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WEDA History

History of the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA)

WEDA Executive Staffing:

Dr. Mike Harrington: 2001 – June 30, 2005 – funded at .15FTE to integrate Extension into multistate research projects, and to formalize an Association for the Western Extension Directors.

Dr. Lyla Houglum: WEDA Executive Director, July 1, 2005 – August 31, 2021.

Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom: WEDA Executive Director, August 1, 2021 –

The Western Extension Directors (WED) had been meeting together for many years, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and providing a colleague support group. They formed the Western Region Program Leadership Committee (WRPLC) in February 1994, created the Western Extension Leadership Development (WELD) Program in January 2002, initiated the first Western Regional Excellence in Extension Award in 2005, and in addition supported the Western Middle Managers Conference, and a number of regional program area leadership networking groups.

In the early 2000’s the WED began discussions about the need and value of hiring an Executive Director. An agreement was developed in 2001 with Mike Harrington, who was the Executive Director for the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (WAAESD), to provide .15FTE of funding to increase Extension’s integration into multistate activities and to provide support for WED in creating a more formal Association.

The initial Rules of Operation, establishing the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA), were approved on June 23, 2004. Both the Southern Region and the North Central Region Extension Directors had previously hired Executive Directors to provide leadership and support for their associations.

Having experienced the value of limited Executive staffing support, WEDA began discussions about increasing their commitment and hiring a WEDA Executive Director (ED). The first WEDA ED position, at .25FTE, was developed and announced in early 2005, with applications due May 1, 2005. Dr. Lyla Houglum from Oregon State University was hired for the WEDA Executive Director position beginning July 1, 2005.

Over the years, with Lyla’s leadership, WEDA developed:

  • Their first Strategic Directions, including the mission, vision, values, goals, and strategies for the organization, which was approved on February 7, 2007. This document was revised significantly in 2021.
  • A website and electronic repository for WEDA documents. The website was significantly revised and moved from OSU to the Extension Foundation in 2021.
  • New Director orientation and mentoring systems, assigning 2 current Extension Directors as mentors for each new Director.
  • New WEDA Chair orientation, including the Chair’s assistant to clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • Additional committees and initiatives in support of program evaluation capacity, diversity catalyst teams, energy conservation, farm stress, adolescent mental health, cultures collaboration, and urban Extension, which resulted in the creation of the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER), to name just a few. In 2012 the Middle Managers Conference Committee was ended and replaced in 2013 by the Western Regional Administrator Meeting (WRAM).
  • The Western Perspective and The Western Agenda, working collaboratively with the WAAESD, which was initially published in 2015.
  • Under the leadership of the Western Region Program Leadership Committee (WRPLC), a number of Public Value Statements articulating Extension’s value contribution to priority Western issues.
  • Relationships with the Western Governor’s Association, Council of State Governments-West, and the Western Interstate Region of NACo. WEDA began appointing Director liaisons to these groups in 2007. The Western Municipal League, part of the National League of Cities, was added in 2013. Many of these relationships have continued in collaboration with the WAAESD Executive Director.
  • An Excellence in Extension Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award that was presented for the first time in 2021.

In 2009-2010, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) reorganized its Executive Staffing, requiring that each of the five Extension regions commit .25FTE of their Executive Director to national Extension and ECOP work. The national Extension assessment was reduced to allow regions the additional resources to support their regional Executive Directors in this new role. To accommodate these additional responsibilities WEDA increased their ED position to .50FTE, which is where it remained, except for July 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021, when it was increased to .70FTE. Dr. Houglum retired from the position on August 31, 2021.

In early 2021 a new Executive Director position description/announcement, at .75FTE, was posted. Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom from Washington State University, was hired and began work as the WEDA Executive Director on August 1, 2021.

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