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Watson named interim head of MSU extension and outreach
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University's vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine is assuming additional duties as interim director of University Extension and Outreach.
Beginning July 1, Vance Watson will provide leadership for an organization that includes the MSU Extension Service, Division of Academic Outreach and Continuing Education and Office of Industrial Outreach Services.
The retirement of Joe McGilberry, director of the MSU Extension Service since 2001 and head of University Extension and Outreach since 2003, became effective June 30. MSU President Charles Lee will recommend Watson's interim appointment at the July meeting of the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
"We have made considerable progress over the past three years in re-aligning the Mississippi State University Extension Service to accommodate changes in the needs of our constituencies and the budgetary reductions imposed by the Legislature," Lee said.
Mississippi's business and industry community, he added, has responded positively to efforts to better coordinate continuing education and industrial outreach efforts throughout the university.
"We must continue our efforts to better meet the needs of the people of our state if we are to enjoy their trust and financial support," Lee said.
During the interim appointment, Watson will lead strategic planning activities focused on a comprehensive approach to teaching, research and extension programs throughout the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. He also will work with Provost Peter Rabideau to further involve academic units of the university in continuing education and outreach activities.
"I am honored by the opportunity to serve the university in this interim role until a permanent director is selected," Watson said. "I look forward to working with the president to ensure that University Extension and Outreach has a vision and goals consistent with those of the broader university."
An advisory committee soon will be established to help find a permanent director for University Extension and Outreach, Lee said. The unit's director reports jointly to the vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, and to the provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Watson also is director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He will continue to perform those duties.