University of Delaware
Michelle Rodgers

New Extension director

Michigan State's Rodgers to lead UD Cooperative Extension


9:03 a.m., Jan. 23, 2012--Michelle Rodgers has been named associate dean for Extension and outreach in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension.

Rodgers, associate director of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), has over 25 years of Extension experience.  Her start date is April 2. 

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“Dr. Rodgers brings a wealth of experience from her previous positions in Cooperative Extension in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and she understands county, regional, university, and national dimensions of the Extension network,” said Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “She has expertly managed change within the Cooperative Extension organization, and she articulates a promising vision for Cooperative Extension in the future. We are delighted to welcome her to the mid-Atlantic region.”

Rodgers will succeed Jan Seitz, who has served as director since May 2003 and is retiring in April.  Seitz came to UD having served as assistant dean and director of University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development. 

“It is a privilege to come to the University of Delaware and continue the work of Dr. Jan Seitz , the dedicated  faculty and educators, and the strong stakeholders that make up the University of Delaware Extension team,” said Rodgers. “I appreciate the history and traditions of University of Delaware, and I also embrace the changes that we will make together to continue to bring increasing value of extension to communities in the state, the region and  the national extension system.  I look forward to working together to create the future.”

As associate director for Michigan State University Extension since June 2007, Rodgers provides overall leadership for MSU Extension programs, personnel and the organizational development units within MSUE. 

Rodgers works to build community and campus partnerships to enhance programming.  She works with the 13 district coordinators and the four program institute directors with programmatic focus in:  agriculture and ag business, Greening Michigan, health and nutrition, and children and youth.  Additionally, she supports the organizational development team efforts to support internal and external operations and relationships.

Rodgers recently served on the provost-appointed task force for Positioning the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University.  She presently serves on the faculty professional development committee in the college and also serves as a board member on the Journal of Extension.

Before joining MSUE in 2007, Rodgers spent 27 years at Pennsylvania State University.  There, she most recently served as the regional director of the Capital Region Cooperative Extension and Outreach unit, helping direct the work of 124 Extension faculty and staff members in nine counties. She also served as an affiliate assistant professor of agriculture and extension education.  Rodgers began her professional career at Penn State serving as a family and consumer sciences educator in Lancaster and Berks counties.  

Rodgers has authored several Extension and scholarly publications, two of which focus on women in dual-provider families. She is a sought-after speaker and presenter on topics including developing high performance teams, operational outreach partnerships, evaluation competencies, leadership and change theory, and strategies for increasing adult learning and retention.

Rodgers is an active member of the Epsilon Sigma Phi honorary educational fraternity.  She has received several national and regional awards and honors, including a National Extension Leadership Development internship in 1996-97, the Outreach and Cooperative Extension Vice Presidents Leadership Award and the Mary Nell Greenwood Extension Evaluation Award.

Rodgers holds a doctoral degree in agricultural education with a minor in public administration, and a master’s degree in rural sociology both from Penn State.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

Photo courtesy Michigan State University Extension

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