The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences was assessed a cut of about eight percent in the funds transferred from Cooperative Extension as a result of the UW System budget cut imposed in 2015. The college realized nearly three percent of this cut in fiscal years 15–19, primarily by eliminating four vacant Extension-funded faculty positions, with some additional reduction in the supplies and expense funding provided to departments.
Doug Reinemann, associate dean for extension and outreach, reports, “We have an additional $422,000 reduction remaining, or about five percent or our Extension budget, to realize in the FY20 budget. We have been asked to standardize the support, supplies and expenses budget in CALS’ departments to align with the support supplied to programming faculty and staff in Cooperative Extension and so that Cooperative Extension is not carrying an undue amount of the administrative support in the college.”
Reinemann has been meeting with chairs of departments with Extension funding to review their budgets for the upcoming year. The reviews outline the number of Extension programming staff in each department, defined as faculty with Extension appointments and academic staff funded on Extension dollars who lead Extension programs. The review also summarizes support staff funded by Extension, who do not engage directly in Extension programming, in addition to supply and expense budgets.
Going forward, the college will calculate support staff and supply and expense allocations for departments based on the number of Extension programming FTEs. Reinemann explains that this standardized approach will, “provide equity between CALS and the Division of Extension and across departments within CALS.”
After realizing the budget reduction, further attrition of faculty and academic staff funded on 104/143 will create a pool for potential reinvestment in positions. The CALS’ process to request extension funding for positions, both faculty and academic staff, will be conducted twice per year along with 101-funded faculty position requests. Decisions on these position requests will be made in consultation with our partners in the Division of Extension.
The reductions in the CALS Extension budget in the past two decades have been met largely from not refilling Extension faculty positions, resulting in a loss of about 45 percent of our Extension faculty FTEs. Reinemann says, “My goal is to restore some of these Extension-funded faculty positions. The research generated by our Extension faculty is the core of Extension’s research-based educational programming.”