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April 21, 2011 Volume 32, No. 28

MU Extension announces new leadership structure


Last year’s restructuring leads to changes

Changes to the University of Missouri Extension’s leadership structure will increase efficiencies, reduce administrative overhead and better integrate MU Extension’s continuing education and cooperative extension programs, said Vice Provost and Director of Extension Michael Ouart.

 “Given the continuing budget stress, there is a need to reorganize support functions within University of Missouri Extension and to seek greater efficiencies from all MU Extension support units,” Ouart said. 

The reorganization will reduce the number of positions in MU Extension’s leadership cabinet, led by Ouart, from four to three.

“One goal of MU Extension is to focus on program positions and to further reduce administrative positions wherever possible,” he said. “When Associate Vice Provost Debbie Robison announced her retirement March 31, we decided this goal can be furthered by not refilling this position and by reorganizing the MU Extension leadership structure in a manner that will better integrate the entire organization.”

Robison, who led MU Extension’s continuing education and distance learning programs, has joined a special project with Jim Spain, MU interim vice provost of e-learning.

The reorganization will have two associate vice provosts serving MU Extension, one for programs and one for administrative management.

Beverly Coberly, director of off-campus operations, will become associate vice provost for programs, leading the extension program directors, regional directors and continuing education directors.

Rhonda Gibler, assistant vice provost-management, will become associate vice provost for administrative management, with leadership responsibility for budget and finance management, human resources, communications/marketing/public relations, organizational development, reporting, grant development, and extension technology and computer services.

 “This structure will consolidate and integrate us into one MU Extension, and allow us to work seamlessly with our program units, our regional units and our faculty, reducing gaps between campus and off-campus locations and our support units,” Ouart said.

The restructuring plan, which is effective immediately, is part of an ongoing reorganization of MU Extension announced last November to increase efficiencies and optimize resources in response to increased budget challenges.