Submitted to the Board of Regents on April 09, 1982

In the State 1979-81 Biennial Budget Act the Wisconsin Legislature mandated that the Board of Regents report on three aspects of the University of Wisconsin-Extension: (1) the prospects for federal funding of cooperative extension, and plans for dealing with those prospects; (2) the method the Board uses to insure that its priorities are reflected in decisions to reprogram public service funds within UW-Extension; and (3) the progress made in implementing UW-Extension’s continuing education fee policy, and areas in which that policy could be improved. The first of these studies concerning cooperative extension funding was delivered to the Legislature and Governor in November, 1979. The reports on the reprogramming of public service funds and the continuing education fee policy of UW-Extension were submitted to the Legislature and the Governor in June of 1980.

Regent review of UW-Extension in 1979-80 raised a number of issues which were peripheral to the immediate legislative mandates but of such significant concern to the Board that the President of the Board appointed a special committee to review them. Issues of concern included, for example, questions related to rank and tenure for community faculty, organizational concerns and fee policy.

The Special Regent Study Committee on Extension was appointed in July, 1980 and initiated its study by holding a number of public hearings. Hearings were held between September 4, 1980 and December 4, 1981. In addition, the Special Study Committee reviewed numerous studies and memoranda on the subject.

On May 4, l981 the Regent Study Committee requested of President Robert M. O’Neil that he consider the appointment of a President’s Advisory Group on Extension (PAGE) composed of UWS faculty and administrators. It was to review and synthesize all the information that had been generated by the Regent Study Committee plus a number of other reports and documents which were in the process of being developed within UW-Extension and between UW-Extension and UW-Milwaukee and to provide recommendations to the President. On May 9, 1981, President O’Neil appointed the President’s Advisory Group on Extension. That body provided the President with advisory recommendations in December of 1981. On February 4, the Regent Study Committee received a report and set of recommendations from President O’Neil. These recommendations reflected the President’s study of several documents submitted to him, including the report of the President’s Advisory Group on Extension. At the Board of Regents meeting on February 5, the Chairman of the Regent Study Committee invited comment and reaction to President O’Neil’s recommendations and asked that it be available by February 19. The Committee has received a substantial number of comments from faculty and administrators within UW-Extension and from faculty and administrators at other UW System institutions. In addition, individuals and groups outside the UW System have also responded. Each member of the Regent Study Committee has reviewed these comments and the Committee is now prepared to submit its recommendations for consideration by the Board of Regents.

Prior to setting forth the Regent Study Committee’s recommendations it is important to note that it has based them on the same assumptions which President O’Neil included in his report of February 4. The Regent Study Committee endorses the assumptions which are as follows:

  1. “A reaffirmation of the University of Wisconsin System commitment to the Wisconsin Idea.
  2. Improvement of a coordinated statewide extension function within the University of Wisconsin System
  3. Development of a statewide coordinated plan for extension which would provide a clearer focus and better understanding, for both internal and external observers, as to what Extension is and is not, how Extension resources are being used, where future needs appear to be, and how we plan to respond to those needs.
  4. Enhancement of the interinstitutional relationships between UWEX and the UW System institutions by providing more meaningful institutional involvement in needs assessment, program priority setting, and programming and budget responsibility.
  5. Reduction in administrative costs and streamlining of administrative and program decision making within UWEX, while avoiding unnecessary duplication and increased administrative costs at the institutional levels.
  6. Continuation of the strong, historical relationships with county governments and other state and local agencies, thereby continuing to extend the capacity of our universities to resolve problems and improve our society.
  7. Enhancement of the general faculty understanding of the Extension function, so that appropriate recognition may be given when personnel questions are being reviewed.”

Based on these assumptions, the Special Regent Study Committee on Extension recommends that the Board of Regents:

