UT Extension launched a strategic planning effort in 2010 to map the future for the next 10 years. The charge was to prepare to meet new challenges and opportunities while continuing to provide solutions for local issues. A diverse leadership team representing a cross section of employees from across the state was instrumental in collecting and analyzing data for the 2010-2020 UT Extension Strategic Plan
. Tennesseans, including employees, decision-makers, clientele, partners and volunteers, have provided input and opinions that have guided the plan.
Comments from more than 3,000 stakeholders led to the following goals to move UT Extension forward to advance Tennessee:
- Preparing for future growth.
- Advancing Tennessee through innovative programs.
- Investing in Extension’s human capital.
- Maximizing organizational efficiency.
- Increasing the visibility of UT Extension.
These goals reflect the need for innovation and technology while maintaining Extension’s 100-year tradition of community-based education. The strategic plan engages employees, partners, volunteers and those we serve to positively impact Tennessee communities. These five goals focus attention on what matters most: advancing Tennessee.
Now in its fourth year, implementation of the strategic plan is progressing through the work of 13 initiative teams.
The teams are each addressing a component of the strategic plan:
- Increasing visibility of UT Extension.
- Assessing information technology needs and opportunities.
- Establishing a wellness and life balance program.
- Selecting and developing plans for a new 4-H facility in West Tennessee.
- Improving Extension educators.
- Enhancing guidelines for external funds.
- Strengthening Extension’s volunteer base.
- Establishing a competency-based system to guide hiring, promotion and training.
- Implementing training for county directors.
- Implementing mentoring and coaching for new employees.
- Developing statewide standards for customer service and facilities.
- Documenting Extension policies and procedures.
- Enhancing communication with public officials.
Selected accomplishments of implementation include:
- Staffing plan to balance needs and funding across the state.
- A new 4-H Lodge and Eastern Region Office, each made possible by private gifts.
- Creation of a statewide IT coordinator position.
- Starting salaries for UT Extension agents increased to be competitive.
- Salary increases across the board by almost 6 percent.
- Streamlined county budgeting processes.
- New website to track strategic plan implementation progress.
Accomplishments of our initiative teams include:
- Preferred location for the new West Tennessee 4-H Center selected.
- The first component of the Building Exceptionally Skilled Teachers initiative launched in May 2014.
Healthy Lifestyles Team has branded their wellness program Balance Life
and is conducting a search for volunteer Wellness Champions.
- The Visibility Team has conducted important research through surveys of Extension employees, clientele and non-users.