July is bringing with it a variety of good news for OSU Extension. We have received positive news related to funding support from our state legislature. The Cooperative Extension line item received a $500,000 increase in each year of the biennium over the governor’s proposal from the House, and an additional $610,540 in FY22 and $406,942 over the House from the Senate. While it is still not an increase over pre-pandemic numbers, this represents an increase for Extension over next biennium. I’d like to thank Adam Ward, Dean Kress, our assistant directors, and our college and university Government Affairs partners, as well as all of you who have helped effectively tell the story of Extension impact across the state that led to this significant increase during a continuing pandemic. It speaks highly of your value and your critical contributions to serving our fellow Ohioans.
I am excited to reiterate that we have received formal notification from the university that we are able to implement annual merit increases through the Annual Merit Compensation Process (AMCP). The university determined a 3% pool for distribution across our system. This is welcome bit of news, especially considering how many universities and Extension systems across the nation have been dealing with furloughs, reductions in force, and another year of no increases. We have also been able to fund the A&P promotions for this year (n=38). We submitted our data yesterday, and you can expect to see any merit increases in your pay no later than September.
We are a month into returning to fuller office density and higher numbers of in-person programming. We have been able to return to having day and residential camps and participating in fairs that are approaching more typical environments across the state. We have recently been given the great news that we have a confirmed in-person Farm Science Review this year in September (look for more information coming out soon). Our most recent point-in-time pulse survey looking at how we are feeling as employees shows continuing steady upwards trends toward OK to Great (70%), from where we started asking in November (65%). We are working through the reports from our DEI Task Force, Life/Works Task Force, and Return-to-Office survey results to ensure that we continue a positive path toward organizational wellness and attracting and retaining a talented and supported workforce.
We have lots of opportunities for additional engagement in our planning for Extension’s strategic future. I want to thank you again for your dedication to our mission, your passion for the work that you do, and for your flexibility and agility (with a big dose of managing through change fatigue) this last year. You are the heart and soul of this wonderful entity called Extension; and I never underestimate the impact of your service to our college, our communities, our state, and our nation. Thank you for being willing to share your ideas and energy for how we can work together to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our employees and our stakeholders.
Best wishes, Jackie