Staffing Action Team


November 28-29, 2011

Attending: Laurie Boyce, Mary Detra, Howard Fenton, Angie Flinckigner, Gary Green Matt Hanson, Barb Ingham, Annie Jones, Deb Jones, Shelley King-Curry, Rick Klemme, Mike Koles, Mary Meehan-Strub, Kevin Palmer, Mark Stephenson, Dave Williams

Team Outcomes: Team members expressed their hopes for the outcomes they would achieve over the two day meeting held concurrently with ARTIST.

  • Alternative models to be shared with groups represented by team members
  • Consistent paradigm
  • Rule set
  • Shred values and assumptions (i.e. “balance ‘parity’ across…”)
  • Input to ARTIST on systems needed
  • Paradigm conversation (new normal) with relative SR stability
  • Shared understanding between two teams of common competencies of our colleagues
  • Review PVV

The Business Model: Rick shared a draft business model with the two teams that he has compiled and authored based on feedback about staffing principles that he has received throughout the strategic planning and implementation process (see attached).

What is a business model? Osterwalder describes a business model as describing, “the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value,” (2010)[i].

Key elements of the CE business model include:

  • Alignment with PVV
  • Resources and services that are valued by the intended audiences
  • Partnerships and relationships that ensure ongoing support for CE’s mission
  • Growth
  • Recruitment, development and retention of a competent and diverse staff
  • Efficient and effective operations

Comments on the business model:

  • The business model provides the “what if?” – a target like, “build an entrepreneurial climate”
  • “Expand and grow” – could “evolve” be a better description? (we can’t continue to be all things to all people)
  • How is the business model different than what we’re doing now? Does it reflect boldness as we move ahead?
  • Decision point for moving ahead and ROI – with limited resources, can we risk entrepreneurial failure?
  • “Valued by the intended audience” – what if the audience is two people?
  • What are the programming priorities?
  • Accountability not captured
  • Transformational education and specialist excellence – sometimes specialists may not ID themselves as educators
  • Is everything on the table?
  • Compensation – fertilization v. cannibalization
  • Squishy funding and faculty, do they align? What are the trade-offs?
  • This is a business model – the details will be in the business plan
  • Changing demographics – people may no longer stay with CE for thirty years
  • Career advancement
  • Expand definition of “staff” to also include interims, volunteers, VISTA, students
  • Business model could be used to explain our priorities and to guide decision-making
  • Missing whole systems improvement piece – evaluation and feedback loop
  • Is there room for describing what we do well? Nationally, county faculty sets us apart
  • “Evolve” means that we meet changing needs – to some extent, we cannot always provide specificity

Paradigms: Evaluation Specialist, Jennifer Kushner, led the groups in an introduction to paradigms. The ARTIST and StAT worked together to develop paradigms for CE’s Business Model. In response to the focus question, “If these key elements are the building blocks of the CE Business Model, what should our paradigms be?” Team members were also asked to include a short set of rules that would help achieve the paradigm.

Alignment with Purpose, Vision and Values:

Paradigm: The hiring process (staffing plan) should be/must be aligned with our purpose, vision and values.

Alignment with PVV should include (rules):

  • Position description development
  • Recruitment process
  • Screening process
  • Interview process
  • Decision to hire
  • Orientation
  • Mentorship
  • Professional development

Resources and services that are valued by intended audiences:

Old paradigm: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

New paradigm: The greatest impact for the largest audience.


  • Encourage/demand POW’s that allow us to focus “like a laser beam” on programs with high impact to the greatest number of people (60-80% of time devoted to large initiatives and 20-40% of time devoted to “squeaky wheel” activities)
  • Pursue grants that align with state priorities
  • Encourage and reward programs that demonstrate long-term, transformational change – excellence should be rewarded

Partnerships and relationships that ensure ongoing support for CE’s mission:

Paradigm: Strive for funding partnerships that are mission driven, meet local educational needs, and leverage internal resources and relationships.


  • Enter into the relationship with eyes wide open
  • Reporting on partnerships/relationships
  • Plan-full and intentional with partnerships
  • Assure funding is appropriate to CE mission


New paradigm 1: Prioritize the resources we have available to be awesome at the few things we choose to do.

New paradigm 2: Growth = building our capacity to achieve our vision consistent with our purpose and values.


  • Thoughtful, inclusive, appropriate, and timely prioritization process
  • Investment decisions include a mechanism for rate of return evaluation
  • Each statewide discipline is offered equal opportunity to explore growth opportunities and not at the exclusion of cross-disciplinary work
  • Local partner investment is respected through inclusion and dialogue

Recruitment, development and retention of a competent and diverse staff:

Recruitment: We will operate a comprehensive approach to recruitment.

Retention: We will seek to understand the individual elements of attrition.

Diverse staff: Explore alternate staffing options in highly diverse areas.

