Topics Map > Programming Policy & Guidance > Teams, Initiatives & Work Groups

Teams Initiatives & Workgroups

Extension programs utilize self-directed teams to plan, implement, evaluate and report educational programming and applied research activities of faculty and staff. Teams are often developed to foster innovation, address complex issues, and/or provide additional programmatic focus within a disciplinary area. Teams also can promote greater interaction and collegiality between and among faculty and staff, and can offer a mechanism for intentional collaboration between state specialists and local educators. This document is applicable to teams, but is also generally applicable to multi-disciplinary initiatives.

Types of Teams

Extension supports two types of teams, which share many characteristics, including submitting an annual plan of work and allocation of budget and other programmatic supports.

  1.  Teams are located within an institute based on their intended outcomes, but may have members from multiple institutes.
  2. Multi-disciplinary Initiatives (MDI) outcomes are relevant to the disciplinary areas of and draw membership from multiple institutes. They are supported by and accountable to the associate deans.

A Note about Work Groups

In addition, voluntary groups that are not designated as teams play an important role in supporting and developing educational programs. Work Groups are self-organizing and can request support and resources from program managers and institute directors. The remainder of this document refers to teams, but is generally applicable to multi-disciplinary initiatives also.

Organizing Principles

Teams have the responsibility to prioritize work in ways which best create public value and demonstrate impacts. Public value will be evidenced by a strong research base and program evaluation, indicating impacts and outcomes. 

  • Work of teams must fit within UW-Extension’s purpose, vision and values.
  • Any programming faculty or staff member can recommend formation of a new team using the team pre-proposal.
  • Teams are designated by the Institute Director and multi-disciplinary initiatives by Associate Deans based upon the nomination form. Selection criteria are described in the proposal process. Not all nominated teams will be selected so that we can provide adequate budgetary and program support. 
  • Teams will be required to develop an annual plan of work and associated budget request that will need to be approved by the Institute Director prior to implementation each state fiscal year (i.e., July 1 to June 30). Team plans of work should complement individual educator program plans and/or a program plan of work. Team plans of work should be entered following the template provided: 
    • Situation statement
    • Program theory
    • Team Action Plan to include outcomes, evaluation plan, and timelines
    • Anticipated Deliverables
    • Detailed Budget and support requests 
  • An expectation of team funding is that each team will complete a written impact report at the end of the initial funding period.
  • Institute Directors will annually implement a process to continue teams, create new teams, and sunset teams based on program priorities, budget considerations, evidence of team progress, and a nomination process for new teams. Most teams will be funded for at least two years to allow for planning and implementation.
  • Teams must have a voluntary Team Leader or Team Leaders in order to be formed and continue; this leadership will be renewed on an annual basis using a transparent nomination.

Criteria for Team Selection

Program Focus

  • Connection to Institute priority(ies) and future direction
  • Responsiveness to Developmental Situational Analysis (connects to local and/or statewide or global issues)
  • Pushes Extension to do things it hasn’t done before, innovative approaches

Connection to Research and Scholarship

  • Emerging effort; effectively leverages regional/national initiatives or resources (situated in what is already existing, what is still needed)
  • Opportunity for engaged scholarship (campus-county/tribal)

Engagement and Partnerships

  • Demonstrates colleague engagement (scope or depth; empowerment)
  • Builds lasting organizational resources, partnerships, and reputation (is an Extension niche)

Effective and Efficient

  • Feasible, specific, able to be supported by Institute
  • Potential to generate new program outcomes for clientele in 12-18 months
  • Likely to lead to specific wins that can be communicated  (public value)

Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

Associate Dean Responsibilities:

  • Designate MDIs
  • Approve MDI plans of work and budgets
  • Support MDI goals and objectives

Institute Director Responsibilities:

  • Designate teams
  • Approve team plans of work and budgets
  • Facilitate communication and participation in forming both teams and MDIs
  • Support team goals and objectives

Program Manager Responsibilities:

  • Facilitate priority setting and development of team(s) plan of work
  • Facilitate meeting(s) of team as needed (minimum annual face-to-face meeting recommended)
  • As appropriate, coordinate the development of professional development offerings across team(s)
  • Support team lead in fostering an effective and inclusive culture
  • Work with Team Leader(s) to manage team(s) budget and identifying/securing funding 
  • Communicate with team leaders and foster overall communication among teams within an Institute

Team Leader(s) Responsibilities:

  • Participate in priority setting and development of team(s) plan of work 
  • Develop a team budget in coordination with the Program Manager
  • As appropriate, pursue extramural resources to aid with program delivery and/or expand programming
  • Foster intra-team communication and positive team culture 
  • Arrange for distance and in-person meeting logistics according to University and State policies
  • Work in consultation with Program Manager and Institute Evaluator to oversee team evaluation 
  • Submit annual report of team activities and accomplishments to Institute Director.

Team Member(s) Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the activities of the team and contribute to programming, evaluation efforts, and impact reports
  • As appropriate, pursue extramural resources to aid with program delivery and/or expand programming
  • Participate in professional development to improve skills and capacity
  • Share results of team activities with Extension colleagues.




Keywords:MDI Disciplinary Area Programs Multi Situation Statement Program Theory Action Plan Deliverable Impact Report   Doc ID:111754
Owner:Chelsea S.Group:Extension Employee Handbook
Created:2021-06-17 10:16 CSTUpdated:2021-06-17 10:52 CST
Sites:Extension Employee Handbook
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