Southern Region Program Leadership Network (SR-PLN)

Southern Region
Program Leadership Network (SR-PLN)

Description and Guidelines1


The SR-PLN1 is authorized by and is administratively responsible to the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors (ASRED) and the Association of Extension Administrators (AEA).

SR-PLN Structure

The following three groups comprise the SR-PLN.

  • Program Committees (PCs)-There are eight program committees. Each is comprised of one representative from each southern region 1862 land-grant institution and one representative from each 1890 land-grant institution.
  • Program Leadership Committee (SR-PLC)-This is a representative committee of 21 with 20 members elected from the PCs, ASRED, and AEA and the Past Chair of PLC as Chair of the Executive Committee.
  • Executive Committee (EC)-This committee works on behalf of the PCs and SR-PLC, and is comprised of eight members.

SR-PLN is responsible to AEA and ASRED. Relative to SR-PLN membership, AEA and ASRED members have responsibility for the following:

  • Appoint and support PC members who have vision, interest, and commitment to serve, and provide time and encouragement for service in the roles accepted by appointees.
  • Appoint administrative advisors to each of the PCs and the SR-PLC who will attend, participate, provide guidance and support regional efforts of the committees.
  • Appoint representatives to the EC who will attend, participate, provide guidance and support the work of the group.
  • Receive and respond appropriately to recommendations from SR-PLN in a timely and judicious manner.
  • Support appropriately the initiatives of the SR-PLN through the commitment of staff and programmatic support and assessments.


The mission of the SR-PLN is to foster and strengthen Extension education programming throughout the southern region by promoting multistate cooperation, anticipating emerging program issues and needs, and implementing action processes to address them in a timely manner.


The SR-PLN will anticipate emerging societal issues and recommend or take actions that result in:

  • State Extension programs that are strengthened through improved cooperation in well-coordinated and effective multi-state and regional programming efforts.
  • Multistate collaboration involving Extension and public and private sector partners, both within and beyond the southern region;
  • Engaged Extension educational programming involving public and private sector partners, and diverse communities.
  • Learning communities that benefit from lifelong education.
  • Measurable benefits to individuals and communities.
  • Demonstrated and recognized public value.

Expectations and Responsibilities

It is critical for states and institutions to maintain their own identities, while benefiting from regional cooperation in Extension program development. It is expected that every member of SR-PLN will be committed to standing and ad hoc committees on which they serve. It is also expected that this commitment will be facilitated by support of Directors and Administrators such that work of SR-PLN becomes part of the "back home" workload. Individually, commitment includes:

  • Demonstrating engaged participation in all appropriate committees, joint meetings, and activities (PC, SR-PLC, EC and ad hoc).
  • Continuously serving in an active manner, and providing feedback to respective Extension Administrators or Directors.
  • Participating promptly via electronic communications in the interim between face-to-face meetings.

SR-PLN's primary function is to provide programmatic leadership for the region by identifying emerging issues and taking action to address them. In addition, there are current, long-standing, and continuing issues that can benefit from SR-PLN leadership that contributes to multistate and regional cooperation. Examples include the development of curriculum materials and programs, as well as professional staff development.

Communicating Across Program and Administrative Lines
The structure of SR-PLN allows multi-institutional communication within and among disciplinary and functional lines. A key to success of cooperative improvement is effective communications. This should include:

  • Maintaining communication within and among the PCs, SR-PLC and EC; between the SR-PLN and Directors and Administrators; and with personnel and/or institutions that are not members of committees. Continual dialogue should include electronic reports and conference calls, as appropriate.
  • Establishing and maintaining external linkages to promote and maintain partnerships, including entities within the region and with other regions.

Program Committees (PCs)

There are eight Program Committees (PCs):

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Program Leaders Committee.
  • Community Development (CD) Program Leaders Committee.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Program Leaders Committee.
  • 4-H Youth Development (4-H) Program Leaders Committee.
  • Communications (COM) Leaders Committee.2
  • Information Technology (IT) Leaders Committee.2
  • Middle Management (MM) Leaders Committee.
  • Program and Staff Development (PSD) Leaders Committee.

Each land-grant institution has the opportunity to appoint an appropriate representative to each PC. The decision to appoint a participant is based upon the mission and direction of the institution. If an institution appoints a representative, it is expected that the appointee will serve at least one three-year term. Representatives may be reappointed to additional terms.

