This policy was repealed as of June 16, 2020. See the notice in SYS 126 Rescission Memo pdf .

I. Board of Regents Policies on Extension

The 1982 Board of Regents Policy on Extension recognized that the extension function is a responsibility of the total UW System and created an integrated model for extension education that assigns UW-Extension responsibility for centralized planning, coordination and accountability for the resources allocated to the extension function, and assigns the resident institutions responsibilities for program content, quality, and implementation. In Cooperative Extension programs, these responsibilities are carried out by integrated faculty in partnership with faculty jointly employed with the Wisconsin counties. Planning and coordination of extension programming thus requires a collaborative partnership between UW-Extension and the other UW institutions — neither can carry out the extension function without cooperation and communication with the other.

The May 6, 1988 Regent resolution on extension integration reaffirmed and clarified the basic integration policy of 1982. Recognizing that the extension function is administered and carried out differently than the resident instruction and research functions, the Board further approved the following policy to enhance implementation of integration and to strengthen the extension function of the UW System through:

“Establishment of necessary structures to enhance statewide planning, coordination and communication among related disciplines and program areas of the UW institutions, between the UWEX Cooperative Extension and General Extension divisions, between county and campus-based faculty/staff, and between
UWEX and the other UW institutions.”

This paper responds to the Regents’ charge to the UW-Extension Chancellor to establish these structures. It:

  1. Describes the rationale for improved coordination of the extension function throughout the UW System;
  2. Identifies the planning and coordination structures that have evolved since the 1982 Board of Regent policy;
  3. Proposes additional formal and informal structures to further improve the full utilization of UW System resources to most effectively serve the people of the state.

II. The Challenge: Greater Coordination in an Integrated System

The ability of the University of Wisconsin System to continue to provide vital and relevant extension programs to meet the changing educational needs of Wisconsin people requires cooperation and collaboration among faculty/staff from a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary perspective. The problems and issues facing people, communities and businesses are increasingly complex. They require a great variety and mix of multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional resources to contribute to real solutions for problems in business management, agricultural profitability, a global economy, community economic development, technological and environmental changes, groundwater protection, changing family structures, alcohol and drug abuse, nutrition, and worker safety, among others. In addition, continuing education programs to broaden and enrich the lives of Wisconsin citizens also require coordinated planning to focus resources on the highest priority needs and avoid duplication of effort.

Since the 1982 Regent policy on integration of the extension function and the concurrent internal reorganization of UW-Extension, a number of significant benefits have occurred: closer relationships between faculty with extension responsibilities and the resident instruction and research faculty of the UW schools, colleges and departments; greater interest and involvement of UW institutional faculty in the extension function; continuing high quality programs and new program initiatives to respond to the needs of people and communities; and more precise accountability for funding and programming.

In addition, significant progress has been made to achieve a coordinated statewide extension program among resources widely dispersed among two divisions, 26 UW campuses and 71 Wisconsin counties. For example, both Cooperative Extension and General Extension have in place long-range and annual planning procedures to focus UW System resources on emerging high priority needs. UW-Extension has created an
interinstitutional agreement process for the allocation of funds and positions consistent with these plans and priorities. (The structures that have evolved are found in Section III and proposed new structures or expanded use of existing structures are found in Section IV.)

However, the 1988 study of the progress of integration also revealed some problems/concerns with the integrated extension system. For example, prior to integration, 13 statewide program areas and a divisional structure that focused on issues and needs provided UW-Extension with the means to plan, develop and coordinate multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary and cross-divisional resources in a statewide extension program. Internal reorganization and integration replaced this structure with individual departmental, school and college structures on separate campuses. In the 1988 study, the external consultants reported a clear need for stronger planning and programming relationships between the Cooperative Extension and General Extension divisions, between campus and county faculty, among the UW institutions, and between UWEX and the other institutions.

The Regent Policy of 1988 recognized a need for improved cooperation, planning, and coordination to meet the following goals:

  1. To make the most efficient use of scarce resources and avoid duplication and competition among the campuses.
  2. To generate multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, and cross-divisional perspectives and programming among faculty/staff who carry out the extension function — and thus improve the UW System response to the critical and complex issues facing Wisconsin people, now and in the future.
  3. To draw upon and unite all relevant resources of the total UW System to meet the priority needs of Wisconsin people.
  4. To encourage even greater interaction among the faculty/staff and administrators responsible for extension programming throughout the UW System, and to expand the kind of linkages and relationships that result in effective, high quality programs.

III. Structures for the Implementation of the 1982 Board of Regent Policy

A number of structures have been established since 1982 to facilitate program planning, coordination, and effective communications. These formal and informal arrangements have generally been effective in program, budget, and personnel decisions. They are presented here within the four categories specified by the 1988 Board of Regent policy.

