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Leading Through Change: The Unique Role Communication Units Play in Organizational Change

Communication units, when properly structured and positioned within the organization, are uniquely capable of playing a critical and extremely strategic role in helping an organization successfully navigate and implement significant change. The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences has gone through an extensive planning process – called AG Futures – that has set the path for change. It is currently working through the implementation of three major change initiatives: the consolidation of its academic units, the reorganization of the Extension county structure, and the execution of a new Extension programmatic model. This presentation will discuss the unique roll the College Relations and Communications office has played and lessons learned in this process to help positively position the college for the future.


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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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