Strategic Plan Header Image

Implementing the Plan

Progress being achieved through the work of 14 initiative teams involving more than 150 employees.





Implementation Team Meeting

Administrators’ Retreat




Gifts Grants Fees Team

Gifts, Grants & Fees Team




Volunteerism Team Meeting

Volunteerism Team




Visibility Team Meeting

Visibility Team




Extension Month Resolution

Extension Month Resolution




Extension Month Resolution

Resolution from Tennessee House of Representatives




SUPER 2.0 Team

Super 2.0 Team




Office Standards Team Meeting

Office Standards Team




County Directors Team

County Directors Team




County Directors Team Meeting

County Directors Team Meeting




Healthy Lifestyles Standing Committee

Healthy Lifestyles Standing Committee




Healthy Lifestyles Team

Healthy Lifestyles Team




EXCELS Team Meeting





Electronic Dossier Meeting

Electronic Dossier Team





“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Stephen Covey

The 2010-2020 Strategic Plan was introduced at the 2010 Extension Conference. Participants gave input for the plan’s implementation by completing The Year is 2020 activity sheets for each goal. Extension employees were asked to imagine themselves in the year 2020 and record what they see, hear, think and feel. Another group that was polled was the Extension Advisory Committee. The feedback from both groups was synthesized and presented to the Implementation Committee which met in July 2011. Subcommittees were assigned to each goal. The full list of committee members is below:


Preparing for Future Growth

Team Leaders: Shirley Hastings & Ben West

Committee Members: Annette Cole, Tim Cross, Daniel Sarver, Joseph Donaldson, Eric Drumm, Kevin Ferguson, Ranson Goodman, Latif Lighari, Tyrone Miller, Allisen Penn, Nancy Rucker, Tom Stebbins, Anthony Tuggle, Sara Vaden and Dena Wise


Advancing Tennessee through Innovative Programs

Team Leaders: Robert Burns & Connie Heiskell

Committee Members: Shelly Barnes, Ronnie Barron, Beth Bell, Donna Bradley, Roy Bullock, Mike Buschermohle, Lena Beth Carmichael, Chris Cooper, Jason DeKoff, Matt Devereaux, Karen Franck, Delton Gerloff, Dwight Loveday, Richard Powell, Neal Smith, John Toman, Glenn Turner and Taunee Whittenbarger


Investing in UT Extension's Human Capital

Team Leaders: Herb Byrd & Steve Sutton

Committee Members: Matt Horsman, John Bartee, Mitch Beaty, Keith Belli, Ann Berry, Sheila Borders, Kelli Bottoms, Carmen Burgos, Barbara Canada, Amy Elizer, Joe Griffy, Vicki Lofty, Christina Martinez and Milton Orr


Maximizing Organizational Efficiency

Team Leaders: Lynn Brookins & Tim Fawver

Committee Members: Mary Beth Henley, Alan Bruhin, Richard Buntin, Janie Burney, Janet Cluck, Rob Holland, Martin Koon, Karen Nelms, Emily Osterhaus, David Perrin, Alica Rhea, Thelma Sanders-Hunter and David Yates


Increasing Visibility of UT Extension

Team Leaders: Lorna Norwood & Jim Stewart

Committee Members: Michele Atkins, Gary Bates, Shirlene Booker, Linda Bower, Brad Greenfield, Sierra Ham, Creig Kimbro, Jackie King, Larry Moorehead, Betty Neilson, Javiette Samual, Emily Tipton and Amy Williams


The goals of the retreat were to:

  • Brainstorm implementation ideas
  • Review Strategic Plan and background data
  • Review summary of implementation ideas from State Extension Conference and Advisory Council
  • Review summary of The Year is 2020 activity.
  • Discuss possible implementation plans
  • Select implementation plans using priority ratings
  • Design specific steps for implementing the plans
  • Develop timeline and assignments

The team was asked review each initiative using MUSTs and WANTs, if an initiative didn’t meet MUSTs list, it was not included, the WANTs were weighted and the score were calculated. This was necessary to prioritize the list and focus efforts for the first phase of the Implementation Plan.


