Colorado State University Cooperative Extension’s new associate director comes from Kansas State University with a firm belief in the importance of program evaluation, a cornerstone of Cooperative Extension’s futuristic "CE 2000 Implementation Plan."
Mary McPhail Gray, currently assistant director for extension Family and Consumer Sciences, associate dean of the College of Human Ecology and professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University, will assume duties of the new associate director position Oct. 20.
"Dr. Gray brings a wealth of teaching, research and Extension experience to this position, which is the number two administrative position in the organization," said Milan Rewerts, Colorado State Cooperative Extension director. "Her vast experience and diverse background in higher education, as well as her interest in and ability to teach others how to effectively evaluate Extension programs, will help Extension faculty better serve their clients’ information and educational needs."
The new position is a result of Cooperative Extension’s restructuring initiative. It was established to coordinate and lead program development, implementation and evaluation; link university, county and interdisciplinary resources; and build on the strengths of the land-grant university mission of teaching, research and outreach to help Coloradans address critical social and economic issues.
"Colorado has a rich history of innovation and development amidst competing interests and rich resources," Gray said. "Colorado State Cooperative Extension has done outstanding work, building on the strength of Colorado’s people, its institutions and its environment. I look forward to contributing to this work."
Gray earned a bachelor’s in home economics/textiles and clothing design from Iowa State University in 1963, master’s in child development from Michigan State University in 1969 and doctorate in family ecology from Michigan State University in 1980.
Prior to her current position at Kansas State University, Gray served as state division leader for Family and Youth Programs at West Virginia University Cooperative Extension, associate professor and state subject-matter specialist in Human Development and Family Studies at University of Missouri-Columbia Extension, and associate professor in the College of Human Environmental Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
During her tenure at West Virginia University, Gray established new programs for youth in science and technology and developed a statewide video satellite training system for all child-care providers. In Kansas, Gray has been instrumental in establishing a base curriculum for Extension programming and a new system of professional development for Extension faculty and staff. In addition, she has extensive experience in grant writing, raising more than $4 million in grants and project support funds since 1987.
Gray currently serves as an advisory committee member of the Kansas Head Start Collaboration Project and is a Kansas Food and Nutrition Services Board steering committee member.
The College of Human Ecology at Michigan State University awarded Gray the Centennial Year Outstanding Alumni Award in 1996 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995. In 1990, she was named a Missouri Youth Initiative Kellogg Fellow and a Greater Missouri Focus on Leadership Fellow. She also received the University Extension Team Work Award, University Extension Program Innovator’s Award and the University of Missouri Provost Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement by a New State Specialist.
"We were fortunate to have an excellent pool of candidates for the associate director’s position and are pleased Mary will bring her knowledge, experience and talents to Colorado State Cooperative Extension," Rewerts said. "I look forward to working with her as our organization continues to implement the changes proposed in CE 2000–changes that will strengthen program quality and effectiveness."