Introducing Michelle Rodgers, Ph.D.

Michelle S. Rodgers brought her visionary leadership to the University of Delaware in April 2012. As Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension and Outreach, she provides overall leadership for programs, personnel and the organizational development of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

Dr. Rodgers is putting her more than 30 years of Extension experience to work to help foster collaborations committed to serving the needs of Delaware’s agricultural industry, families and communities. She works with county Extension directors, program leaders and department chairpersons across the University to deliver outcomes through the organization’s statewide programs: agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and health, and children and youth. Additionally, she is a member of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources leadership team, focused on internal and external operations and relationships. She is a catalyst who is helping the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources get from where it is today to its desired future.

Dr. Rodgers currently serves on the Extension Committee of Organization and Policy (ECOP) and serves as co-chair of the ECOP Health task force.  She also serves as President-Elect of the Journal of Extension and as a board member on the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

Prior to coming to the University of Delaware, Dr. Rodgers spent 5 years as Associate Director at Michigan State University Extension.  There she was responsible for overall leadership for programs, personnel and the organizational development units within MSUE. She worked with MSUE’s 13 district coordinators and four institute directors to deliver outcomes through the organization’s statewide programs: agriculture and agribusiness, Greening Michigan, health and nutrition, and children and youth. Additionally, she leads the MSUE Organizational Development Team efforts to support internal and external operations and relationships.

Her Extension career began at Penn State University where she served in multiple roles, including the later years as regional director of the Capital Region Cooperative Extension and Outreach unit. As regional director, she helped direct the work of 124 Extension faculty and staff members in nine counties encompassing Pennsylvania’s agricultural breadbasket as well as several urban centers. She began her career at Penn State as a family and consumer sciences educator in Lancaster and Berks counties. She held an affiliate faculty position in the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education and taught two graduate-level classes and was a frequent guest lecturer.

She has authored several Extension and scholarly publications, two of which focus on women in dual-provider families. Her scholarly interests include developing high performance teams, operational outreach partnerships, evaluation competencies, leadership and change theory, incorporation of technology as a delivery method, and strategies for increasing adult learning and retention.

Dr. Rodgers holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania as well as a master’s degree in rural sociology and a doctorate in agricultural education, both from Penn State.

Dr. Rodgers is a 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, the Mary Nell Greenwood Extension Evaluation Award and the Working differently award from eXtension.

Photo courtesy Danielle Quigley