  • Supports Extension's mission
  • Verifiable needs exist
  • Relevant to Tennessee (statewide)
  • Research-based and/or best practices
  • Have or can acquire capacity (knowledge, skills, etc.)
  • Topic or issue is timely today and will be for three to five year period
  • Has an economic, societal or environmental impact
  • Impact can be monitored and measured
  • Resources are available or can be redirected or secured
  • Support UT Extension's core values






Complements or agrees with UT Extension's organizational principles



Consistent with/or address major trends



Provides opportunity to reach new audiences or reach larger numbers of existing clientele



Innovative concept, creative or new approach planned



Opportunity to collaborate or form partnerships



Opportunity for external funding/fee-based



Provides opportunity for interdisciplinary contributions



Workforce will be supportive



Key stakeholders will be supportive



Compatible with USDA NIFA



In early 2012, a two-day retreat of regional and state administrators was held. The team included: Tim Cross, Robert Burns, Shirley Hastings, Joseph Donaldson, Lynn Brookins, Tim Fawver, Ben West, Herb Byrd, Steve Sutton, Connie Heiskell, Jim Stewart and Lorna Norwood. At the retreat, a Matrix of Initiatives was presented. It featured four quadrants to facilitate the prioritization process. The matrix features axes of Critical to Desired and Short-term to Long-term. One short- and one long-term critical goals were identified by the Strategic Implementation subcommittees. The five priority short-term initiatives and five long term priority initiatives were entered into the matrix, leaving 38 initiatives considered desired at that time.

The critical/short-term goals were scheduled to be accomplished between 2012 and 2016 and included:

  • Develop standards for offices and customer service (Future Growth)
  • Develop or enhance leadership teams in all Extension base programs: ANR, FCS, 4-H and RD (Innovative Programs)
  • Recognize and reward outstanding performance at all levels of the organization (Human Capital)
  • Establish new promotion process using the SUPER vita builder for non-tenure exempt staff (Efficiency)
  • Increase Visibility of Extension Program (Visibility)

The critical/long-term goals were scheduled to be accomplished in six- to ten-year period and included:

  • Collection of funding initiatives: fee-based programs, grants, capacity and gifts (Future Growth)
  • Develop the BEST (Building Exceptionally Skilled Teachers) teachers by improving skill sets and methodology (Innovative Programs)
  • Increase compensation packages to be comparable to the upper third of Extension peers (Human Capital)
  • Review and document Extension policies and practices for consistency, efficiency and clarity (Efficiency)
  • Develop an effective marketing plan (Visibility)

At the retreat, administrators reviewed the matrix and clarified the meaning of each initiative. They were also each given the opportunity to select one initiative either the desired/short-term or desired/long-term list. Then the group voted and if an initiative received more than 8 votes it was moved from the desired to the critical group. On the second day of the retreat, the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) was introduced. Using this technique, the group developed timelines, prioritized initiatives, confirmed milestones, developed sequence of initiatives, determined connections, determined talent, people and groups needed for the implementation of the 10 initiatives.

Critical Short-term and Long-term goals matrix:

Critical Short-Term Matrix (Accomplished by July, 2016)

Future Growth:

  • Enhance communication with elected officials, community leaders and policy makers.

Innovative Programs:

  • Prioritize Extension programming to address needs by developing or enhancing leadership teams in all Extension base programs: ANR, FCS, 4-H and RD.

Human Capital:

  • Establish a competancy-based system to guide personnel actions such as hiring, promotion and training.
  • Expand and strengthen Extension volunteers.
    • Recruit and retain a culturally diverse, active volunteer workforce.
    • Create well-defined volunteer job descriptions and expectations.
    • Work together as volunteers and staff, demonstrating mutual respect.
    • Enable learning and growth of volunteers.

