Mississippi State University Extension Service Director Joe McGilberry's duties have been expanded to a new role as the executive director for University Extension and Outreach.

In making the announcement, MSU President Charles Lee said colleges and universities are responding to the call from stakeholders to make their expertise more accessible to the public as a resource for economic development and improvements in quality-of-life issues.

McGilberry will have responsibility for MSU's Extension Service, the Division of Continuing Education and the Industrial Outreach Services Unit, which is being developed to serve Mississippi's manufacturing and processing sector.

“We want MSU to be even more responsive to communities, businesses, industries, and individual citizens of Mississippi,” Lee said. “The Extension and Outreach executive director will help us broaden our understanding of state and regional needs and focus outreach where it can make a difference.”

University Extension and Outreach will coordinate with the eight academic colleges and other units on campus to direct requests for assistance to the area of greatest expertise and take a university-wide approach to using technology to connect with outreach clients.

The Division of Continuing Education provides credit and non-credit courses through distance learning, workshops, correspondence and other methods.

“We want to make higher education resources available to assist with the needs of all Mississippians and their communities,” McGilberry said.

MSU's Extension Service provides nonformal education in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, youth development, and enterprise and community development.

“The MSU Extension Service has provided a university presence in every Mississippi county since 1914. Farmers and families are accustomed to contacting those offices with particular needs,” McGilberry said. “Our goal is to have all facets of the community looking to the university for support and assistance in the challenges they face. We want to be more involved in making the state a better place to live in all respects.”

McGilberry has been director of the MSU Extension Service since July 2001. He has worked with Extension economic development efforts since 1978, including 10 years as head of the Enterprise and Community Resource Development Program.