Strategic Planning in 4-H Youth Development Meaningful Change and Continuous Improvement

Primary author: Dan Teuteberg
Co-author(s): Missy Cummins; Gary Varrella

Primary college/unit: Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
Campus: Extension


Land Grant Universities are dynamic and engaging workplaces. They are active, changing, and adaptive to stakeholder needs and emerging opportunities and breakthroughs. Administration provides the requisite focus and direction. Administrative priorities ripple throughout the University and out to the local programmatic level. As priorities and direction filter throughout the organization, county-based Extension staff may feel disconnected from the university level plans.

Extension professionals are at the forefront of the interactions in this evolving and adaptive environment remaining responsive to local demographics, opportunities, and engage in continuous improvement guided by institutional priorities. This article provides an example of a strategic planning process that references and is directed by broader university priorities and is attainable at the field and community level. Borrowing from Posner, Strike, Hewson, & Gerzog’s theory of conceptual change (1982), creating ground-level strategic planning is plausible, attainable, and fruitful. Washington 4-H Youth Development highlights a strategic plan to keep a statewide 4-H Youth Development program relevant to the ever-changing University system.