Officers, Representatives, and Administrative Advisors
Each PC will elect a chair and vice-chair to serve a term of one year, beginning the end of the last day of the annual meeting in which they were elected and continuing until the end of the annual meeting in the subsequent year. The vice-chair may be elected as chair following the term as vice-chair. Committees may elect additional officers, e.g., secretary, if needed. Leadership of each PC will be shared between 1862 and 1890 institutions. Ideally, and as representation allows, offices will rotate between 1862 and 1890 institutions.

Each PC elects two representatives to the SR-PLC-one from an 1862 southern land-grant institution and one from an 1890 land-grant institution. The term of appointment is three years. Each PC will develop an internal process for this election and appointment.

ASRED and AEA will each appoint an individual to serve as an advisor to each PC; they will serve as co-administrative advisors.

Roles and Responsibilities
In support of the mission and vision of SR-PLN and from the perspective of the particular program area, each PC will develop an Annual Work Plan (AWP) that will be posted on the web and shared with SR-PLC for integration into a SR-PLN AWP. The AWP for each committee will be brief and will include major goals, objectives, timelines, action items and designations of responsibility for the work of the committee during the year. AWPs should generally be developed during the annual PLN meeting.

Each PC will develop a description of the roles and guidelines relevant to the respective committee, which will be posted to the SR-PLN website. These descriptions should include the roles of officers and representatives, as well as operational guidelines that may be unique to the particular PC.

Each PC will convene at least quarterly conference calls to include the following agenda items:

  • Emerging issues
  • Review of regional AWP status/progress
  • Review of PC web site and listserv
  • Other items as determined by the PC

Each PC is responsible for ensuring that current e-mail addresses and phone numbers are provided to the SR-PLN webmaster so that the web site can be kept current and so that communications can be prompt and inclusive.

Southern Region Program Leadership Committee (SR-PLC)

The SR-PLC is comprised of twenty one (21) members from the PCs and from ASRED and AEA, as follows:

  • One 1862 representative from, and selected by, each of the eight PCs.
  • One 1890 representative from, and selected by, each of the eight PCs.
  • An administrative advisor each from ASRED and AEA, selected by their respective groups.
  • One representative from, and selected by, ASRED.
  • One representative from, and selected by, AEA.
  • Past Chair of PLC, as chair of Executive Committee.

Members selected by PCs serve three-year staggered terms to provide continuity. One-third of the PC representatives rotate off each year. Members from ASRED and AEA serve terms designated by their respective organization.

If elected or appointed representatives to SR-PLC are absent from two consecutive meetings (including electronic and face-to-face meetings), the position will be declared vacant, and the EC will be notified to select a replacement to serve the unexpired term in consultation with the Chair of the appropriate committee.

The SR-PLC selects a chair and vice-chair from its membership of PC representatives. Each serves for one year. The term of office begins at the end of the last day of the annual meeting and continues for one year through the end of the annual meeting the following year. The chair and vice-chair are jointly responsible for communication to the total Extension system. A nominating committee will be appointed by the PLC Chair to present a slate of candidates. The committee will check with candidates to verify ability and willingness to serve.

Roles and Responsibilities
The SR-PLC will develop a regional, integrated AWP, generally during the annual meeting. It will include and build upon the input from the PCs and from SR-PLC discussions of emerging issues. It will be posted to the web, shared with Directors and Administrators, and will serve as a major programmatic leadership document for the region.

The SR-PLC will convene at least quarterly conference calls that will include the following agenda items:

  • Emerging issues
  • Review of regional AWP status/progress
  • Review of SR-PLC web site and listservs
  • Review annual conference details
  • Other responsibilities as assigned by SR-PLC chair

The SR-PLC is responsible for ensuring that current e-mail addresses and phone numbers are provided to the SR-PLN webmaster so that the web site can be kept current and so that communication can be prompt and inclusive.

The SR-PLC will develop functional descriptions for each committee role, i.e., chair, vice-chair, member, Administrative Advisor, and others, and will develop operating guidelines for posting to the web.

The SR-PLC will prepare a plan for an Orientation and Leadership Retreat to be held annually for the incoming leadership and advisors of the PCs, SR-PLC and the EC. New directors, administrators and newly appointed associates will be encouraged to participate.

The SR-PLC is responsible for planning the annual SR-PLN meeting.

