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Dean's Leadership Team - Operational Guidelines

This document contains the Dean's Leadership Team's operational guidelines.

I. Team Roles/Purpose

The Dean’s Leadership Team (DLT) provides policy and procedure direction for Extension programs and operations. It is responsible for overseeing the consistent application and delivery for all Extension programs across the state and identifying resources needed to meet our mission.  The primary focus of the team is developing organizational policy in a statewide, regional and national context.  Extension administrators, faculty and staff will periodically present on specific topics.

II. Team Outcomes

  • Align and commit Extension staff and fiscal resources to the mission and direction.
  • Assure Extension-wide accountability, effectiveness, efficiency and consistency is maintained or improved.
  • Ensure that programs and staff work in an integrated manner within the Division of Extension and the University.
  • Ensure strong and productive relations with priority partners of the Division.
  • Provide support and input to the Dean for work with University-wide issues and the management of the Division of Extension within the University.

III. Team Membership

The following are members due to positional authority.  As Extension members, they are expected to be focused on the issue at hand and what is important regardless of where the issue falls within the organization or who technically ‘owns it’.

  • The Dean of the Division of Extension
  • Associate Dean of Policy, Operations, and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Associate Dean of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Community Development
  • Associate Dean of Youth, Family, and Health
  • Assistant Dean Northern Zone
  • Assistant Dean Southern Zone
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Diversity Officer

The Division’s Communications Director will attend meetings to support the work of the team through both internal and external communications. Others will attend as issues dictate.  Positions that are likely to have periodic involvement with DLT include the Assistant Dean of Human Resources, Senior Policy Advisor, Department Faculty Chair, and Director of Educational Technology Support.  Other colleagues will attend periodically to present issues to DLT. In addition, the Dean’s Executive Assistant will attend meetings of the DLT to record discussions, decisions and assignments at meetings; draft meeting summaries; manage logistics prior to and at meetings; and maintain decision/assignment tracking system.

IV. Team Member Responsibilities

In order to function as a team and effectively lead Extension, each team member has the following responsibilities: 

Dean of the Division of Extension

  • Manage team meetings or designate someone (internal or external) to do so.
  • Set meeting priorities and approve meeting agendas.
  • Manage conflict resolution process and facilitate compromise.
  • Evaluate discussions and approve/disapprove team recommendations.
  • Determine whether or not each item is confidential and approve communication plan for applicable decisions.
  • Serves as the final decision-maker on issues when team members cannot reach consensus.

Associate Dean of Policy, Operations, and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Assist the Dean with meeting priorities and the development of agendas.
  • Assist Dean with managing meetings.
  • Review and finalize minutes including confidential and non-confidential decisions and actions.
  • Support the Executive Assistant in tracking confidential and non-confidential decisions and actions and sharing these with DLT and, as appropriate, working with the Communications Director, Extension personnel. 
  • Verify completion of assignments and communication plan as documented in DLT summaries.

Academic Associate Deans

  • Contribute programmatic perspectives to team conversations and decisions
  • Prepare and present updates, issue briefs, or agenda items related to Extension’s programmatic mission
  • Communicate decisions to respective programmatic leadership teams
  • Ensure implementation of decisions, especially within the programmatic areas of the organization

Assistant Deans for the Northern and Southern Zones

  • Raise issues and items relevant to the geography/operations of Extension with the full DLT for decisions and discussion.
  • Represent geographic perspectives during DLT discussions as DLT addresses organizational needs
  • Submit and sponsor issue briefs to raise awareness and make decisions on specific decisions required by DLT
  • Identify position vacancies for purposes of regular discussion and vetting by DLT
  • Advise and collaborate with the Dean and Associate Deans on critical issues representing the functional area of supervision at appropriate meetings and events as requested
  • Supports special initiatives and/or provide leadership on teams that require senior leadership attention with respect to planning, coordination, and interaction with internal and external stakeholders

Chief Financial Officer

  • Provide input and expertise on financial matters and other high-level decisions
  • Facilitate financial discussions with campus partners, including Business Services, Budget Office, RSP, UW-Foundation, etc.
  • Consult on a regular basis on current and projected budget status for the division

Chief Diversity Officer

  • Supports each DLT member individually and the team collectively in applying a DEI lens on issues before the team.

All DLT members

  • Recommend agenda items.
  • Prepare and present high level updates, issue briefs or agenda items.
  • Obtain staff input on agenda items prior to meetings.
  • Represent area(s) of responsibility in issue discussions but advocate for best interests of the Division of Extension in decisions.
  • Communicate decisions to respective leadership teams, support final decisions irrespective of personal opinion/preference, and ensure their implementation.
  • Keep team members informed about issues that they sponsor and report back regarding implementation of applicable items.
  • Track implementation progress and report back.