Critical Long-Term Matrix (Accomplished by December, 2020)

Future Growth:

  • Diversify revenue sources, including fee-based programs.
  • Expand grant and contract funding.
  • Establish a premier, multipurpose West Tennessee 4-H Center
  • Evaluate and adopt cutting edge technologies

Innovative Programs:

  • Develop the BEST (Building Exceptionally Skilled Teachers) teachers by improving skill sets and methodology
  • Enhance IT support and training.

Human Capital:

  • Provide total compensation to employees that is comparable to the upper third of Extension peers.
  • Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Employees.
  • Support and encourage work and personal life balance.

Organizational Efficiency:

  • Review and document Extension policies and practices for consistency, efficiency and clarity.
    • Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Employees.
    • Support and encourage work and personal life balance.

Increasing Visibility:

  • Develop an effective statewide marketing plan.
    • Brand Extension as "Your local UT Campus"
    • Launch a comprehensive and ongoing media campaign.
    • Evaluate and refine marketing strategies to ensure effectiveness.
    • Use Marketing and communication strategies to increase visibility.
  • Inspire and empower employees and volunteer to market Extension.
    • Provide training and materials to market Extension effectively.
    • Increase marketing competencies of employees and volunteers.

The first step in accomplishing these goals was to appoint committees. The committees were comprised of diverse group of employees from across the state. Team members were nominated by regional directors and department heads and ultimately appointed by the Dean of Extension. The team leader was selected through an application and interview process. In most cases, the team leader was appointed for a two year period, given release time and paid a stipend during their tenure. Western Tennessee 4-H Center was the first implementation team to be appointed in 2012. (link to goal page with team info) In 2013 the office of the Strategic Planning was created to guide the implementation. Dr. Shirley Hastings was appointed Director of Strategic Planning.

During the same year, committee chairs and teams were selected to begin implementing the following initiatives:

In 2014, the following committees began their work:

Throughout the process, program reports were made to administration and to all Extension employees. A website was created to post programs, quarterly electronic newsletters were distributed to all employees. A section of the Dean’s newsletter was denoted to Strategic Planning. In addition, video reports were sent periodically.

A Strategic Plan Progress Report was delivered at 2014 Extension Conference. In addition, parts of the conference program featured results of the implementation teams’ work. Following the conference new teams were named which encompassed some of the shot- and long-term desired goals.

Desired Short-Term Initiatives (Initiated in 2014 or Later and Accomplished by July 2016)

Future Growth:

  • Develop standards for all Extension facilities and customer service.

Innovative Programs:

  • Enhance and fully utilize SUPER.

Human Capital:

  • Implement a comnprehensive mentor training program for all newly assigned employees.
  • Improve performance review.
  • Conduct a comprehensive training program for County Directors.
  • Define and communicate benefits to current and prospective employees.

Desired Long-Term Initiatives (Initiated in 2014 or Later and Accomplished by December 2020)

Human Capital:

  • Establish a volunteer recognition program.

Increasing Visibility:

  • Share Extension's successes.
    • Inform residents and communities of Extension's impact.
    • Employ social media and other marketing tools to promote program success.
  • Increase visibility of Extension programs.
    • Cross market programs to current clientele.
    • Promote Extension at major public venues by creating an annual event that would call attention to Extension's programs and services.

For the next few years, the teams worked on accomplishing their goals. They developed programs, conducted trainings, transitioned into standing committees.

In 2017, SUPER 2.0 committee was appointed as part of accomplishing the goal of Advancing Tennessee through Innovative Programs by helping to evaluate Extension program outcomes to confirm they are meeting priority needs. Its efforts are ongoing and include updating SUPER Profile, Enrollment, implementing a new Electronic Dossier process, and Delivery modules. As of 2019, approximately 90% of the 2010 Strategic Plan has been implemented and institutionalized to a sustainable plan. In addition, the new website was created to serve as a record of plans and accomplishments. A final report will be produced and presented at the 2020 Extension Conference.