The Kennedy Center announced Thursday that Mason Bates’s term as composer in residence will be extended by two years, through the 2019-2020 season.

It’s a decision that makes a lot of sense. Many composer in residence posts involve a behind-the-scenes presence, helping read through submitted scores, writing new work, and emerging to do some community events. Bates, however, has become a key part of the Kennedy Center’s programming team. His KC Jukebox is one of the center’s marquee new series, spotlighting contemporary music and a wide range of performers, from Chanticleer to the Thievery Corporation, in always-unexpected combinations. This season, it will be interlaced with Direct Current, the center’s newest series devoted to contemporary work (and part of an ongoing proliferation of series with random-sounding names: “Shift” and “Demo” and “Declassified” among them).

One can question whether programming on this scale and with this focus is the best use of Bates’s time and ability. He certainly has a knack for it, but his creativity has been counterbalanced by a certain amount of (understandable) learning on the job. And the time he pours into his programming work seems like time taken away from his composing — his last new piece for the NSO, “Passage,” was well-intentioned but hardly earth-shattering. Of course, he has managed to fulfill other major new commissions during his residency, including this summer’s new opera at Santa Fe, “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.”

That said, three years is not long enough to take the measure of this kind of work, which is just hitting its stride now that Bates and the center have learned their way around each other. Another two years will give Bates a chance really to show what he’s aiming at — and allow the center more time to figure out whether there are other composers who will fit into this position, as Bates has evolved it, or whether the next holder of the chair will revamp it along his, or her, own lines.

Bates’s latest big symphonic work, “Auditorium,” features on this week’s NSO program, playing Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The season’s first KC Jukebox, on November 15, features the German electronica duo “Mouse on Mars.”