Executive Assistant

  • Draft DLT meeting summaries
  • Record/track confidential and non-confidential decisions and actions.
  • Manage logistics prior to and at meetings.
  • Maintain decision/assignment tracking system and other systems as assigned.

V. DLT Issue Briefs

DLT members will make assignments to individuals or groups to write issue briefs according to the attached format.

In preparation of an issue brief it is expected that the author consult with the appropriate affected staff and management team members to ascertain that any concerns are addressed in the brief.

Types of Agenda Items:

  • Information: Strictly an FYI item. The purpose is to keep DLT up to date on the work taking place in the Division, the University, and/or with our partners. The desired outcome is clarity and understanding.
  • Discussion: These are items that are either laying a foundation for a future DLT decision or action. The role of DLT members is to ask questions to gain clarity or identify need for additional information, and/or to raise concerns that need to be addressed before the issue comes forward for decision.   
  • Decision: Action is needed by the DLT. The role of the DLT is to come to agreement on what action will be taken or, in the absence of agreement, to ensure the perspective of each member is heard by the Dean prior to a decision being made.  

Note: Other types of supporting materials are encouraged as needed for all types of agenda items

 DLT Issue Brief Deadlines:

  • Decision and Discussion items must have an issue brief and must be sent to DLT at least one week prior to the meeting, unless the Dean approves a shorter lead time given extenuating circumstances.
    • The lead time is important to enable DLT members to solicit input from applicable staff, as well as for DLT members to engage one another to obtain additional context that can enable the DLT meeting time to be used most efficiently.
  • Informational items are not required to have an issue brief, however the DLT sponsor may provide one, if desired. 

VI. DLT Operations

A. Meeting Dates and Locations

The DLT will meet as needed to accomplish its work.  It’s normal schedule will be to gather on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Normally one of the meetings will make use of video-conferencing and the other will be in person. This will foster effective participation by members located in both Madison and out-state. An effort will be made to schedule meetings/calls for the year ahead with the understanding that additional meetings and video calls will be scheduled as necessary to accomplish the business of the team.

B. Agendas

The Executive Assistant prepares a draft agenda and consults with the Dean, who makes the final decision on what items will be included on the agenda.  Agenda items must be submitted one week prior to the next meeting, unless an exception is granted by the Dean.  The agenda, arrangements and background documents are posted one week prior to the team meeting.  Items requesting DLT action that are not posted by the established deadline may be deferred at the discretion of the Dean. 

C. Meeting Summaries

The Executive Assistant will provide the Associate Dean of Policy, Operations, and Stakeholder Engagement with a draft meeting summary as soon as possible following the meeting. The Associate Dean will review and approve the confidential and non-confidential decisions and actions.

DLT’s official meeting summary will contain both confidential and non-confidential information. This will be considered the “official” version and will not be shared beyond the DLT confidential distribution list. It will be saved in the DLT Confidential folder in and non-confidential items will be shared as appropriate.

D. Ground Rules

  • Each team member has the responsibility to freely express his/her feelings and perspective.
  • Each member will engage in unfiltered, constructive conflict around the issues. Issues will be debated in the meeting, not outside it.
  • Each member should represent the perspectives and impacts of issues on the employees, partners and customers within their purview; however, each member should strive to ascertain and recommend decisions that are in the best interest of the Division overall.
  • Each member is responsible for treating other members with respect, courtesy and in a professional manner.
  • Everyone on the team will commit to team decisions and plans of actions, and represent those to their team(s) once a decision is reached.
  • Team members will hold each other accountable for delivering on plans of action.
  • Everyone will enforce the ground rules and responsibilities of membership by bringing attention to a non-observer whenever they see it.
  • Appropriate use of humor is encouraged.

E. Decision-making

  • The Dean is the ultimate decision maker.
  • In its deliberations, the DLT will strive to reach consensus.

"Consensus" is defined as a point where all team members can agree to support the decision.  The team will strive for consensus by ensuring that all team members feel they have had an opportunity to explain their position and influence the decision.  Discussions will be interest-based (how do we best accomplish mission), not position-based (what’s best for my team(s), Institutes or Zone).  Team members agree to clearly articulate the basis for their inability to reach consensus when such a situation arises, and to articulate what could be done to allow them to reach consensus.

  • In the absence of consensus the Dean will make a decision and communicate it to the entire team.
  • Members may share with people outside the team the general discussion and comments brought to the table regarding specific issues, however, anonymity of individuals' input must always be assured.
  • Members must communicate and advocate the final decision irrespective of their individual positions during team deliberations.




Keywords:DLT issue brief   Doc ID:120058
Owner:Nathaniel S.Group:Extension Handbook
Created:2022-07-29 12:22 CDTUpdated:2022-07-29 12:39 CDT
Sites:Extension Handbook
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