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August 2014
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Action Teams Wrap-up!

All five of Cooperative Extension’s Action Team’s concluded their work in June.

How will Cooperative Extension improve as a result of their efforts?

Support – Structuring Ourselves for Success:

We will take our high-quality staff to even greater heights by increasing access to information and supporting colleague needs at the central level, including:

  • Enhancing information systems
  • Providing improved and easy to access resources for communications, inclusion and scholarship
  • Strengthening our support systems
  • Creating a comprehensive professional development system

Aligning CE’s Values, Operations, and Programming:

Our systems will be aligned and streamlined for greater effectiveness and efficiencies by:

  • Implementing a Cooperative Extension Intranet
  • Providing additional Human Resource Development resources
  • Enhancing communications and networking through the Statement of Intent

Growing our Resource Engine Momentum:

Cooperative Extension will support entrepreneurship and will continue to provide respectful and transparent process to make financial decisions through:

  • Providing additional resources for communications and marketing
  • Adding centralized support for grants management
  • Implementing a Statewide Resource Management Team

Infusing the Foundational Values of Community, Discovery, Inclusiveness, Relationships, and Respect to Build Awareness about Cooperative Extension’s Niche:

These values are part of Cooperative Extension’s way of life and areas where we are seen as leaders by our partners.  This work will be further infused into our culture by:

  • Implementing a peer/climate support model
  • Providing spaces for dialogue and engagement of all colleagues
  • Providing additional professional development opportunities and resources to reinforce these values

Further information about the work of each action team will be posted in upcoming weeks.

The Action Teams had an opportunity to share their findings, recom-mendations, and actions at an Action Team Capstone Summit.  View their updates and additional Summit information here.

Action Team Efforts Underway

As of fall 2011, all five Cooperative Extension Action Teams have convened. Inclusive Excellence, Communicating Value through Relationships (Formerly Political Effectiveness and Awareness Building), Scholarship, Staffing, and Administrative Resources – Technology Information Systems have begun the process of meeting with a target of finishing work by June 30, 2012. To learn more about the Action Teams, including the membership of each team, click here.

Over September 20-21, the five Action Teams met in the Wisconsin Dells with members of the Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee for an Action Team Summit.

Key Points:

  • Sincere and serious look at our future
  • Focused on action and moved forward
  • Connect phases of planning and implementation
  • Recognized complexity and implications for change

Inclusive Excellence Action Team Announced

The first of Cooperative Extension’s Action Teams held it’s first meeting on June 22, 2011.  Guided by a draft logic model, the team will work to implement efforts to move Cooperative Extension toward becoming more inclusive in our workplaces and in our educational programming with people throughout the state.

Members of the Inclusive Excellence Action Team include:  Greg Andrews, Jennifer Caravella, Teresa Curtis, Howard Fenton, JoAnn Hinz, Donna Hora-Schwobe, Yvonne Horton, Annie Jones, Sharon Klawitter, Jeffrey Lewis, Rosamaria Martinez, Pam Peterson, Samuel Pratsch, and JulieAnn Stawicki.

Visit the Action Team pages to view logic models, agendas, minutes, and more!

Action Team Recruitment

Dean Klemme and the Council for Strategic Change are recruiting for five action teams:

  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Political Effectiveness and Awareness Building
  • Scholarship
  • Staffing
  • Administrative Resources and Technology Information Systems

What is an action team?  Rather than planning, action teams implement specific strategy recommendations.  Three of Cooperative Extension’s Action Teams - Inclusive Excellence, Scholarship, and Political Effectiveness and Awareness Building, build on foundational work core to our Purpose, Vision, and Values. The  Staffing and Administrative Resources & Technology Information Systems Action Teams will help Cooperative Extension implement the Strategic Direction, “Structuring Ourselves for Success.”

For more information, see the overview of Cooperative Extension’s Strategic Directions and Action Teams.  If you are interested in serving on an Action Team, email .

Dean Klemme announces Implementation Plan

2010 marked a year of incredible progress for engaging our colleagues in the work of our Purpose, Vision, and Values and our Strategic Directions.  Several of you submitted creative and substantive entries for our Values Contest; hundreds participated in the Comprehensive Budget Planning Focus Groups; and nearly 800 participated in the “Extension Reconsidered: Connecting and Engaging with our Future” plenary activity at the Connections and Engagement Conference.

Working with the Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee and the Council for Strategic Change, we have conducted an extensive analysis of the data collected at these events.  Many of the ideas and concerns gathered were consistent with the strategic plan recommendations. Nonetheless these processes were critical because they not only engaged our colleagues, but also because they revealed where we have, and do not have, energy and commitment for change.

For instance, it is very clear that we need to increase our flexibility as an organization by reducing the barriers created by our silos; that a local presence is critical to our success; and that effective relationships with our stakeholders in counties, the state, and the UW-System are vital to achieving our purpose.

Implementation Oversight

As you know, I view organizational strategic planning as an ongoing competency for Cooperative Extension – rather than a one-time event where “the strategic plan” sits on a shelf with little hope of implementation.  I have asked the Council for Strategic Change to make a long-term commitment toward planning, implementing, coordinating, and evaluating our progress toward achieving our Strategic Directions, Purpose, Vision and Values.

