Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wright-Racette on Extension search committee

David Wright-Racette David Wright-Racette

La Follette School staff member David Wright-Racette served on the search and screen committee for the next dean and director of UW–Madison’s Division of Extension. On April 28, UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced the hiring of Karl Martin, who joined Extension in 2014.

Professor Jed Colquhoun of the Department of Horticulture led the committee, which helped identify and select candidates to lead the statewide organization that recently reunited with UW–Madison.

"Extension is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea, and I was honored to play a small part in advancing its mission of connecting the resources of the university with people to improve their lives,” said Wright-Racette. “I'm excited to see how the integration of Extension into UW–Madison can expand the reach and impact of the research that happens here on campus.”

After nearly 50 years as part of a separate unit within the University of Wisconsin System, the Division of Extension returned to its historic home at UW–Madison in 2019. Extension partners with communities to extend and apply the university’s research, education, and practice-based knowledge to help solve problems and foster learning.

Martin, who served as interim dean and director since June 2018, reports to the provost through the vice provost for extension and public media. He is responsible for providing creative, inspiring leadership to more than 700 faculty and staff located in 72 county offices, five tribal nations and several UW System campuses. He oversees an annual budget of approximately $80 million.

Wright-Racette joined the La Follette School staff in February 2017 and this fall was promoted to student status examiner senior.

In 2019, he received the Student Personnel Association (SPA) Frontline Award. SPA is a Madison-area association of current and aspiring higher education professionals that facilitates collaboration and networking to support one another and enhance the student experience.

Wright-Racette earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UW–Madison in 2014. As an undergraduate, he interned for two years in the Wisconsin State Senate and after graduation he joined Wisconsin Farmers Union as its policy organizer.

- updated May 1, 2020