Madison forum seeks input on UW Extension’s next century

For one hundred years, the University of Wisconsin Extension has served the state by connecting university resources with public needs. Extension is using the anniversary as an occasion to look forward to the next century.

Jeffrey Russell, vice provost for lifelong learning and dean of the Division of Continuing Studies
Russell: ‘UW Extension needs input from all stakeholders on how it can remain vitally important to the state of Wisconsin.’
A series of statewide forums called “UW Extension Reimagined” will explore the possibilities for serving a new generation of Wisconsin residents. They include a May 4 session at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., for UW-Madison faculty, staff, and the general public. The two-hour forum begins at 9 a.m. and includes a light breakfast. Those interested in attending should RSVP by April 24 to Julie Klein, jklein@dcs.wisc.edu.
“UW Extension needs input from all stakeholders on how it can remain vitally important to the state of Wisconsin,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, UW-Madison’s Dean of Continuing Studies and Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning, who will co-host the May 4 forum.

Choices for the future

Russell is also a member of the UW Extension Reimagined committee, and he stresses the need for widespread collaboration in charting Extension’s future.
“Extension is seeking direction in such areas as technology and business practices, as well as ideas for raising its profile in the state. Extension leaders will use the results of this discussion in their long-term planning.”
The forums will focus on making choices for the future. Among the key questions: How can Extension best extend its reach? How can it remain sustainable in a rapidly changing world? How should it adjust programming to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse audience?
Moderators will facilitate the discussion, and note-takers will record it. A report on the findings will be available on the Extension website.

The way forward

Cramer: ‘The Madison forum will help determine the way forward.’
UW Extension operates in all 72 Wisconsin counties to improve residents’ quality of life. It assists with small business development, organizes 4-H programs, advises farmers, oversees Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio, and provides continuing education opportunities, among other initiatives. Extension is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea, an approach to higher education that emphasizes service to the state.
“To serve Wisconsin communities in the future, UW Extension must contend with significant demographic and socioeconomic changes,” says Kathy Cramer, interim director of UW-Madison’s Morgridge Center for Public Service and co-host of the May 4 forum. “It must also decide on the best way to allocate its resources and create new revenue streams. The Madison forum, and others like it around Wisconsin, will help determine the way forward.”
For more information on “UW Extension Reimagined,” contact UW-Extension Associate Vice Chancellor Greg Hutchins, greg.hutchins@uwex.edu, 608-263-7810.