The Council for Strategic Change consists of twelve members, selected by myself, who serve three-year rotational terms.  Additionally, membership includes myself as an Ex-Officio member, staffing from the Dean’s office, and a facilitator.  At this time, we are recruiting new membership.  Please see the Call for Nominations and nominate yourself or others.  Nominations are due to me at by January 21, 2011.

Implementing the Strategic Directions

Structuring ourselves for Success: I have asked the Council for Strategic Change to continue working with the Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee, Unit Directors, and Governance representatives on identifying, mapping, and analyzing Cooperative Extension’s core administrative functions.  This work began following the Connections and Engagement Conference and will result in creating, eliminating, and aligning functions and structures. This will allow us to increase programmatic flexibility and increase our effectiveness at achieving our purpose.  I have asked that their recommendations are completed by early spring.  At that time, I will invite a few of you – along with external stakeholders – to participate in two Short-term Action Teams: County Staffing and Specialist Staffing.  These action teams will select and finalize recommendations, design a timeline for implementation, and invite reactions from colleagues.

While I understand that many of you are feeling a great deal of uncertainty about our organizational structure, it is very important that we don’t make these changes lightly.  There is also a great deal of uncertainty about state and county budgets.  We will have more information in late spring that will certainly influence our decisions in these areas.  I should also note that we are on track with the deliberate course outlined in the Comprehensive Budget Planning timeline.

I have charged the Council for Strategic Change, Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee, Unit Directors, and participating Governance representatives to submit recommendations that offer a high degree of flexibility to these two short-term action teams.  Flexibility will allow us  to be resilient during budget challenges/reductions and also create opportunities for future growth.

The Change Frontiers:

All four Strategic Directions are very interrelated and recommendations are not easily contained within one particular Strategic Direction.  In December 2010 I announced several Change Frontiers, or recommendations, that are organizational priorities.  Several of the Change Frontier recommendations are already in progress.  There are four areas where I would like to see coordinated and targeted action toward specific recommendations.

  • Political Effectiveness and Awareness Building
  • Scholarship
  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Technology

I will announce opportunities to participate in these four Action Teams in February.

Please use this text link to access a PDF version of  ”Implementing our Strategic Directions.”  The interactive PDF version includes several links to additional resources.

Thank you for your continued work in providing scholarly programming that is valued by our audiences – and for your contributions toward transforming Cooperative Extension from “Good to Great“!

Extension Reconsidered: Connecting and Engaging with our Future

Updated: Plenary activity feedback

770 Cooperative Extension colleagues participated in the Connections and Engagement Conference plenary activity. Participants were asked to share their ideas, concerns, and visions for shaping how the organization should look in the future.

Dean Richard Klemme and Keynote Speaker Linda Booth Sweeney led and facilitated table discussions around 14 theme areas including Districts, Program Areas, Specialists, Awareness Building, and Diversity and Inclusion.  The 14 theme areas were identified through a content analysis of feedback generated during the Comprehensive Budget Planning Focus Groups this past summer.

The plenary activity consisted of a 4-step process for each of the 14 themes that built on systems thinking concepts that Linda Booth Sweeney introduced during her Keynote. The steps included : 1. Personal Reflection, 2. Relationships  (sharing reflections 1:1), 3. Big Picture (discussion), 4. Making Connections (larger discussion, tweets).  Information gathered during this process will be used to guide decision making as Dean Klemme works with governance groups, the Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee, and the Council for Strategic Change to update the Strategic Plan.

Thank you everyone for participating in the conference activity – the passion and energy in the room that day were contagious.  Please click the links below to access the compiled table responses for each of the 14 theme areas.  Personal reflection summaries from Step 1 in the process will be posted on this site at a later date. Also, see the previous post for the Tweets from your colleagues about the themes.

administrators and administrative support


awareness building

county positions


diversity and inclusion


program areas


resource allocation

revenue generation



support functions

Connections and Engagement Conference Tweets

What a great conference!  Congratulations to all Steering Committee members, sub-committees, and attendees for helping the conference live up to its title!   For the Council for Strategic Change, it was particularly helpful to connect and engage with 700+ participant who provided input about the future directions that UW-Extension – Cooperative Extension should take to fulfill our Purpose, Vision and Values.

We collected  500 Tweets!  Take a look and see what your colleagues had to say about Scholarship, Districts, Resource Allocation, Diversity and Inclusion – and many more themes!

“Extension Reconsidered” – Aligning Values, Operations and Programming

Successful organizations practice a continuous cycle of planning, implementing, reflecting/assessing, and making adjustments.  By doing so, they are able to align values, operations (including budget), and programming.

Strategic Question: How can we create an internal environment that develops congruency (walking the talk) between what we value and how we act upon our educational programming and our organizational goals and priorities?

