Sep 15, 2015
Jeff Dwyer will lead MSU Extension

Fred Poston, dean of the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, announced that Jeff Dwyer will become interim director of MSU Extension, effective Jan. 1. Dwyer replaces Ray Hammerschmidt, who will resume his research and teaching roles in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.

Dwyer is a senior associate dean in the MSU College of Human Medicine with primary responsibilities related to research and community engagement. There, he works on college initiatives such as cultivating new partnerships, working closely with advancement, communications, external relations and other college leaders. In this capacity, he has provided leadership in faculty recruiting throughout the College of Human Medicine’s seven community campuses across the state, and in developing a statewide research network.

“Dr. Dwyer is a visionary and a savvy leader who understands the importance of working with communities throughout the state on educational, outreach and research priorities,” Poston said. “I am thrilled that he is joining the MSU Extension team on a full-time basis.”

Dwyer has been actively working with MSU Extension since 2008, and has helped lead the Extension Health Research Team since it was created in 2014.

Dwyer succeeds Ray Hammerschmidt, who was recently diagnosed with an eye disorder that has the potential to impair his vision. Hammerschmidt will continue to spend a small percentage of his time consulting with the MSU Extension administrative team.

“I was disappointed when Dr. Hammerschmidt told me that he wanted to step down from his role as interim Extension director,” Poston said. “He has been an invaluable member of our leadership team. I’m saddened by his diagnosis, but am supportive of his decision to return to his research and teaching roots.”

Under Hammerschmidt’s leadership, MSU Extension emphasized a model of shared leadership, giving staff members at all levels a strong voice in strategic planning.

“Dr. Hammerschmidt was key in hiring and placing key leaders who offer greater support to staff members throughout the organization. That helped strengthen Extension’s footprint across the state,” Poston said. “In addition, he has led and encouraged a strategic planning process that began with our team members throughout the state and percolated up through administration.”

Dwyer will remain interim MSU Extension director until Poston’s successor is named. Poston plans to retire at the end of 2015, and a search for his successor is underway. A new dean will be charged with hiring a permanent director for MSU Extension.

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