EXTENSION SYSTEM ANNOUNCES REORGANIZATION
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the
primary outreach arm of Alabama A&M and Auburn universities, is reorganizing to strengthen the research-based educational programs it
offers to all Alabamians.
"The move allows Extension to focus its resources on 14 newly determined
priority program areas," said Extension Interim Director Gaines Smith.
"The new structure streamlines the organization and provides better ways
to be accountable to the public," he added.
In October 2002, Extension committed itself to moving in a "new
direction," with a goal of providing more targeted, focused programs that
will meet local needs and have measurable statewide impact. Since that
time, the System has seen the third major personnel reduction in less
than a decade, making the new, leaner structure an even more timely and
The latest step involves moving 72 county Extension agents to regional
assignments, with more to come. "These agents will change from teaching a
lot of subjects in a single county to providing expertise in one of the
14 priority areas across a multicounty region," Smith explained. County
Extension coordinators in each of the 67 counties, plus locally funded
county agents, will also be responsible for working in one or two of the
14 areas of focus.
The priority areas are agronomic crops; animal science and forages;
aquaculture and recreational pond management; family and child
development; community resource development; consumer science and
personal financial management; farm management and agricultural
enterprise analysis; poultry; food safety, preparation and preservation;
forestry, wildlife and natural resource management; commercial
horticulture; home grounds, gardens and home pests; human nutrition, diet
and health; and 4-H and youth development.
The redirection focuses on goals that include better serving the needs of
agriculture through regional centers, maximizing the effectiveness of the
nine urban centers, making optimal use of new technologies, creating
stronger links between research and Extension at the field level, and
The new structure also streamlines several administrative positions to
more efficiently carry out these goals, according to Smith. The assistant
director located at Alabama A&M University will continue to lead the
urban programs taught in the nine Extension urban centers across the
state, while three assistant directors located at Auburn University will
lead the five program categories of agriculture, forestry and natural
resources, family and individual well-being, community resource
development, and 4-H and youth development.
"It took a great deal of hard work and cooperation by our employees to
reinvent the way this statewide system goes about the business of
educating people with diverse needs from one community to the next and
from one family to the next.
"Extension has served the people of Alabama for almost 100 years. Our new
organization ensures a foundation for us to continue providing vital
services for the next 100 years," said Smith.
In 1995 the Extension services at Auburn and Alabama A&M were combined
into a unified statewide system, the Alabama Cooperative Extension