Consolidation of administration at the University of Missouri system and MU moved forward Tuesday with the announcement that the system’s Outreach and Extension office and MU Extension will merge and become the responsibility of MU’s provost.
Starting Jan. 1, MU Provost Brady Deaton will oversee the new office, which makes the research and knowledge base of the university available to citizens of the state.
David Russell, spokesman for the UM system, said the decision illustrates how other system and campus offices might consolidate in the future. The most significant would be consolidation of the UM system president and MU chancellor positions. If that occurs, the person serving as provost — now Deaton — would become second-in-command under UM system President Elson Floyd.
“He is certainly a busy guy,” Russell said about Deaton’s new responsibility. “But he has also known that possible consolidation of administrative positions will put added responsibilities on him and others involved in the administration of the university.”
Floyd said that ongoing budget problems prompted the decision to consolidate the extension offices.
“Given the fiscal crisis facing the university, I am convinced that this consolidation will preserve the public’s continued access to outreach and extension programs that Missourians need and expect,” Floyd said in a press release late Tuesday afternoon.
Consolidation might affect about 30 administrative positions in both the campus and system extension offices. Russell said it is too early to determine if there will be any layoffs.
“It’s possible that over time some positions might be combined or that attrition will draw down the number of people that are involved with university Outreach and Extension administration,” Russell said.
Although an MU official will run it, Outreach and Extension will continue to operate systemwide. The office will supervise functions on the other three campuses but also locations throughout the state.
Ron Turner, UM system executive vice president, will continue to serve as director for Outreach and Extension until Jan. 1. He has led the office for the past decade and will assist Deaton in the transition period. Neither he nor Deaton could be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
There is a great deal of similarity between UM system and MU extension offices, Russell said. UM system Outreach and Extension programs include public policy, agriculture, business and work force, children and teens, community development, environmental quality, family life, home and garden, and nutrition and health. MU Extension specializes in agriculture, youth and environmental sciences, Russell said.