Program integration

Program integration is rooted in the strategic plan adopted by University of Missouri Extension and is a basic element needed to nourish the organization's vision and mission. This key initiative is led by the program integration committee.

University of Missouri Extension is a valued and trusted educational solution to improve the quality of life in Missouri, the nation and the world.

Our distinct land-grant mission is to improve lives, communities and economies by producing relevant, reliable and responsive educational strategies that enhance access to the resources and research of the University of Missouri.

Programming is a cornerstone of how MU Extension fulfills its land-grant mission. Program integration is designed to build trust and respect for MU Extension’s capacity to effectively respond to the issues and needs of Missourians. Today’s economic and social problems are complex and require organizations to be prepared to address these complex problems through aligned or integrated multidisciplinary approaches and programming. To address complex societal issues, extension units often collaborate with one another and with external organizations to succeed.

It is important to assess the changing landscape by evaluating how customer, social and economic needs are shifting. Under the guidance of the strategic plan, program integration offers a framework to ensure programs are effective and efficient as they respond to Missourians' needs. This knowledge encourages us to work together to determine strategies and programs most likely to lead extension as a whole to be a valued, trusted and respected organization into the 21st century.

Program integration is an intentional approach to interdisciplinary work in five theme areas, with teams dedicated to developing and improving programming in each thematic area:

  • Educational attainment
    Engage children and adults in lifelong learning to increase their educational attainment.
  • Environmental concerns
    Conduct research and educate citizens about water quality, energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, new ideas for reducing energy dependence and environmental impact on health and safety of citizens.
  • Community, workforce, economic and business development
    Address issues and opportunities of Missouri’s economic infrastructure, communities, public services, economic development, jobs and educational access.
  • Global food systems
    Improve affordable, accessible, safe and healthy food.
  • Health systems
    Improve individual, family and community health.

Get involved

Extension faculty and staff have always worked together at different levels. This initiative provides the entire organization with an intentional way to address complex issues faced by Missourians in all corners of the state. There are several ways to get involved in the program integration process.

Help generate ideas

Faculty or staff generate program ideas or concepts to address a societal issue. These might be entirely new programs or rooted in existing programs that can be scaled up to address a broader audience. Extension faculty and staff are encouraged to engage thematic teams for assistance with developing and expanding an idea. 

Extension has set aside funding (up to $10,000 per project) for seeding FY 2015 proposals to enable testing, piloting or proving innovative programs. Learn more by reading how to get seed money for your idea or concept (PDF).

Become an ad hoc or development team member

As program concepts move through the development process, thematic team facilitators bring on ad hoc and development team members to contribute specialized knowledge to the project as needed. Individuals interested in becoming ad hoc or development team members should contact the relevant team facilitator.

Become a thematic team member or facilitator

A facilitator provides a thematic team with leadership in the interest of helping faculty develop and expand an idea. Team members bring a diverse set of skills and abilities.

If a thematic team facilitator or member position becomes vacant, a notice will be posted in the MU Extension Insider. The Thematic Team Directory (PDF) has contact information for facilitators, the five thematic teams and the program integration committee. 

Tracking program development progress

Each thematic team keeps track of individual concepts and proposals as they move from beginning phases to deployment. This progress is documented on the Thematic Group Pipeline (XLSX), which is updated quarterly. Listen to Adobe Connect recordings of what the thematic teams are working on, which are updated quarterly.

Learn more about program integration

Faculty and staff can keep current with the progress of the program integration team by participating in or viewing archived Adobe Connect sessions.

The Program Integration Handbook (PDF) provides more information about the various aspects of this key initiative.