  1. Between UWEX and the other UW institutions
    1. Interinstitutional Agreement Process (IIA).


      The Interinstitutional Agreement Process is the formal process through which decisions on program plans, budget and personnel allocations are made between UWEX and the other UW institutions. The process provides for extensive discussions on institutional priorities and plans for extension programming and their relationship to the statewide plan for extension programs in the UW System. Formal communications, correspondence, and follow-up discussions and agreements accompany the annual interinstitutional agreement process at both the divisional and institutional levels. This interinstitutional process is coordinated through the offices of the vice chancellors. This process can be enhanced by cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional planning at the campus level prior to the submission of annual individual and departmental plans to the UWEX divisions.
    2. Chancellors/Vice Chancellors Monthly Meetings.


      UW System administration organizes monthly meetings of both the Chancellors and the Vice Chancellors of all the UW institutions. These meetings provide monthly opportunities for the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of UWEX to meet with their counterparts from the other UW institutions to discuss problems, issues, policies, and procedures. All parties involved have opportunities to place items related to the extension function on the agendas of the UW System Administrative Staff and Vice Chancellors meetings.
    3. GEACC.


      The General Extension Administrative Advisory Council (GEAAC) was established in 1985 to advise the General Extension Dean on policies, procedures, and priorities related to extension programs, budgets, and personnel. This group is composed of the campus-designated official representatives of the General Extension function on the various UW campuses. They meet with the Dean of General Extension on a regular basis.
    4. Dean to Dean Relationships.


      In both Cooperative Extension and General Extension, a number of ongoing relationships have been established between the deans of the UWEX divisions and the deans of UW institutional schools and colleges with responsibility for extension programming. For example, the Dean of Cooperative Extension is meeting on a regular basis with the deans of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Associate Vice Chancellor to discuss program, personnel and budget concerns. Additional meetings are held with the appropriate deans of the other five campuses involved in Cooperative Extension programs. The Dean of General Extension meets bi-weekly with the UW-Madison Associate Vice Chancellor, and with other appropriate institutional officers, as needed.


      In addition, the Cooperative Extension divisional leadership (dean, associate dean, program leaders, personnel coordinator, program support and budget directors), have begun annual meetings in each UWEX district to discuss programs, personnel, and budgets with the district director and county office chairs in the district. The appropriate campus dean(s)and faculty leaders will be invited to participate in these sessions.
  2. Between the UWEX Cooperative Extension and General Extension divisions
    1. UWEX Executive Committee.


      The UWEX Executive Committee, including the UWEX Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, the Deans of Cooperative Extension and General Extension, and the Director of Telecommunications, meets weekly to define policies and procedures, plan together,and share information on programs. The Executive Committee deals with major issues of policy direction, coordination, and resource allocation that affect the institution of UWEX, the Systemwide extension function, and the UW EX divisions. UWEX has developed procedures whereby the deans of Cooperative Extension and General Extension will use this group for discussion of plans, issues and program initiatives within areas of mutual program interest that cut across the two divisions.
    2. Program Relationships Between Cooperative Extension and General Extension.


      A number of protocols are currently being developed to enhance relationships between Cooperative Extension and General extension in area of mutual expertise, interest, resources and clientele.


      For example, the recently developed draft communication and coordination guidelines for county and campus-based faculty/staff involved in Cooperative Extension Community Economic Development programs and General Extension Small Business Development programs provide one model for bringing together county-based and campus based faculty affiliated with several UW institutions and with the two UWEX divisions. (These guidelines are currently in the review and revision stage based on input from campuses and counties). It is anticipated that similar informal protocols will be developed for other priority issue areas, as needed, for example, to enhance relationships among the Family Living Education, Health Sciences and Education faculty on the campuses and in the counties.
  3. Among related disciplines and program areas of the UW institutions
    1. Discipline Based Consortia.


      Several consortial relationships have been used or have evolved to enhance communication and coordination among related disciplines of several institutions. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Consortium includes the Agriculture and Natural Resources deans of four institutions and UW-Extension. The statewide SBDC coordinating mechanism includes the Business deans and SBDC coordinators of 11 institutions and UW-Extension. These are two models to encourage such multi-institutional efforts. In the Business/SBDC consortium, there has developed considerable collaboration, sharing of resources, and referral of clientele to expertise located on other campuses, such as the Feasibility Center at UW-Green Bay and the Innovation Center at UW-Stout. Likewise, the Groundwater Quality Coordinating Committee involves the deans and selected faculty of UW-Extension, UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior, as well as some county faculty and state/federal agency representatives, in a focused initiative on this important priority program. It would be desirable for the campus-designated GEAAC representative to be involved in many of these groups to enhance communication and coordination.
    2. Annual Program Plans in General Extension.


