faculty and standard academic staff appointments is another approach we are using to address this priority.
Department Head Wisline 5/3/2017 FAQs:
Q: Will there be a bio available for stakeholders if they want to review individual candidates for an area if they do not know them?
A: Finalist materials will be available via the survey for stakeholder feedback. This will include the finalist’s CV and Cover Letter.
Q: When are AED’s supposed to be assuming their new positions?
A: We are planning for the internally recruited AEDs to begin July 1, 2017. There will be time dedicated to onboarding and training, as well as transition time for AED’s that need to wrap up programming. One of the first responsibilities of the AED hires will be to develop relationships within their area.
Q: What plans have been made for partners that would like to complete the survey that do not have computer access?
A: Partners that do not have internet access are invited to visit their local Extension office to review the application materials and to provide their feedback using Extension computers with the help of county extension office staff.
Q: Will Extension be conducting a statewide needs assessment as part of implementation?
A: In the next few months, there will be individual conversations with counties around programs and priorities as it relates to staffing levels. Eventually, the AED’s will work to put in place a longer-term needs assessment process.
Q: How will plans of work be developed for individual staff in counties?
A: This has not yet been framed out. Eventually, AED’s will develop an area plan of work (different than individual plans of work). Until the new process is developed and communicated, we will abide by the same processes we are under now.
Q: Has it been decided if the AEDs will remain in one office, or if they will be floating office to office?
A: This will be part of the AED buildout. County Department Heads will work with the AEDs to identify what is needed to effectively function in a local office environment.
Q: Who will carry on the day-to-day operations in the county?
A: It should not be assumed that AEDs will be like current-state department heads (over multiple counties) or even mini regional directors. They will not be employees of the county. We will need department head assistance to identify current responsibilities carried out for the county that will not fall to the AEDs, and to plan out how and when to transition these responsibilities.
Q: Shifting some current-state Department Head responsibilities back to the county would be adding additional responsibilities to someone else’s job. Will there be reclassification or additional compensation for these new duties?
A: We will need to determine all responsibilities that will no longer fall to Cooperative Extension, make decisions, and develop a clear and thoughtful strategy for how the work will be done in the future.
Q: Is there a list of the things that the contracts will cover for individual educators? (PD, mileage, resources, materials, etc.). These are typically part of the county budget, but if they are part of the larger contract, this could mean transfers in the budgeting process.
A: The IWG is working on this right now. Some of the PD and travel costs will be part of the contract and redistributed to UW colleagues through Cooperative Extension processes.
Q: When will it be determined how many offices will be needed to house new Cooperative Extension staff?
A: Please work directly with your Regional Director and Assistant Dean.
Q: If there is a need to go external with the AED hiring process, what will this do to the timeline?
A: While we are hoping that all AED positions will be filled through internal hiring, if this is not possible, the external hiring process will be staged right after the internal process ends. There will be a coverage strategy for this process.
Q: Will county-funded employees doing Extension work be eligible to apply for the positions (as they are released) as an internal candidate?
A: Those who are appointed and payrolled through UW Cooperative Extension will qualify as internal candidates (regardless of the funding source for their salary). County appointed and payrolled employees will not be considered to be internal candidates. A major reason for this is that the UW budget reductions only apply to positions funded by Cooperative Extension and, if layoffs become necessary, only Cooperative Extension employees would be subject to any potential layoff.
Q: Will counties be able to invest in 100% county-funded positions as in the current model? How will these fit into the new organizational structure?
A: Currently, there are counties funding 100% of the salaries of Cooperative Extension employees through contracts. We expect this practice to continue. These county-funded Extension employees would receive travel and other work-related expenses paid through Cooperative Extension and covered through the county contract agreement. These employees will report to their Area Extension Director. If a county wishes to fund and employ a staff member doing Extension-related work, that person would be a county employee and budgeted through the county accordingly. Each county would make a determination about appropriate supervisors for those in county positions. Area Extension Directors would be one supervisory option that the county could pursue through an agreement with Cooperative Extension.
Q: Who can county-funded employees ask questions of during this process?
A: County-based employees can ask questions of the Assistant Dean representing that area (see the map: https://blogs.ces.uwex.edu/nextgeneration/project-background/#map). Matt Hanson represents the south and Dave Berard represents the north.
