Oregon State University is expected to begin a search for a new dean of its Cooperative Extension Service in October.

By then, according to Interim Provost Sabah Randhawa, the school should have completed its strategic plan, have a good idea what it is looking for in a new dean, and be able to communicate that to prospective candidates.

The university plans to hire an interim dean within the next few days. That position will be filled from within the extension service, Randhawa said.

Earlier this month Randhawa told Dean Lyla Houglum she was out of a job, effective immediately, but that she would be assigned duties elsewhere at OSU.

Extension is still regrouping after four years of tight budgets and faculty layoffs. Extension is a cooperative venture between federal, state and county governments. The OSU Extension service has stations in Hermiston and Pendleton.

The firing of Houglum was a surprise to most on the OSU faculty, including Tammy Bray, the dean of the College of Health and Human Services. The college has dozens of staff members with extension appointments.

Houglum said she was told the dismissal came after "lengthy discussions" among Randhawa, OSU President Ed Ray and "other university administrators."

Houglum was picked in late 1994 to head an OSU reorganization that combined the traditional extension education mission with extended campus and distance learning instruction. She was officially appointed dean of extended education and director of the Extension Service in December 1995 after a prolonged search. The title has since been shortened.

Houglum had been associate director in charge of county extension programs and has been a member of the OSU faculty since 1985. She began her professional career in Montana as a 4-H and home economics agent.

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