What is program integration?

Program integration is a new way for MU Extension to coordinate the efforts and resources of various programs in a more effective interdisciplinary response to issues and needs of Missourians.

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, MU Extension must look beyond a single program area like Agriculture and Natural Resources and combine the knowledge and expertise of multiple areas.

Program integration is a structured approach to interdisciplinary work using five new theme areas and teams:

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

Each of these theme areas will be based on MU Extension expertise and will be integrated with:

  • Banner outcomes
  • Development priorities
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Mizzou Advantage

Program integration will

  • align programming into a systems framework;
  • expand the interdisciplinary approach for program development and delivery;
  • increase flexibility for MU Extension’s response to complex issues;
  • develop the ability to move resources quickly, based upon program needs;
  • connect MU Extension to the larger MU network, NIFA and other partners;
  • deliver time-limited programming that is measurable and accountable; and
  • innovate and collaborate in developing research-based solutions that best serve Missouri citizens.

Program theme areas are not newly created extension units or operational areas. Instead, program theme areas are structured, interdisciplinary methods that enable existing MU Extension units to collaborate with each other and external organizations in flexible, dynamic and fluid ways. Following are MU Extension’s program theme areas, accompanied by examples that show how program theme areas can cross over the traditional extension organizational structure.

Educational attainment
Engage children and adults in lifelong learning to increase their educational attainment.

Environmental concerns
Conduct research and educate citizens about energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, new ideas for reducing energy dependence, water quality and environmental impact on health and safety of citizens.

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Community, economic, business and workforce 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.


Next: Examples of current interdisciplinary activities with potential to reach integration