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Dean and director of Extension search begins

October 31, 2019 By Käri Knutson

A search-and-screen committee has been appointed to help identify and select candidates for the next dean and director for the Division of Extension.

After nearly 50 years as part of a separate unit within the University of Wisconsin System, the Division of Extension has been reunited with UW–Madison. It is one of the primary agencies dedicated to the “Wisconsin Idea” — the commitment to outreach and public engagement activities that partner with communities to extend and apply the university’s research, education and practice-based knowledge to help solve problems and foster learning.

The search committee is being chaired by Jed Colquhoun, a professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture and director of the Integrated Pest Management program.

“Extension is a complex statewide organization that has been in the midst of both a restructuring process and move back to the UW–Madison campus in the past couple of years,” Colquhoun says. “With that context in mind, the search committee is eager to hear from candidates that can optimize our future function and value across the state while emphasizing a trustful, inclusive work environment.”

Karl Martin is serving as the interim dean and director of Extension.

The dean will report to the provost through the vice provost for extension and public media, and will be responsible for providing creative, inspiring leadership to more than 700 faculty and staff located in 72 county offices, five tribal nations and several University of Wisconsin System campuses. The dean will oversee an annual budget of approximately $80 million.

Duties include:

  • Provide leadership in an environment of progressive change at the local, state and national levels.
  • Ensure program diversity and provide leadership for developing a workforce that is representative of the changing Wisconsin population.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with a wide range of public and private organizations, advisory groups and state/federal agencies involved in supporting the Division of Extension.
  • Develop long-term strategy to diversify revenue streams and other sources of support for Extension programming, including philanthropic activity.

Other committee members include Judi Bartfeld, professor of consumer science; Dale Beaty, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation; Jerry Deschane, League of Wisconsin Municipalities; Steve Deller, professor of agricultural and applied economics; Thomas DuBois, professor of German, Nordic and Slavic; Laura Hernandez, associate professor of dairy science; Alfonso Morales, professor of planning and landscape architecture; Mark O’Connell, Wisconsin Counties Association; Gene Purcell, director of Wisconsin Public Media; J. Elmo Rawling, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey; Jeff Russell, dean of the Division of Continuing Studies; Ruth Schriefer, professor of human development and relationships, Division of Extension; Steve Ventura, professor of soil science; Nola Walker, assistant director for assessment, Memorial Library, General Library System; Earlise Ward, associate professor in the School of Nursing and public service faculty director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service; and David Wright-Racette, student services associate, La Follette School of Public Affairs.

A full position description can be found here. The deadline for applications is Jan. 17.

Nominations can be sent to Colquhoun, c/o Steve Leo, Storbeck/Pimentel search firm,