About the AG Futures Process

Information about the Ag Futures Process to identify areas of strategic innovation and growth for the College of Agricultural Sciences.


The College of Agricultural Sciences is changing its business model to adjust to changing economic and social realities and needs. To address these challenges, the College partnered with Penn State Executive Programs to work through an intensive, professionally facilitated process, referred to as AG Futures, to identify areas of strategic innovation and growth for the College. The intent was to challenge assumptions about “what we do” and “how we do it” to determine the best application of resources to achieve the College’s vision.


Fall 2010

An AG Futures Strategic Leadership Team was active between September and November 2010 and was charged with developing the AG Futures strategy.  Participants in the process had numerous occasions to examine issues, problems, and opportunities from multi- dimensional perspectives. They were asked to communicate with faculty, staff, and extension educators between meetings to keep employees up to date on progress.

Facilitators held four planning sessions with members of the AG Futures Strategic Leadership Team. These sessions provided insight into emerging and missed opportunities, the external impact of the market and competitive environment, and the magnitude and velocity of change to underscore the impetus for transformational efforts. The sessions also helped to uncover underlying organizational barriers by surfacing implicit assumptions in a way that eliminated “political charge” and made them open for discussion.

The findings from these sessions were translated into a new College Strategic Leadership Roadmap

Spring 2011

In January 2011, as part of the AG Futures process, six teams, consisting largely of college faculty, were assembled to address the consolidation of academic units.  The six teams were charged with reviewing the existing academic structure and making recommendations to the Dean. They spent four weeks focusing on programmatic synergies across resident instruction, extension education and research programs. At the conclusion of these four weeks, each team presented an independent, creative proposal for academic restructuring.

During March 2011 all College stakeholders, including faculty, students, alumni and agricultural and natural resource leaders throughout the state of Pennsylvania, had the opportunity to comment on the proposals during an additional feedback period.  View the six academic unit structure team reports.

Summer 2011

On June 10, Dean McPheron presented a working draft of the proposed academic structure. The draft was available for comments, which were synthesized and considered in the preparation of the proposal for the Provost.  The Provost submitted the proposal to the Faculty Senate in August, for Senate committee evaluation in August and September.  The Board of Trustees must then approve the proposal.  Implementation of the approved academic structure will tentatively take place on July 1, 2012.

Fall 2011

Penn State Extension began implementation of a District Model to provide administrative services for Extension offices in the 67 counties.  The model creates 19 districts, each covering 3-5 counties, overseen by a District Director.  Extension also rolled out a new Programmatic Model for delivering Extension programs statewide.