March 24, 2012
Extension is anxiously awaiting the approval of the state budget. Both the Senate and the House proposed budgets include $500,000 to support the addition of 10-12 agents in the field.
- More that 25 agents have been hired with the funds provided from the Virginia General Assembly in 2011.
- More than 42 agents have been hired since July 2011. There should be 222 agents in the field by May.
- Extension will be hiring 4 county-based administrative assistants.
- Three specialist positions will be filled this year — a crops specialist, a livestock specialist, and a 4-H specialist.
- Extension is also hiring two support positions to work with the 4-H livestock and equine programs.
Planning District meetings
Dr. Jones is wrapping up the last of the planning district meetings. The meetings have been a great opportunity for local Extension Leadership Council members, local government officials, and Extension stakeholders to meet Dr. Jones and ask questions and share their concerns.
Extension Leadership Councils
Extension will be meeting with the State Extension Leadership Council later this month to explore how the ELCs can build on their success and play a more active role in facilitating communication among stakeholders.
Dr. Jones has appointed several Extension faculty members to develop and pilot an impact communications process. They have been divided into five interdisciplinary, self-directed teams that will look at ways that to gather and evaluate Extension impacts and share them with our clients, stakeholders, and the public.
November 28, 2011
Secretary of Education’s Report
The Secretary of Education’s report regarding Virginia Cooperative Extension was received on Sunday, November 27. Over the next few days, Extension administration will review the report and determine what follow up and actions are needed to respond to the Secretary’s recommendations.
If you wish to review the report, it has been posted to the VCE website.
October 6, 2011
Administrative Changes Announced
Virginia Cooperative Extension announced several administrative actions to enhance the organization’s effectiveness and better serve the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Extension will launch a national search for an associate director for agriculture and natural resources. This position, which has been vacant for two years, will be responsible for providing leadership for Extension’s agricultural and natural resources programs and will serve as a liaison with industry, organizations, and government agencies. Bob Smith, associate dean for engagement in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, will chair the search committee.
- Brian Calhoun has been appointed associate director for community viability and family and consumer sciences. In addition to his current leadership responsibilities for community viability programs, he will oversee the family and consumer sciences programs.
- Karen Gehrt, former associate director for family and consumer sciences, will lead the development of a statewide reporting system to collect and document the impact that Extension’s programs have on Virginians.
- Extension will begin transitioning the community viability specialists into the appropriate academic departments in order to enhance their connection with other faculty members and improve their capacity to build on the great programs they conduct.
- Caroline and King George counties have been moved from Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Southeast District to the Northern District. Because many of their efforts are conducted with other counties in the Northern District, this move will better serve these counties administratively and will formally align the counties.
August 23, 2011
New Agents Being Hired
Extension has moved forward with hiring a portion of the 25 new agents approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. The first of these have been recently posted and can be found at http://www.ext.vt.edu/jobs.html. The positions were selected with input from the associate and district directors and cut across all program areas; hopefully they will fill some of the most critical needs. The remaining 14 openings will be posted in September and October. These positions are in addition to the 12 agents that have been hired since January. Extension is also in the process of filling six current vacancies.
Planning District Meetings
The State Extension Leadership Council (ELC) planning district representatives are in the process of scheduling meetings between now and December for local ELC members and other community members to meet with Extension Director, Ed Jones. Details will be posted on the Upcoming Events page as they are confirmed.
June 1, 2011
Restructuring Plan Withdrawn
In January of this year, Virginia Cooperative Extension withdrew its proposed plan to restructure the organization that was initiated in response to sizable budget reductions. Based on the overwhelming response and feedback received during the General Assembly session, it was clear that additional input was needed from our internal and external stakeholders.
The General Assembly Approves Funding for New Agents
The executive budget proposal from Gov. McDonnell included $494,410 for Virginia Cooperative Extension. This amount was maintained by the conferees and included in the amended budget from the General Assembly, released March 4. The approved budget also includes $1 million to use in conjunction with local government matches to fund 25 Extension agent positions. When considering this, it is important to remember that agency 229 (Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension) was scheduled to lose $4.5 million — including this $1 million — so the new budget language changes the fiscal year 2012 budget reduction to approximately $3 million.
Report by the Secretary of Education in November
As part of the amended budget, the General Assembly mandated specific requirements for next steps, and the secretary of education has been asked to make a report on Extension’s organizational structure by Nov. 1. Extension will be working closely with the secretary and providing his office with the information requested.
Edwin Jones Arrives as New Extension Director
Edwin Jones arrived on April 1 to begin his role as associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Extension. To gain insight and hear from Extension agents, he has visited Southwest Virginia’s 4-H Educational Center, toured the Southern Piedmont and the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Centers (AREC), visited several county and district offices, and participated in multiple meetings, both in person and virtually.
The director will attend several AREC field days across the state where he will be available to answer questions and receive comments about Extension’s future. Scheduled events include:
• June 2, Tidewater AREC (Suffolk)
• June 28, Eastern Shore AREC (Painter)
• July 14, Southern Piedmont AREC (Blackstone)
Other opportunities to meet with the director will be announced on this site as they are scheduled and will be listed on the Upcoming Events page.