Q: Will probationary faculty who move to academic staff positions maintain their current salary?
A: As Dean Karl Martin said in the recent probationary faculty Wisline, probationary faculty who move to academic staff positions will retain their current salary. At that point, Academic Staff personnel guidelines will apply to their appointments, including the policies for academic staff promotion (link requires Cooperative Extension employee log-in).
Q: What can we expect to stay the same in the new structure and staffing model for county Extension offices in the future?
A: Cooperative Extension will maintain county extension offices with support staff and county support in every county that wants to partner with Extension. We recognize the value in keeping a local presence in every county and keeping the shortest distance possible between the people of Wisconsin and the Extension staff delivering programming to them. We will also work with counties to not significantly increase fiscal contributions during the transition period. Other structural and staffing features that will look familiar include:
- County offices will be staffed with educators who serve individual counties or with educators who may be shared across counties, depending on the needs of the counties involved.
- UW Cooperative Extension Area Extension Directors will work with individual counties to determine county priorities and develop annual contracts.
- Continue with our major programming in the areas of agriculture, families, community development youth and natural resources.
Q: How will the staffing and structure for county Extension offices change in the future?
A: The most significant changes at the county level will take place on or before January 1st, 2018. Some of the main changes include:
- County-based Educator positions will convert from tenure-track faculty positions in the current model to academic staff positions over time as tenured faculty retire, transfer or leave UW Cooperative Extension. This is not a guarantee that all county-based personnel will remain the same in each county – current county faculty may decide to take new positions within Cooperative Extension.
- Cooperative Extension will no longer have 4 regions or Regional Directors, but will be divided into 2 zones (north and south) with each being overseen by an Assistant Dean (Matt Hanson in the south and Dave Berard in the north).
- Cooperative Extension will no longer have County Department Heads, but will instead have 22 Area Extension Directors.
- Area Extension Director’s responsibility will be largely administration, including maintaining county partnerships and developing annual work plans and contracts, determining identified priorities and staffing levels, and securing new funding and partnerships to ensure timely and relevant programming.
- Cooperative Extension will have new positions called State Specialists (tenure-track faculty) and Outreach Programmer positions (academic staff) who will serve Areas, Regions, or Statewide. These positions, located across the state or in county offices, will focus on program development, research, scholarship, publishing, and securing extramural funding, and will serve a geography larger than a single county (e.g., an area or the entire state). We expect current educators to fill these new positions.
Questions and Answers Regarding Probationary Faculty During the nEXT Generation Process in Cooperative Extension. You can listen to the recording of the Wisline here.
Q: Is the process of tenure for probationary faculty closing on December 31, 2017?
A: The process of tenure will continue for those probationary faculty who are in faculty-track positions in the new model. The projected timeline is to have the new model in place by the end of the calendar year – so for now we are projecting the new model will be implemented by January 1st, 2018.
Q: What point in the tenure application does a person need to be at to meet the fall submission deadlines?
A: The portfolios need to be based on 4 years of work at UW Extension; thereafter fore, a probationary faculty member would need to have completed their 4th year of service prior to submission.
Q: Does my document have to be submitted, be approved by SRP, FTAC, Dean by the December 31st deadline?
A: Yes, the December 31 deadline is the projected deadline. UC has requested there be two opportunities for faculty to complete the tenure process through review by SPR and FTAC and submission to the Dean by December 31.
Q: Does tenure need to be granted by June 30, 2018, or just submission of the portfolio?
A: Tenure is effective at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1st) for everyone who is granted tenure during the fiscal year. That will include those who go through tenure in the fall, winter, or in spring. Portfolio submission needs to take place much earlier so it can go through the process of SRP, FTAC, Dean review and Chancellor approval, and then The Board of Regents needs to sign off on it as well.
Q: The statement in the Dean’s email seems contradictory when you talk about dependency on the hiring process. Faculty want a concrete answer as to when they can apply by.
