The first 5-year strategic plan for Purdue University Extension since Chuck Hibberd took the job is in its final stages. Extension develops a plan each five years at the state level. Each of Indian's 92 counties typically uses the plan as a guide and modifies it to fit each county.
Plans are developed with input from county Extension boards and from stakeholders across the state. That includes a broad range of people from farmers to people who make use of wellness and nutrition programs for various age groups.
The draft proposal contains 10 key initiatives. While many are traditional areas where Extension has made a difference in the past, some are new areas of emphasis. Strategic plans tend to speak in broad terms, and set guidelines for which directions staffs and programs should go in the future. Each plan must be adopted to fit each county because the situation regarding the community and Extension's role in it is different in every one of Indiana's 92 counties.
Hibberd has addressed Extension boards/and or annual meetings of stakeholders in all counties, typically through a video where he discusses the 10 initiatives. Comments are being taken on the draft initiatives until December 3. If you have thoughts, you can relay them in writing to your county Extension office, or visit the Purdue Extension site online to make comments. Hibberd says these comments will be considered as the players involved in putting the actual report on paper make final reviews.
Most County Extension Boards are made up of up to 15 people from the community. Most counties attempt to staff boards with a cross-section of the people that Extension works with in their area, including farmers, homeowners, medical professionals, educators, and business people. Members serve three-year terms. They may serve two consecutive three-year terms, and then must take a break. However, they can return to serve two-additional three-year terms. This could vary depending upon the bylaws used in various counties.
If you don't know who your Extension board members are, take this time to find out. They are not the same as Fair Board members. The role of the Extension Board is to provide guidance to the county Extension educators, and hen necessary, to assist in hiring or dismissing and educator in their county. Their job is also to represent their group or area within the county, and listen to comments others have, so they can pass them on to educators. Sometimes these comments result in new Extension programs, or in dropping programs which are no longer effective.