  1. Reaffirm the historic commitment of the UW System to the Wisconsin Idea. The extension function is essentially one of utilizing university resources beyond the classroom for the benefit of the state and society at large. The university has a long history of success in seeking new ways of serving the citizens of the state. The decade of the 80’s will bring increased demand for extension services, which will require more institutional involvement if that expanded need is to be addressed. Institutional involvement and commitment to extension will require that all faculty and departments commit themselves to the enhancement of the extension function as they have to teaching and research.
  2. Resolve that University of Wisconsin-Extension should continue as an institution of the University of Wisconsin System with the chief administrator’s title continuing to be that of Chancellor. (Using the authorization to recruit for a “chief administrative officer” previously approved by the Regents, the Search and Screen Committee is directed to proceed as rapidly as possible to seek a new chancellor who might take office as early as July 1, 1982.)
  3. Further emphasize the University of Wisconsin System’s commitment to a systemwide, coordinated extension effort by requesting that UW System Administration monitor, from a System perspective, the extension programs offered by the institutions of the UW System and review annual program plans and budgets, and biennial budget submissions. System Administration will not assume operational responsibility, but will mediate any unresolved interinstitutional disputes.
  4. Assign the leadership responsibility for program coordination and statewide planning of the UWS extension function to the Chancellor of UW-Extension. In cooperation with the Chancellors of the other UW System institutions, the Chancellor of UW-Extension shall develop and maintain a coordinated, statewide extension plan. In this context, annual plans for campus-based noncredit programs within the region must be reviewed by UW-Extension to ensure the needed degree of coordination and compatibility of program offerings with institutional mission.
  5. Encourage integration of existing UW-Extension faculty with faculties of the other institutions of the UW System. Steps toward such integration should begin as soon as feasible. Any plans for integration of UW-Extension faculty into campus departments or other units must be approved by the appropriate faculty and administrative review bodies of each institution involved, be approved by the President’s office, and reported to the Regents. In order to encourage greater integration of faculty and staff in general extension with the institutions, when a position budgeted to UW-Extension becomes vacant the needs it served should be met insofar as possible through campus-based faculty. Only if those needs cannot be met within existing campus academic units should a general extension position be perpetuated. Further, the expression “integration” is expanded, where appropriate, to include the concept of bringing together in a meaningful way each university’s administration and faculty in planning and coordinating its extension efforts and in establishing appropriate planning and programming models.
  6. Encourage the use of interinstitutional committees to review existing interinstitutional agreements and to initiate steps coward integration of faculties. These committees may also address such issues as needs assessment, program priorities, budget, and personnel policies and make recommendations leading to new interinstitutional agreements between UW-Extension and the other institutions.
  7. Support move toward integration of UW-Extension faculty in Milwaukee with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as proposed by the Joint UWM/UWEX Committee to serve as the initial phase for such integration. Implementation should be preceded by full faculty consideration within both institutions. A condition of this recommendation on UWM/UWEX integration is that an evaluative phase be included which will result in a report to the Regents at the end of the 1983-84 academic year. Its purpose will be to assess the strengths and weaknesses of such integration and include recommendations on how to resolve any lingering problems and strengthen and improve extension programming in the Milwaukee area.
  8. Require that allocations from UW-Extension to institutions be based on interinstitutional agreements reached between the Chancellor of UW-Extension and the Chancellor of the institution involved; that such allocations permanently retain their budgetary identity as funds in support of extension programs; and that they be accompanied by substantial and adequate assurance of continued performance of the extension function and fiscal commitment to existing personnel. Modifications in interinstitutional agreements occasioned by required budget cuts or by vacancies due to retirement, death, or resignation of personnel must not be handled unilaterally, must be consistent with good personnel management, and must be compatible with the statewide plan for extension. The budget allocations identified in the interinstitutional agreements must assure sufficient stability and duration to permit institutions to make long-range commitments for carrying out that portion of the statewide extension plan for which they have accepted responsibility. Interinstitutional agreements may include three types of commitments: (a) continuing fiscal support for tenured and probationary faculty (and their program support) with specific long-term assignments to extension activities, (b) annual commitments to faculty and staff for short-term projects and activities and their program support to implement agreed upon programs, and, (c) longer term commitments which might support continuing education activities not permanently identified with specific individuals. Allocations based on these long and short term commitments will be administered through the UW institutions’ faculty and administrative structures. Ultimate responsibility for the budget associated with these allocations and based on the interinstitutional agreements will remain with the UW-Extension Chancellor.
  9. Suggest the use of the seven criteria recommended by the President’s Advisory Group on Extension in determining the involvement and best use of resources for the extension function at the various institutions. They are: (1) relatedness of mission; (2) acceptance of financial responsibility; (3) compatibility of institutional and systemwide extension program priorities; (4) availability of faculty and staff with appropriate disciplinary competencies; (5) accessibility of a meaningful clientele; (6) evidence of clear and substantial institutional commitment; and (7) the likelihood of “minimum critical mass of resources” reflected in a meaningful proportion of each faculty appointment designated for extension activity.
  10. In the interest of improving and streamlining UW-Extension administration and enhancing communications, support the internal reorganization of UW-Extension substantially as proposed by the UWEX Joint Faculty Administration Committee and urge the President of the UW System and the Chancellor of UW-Extension to proceed towards the establishment of a structure by July 1, 1982, which reflects three separate and homogeneous units–(a) general extension and special mission programs; (b) cooperative extension and special mission programs; and (c) educational communications, each administered by a teen or director. Each of the administrative positions is to be filled through a regular search and screen process. UW-Extension should examine each of the programming and service units either concurrently or following the divisional reorganization to determine its viability and the appropriateness of its divisional placement.
  11. Reconfirm its charge that UW-Extension continue to develop and expand, through reprogramming and reallocations, the internal budget and personnel flexibility required to meet changing societal needs. The recently developed program evaluation process, wherein every program is evaluated within an eight year cycle, should continue to have as one of its objectives a determination whether the program being evaluated is consistent with the mission of UW-Extension, does not inappropriately duplicate programs being offered by other state agencies, including specifically VTAE and DPI, or more appropriately should be offered by others. Continued interaction and cooperation between UW-Extension and other state agencies are encouraged.
  12. Support the recommendation of the President of the UW System for adoption of specific proposals in the report of the Special UW-Extension Committee on Faculty Rank and Tenure. (The basic premise of that report is that the concept of rank and tenure continue for community faculty with certain modifications.)
  13. Make no attempt, at this time, to alter current policies with regard to off-campus credit courses (ACIS-3); and, that the relevant portions of the Regents’ 1973 and 1978 policies should remain intact.

As in all organizations, there are problems which need to be addressed and resolved in order to improve operational and programming efficiency. In many cases, corrective action has been and is being taken within the UW-Extension organization and others can and will be resolved if the recommendations of this Committee are approved by the Board of Regents. The purpose of these recommendations is to establish Regent policy and guidelines and thus a context within which the UW System extension function can be implemented. The details will have to be worked out within UW-Extension and between UW-Extension, the other System institutions, System Administration, and, of course, by our faculties.