“The tenure process for probationary faculty will proceed as usual from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018, for those who are eligible. Eligible probationary faculty include those who have completed their 4th year of service (per Articles of Faculty Governance Appendix IIC Part I – http://www.uwex.edu/secretary/documents/Appendix-IIC.pdf). Eligible probationary faculty may submit a tenure portfolio per normal processes and timelines for Fall 2017; however, depending upon the completion of the hiring process for the nEXT Generation model, the late Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 submission dates might only apply to those probationary faculty hired into faculty positions in the nEXT Generation model and who are eligible to go up for tenure by timelines established in current policy (as referenced above).”
A: This frustration is understandable, and this statement is contradictory. However, the intention here is to give a realistic sense of what to expect. If there is any ambiguity in status of a current probationary faculty member’s tenure eligibility concurrent with the hiring process for the nEXT Generation model, the faculty member will be allowed to apply for tenure. In other words, if hiring is not complete and notices of non-renewal have not been given, but a current probationary faculty member is eligible to submit a tenure portfolio, he/she will not be prevented from submitting.
Q: Rumor is one, two, three year reviews have been cancelled. What advice is being given?
A: It is expected that reviews will continue as planned.
Q: There are a few faculty members who are Instructors who were planning on applying for a promotion (from Instructor to Assistant Professor without tenure) in 2018. If they need to reapply for their positions or apply for a different position, will the work they have completed prior to the position change count towards a promotion? Or, if meritorious, could they apply for this promotion early?
A: All work as a probationary faculty member will count toward promotion from Instructor to Assistant Professor. We will not allow promotions to be awarded early, but that time would factor into subsequent promotions.
Q: In recent years, promotion has been the only opportunity we get for a salary increase. With limited promotion opportunities for probationary faculty this year, how do you see this being handled to retain early career Extension professionals that are just shy of rank change? Will individuals at the instructor level that planned to submit for rank change to Assistant Professor this fall be able to secure this rank change?
A: Yes, if you are eligible for a rank change this fall we will accept the application for review and a decision.
Q: Will the salary ranges in the new positions give an opportunity for a salary increase for those of us that were not given the opportunity to submit for a rank change?
A: Your accomplishments and duration of time in your current position would be credited if you are hired into a faculty position in the new model or if you are hired into an academic staff position in the new model for promotion decisions.
Q: What happens to the time someone has accumulated toward tenure if they apply for a new tenure track faculty position. Does the time clock reset or does the accumulated time carry forward? That is, would someone’s accumulated 2 or 3 years be carried forward or reset to 0. Moving from one probationary faculty position to another probationary faculty position – does an individual’s time line start over?
A: It depends on the new position, past position and each individual situation. Time clocks would not start over, but there may be situations where it may be beneficial to give partial credit, based on individual circumstances. Probationary faculty that transfer from one institution to another negotiate time to tenure with a new appointment; and, depending on their new role and previous role, they may want credit for all or only some of their tenure clock timeline from the institution.
Q: When will notices be given to those probationary faculty who are not hired into faculty positions in the new model and have not been granted tenure?
A: We anticipate that notices will be given once the hiring process is complete for the new model, so at the end of the calendar year. Notice Periods Apply: UWEX Faculty Policies 3.10: “This written notice shall be given to the faculty member in advance of the expiration of his/her appointment, as follows:
- At least three months before the end of the appointment during the first twelve months of faculty service;
- At least six months before the end of the appointment during the next twelve months of faculty service;
- At least twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after more than 24 months of faculty service.”
3.11 Absence of proper notification. If proper notice is not given in accordance with Chapter UWEX 3.10, the aggrieved faculty member shall be entitled to a one-year terminal appointment.
Q: Will new model include part-time positions?
A: We will work with individuals on case-by-case basis.
Q: When hiring for the new academic staff positions, will an internal hiring process occur first? Will those staff in Interim positions be able to apply for the internal search?
A: Yes, we will conduct an internal search to fill the new academic staff positions before we open these positions up to external candidates. Those who are in interim positions will not be able to apply to positions opened up for an internal search only, but will be encouraged to apply for those positions opened to all internal/external candidates.
Q: There has been mention that the criteria for tenure (A. Evidence of successful scholarship; B. Evidence of continuing professional development; C. Evidence of leadership in program development; D. Evidence of effective working relationships with colleagues and clientele; E. Contributions to the profession, department, and university; and F. Probability of positive future contributions to the profession, department, and university.) will not change but the standards for meeting those criteria will be increased? Who will be involved in deciding the standards, who will they be communicated, how will they be applied to someone who has three years of current work in a faculty position be evaluated?