Efficient and effective operations:

  • Information sharing systems facilitate efficiency and effectiveness
  • The capacity and resources to administer support functions are located where needed to maximize efficiency and effectiveness
  • Education and communication technologies promote effectiveness
  • Efficiency can sometimes be improved with increased investment in selected operations

Implications of Paradigms: StAT reviewed the implications that the business model paradigms would have on long-term, strategic staffing models for CE.

Alignment with PVV- Implications:

  • Balance of county and campus
  • Candidates will have a broader scope of qualifications and experience, requiring in-depth selection of candidates and development of existing staff
  • Current staffing categories may not be sufficient
  • There should be flexibility in the model so disciplines (program and departments) have ability to prioritize needs for urban and rural (driven by PVV rather than geographic area)

Resources and services that are valued by intended audiences – Implications:

  • (Soft) resources complement the work of base-funded staff (largest impact for audience)
  • Extramural funding in alignment with county, region, state needs (not necessarily NIFA low-hanging fruit)
  • Prioritize and be awesome at what we do and shed items that consume time without impact
  • Audit – shift resources from one are to another. Who decides? Process? An overall organizational view is needed (centralized) – balanced with current decentralized model

Partnerships and relationships that ensure ongoing support for CE’s mission – Implications:

  • Paradigm tweak – also incorporate new partnerships
  • Investment in faculty (integrity)
  • Paradigm shift right now – counties want positions filled (relationships that we don’t have as much control over (state and federal) not as stable
  • Partnerships and relationships require care and feeding
  • Campus implications
  • Internal CE & system – majority Extension appointments for integrated
  • Stipends to county based faculty to specialize? Provide state leadership?

Recruitment, development and retention of a diverse and competent staff – Implications:

  • Investment of resources for recruitment of best candidates and/or diverse candidates
  • Work differently on campus – broaden, expand, consistent exposure

Support function “centralization” (ARTIST interaction) – Implications:

  • Technology support implications in hiring
  • Support functions for staffing (HR, grants management)

Long-term Staffing Models: Using the scenario planning model (see attached) in two sub-groups, StAT built on the business model, paradigms, and implications to brainstorm staffing alternatives that CE might use in any given scenario.

Sub-group A: Laurie Boyce, Angie Flickinger, Julie Gibes, Gary Green, Deb Jones, Mike Koles, Bev Phillips, and Mark Stephenson

Assuming alignment with PVV and the Business Model: What are the best staffing principles and options to achieve our PVV and how can we help our colleagues be successful in these models?

Staffing principles:

  1. Program area coverage in each county (1.0 FTE when possible)
  2. Applied research specialists
  3. Local presence in each county

Note – most of our staffing questions can be answered with yes or no responses:

Specialists support?yes/no

Program area in county?yes/no


Level of investmentcan vary

  • Specialist support must be more flexible than currently:
  • Emerging programs
  • Others from other departments that don’t have Extension appointments?
  • Wild card $ to departments for specialists – can’t fill everything with tenure-track long-term people

4.Even after tenure, needs to have specialists more responsive to change

What is important, and shouldn’t change?

  • No lay-offs?
  • Refill or layoffs of non-productive or non contributing staff
  • Local presence – what does that mean?

What may we need to do differently?

  • Program areas v. departments – combine as one? Does there need to be a program department, a program area and associations?
  • Focus on content areas. i.e. Obesity ?
  • Community education via two year campuses? Would there be partnership possibilities with the 2 year campuses in offering Extension services with community education?
  • Tenure? Is there any humanly possible way to look at this structure?
  • Even after tenure, needs to have specialists/program areas more responsive to change
  • Specialist support must be more flexible than currently:
  • Emerging programs
  • Others from other departments that don’t have Extension appointments?
  • Program areasFamily Living – pick 3-4 areas and do them really awesome. Make sure there is coverage of these areas in all counties as needed – health, financial, etc.
  • More coverage in big counties
  • Compensation based on performance?
  • Entrepreneurial efforts: “Big” partnerships (Soybean Association, Dept. of Health?)


Whew we made it!

  • Commitment to a minimum 50% appointment in each program area in each county
  • Multi-county coverage – minimum 30% appointment in each program area for each county
  • Technology investment
  • Reinvestment for support staff
  • Compensation:
  • New merit effort
  • Pay raises across board
  • $ competitive
  • County-based -> more base funds/equitable
  • Family friendly

We love you, but can’t afford you:

  • Multi-county coverage – minimum 30% appointment in each program area for each county
  • Flexibility
  • Nimble state staff – focus shifts
  • Wildcard money 20%
  • Regionalize support staff
  • 133 support staff
  • Part-time office (open certain hours)
  • Pooled county funding
  • Compensation:
  • Buy-out for leadership responsibilities
  • Target for 60/40 – start at 70/30
  • 80% time – 80% pay + soft $
  • Four program areas – reduce FTE
  • Tenured faculty sharing (v. academic staff) at county level
  • Academic freedom
  • Policy – tenure/waste
  • Greatness v. mediocrity (10 good or 7 great)
  • Pay for performance
  • Family friendly

This is political:

  • Duplication of servicesservice
  • Private funding
  • Alternative sources of funding

Holy crap!

