AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach Jack Payne announced a plan today that would restructure ISU Extension. In a videotaped announcement, Payne informed all staff and county extension council members of a restructuring plan that will streamline the organization to address state budget cuts.
“The current economic downturn forces us to change the way we do business,” said Payne. “The Extension leadership team has listened to the desires of Iowans, and the ideas of our staff and council members, to create a plan that will strengthen the organization for years to come.”
Payne and his team created the plan, knowing they would be given a permanent cut equal to 10.7 percent of the cut ISU received to its state appropriations. After the state budget was finalized Sunday, ISU Extension’s reduction in FY10 state appropriations was listed at $4.15 million.
The Extension Restructuring Plan will consolidate Extension’s field administration and encourage investment in program services -- moving Extension from a geographically based structure to an issue-based model. This model will reduce administrative costs, increase local control of county funds allocated for Extension services, and increase research and staff engagement across university disciplines in order to address complex issues important to Iowa.
Five Area Director positions and all five Area Offices will be closed. This was recommended by Extension staff and County Extension Councils during listening sessions and in online surveys conducted last month. The County Extension Education Director (CEED) positions also will be eliminated as part of the plan, and in their place regional positions will be created. County Extension Councils will have the ability to retain offices in every county.
“In the plan, the current Partnership Agreement between Iowa State University and the County Extension Councils is dissolved, and the partnership fee associated with it will no longer be paid to Iowa State University,” Payne said. “This allows Extension Councils to retain county funds allocated for Extension services for investment in staff and programs. It gives counties the continued local Extension presence they’ve told us they want.”
Through a reallocation of state funds, Extension will create 20 Iowa Extension Regions that balance population and available county tax funds in each region. A Regional Extension Education Director will oversee the operations of each region.
“Each region includes at least one major retail trade center where the Regional Extension Education Director will be housed in a county office,” Payne explained. “In creating these regions, we have worked to honor current coalitions and linkages among counties.”
Also being reduced are the budgets of Extension campus program and support units. Campus-based programs and units will absorb their allocated cuts through staff reduction and new program revenue generation. Approximately 25 campus Extension positions will be eliminated.
The restructuring plan also includes a merger of the Families and 4-H Youth programs, and the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) and Community and Economic Development programs. The goal is to increase efficiencies and strengthen these units to better address the complex issues faced by families and youth, and business and communities. The merging of these programs will bring together the research of several disciplines and provide a more effective way to distribute the resources that will positively impact Iowans.
“Iowa State University and Extension Councils will work together to change our methods, but not our mission,” Payne said. “This is an innovative and bold restructuring. It meets the financial realities we are facing, and creates a flexible organization that is positioned to maintain its leadership role as one of the best Extension systems in the nation.”
The Extension Restructuring Plan can be viewed at www.extension.iastate.edu/restructuring.
Mary Holz-Clause, Interim Associate VP for Extension and Outreach, (515) 294-1482, firstname.lastname@example.org