Message to UW Cooperative Extension faculty and staff

Today, the UW System Board of Regents approved a plan to restructure UW Colleges and UW Cooperative Extension. As part of the plan, UW Cooperative Extension will be integrated into UW-Madison.

Chancellor Blank sent the following email to UW Cooperative Extension faculty and staff this afternoon. For further updates on the transition, go to the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Restructuring page.

Dear UW Cooperative Extension Faculty and Staff,

As you know, the Board of Regents has voted to make UW Cooperative Extension part of UW-Madison as of July 1, 2018. Now that this proposal has been adopted, we are looking forward to bringing Cooperative Extension’s organizational home back to UW-Madison where it was for many years.

I strongly believe that this move can improve the work of both of our institutions, and strengthen the ability of Cooperative Extension to serve communities across Wisconsin.

As the child of two extension agents, I grew up knowing the value of Cooperative Extension services. (My mother still complains that Cooperative Extension eliminated Home Agents, which was her career for 15 years.) UW-Madison is home to the Wisconsin Idea, and for many years the presence of Cooperative Extension’s headquarters on our campus was an important manifestation of that commitment. It is a commitment that both organizations share. The Wisconsin Idea is never more visible than when a Wisconsin resident picks up the phone with a question, calls their local extension agent, and gets answers based on research done at UW-Madison and other UW System campuses.

There are many details yet to be resolved, and we know you will have many questions, so let me be clear: The active participation of UW Cooperative Extension faculty and staff will be a necessary part of the decision-making during this transition. Your expertise will be indispensable as we work to build new relationships with faculty, staff, governance groups, county and tribal government partners, and other stakeholders throughout the integration process. Further, I understand this comes at a time when Cooperative Extension is implementing the new nEXT Generation model and we will work to ensure both of these processes are as seamless as possible.

As UW System shifts into the implementation phase of this reorganization, we will be able to learn more about their timeline and expectations. You can check UW System’s restructuring website for updates on their implementation process.

UW-Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf will send an email to all UW Cooperative Extension faculty and staff in the near future outlining our timeline for the integration process and detailing the next steps. This will also include an opportunity for UW-Extension employees to submit suggestions and questions about the transition process.

There are many details to be resolved in the coming months and I look forward to working with you and the UW Cooperative Extension leadership as we move forward.

Rebecca Blank
Chancellor, UW-Madison