  • WildcardWild card $ to departments for specialists – can’t fill everything with tenure-track long-term people

Sub-group B: Greg Blonde, Mary Detra, Howard Fenton, Matt Hanson, Kevin Palmer, Mary Meehan Strub, Shelley King-Curry, Dave Williams

Assuming alignment with PVV and the Business Model: What are the best staffing principles and options to achieve our PVV and how can we help our colleagues be successful in these models?

  1. What are we not going to sacrifice? What must not change?
  2. Connection to university
  3. Scholarship
  4. Four program areas?
  5. Local presence – partially to facilitate relationship development
  6. Research-based
  7. Addressing relevant needs
  8. Partnerships
  9. Technology leaders in terms of education/outreach
  10. Local relationships and scholarship?
  11. What would need to change?
  12. Create/expand strong and comprehensive urban programming
  13. How we program will need to change to be more relevant to younger generations and their styles of learning (technology and educational delivery methodologies)
  14. We’ll need to do more community-based social science research efforts – is there a need to shift, increase/reallocate resources to build capacity in this area?
  15. Does the minimization of displacement of personnel (if involuntary) constrain us and not allow the flexibility to address current and/or emerging program needs? While we discourage involuntary displacement, we encourage and support the flexibility to address current and/or emerging program needs
  16. Do more to build and support the scholarly “capacity” of academic staff
  17. We may need to consider Program Area “specialization” or “dedicated” resources to help with HR, position description development, recruitment, etc. (DD, liaison, Associate Program Director, or contract this out externally)


We love you but can’t afford you:

To some degree this is the scenario we’ve been in, i.e. from a state perspective, we would love to fill positions – but we can’t, because we can’t afford it.

Therefore, we moved to some of the temporary strategies – service and maintenance support, A1-A7. However, what are the political implications of doing this?

A1. More part-time positions

A2. More counties with fewer than four program areas

A3. Is position sharing with another county possible?

A4. Can one person (tenured) provide program coverage for more than one program area? Also for FL can FL educator also serve as the WNEP Coordinator?

A5. Is an academic year appointment feasible?

A6. Part-time positions with revenue generation requirement for other percent of employment

A7. Reduce appointment in county and add statewide responsibilities for some area

-How can we work with you to fund the project (position)?

-Are there possibilities to expand partnerships to bring in additional funding (partners) to support work (that needs to be done)?

-Can technology (our network/infrastructure) be used to address program needs?


Question – Are there restrictions on where we can take $ from? For instance:

-Pay increases funded through grants?

-Could we create a foundation funded by clientele groups/organizations that could be used to support certain efforts? Ex. Ag service provider?

-Can we set up a pool of funds (endowment, rainy day funds) for compensation efforts

In this quadrant – additional duties/responsibilities are compensated for:

-One person providing program coverage for multiple counties

-One person providing coverage for multiple program areas

-Persons taking on responsibilities for regional or statewide work (Civil Rights Team, Swine Team Leadership; Liaison, Academic Dept. Chair, County Dept. Heads

-Expectations for entrepreneurship

-Are there possibilities for new partnerships? (Towns Association, cities, individual towns, clientele groups, organizations, hospitals?

Whew, we made it!

  1. We could invest more in urban programming
  2. We could invest more in technology and delivery methodologies appealing to younger audiences
  3. We could invest/build capacity for community-based, social science research
  4. We could do more to support scholarship of CE Academic Staff
  5. New/additional investment in state specialists and local educators?


-A “Pay Plan” is available.

-Funding is available for entrepreneurship efforts

-Funding is available to recognize scholarship work for all (those direct involved in scholarship and those in indirect support of scholarship efforts)

This is political:

Could this happen on a statewide basis? Yes, but if it does, holy crap!

Locally: “We” want smaller government, therefore, “we can’t afford you.” The decision has been made (Milwaukee, Racine, Manitowoc). CE then needs to move to a build-back mode.

  1. Check on the duplication of programs – is there truly duplication, or are there differences in programming?
  2. Are we doing the appropriate needs identification and prioritization to address needs?
  3. Have we communicated value appropriately? (How we’ve addressed needs)

Compensation (doesn’t apply so much in this quadrant):

We have some counties where Associate Professors have not sought promotion to Professor because the county isn’t in a position to cover its share of the salary increase. Could the State support the promotion increase – in the short-term or long-term?

Holy Crap:

  1. UPG #7 comes into play/effect
  2. Institutional partnerships and relationships will come into play here:
  3. UW-Extension
  4. UW-Madison – CALS and SOHE
  5. UW-River Falls and Platteville
  6. State agencies (DATCP, DNR Committee, DHHS, etc.)


What happens if county partner can’t afford the dollars for a promotion?

Adjournment: Based on input from StAT during this meeting, Angela Fllickinger, Annie Jones, Dave Williams, Jennifer Kushner, and Rick Klemme agreed to meet and draft staffing models.

[i] Osterwaller, A. and Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons.