CFR Faculty and Staff:
Our College mission statement is, in part, directed toward disseminating knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services through outreach. As part of our vision to provide world-class knowledge and leadership for environmental and natural resource issues, we must transform all elements of our College to ensure that each is optimally positioned to support our goals, even as we struggle with shrinking resources. This involves critically examining our current programs and practices and making difficult decisions regarding the costs and benefits of continuing our collective activities.
Towards the end of 2002, I became aware of serious problems in our CFR Outreach Office involving both financial management issues and the continuing lack of close integration with our College's teaching and research programs. The problems were aggravated by several factors beyond our control, including an erosion of the traditional client base, global uncertainties, and the economic downturn, bringing the problems to a crisis point. Accordingly, I established an ad hoc group consisting of Professors Hanley and Bradley, Associate Dean Edmonds, and Administrator Russell and asked them to review the CFR Outreach Office and all College outreach and continuing education functions. They were asked to recommend alternatives for managing the future opportunities for outreach and continuing education in the College and the historic budget deficit. Based upon their recommendations, and in consultation with our center and cooperative directors, changes in the CFR Outreach Office and the manner by which we deliver high quality outreach programs in the future are needed.
The reorganization recommended by the ad hoc committee recognizes that the major portion of the College's outreach effort is currently realized through its centers and cooperatives. The new model that takes effect July 1, 2003 relies heavily on these units through their participation on a CFR Outreach Steering Committee chaired by Associate Dean Edmonds. This decentralized approach will provide coordination and collaboration through the Steering Committee while substantially reducing fixed costs. The Committee will be comprised of all center and cooperative staff who are directly responsible for outreach in their unit. The director or his/her designee will represent centers and cooperatives that do not have an individual responsible for outreach. The existing CFR Outreach Office will close and the attendant staff positions will be eliminated.
The CFR Outreach Steering Committee is charged with developing a strategic plan to identify current and potential efforts and audiences and a strategy for moving ahead in a coordinated fashion. The strategic outreach plan is to be submitted to the Dean by October 1, 2003. On an on-going basis, the responsibilities of the Steering Committee will include assessing the financial health of each proposed offering, weighing the costs against the benefits expected from each proposal. They will produce a common CFR marketing plan by October 1, 2003, as well as encourage marketing of center, cooperative, and individual outreach programs and will coordinate CFR outreach web information. The CFR Outreach Steering Committee will be responsible for assigning CFR outreach proposals or activities not originating in one of the centers or cooperatives to one or more of the centers, cooperatives, Engineering Professional Programs (EPP, below), or elsewhere for implementation. The CFR Outreach Steering Committee will be responsible for appropriate centralized reporting requirements.
The breadth of interest areas represented by CFR centers and cooperatives provides a resource for all CFR faculty in developing individual outreach programs. When a faculty member wishes to propose an outreach program, he (she) will present a proposal to the Chair of the CFR Outreach Steering Committee. The Committee will identify the center or cooperative most appropriate for implementing the idea. If an appropriate match is not made between a faculty member and a center or cooperative, the Committee will refer the faculty to EPP or another external service provider. Outreach activities or events initiated by CFR centrally, such as the Denman Forestry Issues Series, will be referred to the Chair of the CFR Outreach Steering Committee for action and assignment to a center, a cooperative, EPP, or a private event management organization for administration.
The model recommended by the ad hoc group offers many advantages, both to individual centers and cooperatives, by way of increased cooperation and resource/information sharing and to the College as a whole by way of a more integrated, efficient approach to outreach delivery. The new model can also be modified as we gain experience. This is a radical departure from administrative structures we have used in the past, and I am open to suggestions for improvement, as they become known.
Engineering Professional Programs (EPP) is a self-sustaining office of the College of Engineering. Contracting College outreach activities with EPP is potentially a more efficient way for the College to deliver specific time-intensive outreach events. EPP will deliver services as limited or extensive as may be requested and can "transparently" administer such programs so that they remain CFR offerings.
B. Bruce Bare, Dean