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February 22, 2002

UW-RF Professor Serves as Strategic Planning Resource

Dairy science professor and extension Dairy Specialist Dennis Cooper took part in a four-day extension course titled "Strategic Planning 101" in Madison recently.

Cooper enrolled in the course because he is involved in leading the strategic planning efforts for both the animal and food science department and for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and wanted to learn more about it.

"I thought this was an exemplary extension in-service program," Cooper said. "The topic of strategic planning is important and should be learned, applied, and taught in all extension program areas and beyond, within the University of Wisconsin System. I started out as a believer and have become an evangelist," Cooper said.

The workshop was conducted by members of the Strategic Planning Program Team, which includes specialists and county agents from all four program areas within the Cooperative Extension Service. The course included one day on facilitation skills and three days learning the process of strategic planning for public and non-profit organizations.

The main goal is to generate strategic planning practitioners who can apply strategic planning to their own organizations, facilitate strategic planning for other organizations, and teach strategic planning to other practitioners. Another goal is to build a strong institutional capability for applying strategic planning within the Cooperative Extension Service, and to establish a learning community of strategic planning practitioners.

Of the nearly 250 Extension faculty and staff members who have taken the course over the past five years, Cooper is the first UW-RF teaching faculty member to participate. Alicia Acken, a land use specialist from the Geography department with an extension appointment, also took the course with Cooper and 23 others.

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