      During the annual planning process in General Extension, when institutions submit their annual plans and request resources for programs already offered at other campuses, evidence of communication and coordination is required in the annual plan forms. It is anticipated that the General Extension Dean will initiate multi-institutional planning groups among several institutions planning in a given area (e.g., Nursing, Engineering, Education).
    3. Program Area Planning in Cooperative Extension.


      In Cooperative Extension, each program area unites county and campus-based faculty/staff in related disciplines for planning and programming. The program area four-year and annual program planning process is an extensive grass-roots effort by which needs and programs are identified by faculty in consultation with local leaders and clientele, and discussed and ranked in priority order in program area meetings. The specific goals and objectives of several related disciplines and program areas are then focused in the priority issue areas of the four-year plan. The four-year plans are fulfilled through the annual plans of work of each campus and county-based faculty and staff member affiliated with the program area.
    4. General Extension CPDI Fund and Cooperative Extension Carryover Funds.


      In General Extension, the Curriculum and Program Development Initiative (CPDI) fund
      allocates money to fund proposals from the campuses for programs to meet new and emerging high priority needs. Likewise, carryover funds in Cooperative Extension are used to mount special team efforts to meet emergency needs (such as the recent Strategies on Survival program for farm families suffering economic stress and the current drought program) or for purchase of service arrangements to involve General Extension faculty in Cooperative Extension programs (e.g., Government faculty in programs on county
      taxation issues).
  4. Between county and campus-based faculty/staff
    1. Statewide Program Areas in Cooperative Extension.


      In Cooperative Extension, the statewide program areas unite the resources of numerous disciplines on the various UW campuses with those located in county and area Extension offices to serve needs throughout the state. Each program area includes faculty from the Wisconsin counties and from the six UW institutions affiliated with Cooperative Extension programs. These county and campus-based faculty have been accustomed to working together within the program area as long as Cooperative Extension programs have been in existence in Wisconsin. Recently, issues-based program efforts related to community economic development, agriculture, families, and water quality, as well as the most recent four-year plan for Cooperative Extension programs, show evidence of a campus/county, multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, and cross-program area approach in planning objectives related to five priority theme areas. Multi-disciplinary teams of campus and county-based faculty have been established to implement programs to meet those objectives. The challenge is to involve the interdisciplinary resources of many campuses and counties across program area and divisional lines.

IV. Planned Structures to Enhance Planning, Communication and Coordination

This section identifies several proposals to expand cooperative relationships or to improve the effectiveness of existing structures. Although these proposals are identified within one of the four levels of cooperation identified by the Regents, most of them deal with several of the levels simultaneously.

  1. Between UWEX and the other UW institutions
    1. Issue-Focused Meetings of UWEX and UW Institutional Administrators/Faculty/Staff Responsible for Extension Programming.


      Administrators of UW-Extension and each UW institution will meet whenever necessary or desirable to jointly discuss problems, issues, and opportunities for programming at that institution. The meetings will involve any or all of the following parties where relevant to the issue(s) under discussion: the UWEX Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, deans/director, the Cooperative Extension district director and relevant program leader, the institutional Vice Chancellor, appropriate institutional deans, the campus GEAAC representative, relevant faculty, and other appropriate individuals. They will provide the opportunity to identify new cooperative initiatives for cross-divisional, multi-institutional, and multi-disciplinary collaboration, as well as to identify appropriate individuals to participate in planning and implementing such cooperative program efforts. UW-Extension will request each UW institution to designate an individual to serve as an official contact to coordinate involvement of appropriate campus representatives in these meetings.
    2. Statewide Extension Council.


      Included in the collaborative appointment concept prepared by the Vice Chancellors’ Working Group is the planned participation of faculty/staff holding collaborative appointments in the revised institutional governance structures of UWEX. Under the proposal, the revised UWEX institutional governance structures would include a Statewide Extension Council involving both integrated and UWEX faculty and instructional academic staff based in the counties and on the UW campuses. This Council would provide a means for elected faculty/staff representatives of each institution and Extension district to work together on plans, priorities, policies, and procedures affecting the statewide extension function.
  2. Between the UWEX Cooperative Extension and General Extension divisions
    1. Cross-Divisional Program Planning.


      Both within UWEX and between UWEX and the other UW institutions, the program planning process will involve more joint participation by the two major programming divisions. The process will initially involve discussions among the UWEX Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and the Deans of General Extension and Cooperative Extension in an interactive program planning process so that each division is able to react to the program implications of the other division’s developing program plans and discuss joint programming efforts in areas of common interest and expertise.


