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December 18, 2008

CV Task Force Mission Clarified

Original Task Force Letter from Dick:

Over the past few months, I have heard some creative and innovative ideas from a number of CV
staff. Broadly, these ideas featured ways the center could disseminate community and economic
development research and education by:

• Integrating impact and outcomes goals from all of CV
• Utilizing technology to provide broader and/or continuous access to valued information
• Increasing opportunities to engage with alumni and others
• Engaging with particular communities over time to address community-related goals, currently represented by separate programs

These ideas have been packaged as a CV Virtual Academy, Community U, etc. and at other times
they have been spoken of more generally.

The Center’s Leadership Team and I believe that all these ideas have individual merit and
represent innovative and creative thinking. We also believe, however, that they will succeed only
if they are brought together. Ideally, this new plan would make use of our full range of
programming, involve center-wide collaboration in development and remain focused on meeting
audience needs while allowing for measured outcomes and impacts. Therefore, I am asking you to
participate on a task force to:

1. review more completely these and other innovative ideas
2. delineate the common elements of those ideas that appear worthwhile, and
3. outline a plan for development that integrates these ideas to be meaningful to our
audiences, consistent with our mission, supports expectations for faculty and staff and fits
with our operational structure.

An initial preliminary discussion with the Center’s Leadership Team of the task force’s progress
and ideas will take place in late March 2009. Opportunity for broader discussion at the CV
Gathering in April should also be presented at this time. The final plan will be discussed with the
leadership team in June 2009. I’m hopeful that collaborative technology and conference calls can
suffice for your meetings; however, I expect Bruce will contact me if that’s not sufficient.

[Note: Please consult the Program Development and Evaluation Planning guide
https://myextension.umn.edu/img/assets/8944/programsummit.pdf to ensure this plan is complete.]

Michael Darger writes:
My understanding is that the Task Force is looking at some type of community development academy or educational resource (names are important), whether that manifests as virtual or face-to-faceor both. My sense is that CV is going to be looking at the TF to report some initial concepts that are fleshed out at least down to the 5,000 feet above ground level. This might mean that a couple to several broad concepts come back to us with details, estimated costs (both out of pocket and opportunity cost to us AND to customers/participants), benefits, etc. Feedback is received from the Leadership Team and from CV at large. And then the TF goes back to the drawing board and comes back with a final recommendation.

Face-to-face and virtual are two methods that are not necessarily opposed. By their very nature they are means to an end yet they do influence heavily the user experience. There could be a hybrid model that works. But only if that is deemed the optimal approach by the Task Force.

Again personally, I think a robust exploration and yes, frank debate, is entirely acceptable. Even to be expected. Compromise to avoid conflict could lead to sub-optimal results. My preference is to eventually see a clear and distinct, fairly detailed recommendation as the ultimate product of your work.

Dick Senese adds:
I believe Michael has captured the spirit of things. I don't want to artificially limit the work of the task force to the ideas that have already been put forward. Let the Outputs (e.g. virtual, F2F, synchronous, asynchronous, etc. etc.) be driven by a sound program design which should reasonable lead to the outcomes and impacts desired based on the needs of the audience -- all of which is grist for the task force mill.