Vision for Change:  We continually elevate and challenge the ideals of our values through:

  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Internal relationships
  • Programs
  • Organizational structure
  • Attracting and retaining our human resources
  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Partnerships
  • Funding and budgeting
  • Ideas
  • Research
  • Accessibility

This summer, we have been practicing the “Alignment” Strategic Direction through our Comprehensive Budget Planning Conversations.  Our Dean, Rick Klemme, has conducted numerous focus groups throughout the state with the intention of providing:

  • Information about how Cooperative Extension in Wisconsin is funded and how our resources are allocated
  • An opportunity for all colleagues to provide input about, and creative solutions for, our budget challenges

The Comprehensive Budget Planning Site has been updated to include the raw data from the August focus groups.  You’re also invited to provide ideas and comments via the Feedback Form located on the Comprehensive Budget Planning site.

How will this information be used?

The Council for Strategic Change (see Contact_list) and the Cooperative Extension Administrative Committee will continue to analyze data collected during the focus groups and develop theme areas for further exploration at the Connections and Engagement Conference.  Join the Council for Strategic Change and Conference Keynote Linda Booth Sweeney for an engaging conference plenary activity, “Extension Reconsidered: Connecting and Engaging with our Future,” on Tuesday, October 19, 2010.  Input gathered at this event will be used to guide decision-making for a comprehensive budget plan.

Connect and engage with Cooperative Extension’s values (see Purpose, Vision, Values) at the conference!  Many of our Values contest entrants will be showcasing their entries during conference meal-times.  Click on this post to view the entries.

Building Awareness about our Niche: The next big thing is you!

hands …And all of us working together!

The vision for change for this strategic direction is that, “Cooperative Extension is a household name, recognized and valued by the people in Wisconsin and beyond its borders.  Through awareness building, UW-Extension – Cooperative Extension illustrates its niche, value, collaborative network, dedicated professionals and trustworthy community-based research, education, and outreach scholarship in a compelling way,” (Vision Design Team – 5/28/08).

Doing so requires that we all share responsibility for building relationships and communicating our niche, brand, and value effectively.  Recommendations within this strategic direction include:

1. Political effectiveness as a core competency

Response: In March, the Political Effectiveness Plan Work Group was selected to create a Political Effectiveness Plan for Cooperative Extension.  Two actions from the strategic plan guide the twelve-member work group: Develop political effectiveness skills including an ability to create a political effectiveness strategy; and, develop a plan to maintain and increase political support among county and state partners.  For great tips and resources, visit the Foundations of Political Effectiveness website or email work group facilitator Dan Wilson.

2. Contract with an external marketing firm to develop a marketing strategy and materials for county and unit professionals to use in creating greater awareness

Response: With many thanks to the Western District for initiating and to our Public Information Specialist, Pamela Seelman, promotional materials are now available.  Act now!  Materials must be ordered by Friday, August 13, 2010!

Welcome to the launch of our new site!

LaunchHosted by the Council for Strategic Change, “Strategic Directions” is intended to assist Cooperative Extension professionals with accessing information, resources, and easy-to-incorporate tools related to our Purpose, Vision, Values, and Strategic Directions.

Our Purpose Vision Values were released in January along with an exciting opportunity to create a communication piece illustrating how you, your office, or team live our value statements.

We were delighted and overwhelmed with your positive response!  While all of the entries were outstanding, we promised to select four individual and four team/group selections for professional development awards.

communications contest awardsWithout further adieu, we are pleased to announce the following
selections as recipients of professional development awards – please join us in offering them your congratulations!


Team, office or group entries:
“Our Journey to Inclusiveness” – A PowerPoint presentation submitted by Liz Hilts and Cathy Crandall on behalf of Cooperative Extension’s Classified Staff.

“WNEP Living our Values” - A PowerPoint presentation submitted by Kathy Beeksma, Ann Christensen, Donna Ganson, and Joy Scheible on behalf of WNEP Ashland and Bayfield Counties.

“Columbia County’s FLAG (Future Leaders Active in Government Initiative)” - PowerPoint video entered by Kathleen Haas, Karen Nelson, Sarah Drew, Joyce Dunbar, Ben Hohl, and Mitchell.

“Jackson County Food Security” – Idea map and publication submitted by Luane Meyer, Denise Lahodik, Trisha Wagner, Monica Lobenstein, and Brittany Johnson.

Individual Entries:
“Relationships: Sauk County Veterinarian Clinics” – A narrative submitted by Denise Brusveen, Sauk County.

“Eau Claire EcoTeams” - A flyer submitted by Erin LaFaive, Eau Claire County.

“Cooperative Extension Values” – A PowerPoint presentation submitted by Marie Stafford, Fond du Lac County.

“Criminal Justice Haiku” - Haiku entered by Ruth Ellickson, Local Government Center.

Congratulations and Thank You

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered a communication piece!  Your response exceeded our hopes and expectations and provides yet another indicator of the passion and committment of our colleauges.  We’ll be sharing all of the entries on this site and at other venues over the next several months.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to become involved with our Purpose, Vision, Values, and Strategic Directions as well as many opportunities to interact utilizing our WordPress blogging platform!

Visit the winning entries by clicking on “Read More” below…

Read more »