eXtension in View: National Directors and Administrators (NED/A) Meeting

The National Extension Directors and Administrators (NED/A) meeting was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico last week. On Wednesday, February 15, I participated in an eXtension presentation, which went very well.

Elbert Dickey, Director of Cooperative Extension in Nebraska and Chair of the eXtension Governing Committee, shared the eXtension 2005 Report on Investment Annual Report with the group.  The report describes key accomplishments ranging from hiring a leadership team, development of the prototype, the 2005 – 2007 eXtension Implementation Plan, naming the Pioneering Communities of Practice, starting a national FAQ system, establishing business and technical infrastructure, and engaging the system.

Karyn Malinowski, Director of Cooperative Extension at Rutgers University and chair of the eXtension Progress Review Panel, shared the panel’s two-page “2005 eXtension Progress Report – Executive Summary.”  The report concluded that year-one milestones were basically met and that significant “behind the curtain” work to move the initiative forward had been accomplished.  Panel recommendations included moving forward quickly with development of “in front of the curtain” services.  Other panel members included Jim Christenson, University of Arizona; Frank Boteler, CSREES; Margaret Hale, Texas A&M University; Duane Hauck, North Dakota State University; and Noland Williams, Kentucky State University.

Next, I presented an overview of what to expect in 2006 by reviewing the “2006 eXtension game board” and “2006 Key Milestones: Building and Ramping-Up eXtension.”  The handouts were very useful in describing how eXtension should develop over the coming year.

Larry Turner, Director of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Kentucky and co-chair of the eXtension Finance Taskforce, gave an eXtension financial update.  He reported on the payment of institutional assessments, the success of establishing the FY06 line item “New Technologies for Agricultural Extension” budgeted at $1.485M, and the President’s FY07 budget that includes a $2.97M line for eXtension (double the FY06 line).

Afterwards, directors and administrators asked questions related to the management of intellectual property and copyright, FY07 budget strategies, engaging the system, milestones, and more.  Conversation was quite positive and as excitement mounts for seeing eXtension “in front of the curtain.”