Program integration

Questions and answers

1.  What is program integration?

Program integration is a way for extension to coordinate the efforts and resources of various programs in an effective interdisciplinary response to issues and needs of Missouri citizens.

To be successful, MU Extension units must collaborate with each other and with external organizations in flexible, dynamic and fluid ways. Each opportunity to respond to citizen’s needs will be unique and will require new and varied collaborations.

For example, in addressing environmental concerns through program integration, MU Extension will combine the knowledge and expertise of multiple program areas. Program integration is a structured approach to interdisciplinary work.

2. Why is MU Extension embracing program integration?

In our fast-changing societal landscape, many issues cannot be adequately addressed by traditional single-program efforts — they require more comprehensive, multidisciplinary approaches. Program integration will enable MU Extension to more easily mobilize cross-program expertise and resources to offer timely and comprehensive solutions that can improve the lives of Missourians.

Program integration initiative is rooted in the MU Extension Strategic Plan. Program integration will enhance MU Extension’s program efforts and will align with initiatives of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), North Central Cooperative Extension Association (NCCEA), Mizzou Advantage, MU, and other local, grant, state and federal initiatives.

What are program themes and how are they different than other interdisciplinary programs we are already doing?

Program themes are structured, interdisciplinary work methods dedicated to improving complex societal problems in five strategic areas:

  • Educational attainment
  • Environmental concerns
  • Community, economic, business and workforce development
  • Global food systems
  • Health systems

Theme efforts will be accountable to a set of banner outcomes, which will be MU Extension’s measure of accountability for program integration. Interdisciplinary work will continue to exist in current program areas and may or may not be structured within the five primary themes.

What are banner outcomes and how do they relate to program integration?

Banner outcomes are a set of evaluation measures to assess the impact of program integration efforts. MU Extension will follow a set of banner outcomes that are defined by the North Central Cooperative Extension Association. Areas of evaluation include broad outcomes such as economic value, engagement in public issues, public health improvement, changes in environmental quality, and responsiveness to emergency preparedness. In addition, increased collaboration and leveraging of land grant resources and expertise, as well as integrated local problem solving, are evaluation measures to assess the impact of interdisciplinary work through program integration.

What are thematic teams?

Thematic teams identify, coordinate and evaluate program integration activities within one of five strategic theme areas:

  • educational attainment;
  • environmental concerns;
  • community, economic, business and workforce development;
  • global food systems; and
  • health systems.

Each team has one facilitator and several members who serve on the team in a partial appointment for a specified period of time.

More information about the roles and responsibilities of the teams is detailed in the program integration materials.

Is this a reorganization? Will this change the organizational structure or current programs and disciplines?

No. This is not reorganization. Program areas will continue to operate as core disciplinary functions delivering research-based education to local communities such as 4-H Center for Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business Development, Community Development, Fire and Rescue Training Institute, Continuing Medical Education and Cooperative Extension Health Education, Human Environmental Sciences, Labor Education, Law Enforcement Training Institute, Missouri Training Institute, MU Nursing Outreach, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Engineering Continuing Education, and Veterinary Medical Extension and Continuing Education.

What if my work does not fit into any of the five program integration theme areas?

This is not a reorganization, and is not a means to eliminate positions. Faculty and staff will continue to work in their positions as they did before. It is the strength and expertise of current programs and faculty that will enable MU Extension to achieve the benefits of interdisciplinary integration.

While many faculty and staff positions will not change, those individuals who accept the role of team facilitator and/or team member will encounter short-term variations in the vision and mission of their position in order to focus on program integration initiatives.

Does the role of the statewide program director, regional director or continuing education director change?

No. The role of the directors will not change as a result of program integration. Directors will continue to be responsible for providing direct supervision and leadership to faculty and staff, as well as program leadership in areas of responsibility.

I keep hearing about “Mizzou Advantage.” What is this and how does it relate to program integration?

Mizzou Advantage is a provost-sponsored interdisciplinary program for the MU campus. The goal of Mizzou Advantage is to raise MU’s stature and impact by enhancing the activities in the five areas in which MU has world-class research and education programs. MU faculty and staff have formed networks of collaborators, both on and off campus, to focus on real-world problems centered on these key areas:

  • food for the future,
  • media for the future,
  • one health one medicine,
  • sustainable energy, and
  • transformational technologies.

These areas will evolve over time.

The Mizzou Advantage network provides a basis for MU Extension to collaborate with other MU academic departments to enhance program integration. Information about Mizzou Advantage can be found at: http://mizzouadvantage.missouri.edu/about/

What is NIFA and how does program integration relate to NIFA?

NIFA is the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, which is an agency of the USDA. NIFA is a federal funding source to which MU Extension is accountable. Not only does program integration align with NIFA’s program priorities and initiatives, it also positions us to be competitive for grant opportunities.

The program integration materials refer to the use of a “logic model.” What is this?

A logic model describes what the program is and what it will do. It depicts the sequence of events that links program investments to results. Learn more about MU Extension’s Program Logic Model at http://extension.missouri.edu/staff/programdev/plm/index.html.