Recently, I met with the faculty and staff of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. During the course of our discussion one of the faculty members expressed bemusement at the lack of attention the Cooperative Extension Service receives at NMSU, noting that many faculty, staff, and students seem unaware that Extension is an important part of the mission of NMSU and that NMSU has an extension office in every county of the state.
I was somewhat surprised by the concerns expressed by this faculty member, but upon reflection, she is probably correct. As a large institution, with a broad range of units focused on different parts of our multi-faceted mission, it is all too easy to lose sight of some parts of that mission.
So, here is a quick overview of, and shout out to, the Cooperative Extension Service at NMSU.
Established by the Smith Lever Act in 1914, the Cooperative Extension Service is associated with land-grant universities, with each land-grant university operating a Cooperative Extension Service. The original purpose of the Cooperative Extension Service was to translate the findings from agricultural research into practices that would improve productivity and sustainability of American agriculture. Through time, the mission of the Cooperative Extension Service has expanded to include youth development, home economics and health training, and community economic development.
As is true at most land-grant universities, the Cooperative Extension Service is housed in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, but has a statewide reach through its county extension offices. In many of the small rural counties of New Mexico, these extension offices are important community centers and the Extension agents are among the most recognized and respected members of the community.
One unusual aspect of the Cooperative Extension Service at NMSU is that county agents are tenure track faculty members. This means that I have the privilege of reading their tenure and promotion dossiers, which helps me appreciate the good work they do and provides me with further insights into the transformative influence of NMSU across the state.
Translational research has become a bit of a buzzword over the course of the past 15 years, but it is something that has been integral to NMSU for more than a century through its Cooperative Extension Service. Thanks to everyone associated with Extension for your commitment and service. I can assure you that your efforts are appreciated by a grateful university and state.
With all best wishes,