A: Decisions about standards will be communicated through governance and the academic departments. The level of governance involvement in the articulation of the standards will depend to what extent the higher standards reflect a change in criteria.
Q: How many faculty positions will be included in the new model or if not known at this point, when will we know?
A: The number of faculty positions as not yet been determined. Proposed faculty positions are still being planned as part of the nEXT Generation design.
Q: Will faculty be required to take a faculty position or will they be allowed to choose a faculty or academic staff position, potentially opening up faculty positions for probationary faculty and academic staff wishing to assume the responsibilities of a faculty position? Will tenured faculty need to apply for their positions, or other faculty positions in the new model?
A: We are still working through the hiring process, but our goal is to have the option for faculty to take on academic staff positions if the situation is a good fit.
Q: What will the hiring process look like for the new model? Tenured faculty have been promised they would have a position. When do probationary faculty and academic staff get to apply for jobs? Is there a distinction in the time when probationary faculty and academic staff can apply or will it be at the same time? How does UPG 7 fit into this process?
A: We are working on the details of the hiring process. More solid answers will be given once specifics of the nEXT Gen model become more concrete.
Q: Going from a faculty position to an academic staff this is seen as a demotion when applying for jobs in other states – not a question but a comment. Reactions?
A: All positions in our organization are critical for us to function at a high level. We have academic staff, university staff, and faculty who are doing great work! This is an individual choice.
Q: If probationary faculty members are not successful with tenure promotion this fall, does that eliminate their opportunity for internal reassignment to a non-faculty position? Does it affect 4th, 5th or 6th year probationary faculty differently?
A: We will have more information on this question after we fully consult with our HR department and hiring policies.
Q: If faculty members apply for positions in different areas, will relocation expenses be covered?
A: Cooperative Extension’s policies include support for relocation expenses. Reimbursement for relocation expenses will be based on specific situations.
Q: What happens to the retirement funds we have invested if a probationary faculty member is not hired into the nEXT Generation model and given notice of non-renewal?
A: All benefits would follow the standard process for separation, which can vary a great deal based on individual situations. Please see additional benefits information on our website.
Q: My responses to the February Feedback questions exceed the 500 character limit, can I still submit these?
A: Yes. Please email your responses (listed under the questions) to email@example.com and we will incorporate them into our synthesis of the results.
Q: When will employees have detailed information on their employment contracts? There are a number of colleagues with contracts that expire on June 30.
A: It is too early in the process to be able to provide detailed information on employment contracts. It will be important to have recommendations related to academic disciplines and program content, in addition to finalizing recommendations related to Cooperative Extension’s geographic structure. The project goal is to finalize options this spring and begin implementation no later than July 1, 2017.
Q: How can I provide feedback if I do not have internet access?
A: We hope as many people as possible will complete the online feedback survey, but for those without internet or e-mail access, you can fax answers to the survey questions in the linked summary by sending a fax to “nEXT Generation Project Communications” at 608-265-4545.
Q: What role would counties play in hiring county-based staff?
A: The MOUs described in the recommendations would outline roles and responsibilities for both counties and Cooperative Extension related to processes including hiring, and other aspects including program offerings. Specifically, Area Extension Directors would work with their counties to fill open positions. Cooperative Extension has worked in partnership with counties to fill positions and we remain committed to that.
Q: There are faculty who have not yet gone up for tenure. What is the status of pre-tenure tenure-track faculty?
A: It is too early to be able to fully describe the options available to tenure-track faculty who have not yet been considered for tenure. We plan to make an announcement in the coming weeks. For faculty who have already attained tenure, Cooperative Extension is not declaring a fiscal emergency nor considering the reorganization a formal program discontinuation, which are the two conditions that would allow for terminating tenured faculty positions.
Q: What role do county support staff play within these recommendations?
