March 2, 2021
The interviews for our next Associate Director for Field Operations were conducted on Monday and continue today. This leadership position is extremely important in our extension system. The person who fills this position is responsible for determining how local units will operate. They liaise with county, university and state officials regarding local unit operations. They serve as a mentor to our regional directors and local unit directors. They also help in providing leadership to the Extension Administration Team as we strive to become a more effective and efficient system.
We need you to be active in this interview process. Go over the application materials, which can be found here. Watch the recordings of the seminars if you did not get to view them in person. Think about the strengths of each candidate. Finally, provide your feedback to the search and screen committee by completing the Qualtrics surveys for each candidate. Simply click on the survey link provided for the candidate you want to give feedack for. The surveys need to be completed by close of business on Friday, March 5.
This past weekend, inappropriate remarks were written on the open forum board at our Morris Family Multicultural Center. This is a blatant example of why we need to keep striving for our system to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive system. I also want to take this opportunity to point out that for every blatant example that brings shame to our university, system and society, there are many more hurtful things that go unnoticed by much of the dominant culture of our society. We will do our best to eliminate actions and oversights from our system that are contrary to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Tonight, we will be presenting the strategic recommendations from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to our State Extension Advisory Council. This important activity, which helps chart our path toward greater diversity, equity and inclusiveness in our system, was planned before this weekend’s incident. It will take a while to have these strategic recommendations fully vetted, however, but that does not mean that you should wait to make our system more inclusive. What can you do? When you do needs assessment, are you considering the programming needs of underrepresented and underserved populations? If not, start. When you design and implement programs, are you thinking about how to adapt the programs to the needs of underrepresented and underserved populations? If not, start. We are public servants and public educators. We need to serve all who make up that public.
I am not prepared at this time to comment specifically on the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions that have occurred in many of our counties across the state and how that may or may not affect our or the university’s COVID-19 protocols. While the number of new cases is declining, I find it odd that some are easing restrictions. It seems akin to a coach changing a defense that is working even as the team nears the end of a game. That usually does not bode well. I will have more information about this at our March Extension Update at 3 p.m., Friday, March 5.