Participant feedback will be reviewed continuously and will assist in the development of an action plan to better meet the needs of NCCES and its partners.

A website has been developed to share information and materials regarding the strategic vision initiative and to provide people an opportunity to submit feedback:www.ces.ncsu.edu/vision-initiative.

In addition to listening sessions, a visioning committee and local meetings will help facilitate the process needed to prioritize the organization’s programs and define its future. The goal is to have a strategic plan in place by May 2014, when the Cooperative Extension Service celebrates its 100th year of service.

The organization has enlisted the services of Fountain Works, a Raleigh-based management and facilitation consulting firm, to assist the leadership team and committees throughout the process.

Despite the current challenges and staffing constraints, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, part of the second-largest Cooperative Extension system in the nation, had an economic impact of nearly $200 million in 2012 and engaged more than 40,000 volunteers across the state.

“I firmly believe the Cooperative Extension Service is as needed now as it ever has been,” said Zublena. “I also believe that if we do not change, our next 100 years will not reflect the same excellence and impacts achieved in our first 100 years.

“This is a journey we have to make together with our employees and partners, and I believe that collectively we’ll navigate the Cooperative Extension Service through this process to another century of success.”

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service was founded in 1914, in conjunction with the national Cooperative Extension System, as part of the Smith-Lever Act. The organization will officially turn 100 on May 8, 2014.

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