I am pleased to announce that we plan to release a handful of UCCE academic positions for recruitment as soon as we know the final state of our FY2021-22 state budget. The state has announced full restoration of UC's budget for this next fiscal year, offering significant relief to UC ANR's budget outlook. That announcement means that the 12.7% cut we experienced in FY 2020/21 will be reversed, bringing our FY 2021/22 budget back to the pre-COVID levels we had in FY 2019-20.
While this news is very good, challenges will remain to fill the many other UCCE positions identified as high priority. Over the past 20 years, state funding for UC ANR decreased by almost 50% (adjusted for inflation), resulting in a significant decrease of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension Advisors and Specialists; from 427 positions in 2001 down to only 269 in 2021 – creating many vacancies in critical positions.
Strengthening and rebuilding our Cooperative Extension academic footprint is our highest priority and we will continue to seek additional funding for an array of sources. To this end, we have been successful in finding partners to co-fund UCCE Advisor, UCCE Specialist and other program positions. These partnerships reflect how our stakeholders value our people and our work. Not all positions have the same opportunity for partnerships, nor is it a goal to have all positions funded through partnerships, making it important to be able to fund new positions through our state and federal funds.
I wish to thank the Program Council for their work developing recommendations for the highest priority and most urgent 15 UCCE Advisor positions and five UCCE Specialist positions. Likewise, I thank the County Directors, Program Team Leaders, Statewide Program/Institute Directors, REC Directors, and Associate Deans for their efforts to identify priority position needs, considering the 2018 and 2019 proposals and more recent departures. This input was critical to inform Program Council's recommendations.
Over the past couple of years, we continued recruitment for high-priority positions identified through earlier UCCE position processes. See Academic Recruitments for a full list of UCCE academic positions recently recruited.
I look forward to sending more information on the specific positions to be released soon!