Executive Committee (EC)

The SR-PLN Executive Committee is comprised of eight SR-PLC members:

  • SR-PLC Chair
  • Immediate Past Chair of SR-PLC
  • Administrative Advisors from ASRED and AEA
  • One Director chosen by ASRED
  • One Administrator chosen by AEA
  • One member elected by and from the four SR-PLC program areas (ANR, FCS, CD, and 4-H of PLC).
  • One member elected by and from the four SR-PLC non-subject matter areas (MM, COM, IT, and PSD of PLC).

Members of the EC will serve two-year, staggered terms3. If a member is absent from two consecutive meetings (including face-to-face and electronic meetings), the position will be declared vacant and the EC will, in consultation with appropriate groups, select a replacement to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. In addition to the eight regular members, the Executive Director of ASRED and other equivalent officers will serve as ex officio members of the EC.

Officers of EC
The immediate past chair of the SR-PLC serves as the chair of the EC. The current SR-PLC chair serves as the vice-chair and will succeed to the EC chair. The EC chair and vice-chair serve one-year terms. Terms of office begin at the end of the last day of the annual meeting and continue through the end of the annual meeting the following year.

The EC will meet at least four times per year (once during the annual SR-PLN meeting and others called by the chair). A detailed report of proposals and actions will be presented each year to the joint ASRED/AEA meeting.

Roles and Responsibilities
The EC is the action arm of the SR-PLN, and is responsible for ensuring prompt action on emerging issues and on a regional AWP, (generally developed during the annual PLN meeting) and for promoting effective communication between SR-PLN and Directors and Administrators. The EC will be responsible for SR-PLN activities, particularly in the interim between scheduled meetings of SR-PLC, and will have the authority to act on issues that emerge in the region. It will be responsive to the guidance of SR-PLC and responsible to the ASRED and AEA.

While most leadership will come from the components of SR-PLN, the EC may appoint teams or taskforces to address multi-program issues. Like the PCs and SR-PLC, ad hoc groups will develop and share AWPs.

As actions are taken, communication with SR-PLC, PCs, ASRED, AEA, and the entire Extension system is important.

Annual SR-PLN Meeting

The annual meeting is planned to provide opportunity for each SR-PLN group to meet separately as well as jointly. All participants are expected to attend appropriate PC sessions and all joint PC and SR-PLC sessions. The purpose of the joint sessions is to address emerging issues common to all PCs and to encourage networking and partnerships. PC sessions focus on issues specifically related to the committee assignment. Committees are encouraged to work together when issues involve more than one committee.

SR-PLN meetings are planned to correspond with and partially overlap the beginning of the ASRED/AEA fall meeting so that Directors and Administrators can attend and be involved in SR-PLN sessions. Recommendations from SR-PLN can then be heard and acted on at the subsequent ASRED/AEA joint meeting.

The annual meeting is typically scheduled at the end of August or in September. Meeting sites rotate around the region according to the ASRED/AEA schedule of fall meetings.

1Revised spring, 2002 by a SR-PLC Review Taskforce appointed by ASRED and AEA. Endorsed by SR-PLC August, 2002 and approved by ASRED and AEA September, 2002. The committee was led by David Foster and Lawrence Carter, SR-PLC Administrative Advisors. Members were Adell Brown (LA), Mike French (AR), Charlene Jacobs (KY), Margaret Johnson (SC), Judith Jones (VA), Rick Maurer (KY), Carolyn Nobles (TX), and Noland Williams (KY). Bonnie Teater and Ron Brown staffed the committee.

2 Revised spring 2004 to accommodate the creation of two separate committees (COM and IT) from the original CIT Committee. Approved by the Executive Committee.

3Initiation of Staggered Terms

To initiate staggered terms, the following scenario will be used (where "1"represents a one-year term; "2" represents a two-year term; "a" represents the first year of a term; and "b" represents the second year of a term):

Positions Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
SR-PLC Chair 2a 2a 2a 2a 2a 2a
SR-PLC Imm. Past Chair 1a 2b 2b 2b 2b 2b
1862 AA 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a 2b
1890 AA 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a 2b
1862 Director 1a 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a
1890 Administrator 1a 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a
SR-PLC Program 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a 2b
SR-PLC Non-Program 1a 2a 2b 2a 2b 2a

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For more information about the Southern Region Program Leadership Network, contact ASRED or SRDC.

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