COLUMBIA, Mo. –University of Missouri Extension is realigning its regional administrative structure to focus on high-priority local programs, adjust to uncertain public funding, generate additional revenue, and be programmatically nimble to meet increasing demands for educational programs and services.
“Changes in the economic development needs of Missouri, population demographics, societal changes and funding constraints call for new models for allocating funds and staffing,” said Michael Ouart, vice provost and director. “MU Extension’s previous staffing plan of 2007 was based on economic and social factors that are now outdated.”
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, MU Extension will move to a total resource model for regional programs. Rather than budgeting for a specific number of positions, extension regions will be allocated pools of funds to carry out the highest-priority programs for the area. Priorities will be driven by local need and demand as well as campus-based analysis of the greatest impact items coming from research. The total resource model is similar to how colleges are funded for extension work on the MU campus.
“The focus will be on program impact, not the position,” said Ouart. “Decisions about where to invest in positions will be based on citizens’ greatest opportunities and needs and MU Extension’s available resources to fill those needs.”
Regional directors, in collaboration with MU Extension’s program directors and with regional and county extension councils, will determine the mix and location of priority programmatic positions.
To maintain support for high-priority programs in the current difficult environment, additional funds must be generated locally and regionally. Faculty and staff and county extension councils are encouraged to develop diverse revenue streams, including contracts, grants, fees and gifts as well as appropriated funds. Revenue generated through contracts, grants, fees and gifts will be allocated to program priorities on the statewide, regional or local level.
Finally, to become more administratively lean, the number of extension regions will be reduced from eight to seven.
“The regions will be reorganized taking in consideration the number of faculty and staff to be supervised, geographic distances for travel, and factors specific to each region,” said Ouart.
Six rural regions will be geographically drawn and titled West Central, East Central, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast.
The seventh region, titled the Urban Region, will place more emphasis on Missouri’s increasingly urban population and will consist of six counties surrounding St. Louis and Kansas City plus the City of St. Louis.
MU Extension will maintain its long history of providing locally responsive programs that create healthy families, communities, agriculture, businesses and citizens to drive the overall economic well-being of the state.