The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/) is taking strides to reorganize with a planning process in progress. The positive spin is that this is all to “strengthen the organization and better align its priorities with the needs of North Carolinians.” This reorganization will be as the Extension service prepares to celebrate its 100th year.

A Visioning Team, made up of about 50 Extension employees, county government partners and volunteer leaders, has begun crafting a plan that will better position North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES) for long-term success and sustainability, according to Joe Zublena, Ph.D., NCCES director.

“We must prioritize the programs North Carolina needs that we are best equipped to provide,” said Sheri Schwab, associate director in charge of county operations for the NCCES.  “Then we can make changes and improvements to our organizational structure to effectively deliver those most critical educational programs.”

What is not mentioned specifically is how much the emphasis of the NCCES will change away from agricultural efforts and information to other areas of emphasis. Also not mentioned is how the reorganization is being scaled to save government money and cut the NCCES total budget.

The Visioning Team will meet to continue to refine and focus the strategic plan during March and April. The organization is on track to have a final plan in place during the spring of 2014. Regarding the current status of the reorganization process, Extension leadership is telling stakeholders and the public to consider the following tidbits of information.

• NO decisions regarding changes have been made (there are no final plans to report).

• This planning initiative is a work in progress, which continues to evolve as the team crafts and fine-tunes the plan for the future.

• NCCES is restructuring the organization, NOT gutting the organization.

• These things take time. The organization is still on schedule to have a final plan ready in the spring of this year.

Established in 1914, the NCCES is part of N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences  and the national Cooperative Extension network. The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service partners with county and tribal governments and N.C. A&T State University’s Cooperative Extension Program.