      The process will then be expanded to involve the UW institutional vice chancellor, campus GEAAC representative, and appropriate deans and/or program directors, as well as the UWEX district director and program leader(s) as appropriate for selected cross-divisional program initiatives. The process will include: 1) identification of the priority program areas in which both divisions carry out programs; 2) discussions of the potential contributions of faculty/staff and budget resources affiliated with each division, campus, and county to these program areas; 3) identification of areas of possible duplication or overlap; 4) suggestions for new areas of joint programming; 5) development of joint program plans in selected areas of common programming, or cross-referencing the related program initiatives of the other division in the divisional program plan; and 6) identification of campus and county faculty/staff to carry out the program.
  3. Among related disciplines and program areas of the UW institutions
    1. Ad Hoc Groups Based on Program Priorities or Emerging Needs.


      Ad hoc multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary planning/coordination groups will be formed to include representatives of several related disciplines in the counties and on various campuses to focus on a priority theme of the Statewide Extension Plan or to plan use of resources from several disciplines and institutions to meet high priority emerging needs. For example, representatives of the Small Business Development Centers, the Community Resource Development and area Business agents, and the campus disciplines involved in Community Economic Development programs will be brought together in an Economic Development consortium. The official campus representative for extension programs designated by each chancellor (usually the GEAAC representative) will be responsible for coordinating involvement of faculty representatives from that campus.


      Likewise, representatives of the Family Living Education and Youth Development program areas will come together with representatives of the Health Sciences, Social Work, and Education disciplines on various campuses to focus on priority issues of human health and nutrition, family development, gerontology, teen pregnancy, and alcohol and drug abuse. A recent example of such ad hoc multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, campus/county team effort was the cooperative programming by both campus and county based faculty from several disciplines in cooperation with the Department of Public Instruction in the Year of the Family in Education program. In the current year, efforts are under way to bring together integrated institutional faculty in the General Extension disciplines of Education and Health Sciences with county and campus-based Family Living and 4-H/Youth Development faculty in a cooperative effort with the Department of Public Instruction to focus on teen alcohol and drug abuse.
    2. Financial Incentives for Collaboration Between General Extension and Cooperative Extension Faculty on the Campuses and in the Counties


      More effort and incentives will be needed to enhance the collaboration between integrated faculty affiliated with General Extension programs and county-based faculty affiliated with Cooperative Extension programs. In many cases, financial incentives must be established for integrated General Extension faculty, who must support their programming by earning program revenue through fees, to participate in non revenue-producing programs with county faculty.


      An institutional fund will be established within UWEX to award incentive grants to support collaborative cross-divisional, multi-institutional, and multi-disciplinary program initiatives to meet emerging high priority needs. Such grants will be used to encourage cooperation and sharing of faculty resources from several disciplines and institutions, particularly in programs that cross divisional lines. As funds are awarded for new projects, and other resources are reallocated to new program areas, statewide planning groups will become increasingly important. These groups provide a mechanism to bring together faculty and staff from several institutions offering similar programs, to plan shared, joint, or otherwise coordinated efforts across the state.
  4. Between county and campus-based faculty/staff
    1. Ad Hoc Groups Based on Program Priorities and Emerging Needs (cited in C. above)
    2. Financial Incentives for County/Campus and Cross-Divisional Collaboration (cited in C. above).
    3. Improved Contacts Between UWEX District Directors and Institutional GEAAC Representatives


      Recently, several UWEX Cooperative Extension district directors have initiated cooperative working relationships with the UW institutional GEAAC representatives in their geographical areas. For example, such discussions and collaboration have resulted in the involvement of UW-Parkside integrated faculty affiliated with General Extension programs working together with Cooperative Extension Community Resource Development faculty based in the county on an intensive program to help the community of Kenosha after the Chrysler plant closing. In Oshkosh and Green Bay, campus-based SBDC faculty and county-based CRD faculty are working together on community economic development efforts. In Milwaukee, the 4-H/Youth Development Agent based at the Milwaukee County Zoo is working with the UWM Zoology department in an exchange of service arrangement. The Northern Institute at Superior will bring together Cooperative Extension Community Resource Development faculty based in the northern counties with General Extension business faculty at UW-Superior. These and other efforts can provide effective programs for people based on interdivisional, multi-institutional, and campus-county relationships. Additional efforts of this type can be expected through the linkages established between district directors and institutional representatives of extension programs on the campus.

This document has been prepared as an Administrative Guideline to assist in the implementation of Regent policy on integration between UW-Extension and UW System institutions. These guidelines deal with structures, protocols, and procedures for improved communication and coordination of statewide extension programming between UW-Extension and the other institutions, between the Cooperative and General Extension divisions, between county and campus-based faculty and staff, and among the related disciplines and program areas of the various UW institutions.

Other Relevant Documents:

Regent Policy, April 1982
Regent Policy, May 1985
Regent Policy, May 1988

Last Revised: May 01, 1989