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Implementing the Plan


The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Stephen Covey

The 2010-2020 Strategic Plan was introduced at the 2010 Extension Conference. Participants gave input for the plan’s implementation by completing “The Year Is 2020” activity sheets for each goal. Extension employees were asked to imagine themselves in the year 2020 and record what they see, hear, think, and feel. Another group that was polled was the Extension Advisory Committee. The feedback from both groups was synthesized and presented to the Implementation Committee, which met in July 2011. Subcommittees were assigned to each goal. The full list of committee members is below:

Team Leaders: Shirley Hastings and Ben West

Committee Members: Annette Cole, Tim Cross, Daniel Sarver, Joseph Donaldson, Eric Drumm, Kevin Ferguson, Ranson Goodman, Latif Lighari, Tyrone Miller, Allisen Penn, Nancy Rucker, Tom Stebbins, Anthony Tuggle, Sara Vaden, and Dena Wise

Team Leaders: Robert Burns and Connie Heiskell

Committee Members: Shelly Barnes, Ronnie Barron, Beth Bell, Donna Bradley, Roy Bullock, Mike Buschermohle, Lena Beth Carmichael, Chris Cooper, Jason DeKoff, Matt Devereaux, Karen Franck, Delton Gerloff, Dwight Loveday, Richard Powell, Neal Smith, John Toman, Glenn Turner, and Taunee Whittenbarger

Team Leaders: Herb Byrd and Steve Sutton

Committee Members: Matt Horsman, John Bartee, Mitch Beaty, Keith Belli, Ann Berry, Sheila Borders, Kelli Bottoms, Carmen Burgos, Barbara Canada, Amy Elizer, Joe Griffy, Vicki Lofty, Christina Martinez, and Milton Orr

Team Leaders: Lynn Brookins and Tim Fawver

Committee Members: Mary Beth Henley, Alan Bruhin, Richard Buntin, Janie Burney, Janet Cluck, Rob Holland, Martin Koon, Karen Nelms, Emily Osterhaus, David Perrin, Alica Rhea, Thelma Sanders-Hunter, and David Yates

Team Leaders: Lorna Norwood and Jim Stewart

Committee Members: Michele Atkins, Gary Bates, Shirlene Booker, Linda Bower, Brad Greenfield, Sierra Ham, Creig Kimbro, Jackie King, Larry Moorehead, Betty Neilson, Javiette Samual, Emily Tipton, and Amy Williams

The goals of the retreat were to:

  • Brainstorm implementation ideas.
  • Review Strategic Plan and background data.
  • Review summary of implementation ideas from State Extension Conference and Advisory Council.
  • Review summary of “The Year Is 2020” activity.
  • Discuss possible implementation plans.
  • Select implementation plans using priority ratings.
  • Design specific steps for implementing the plans.
  • Develop timeline and assignments.

The team was asked to review each initiative using MUSTs and WANTs; if an initiative didn’t meet the MUSTs list, it was not included. The WANTs were weighted and the score was calculated. This was necessary to prioritize the list and focus efforts for the first phase of the Implementation Plan.

MUSTs List

  • Supports Extension’s mission.
  • Verifiable needs exist.
  • Relevant to Tennessee (statewide).
  • Research-based and/or best practices.
  • Have or can acquire capacity (knowledge, skills, etc.).
  • Topic or issue is timely today and will be for three- to five-year period.
  • Has an economic, societal, or environmental impact.
  • Impact can be monitored and measured.
  • Resources are available or can be redirected or secured.
  • Support UT Extension’s core values.

WANTs List


Complements or agrees with UT Extension’s organizational principles.


Consistent with/or addresses major trends.


Provides opportunity to reach new audiences or reach larger numbers of existing clientele.


Innovative concept, creative or new approach planned.


Opportunity to collaborate or form partnerships.


Opportunity for external funding/fee-based.


Provides opportunity for interdisciplinary contributions.


Workforce will be supportive.


Key stakeholders will be supportive.


Compatible with USDA NIFA.


In early 2012, a two-day retreat of regional and state administrators was held. The team included: Tim Cross, Robert Burns, Shirley Hastings, Joseph Donaldson, Lynn Brookins, Tim Fawver, Ben West, Herb Byrd, Steve Sutton, Connie Heiskell, Jim Stewart, and Lorna Norwood. At the retreat, a Matrix of Initiatives was presented. It featured four quadrants to facilitate the prioritization process. The matrix features axes of Critical to Desired and Short-term to Long-term. One short- and one long-term critical goal were identified by the Strategic Implementation subcommittees. The five priority short-term initiatives and five long-term priority initiatives were entered into the matrix, leaving thirty-eight initiatives considered desired at that time.

The critical/short-term goals were scheduled to be accomplished between 2012 and 2016 and included:

  • Develop standards for offices and customer service (Future Growth).
  • Develop or enhance leadership teams in all Extension base programs: ANR, FCS, 4-H, and RD (Innovative Programs).
  • Recognize and reward outstanding performance at all levels of the organization (Human Capital).
  • Establish new promotion process using the SUPER vita builder for non-tenure exempt staff (Efficiency).
  • Increase visibility of Extension program (Visibility).

The critical/long-term goals were scheduled to be accomplished in a six- to ten-year period and included:

  • Collection of funding initiatives: fee-based programs, grants, capacity, and gifts (Future Growth).
  • Develop the BEST (Building Exceptionally Skilled Teachers) teachers by improving skill sets and methodology (Innovative Programs).
  • Increase compensation packages to be comparable to the upper third of Extension peers (Human Capital).
  • Review and document Extension policies and practices for consistency, efficiency, and clarity (Efficiency).
  • Develop an effective marketing plan (Visibility).

At the retreat, administrators reviewed the matrix and clarified the meaning of each initiative. They were also each given the opportunity to select one initiative from either the desired/short-term or desired/long-term list. Then the group voted and if an initiative received more than eight votes, it was moved from the desired to the critical group. On the second day of the retreat, the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) was introduced. Using this technique, the group developed timelines, prioritized initiatives, confirmed milestones, developed sequence of initiatives, determined connections, and determined talent, people, and groups needed for the implementation of the ten initiatives.

Critical Short-term and Long-term Goals Matrix:

Future Growth:

  • Enhance communication with elected officials, community leaders, and policy makers.

Innovative Programs:

  • Prioritize Extension programming to address needs by developing or enhancing leadership teams in all Extension base programs: ANR, FCS, 4-H, and RD.

Human Capital:

  • Establish a competency-based system to guide personnel actions such as hiring, promotion, and training.
  • Expand and strengthen Extension volunteers.
    • Recruit and retain a culturally diverse, active volunteer workforce.
    • Create well-defined volunteer job descriptions and expectations.
    • Work together as volunteers and staff, demonstrating mutual respect.
    • Enable learning and growth of volunteers.

Future Growth:

  • Diversify revenue sources, including fee-based programs.
  • Expand grant and contract funding.
  • Establish a premier, multipurpose West Tennessee 4-H center.
  • Evaluate and adopt cutting-edge technologies.

Innovative Programs:

  • Develop the BEST (Building Exceptionally Skilled Teachers) teachers by improving skill sets and methodology.
  • Enhance IT support and training.

Human Capital:

  • Provide total compensation to employees that is comparable to the upper third of Extension peers.
  • Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Employees.
  • Support and encourage work and personal life balance.

Organizational Efficiency:

  • Review and document Extension policies and practices for consistency, efficiency, and clarity.
    • Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Employees.
    • Support and encourage work and personal life balance.

Increasing Visibility:

  • Develop an effective statewide marketing plan.
    • Brand Extension as “Your Local UT Campus.”
    • Launch a comprehensive and ongoing media campaign.
    • Evaluate and refine marketing strategies to ensure effectiveness.
    • Use marketing and communications strategies to increase visibility.
  • Inspire and empower employees and volunteers to market Extension.
    • Provide training and materials to market Extension effectively.
    • Increase marketing competencies of employees and volunteers.

The first step in accomplishing these goals was to appoint committees. The committees were composed of a diverse group of employees from across the state. Team members were nominated by regional directors and department heads and ultimately appointed by the dean of Extension. The team leader was selected through an application and interview process. In most cases, the team leader was appointed for a two-year period, given release time, and paid a stipend during their tenure. The West Tennessee 4-H Center was the first implementation team to be appointed in 2012. (link to goal page with team info) In 2013, the Office of Strategic Planning was created to guide the implementation. Shirley Hastings, former associate dean of family and consumer sciences, was appointed director of strategic planning.

During the same year, committee chairs and teams were selected to begin implementing the following initiatives:

In 2014, the following committees began their work:

Throughout the process, program reports were made to administration and to all Extension employees. A website was created to post programs, and quarterly electronic newsletters were distributed to all employees. A section of the dean’s newsletter was devoted to strategic planning. In addition, video reports were sent periodically.

A Strategic Plan Progress Report was delivered at the 2014 Extension conference. In addition, parts of the conference program featured results of the implementation teams’ work. Following the conference, new teams were named, which encompassed some of the short- and long-term desired goals.

Desired Short-term and Long-term Initiatives:

Future Growth:

  • Develop standards for all Extension facilities and customer service.

Innovative Programs:

  • Enhance and fully utilize SUPER.

Human Capital:

  • Implement a comprehensive mentor training program for all newly assigned employees.
  • Improve performance review.
  • Conduct a comprehensive training program for county directors.
  • Define and communicate benefits to current and prospective employees.

Human Capital:

  • Establish a volunteer recognition program.

Increasing Visibility:

  • Share Extension’s successes.
    • Inform residents and communities of Extension’s impact.
    • Employ social media and other marketing tools to promote program success.
  • Increase visibility of Extension programs.
    • Cross market programs to current clientele.
    • Promote Extension at major public venues by creating an annual event that would call attention to Extension’s programs and services.

For the next few years, the teams worked on accomplishing their goals. They developed programs, conducted trainings, and transitioned into standing committees.

In 2017, the SUPER 2.0 Committee was appointed as part of accomplishing the goal of Advancing Tennessee through Innovative Programs by helping to evaluate Extension program outcomes to confirm they were meeting priority needs. Its efforts are ongoing and include updating the SUPER Profile and Enrollment, implementing a new electronic dossier process, and delivering modules. As of 2019, approximately 90 percent of the 2010 Strategic Plan has been implemented and institutionalized to a sustainable plan. In addition, the new website was created to serve as a record of plans and accomplishments. A final report will be produced and presented at the 2020 Extension Conference.

Extension Strategic Plan
Administrators’ Retreat
Administrators’ Retreat
gifts grants fees team
Gifts, Grants, and Fees Team
volunteerism team
Volunteerism Team
Visibility Team Mtg
Visibility Team
Extension month resolution
Extension Month Resolution
Resolution from Tennessee House of Representatives
SUPER 2.0 Team
Office Standards Team
Office Standards Team
County Directors team picture
County Directors Team
County Directors Team Meeting
County Directors Team Meeting
Healthy Lifestyles Standing Committee
Healthy Lifestyles Standing Committee
Healthy Lifestyles
Healthy Lifestyles Team
Electronic Dossier Committee
Electronic Dossier Team