The president of the University of Missouri System says MU Extension is an integral part of its institutional offerings.
Dr. Mun Choi visited the Greene County extension office Wednesday. It was one of three stops in Springfield, the first city on Choi’s statewide tour.
“I’m here to visit a very important component of our mission, which is the organization that serves to provide outreach and to use research and education from the university to make an impact on the community,” said Choi.
Choi, the former provost at the University of Connecticut, became the MU System’s 24th president on March 1. At the MU Extension center Wednesday, he was given a tour of the facilities and shown how officials there are encouraging education on nutrition and horticulture.
He said seeing these partnerships in action spurs ideas for future ways to collaborate with different organizations within Springfield, including Missouri State University.
“I think there are some opportunities for new educational programs, as well as short research programs that bring our faculty members and students together to work with industry partners,” Choi said.
But Choi acknowledged how budget cuts at the state level, and the trickle-down effect it’s left on Missouri colleges and universities, is hindering some initiatives. He aims to identify system strengths, such as extensions, but “At the same time, also identify programs that we can phase out or those programs that we can no longer support at the levels we have in the past.”
He notes that programs like the MU Extension service will stay active to “have more of an impact” on the daily welfare of people throughout the state.
“If we could use the extension platform to provide opportunities for students as well as those individuals who want to be retrained in a new area of technology, we want to be able to provide that through the extension program.”
Choi also Wednesday visited other sections of Springfield to speak with community and business leaders, former curators, and key Mizzou alumni and donors. He also met with partners to discuss how budget cuts may affect the MU Springfield Clinical Campus, which launched just last year.
The system president’s tour continues Thursday night in Rolla.