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Extension Educators Receive National Honors for Excellence and Diversity

Washington, DC — The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced that Stephen D. Green, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will receive the 2016 Excellence in Extension Award. Green is cited for developing programs proven to increase knowledge of best practices in child care, enhanced opportunities for early childhood professionals, and increased involvement by fathers with their children.

A second honor, the National Extension Diversity Award, will go to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources 4-H Youth Development Program Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrators. Both awards will be presented on November 13th at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

The Excellence in Extension Award is a prestigious national recognition given annually to one Cooperative Extension professional for visionary leadership, excellence in programming, and positive impact on their community. The National Extension Diversity Award recognizes an Extension program for achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism.

“Our nation’s Cooperative Extension System (CES) has been around for over 100 years, and is now addressing 21st century challenges,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The CES, in partnership with NIFA, is translating research into action: bringing cutting-edge discoveries from research laboratories to those who can put knowledge into practice.”

“Cooperative Extension is proud to recognize those in our network who excel at innovative programming and engagement with diverse audiences to solve challenging problems. They have integrated credible science with powerful educational strategies to change lives and the communities where people live, work and play,” said Michelle Rodgers, Director, University of Delaware Extension, and Chair, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, the representative leadership and governing body of Cooperative Extension nationwide. “The work of these valued professionals provides exemplary examples of Cooperative Extension’s relevance and impact.”

“Cooperative Extension is at the heart of the land-grant university mission,” APLU Vice President Vice President, Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources Ian Maw said. “These awardees represent some of the very best Extension efforts in the country. They are changing lives and helping to ensure more people realize the many benefits that the Extension programs from our land-grant universities have to offer.”

Professor and child development specialist Stephen Green’s Early Childhood Educator Online Training Program offers some 200 courses, including many in Spanish and Vietnamese. Since 2010, course completions across the U.S. number more than 850,000. His multi-cultural Fathers Reading Every Day program is one of the most effective ways to involve fathers in their children’s literacy development. Overall, he has delivered more than 280 educational presentations, reaching more than 16,900 participants and obtained more than $5.5 million in grants and contracts to develop and implement Extension programs.

The team from University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources 4-H Youth Development Program Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI®) Qualified Administrators has systematically enhanced the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in their state. Together Dorina Espinoza, Russell Hill, Shannon Horrillo, Fe Moncloa, and Keith Nathaniel conduct their Extension program in many counties. Using the IDI® in California, the team has led audiences to acquire skills and characteristics that shift organizational culture. This shift includes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people. The plan of action and resulting positive change provides the potential to improve hiring and professional development nationwide by replication in other states.

In addition to the national recognition, one Extension educator from each of the five Cooperative Extension regions (northeast, north central, south, west, and 1890 universities), will also be recognized for excellence at the APLU Annual Meeting.

The 2016 regional Excellence in Extension awardees are:

1890s Region Award – Karnita Golson-Garner, Alabama A&M University

North Central Region Award – Nozella L. Brown, Kansas State University

Northeast Region Award – Richard W. Taylor, University of Delaware

Southern Region Award – Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia

Western Region Award – Terry Allan Messmer, Utah State University

USDA-NIFA and Cooperative Extension have sponsored the Excellence in Extension and National Extension Diversity awards since 1991.

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