A: There are two recommendations most relevant to county-support staff: “Maintaining an Extension Office in Every County” and “Establishing New Agreements Between Counties and Cooperative Extension.” The recommendation to maintain an office in every county assumes counties would provide support for Cooperative Extension personnel. Those specific details on support, office space and other county contributions would be negotiated between each county and Cooperative Extension through an MOU and an annual contract.
Q: Within these recommendations, what program responsibilities will Area Extension Directors have?
A: While it is too early in the process to determine a specific position description for the Area Extension Directors, as full-time administrators, people in these positions would play a coordination role relative to programs. Working with both county governments and locally-based Cooperative Extension staff, the recommendation is that Area Extension Directors would coordinate the program needs in order to include them within the MOUs and annual contracts. County officials and local Cooperative Extension staff will continue to play critical roles in setting program priorities.
Q: When will the nEXT Generation support groups be launched?
A: The sponsors are determining when and how to engage the support work groups after operational assessments conclude in April. Following the completion of the HR assessment, the sponsors determined that the Human resources and Professional & organizational development groups would not be convened.
Q: Under this recommendation, would the flat fee paid by counties for services be equivalent to the salary of Cooperative Extension employees?
A: No, while the recommendation would allow counties to invest in services at a set level determined by the type of programming they want to host in their county, those county fees would not dictate employee salaries. These locally-based Cooperative Extension positions would be part of the university titling system and allow for progression within those titles. Under this recommendation, Cooperative Extension would provide promotions and other salary increases, even though the county’s rate would be held constant within that contract year.
Q: I’ve heard rumors that there is a target number of faculty that Cooperative Extension is trying to achieve in the reorganization. Is that true?
A: No, it is too early to answer this question. We have not identified any target numbers at this time.
Q: Will all positions need to reapply for their jobs as a part of the reorganization process?
A: No. There may be lateral transfers or other job changes that will not require a competitive posting. We anticipate that newly created positions (such as the Area Extension Director) will require applications and interviews. Job openings for these new positions will first be posted for internal applicants. If we are unable to fill the positions internally, only then will they be released to external applicants.
Q: Will county-based faculty take pay cuts if they move into the new educator roles?
A: No. We do anticipate that some current county-based faculty will remain in their county-based role as we move through the reorganization process. We are committed to maintaining employee’s base salaries.
Q: Is this the complete set of recommendations for the future of Cooperative Extension?
A: No, the complete recommendations will be released in April. These six recommendations are specifically related to geographic structures, especially counties. Upcoming recommendations will cover program content and academic disciplines, as well as partnerships with tribes, UW campuses and other organizations.
Q: Is the work of earlier nEXT Generation project work groups included in these recommendations?
A: Yes, in developing these recommendations, the Integration Work Group drew from the recommendations made by the organizational structure work groups, including Organizational Structure, County and Tribal Organizational Structure and Statewide Organizational Structure.
Q: Is “name” a required response on the feedback survey?
A: While we appreciate knowing who we are hearing from, “name” is not a required field on the survey. In order to provide the best information to the Integration Work Group and Sponsors when we report survey results, the survey requires people to provide information on their relationship to Cooperative Extension (County partner, Cooperative Extension Employee, Campus partners, Tribal nation partner, Other).
Q: My county government leaders want to begin working on budgets. When will information on costs for a new model be available?
A: Currently, we are collecting feedback on recommendations related to our geographic structure. The Integration Work Group will use this feedback to develop full options that will be shared for comment in April. Our goal is to finalize options this spring and begin implementation no later than July 1, 2017. We plan to provide counties with information needed to do their budget planning later this spring.
Q: Why is there an educational role in the recommendations for people with a high school diploma as a qualification?
A: The Cooperative Extension Food WIse program already includes staff with high school diploma’s as peer educators. Programs like Food WIse and others are designed in a manner that recognizes educational delivery by members of the peer group provides the highest learning impact to the audience.
Q: I don’t see any information about academic disciplines or subject matter content. Where can I find that information?
A: The February 9 recommendations are focused on geographic aspects of our program delivery. Future recommendations will provide details on academic disciplines and program content. We understand these recommendations are critical to our partners, faculty, and staff and we appreciate your patience. The Integration Work Group is working hard to be intentional, thorough, and timely in providing these recommendations. Project e-mails and the website will contain this information when it becomes available in the coming weeks.