Section 7: The Council and MU Extension — Partnership

Both University of Missouri Extension and the county extension council have specific powers and duties, several which they must exercise together. MU Extension and the council are partners in the delivery of adult education to Missouri. This partnership runs deeper than the specific duties imposed by the statutes. Neither would be able to carry out its duties effectively without the cooperation of the other.

As in all partnerships, respect for the rights of the other is essential. It is important for each partner to know the duties of the other and not to interfere in that partner's work. The emphasis must be on cooperation. MU Extension believes we are ‘One MIZZOU’ for the state of Missouri. The local extension council is responsible for assessing the need for educational programs offered in the county through extension. Only when the council members view extension as “theirs” do they achieve the vision intended more than 130 years ago for the “people's university”.

MU Extension in Missouri involves an 1862 land-grant university — the University of Missouri System with campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis — and an 1890 land-grant university — Lincoln University in Jefferson City. They are united by an agreement to coordinate extension programs from the research base of each through field faculty and staff who use information to meet the needs of people in all of Missouri's 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.

Organizational relationships

MU Extension is accountable to the UM System Board of Curators, whose nine members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

The UM System president administratively is responsible to the curators. The chancellors of each campus and UM System faculty and staff are administratively responsible to the president.

The UM System president delegates oversight of MU Extension to the vice chancellor for extension and engagement at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The vice chancellor gives overall direction to all MU Extension programs throughout the UM System. The vice chancellor is designated as director of cooperative extension and as such is the state extension representative to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has overall federal responsibility for extension nationwide. Cooperative extension is a three-way partnership — federal, state and local.

The UM System president is advised on extension programs by the MU vice chancellor for extension and engagement. The vice chancellor has an advisory council that provides advice, guidance and support to the statewide extension program. The council also serves as a sounding board for new program ideas and for evaluation of implemented programs. Its purpose is to promote the common interest of Missouri extension county councils by supporting the research and extension programs of MU and Lincoln University at all levels of government and to disseminate information concerning the need for and advantage of research and extension.

The state is divided into eight extension regions headed by regional directors. Regional directors are administratively responsible for the specialists located within their regions. They also oversee the county extension centers, which are managed locally by extension engagement specialists (EES). These EESs work with the councils in planning and implementing an effective program that meets the expressed needs of the people in each county. They also help coordinate and manage the office operations.

Program development and management are responsibilities of the MU Extension program directors. MU Extension's major program areas are agriculture and environment, health and families, 4-H youth development, health and safety, business and communities and emergency rescue training. System program directors work with regional directors, campus deans and field specialists in developing programs.

MU Extension and the county extension councils are collaborative partners that deliver the land-grant mission of providing access to high quality education, applying research to the needs of Missouri and extending knowledge to Missouri's citizens.

As part of the Agreement, the University agrees to provide:

  1. In counties with an office open with administrative support, fully fund and/or cost share with partners or the Council, University programmatic faculty or staff based on the level of local support and programmatic needs of the home and surrounding counties.
  2. Other support and administrative services for county-based University faculty and staff including but not limited to:
    • Internet connectivity to county Extension offices.
    • Support and infrastructure of statewide travel system for county-based University faculty and staff standardizing travel reimbursement.
    • Professional development and training opportunities for University faculty and staff.
    • Computer equipment for University faculty and staff necessary to perform Extension work plus one additional computer for the county office support use.
    • Financial and accounting system license for each county.
  3. The above represent a minimum investment in each county extension program of $112,000 (as of July 2022) by the University of Missouri.

As part of the Agreement, the Council agrees to provide:

  1. Leadership and administration for the county extension program per the Revised Statutes of Missouri, Section 262:550 to 262.620.
  2. Safe and appropriate office space, furnishings and utilities for Council and MU Extension employees.
  3. Administrative support for the Council, for the office storefront, for University Extension programing and for University faculty and staff.  
  4. Funding for programmatic travel in the county.
  5. Utilize uniform financial and account system and report annually to the University allowing for statewide reporting of impact and leverage of the partnership between MU Extension and the local Extension councils.

In addition, the Council and University may choose to collaborate on the following partnerships:

  1. Travel: University manages a statewide travel system for regional faculty and program staff. The University will match the county in a 30:70 ratio if they complete a Memorandum of Understanding. Costs calculated on a three-year rolling average of actual program mileage expensed to the county. Counties choosing to participate will be informed of their budget amount by December 1 for the next calendar year.
  2. Youth Program Assistant/Associate/Educator: Council shall provide the YPA with all necessary resources and support to carry out his or her job, including but not limited to appropriate office space, facilities, furnishings, equipment, and administrative support and services.  If a YPA is located within the county the council will support 50% of their salary.  The University will provide a computer and 50% of their salary.
  3. Administrative Support: The council may choose to partner with the University and hire their administrative support as a University employee. The council pays 100% of the salary to the University to pay the employee’s salary. The University provides yearly evaluations in conjunction with the council, full benefits for full-time employees and completes all tax-related paperwork.