Henderson named interim vice provost

A letter from Tom Henderson

photo: Portrain of Tom Henderson, new interim vice provostDear University of Missouri Extension retirees,

I want to make you aware of some changes on the MU Campus and within MU Extension.

Dr. Michael Ouart has stepped down from his position as vice provost and director for MU Extension, effective May 18, 2015. Ouart will continue at MU in the position of outreach and engagement coordinator for MU, working with the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) and the Provost’s Office. He will use his expertise in international agricultural outreach and engagement for the college. Ouart has served as MU vice provost and director of extension since 2006.

He has a 40-year career in higher education, research and extension at several universities across the nation. He has served on national, regional and state committees and task forces as an ambassador for the mission of land-grant universities.

Let me take this opportunity to personally share how honored I am to have been asked to fill this role until a new permanent leader is identified for the position. I will be serving for a period of time in an interim capacity as your vice provost for University of Missouri Extension. Let me reassure you that Chancellor Loftin and Provost Stokes have committed to initiating a nationwide search in an expeditious manner for a permanent leader. You may rest assured that I will not be a candidate for that role.

I am a proud Mizzou grad, having earned my master’s here in business administration. Many of you might remember me from my previous tenure as vice provost and director of Cooperative Extension, interim vice provost of extension and interim associate vice provost of extension at MU, as well as system program director for extension programs in community resource development, under the UM System. In assuming my role, it means reestablishing previous working relationships with faculty and staff and becoming acquainted with additional extension professionals whom I have yet to meet. I plan to make a point to talk with our dedicated faculty, staff and volunteers.

As I have told our faculty and staff, change in society is ongoing and no organization is immune to its effects. Our challenge will be to continually recognize the factors affecting organizational change and to find ways to successfully manage in that environment. That being said, we must move forward in keeping extension in Missouri as a role model within the land-grant system.

Please know that my single, overriding reason for accepting this assignment is deeply rooted in my career commitment to the University of Missouri and to extension in particular. The unique nature of extension work, with its extraordinary relationship with the people of Missouri, sets it apart from the rest of our university. I look forward to working collaboratively with our team from this point forward, to continue to build on the foundation that many of you laid in extension at Mizzou.


Tom Henderson
Interim Vice Provost and Director of Cooperative Extension
University of Missouri Extension