Is Change the Same as Progress?
I write from the back of a room at a meeting of Extension Directors while listening to some of my colleagues describe their strategies for managing budget reductions. Except that beyond reductions, some of them are actually creating new resources in some interesting ways — and so are we. This has been labeled the “New Normal”. Our progress in obtaining grants and contracts for our work is amazing. SOARS data continues to indicate that members of our Extension faculty are increasingly active in developing the needed funding partnerships to grow programs with extramural funds and by working with and through others. New partnerships with community colleges and county government are bringing human capital as well as financial capital to Extension. This “rainmaking” takes many forms and is widely shared by all programs and units. Thanks to all who have moved this important needle of progress.
But substituting grants for appropriations doesn’t accomplish everything needed. We are also in good company with other states by examining the way we organize to administer the organization. Before this year is over, we will identify multi-county “areas” that will be used to reconceptualize our leadership model, add efficiencies to the amount we invest in administration, and maximize investments in programs. Progress of this type will help position the OSU Extension Service to be smaller while maintaining robust programs and be ready to rebound as our state’s economy recovers. Like those we serve, we are learning to get by with less and focus on maintaining our core strength and resilience.
And it doesn’t stop there. The world and the application of knowledge to address issues and problems is changing around us—to make progress with today’s society means reaching people in the way they live. And we are. Please take a moment to experience our new social media programming. You can find the OSU Extension Service on Facebook and Twitter:
Take a look. And let me know what you think. I’d also like to hear about your personal approach to adding efficiencies and resources to Extension programs.
The next few months will be full of news about how Oregon will prepare for the upcoming biennial budget. I am in regular contact with policy makers and others who can help illustrate the value of our work. If possible, you may want to make time to join me at OSU Day at the Capitol April 12, or OSU Extension’s Centennial Day April 21 when we hope to see staff chairsand at least one elected commissioner or judge from each county. We are creating our future through careful changes—representing progress in each case.
Scott Reed, Vice Provost and Director